Postage Increase to USA – Advanced Warning

The Royal Mail have recently given notice of an increase in their prices to the USA; it’s a result of the decision by the US Postal Service to increase the prices they charge other postal services to deliver overseas mail within the US (it’s known as the ‘last mile’ delivery). The result is that Royal Mail prices to the USA are increasing by about 50% starting on July 1st – as examples, the cost of a 500g parcel (probably the most common size we send) is going up from £9.81 to £14.88, while a 2kg package goes from £18.97 to £29.41. You can read more about it on the Royal Mail website if you wish.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t afford to absorb this, so we’re going to have to create a special shipping category for orders to the USA. Where previously US orders would pay £4.30 + 14% of order value, this will now go to £4.30 + 20% of order value. We’ll probably introduce this a couple of days beforehand, because there’s always a lag between orders being placed and when we get to send them.

We may start using couriers more often, for parcels in the 1.5kg – 2kg range it could be cheaper to use Fedex or UPS.

Please note that this only affects orders from the USA; prices to the UK, Europe and the rest of the world are unaffected.

Chinese Reinforcements

This week we have some more new spaceships, additions to our Chinese fleet. The largest is a new version of the Jiangzi Flag dreadnought, a version of the existing Jiangzi with an enlarged superstructure for fleet command facilities.

The Jiangzi Flag is accompanied by three escorts; the largest vessel (at the front) is the Hangzhou class frigate. The two smaller vessels, the Wenshan class corvette (l) and Nanhai class Scoutship (r) replace the old Da Nang and Wonsan models (we changed the names because their North Korean/Vietnamese origin seems to trigger warning flags in PayPal and payments for orders including them can get held up).

We’ve tweaked the CDSU Battle Fleet pack (SFS-504) so that you can select either two standard Jiangzi dreadnoughts or one plus a Flag variant.

SFS-502 – Jiangzi Flag Dreadnought – £6.50
SFS-541 – Hangzhou class Frigate – £1.25
SFS-550 – Wenshan class Corvette – £1.00
SFS-551 – Nanhai class Scoutship – £0.75
SFSP-504 – CDSU Battle Fleet Pack – £22.50

Six-sided Scenery

More photos of other people’s stuff this week – this time a selection of 2mm scenery by our old friend David Frampton, organiser of the Stoke Rochford gaming weekends.

David uses his models for horse and musket-era games, basing them on hexes to suit the rules he uses. We think they look rather good…

Lifting and Shifting

We’re still very busy with orders currently – which is great, keep ’em coming! We’re turning them round as fast as possible, usually within 2-3 days, but then you’re in the hands of the various postal services. UK post is generally fine, some first class mail can take longer than usual (2-3 days) but the majority is still getting there next day. Overseas is a different matter. Mail to Europe seems to be about 7-14 days, so slightly longer than usual, but not excessively so. It’s a different matter further afield, however; to the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which are our most common destinations, 4-5 weeks is the norm, and 8-9 weeks is not uncommon (a customer has just told us of one package that arrived yesterday having been posted on March 30th). Everything is arriving, just late – we haven’t yet had to claim for a missing package this year. Patience is the key…

Next we have some show news; not unexpectedly, our next two planned shows, Joy of Six and Hereward, have been cancelled for this year. Neither are being rescheduled, so the next editions of both will be in 2021.

Onto some new releases. Because of workload I’ve been adjusting our release schedule a bit – I have a big batch of 15mm models (the last of our Salute lineup) that I’d like to get out, but I don’t seem to be able to find any time to build up stock in advance of releasing them. So instead we have some more 2mm items in the Small Scale Scenery range, stock of which is rather easier to manage!

First up is the largest piece, a railway turntable with a six-bay engine shed. It all comes cast as a single resin piece with the exception of the rotating track in the centre, which is metal.

Sticking on the track, we have these tiny railway cranes which come four to a pack.

And finally, more cranes but this time of the dockyard variety. Again there are four in a pack, two each of two types. I’ve made a mini layout with one of our resin jetty pieces and some dock warehouses.

SSS-8148 – Dockside Cranes (x4) – £2.00
SSS-8149 – Railway Cranes (x4) – £1.50
SSS-8158 – Railway Turntable – £3.00

A New Age in Luxury Travel

Peter Hunt recently sent us some pictures of the Civilian Airfield set painted up, which we thought were great and well worth sharing. We’ll let him take over from here, the rest of the words are his…


Gentlemen,
Here in Danubia we pride ourselves at being at the cutting edge of technological developments and so the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits is pleased to announce the opening of the new Danubia International Airport (DIA).

Having successfully tested the concept at Shoreham-by-Sea, a rather fly-blown site on the south coast of England outside Brighton, DIA combines the latest in Art Deco design, the highest standards of aircraft control and maintenance, and a fully integrated transport interchange facility.

Shoreham-by-Sea: the hangers and Terminal Building
Shoreham-by-Sea: The landing field and railway access.

Whereas Shoreham was served by a branch line of The Southern Railway, DIA is situated on the Orient Express Main Line from Venice Simplon to Strambul. As you can see below the vastly improved DIA provides direct access between the Orient Express and the Lufthansa service to Wien, Dresden and Berlin; the Swissair service to Geneva and Bern, (Change there for Grand Fenwick;) the Imperial Airways services west to Blighty or south and east to Athens, Alexandria, Cairo and Points South, or Beirut, Baghdad, and Points East; or Lao Che Air Freight chartered service to anywhere you want, anytime you like, no questions asked, strictly cash only, in advance, reasonable rates for combat zones negotiable.

DIA: with the Orient Express just pulling in to transfer passengers to a slightly quicker, if less reliable, safe and comfortable trip from Danubia to all of Europe and beyond.
DIA: The Lufthansa JU 52 has just taken off, the Swissair Dragon Rapide (out of picture,) will be arriving soon, on the apron are an HP 51 and Avro 618 Ten of Imperial Airways, and Lai Che Air Freight’s Ford Trimotor.

If you need onward air connections from the Orient Express just see the concierge in the club car and he will be pleased to arrange bookings and additional insurance for you.

Yours, As Ever,
Hercule

Early Slammin’

Today sees the release of the 6mm versions of the M6 Combat Car, used by the Slammers Regiment in its early years before being replaced by the M9 series. These have already been seen in 15mm (that link has a lot more background on the early Slammers vehicles), now it’s the turn of the smaller scale. There are five differently armed variants, along with a version with the roof shutters closed. They fit perfectly alongside the early version M2 blower tanks.

We also have 6mm versions of Guardforce O’Higgin’s Fragarach light tank and Brollachan APC, which snuck onto the website by stealth earlier this year but haven’t officially been announced yet.

HS6-116 – M6 Combat Car – £1.00
HS6-116a – M6A5 Support Car – £1.00
HS6-116b – M6A7 Mortar Car – £1.00
HS6-116c – M6A8 Buzzbomb Car – £1.00
HS6-116d – M6A9 Missileer Car – £1.00
HS6-116e – M6 (Closed Roof) – £1.00

HS6-3701 – RT-14 Fragarach Light Tank – £1.00
HS6-3702 – RT-15 Brollachan APC – £1.00

Back in Stock

A box unexpectedly turned up at Brigade Towers the other day with a restock of Starmada Unity rulebooks, so we’ve been able to restore that to the website again.

That is all.

STAR-005 – Starmada Unity – £20.00

Delays, delays…

First, a status update – after last weeks flood of orders for the new 6mm monorail, we’re a bit behind on those. All other orders up to Thursday shipped out this morning, plus a good number of ones including monorails, so we’re able to keep up with anything non-train related. And all of the other casting for the outstanding ones has been done, so as soon as we can get monorails cast, those orders will ship too. The problem (besides us massively underestimating the demand for them) is that resin casting is inherently slow – because there’s a 30-40 minute wait for resin to cure, there’s only so many that can be produced in a day, even with multiple moulds. It didn’t help that the first set of moulds has already been worn out (the life on resin moulds is surprisingly short, it can be as few as 25-30 castings) so we’ve already had to make new sets and will probably have to do so again next week. We’ve temporarily taken the monorail off the website until we catch up, which will be in a week or so.

However, since we’re on top of all the other orders, we think it’s safe to put out another couple of new models this week. We have two new Squadron Commander fighters ready to go – the first is for the Polish spacefleet, of which nothing has been seen until now. It’s a rather retro design called the Rokita, which is a Polish folk devil.

The second is a new model for the British – again it’s a slightly retro design called the Valkyrie, with a twin boom tail reminiscent of 1950’s fighters such as the Vampire and Venom (hence our choice of a ‘V’ name too).


Both are available singly, or in flights of 4.

Both models are initially discounted by 7.5%, and for each sale we’ll also donate the same amount to HEROES, a charity set up to help frontline NHS staff as they battle the Covid-19 outbreak. This will run until June 5th. So far we’ve raised over £150 from the sales of our new releases, so thanks to goes everyone who’s contributed.

SCR-103 – Valkyrie – £2.50 £2.31
SCP-103 – Valkyrie Flight – £9.00 £8.32
SCR-1301 – Rokita – £2.50 £2.31
SCR-1301 – Rokita Flight – £9.00 £8.32

Business Not As Usual

It’s OK, we haven’t got it 🙂

However, the response to the release of the 6mm monorail last week was completely unprecedented. Although we had produced what we thought was plenty of stock in advance, this was all gone in no time at all and we’re looking at a mountain of outstanding orders.

So the upshot is that there might be a bit of a delay (a few days) in getting all of this weekend’s orders out, especially if you’ve ordered any monorail pieces. We’ll be making some extra sets of moulds to allow us to cast more quickly, but there’s still a finite limit to how many resin pieces we can cast at a time.

We were planning another small release today (there they are below) and another major one at the end of the week, but they will go on hold until we get the backlog cleared. It’ll be quiet on the blog this week…

One final update – so far we’ve collected and donated £135 to the HEROES charity from funds raised through the sale of our recent new releases, and we still have several more weeks to go. So a big Thank You needs to go out to everyone who’s contributed to this total in any way.

The Age of the Train

So this is one of our favourite pieces this year, and would have been one of the centrepieces of our Salute releases. It’s a 6mm scale Monorail set, with both surface and elevated track (and ramps to switch between the two), a station and four different types of wagon.

There’s a starter set with eight pieces of surface track (over five feet in length) plus a five-car passenger train. There are also pre-packed passenger and freight trains, extra track packs and all of the wagons are available separately.

The monorail sets are initially discounted by 7.5%, and for each sale we’ll also donate the same amount to HEROES, a fund set up to help frontline NHS staff as they battle the Covid-19 outbreak. This will run until May 29th.

BP300-1100 – Monorail Starter Pack – £15.00 £13.88
B300-1101 – Monorail Track (x4) – £5.00 £4.62
B300-1102 – Elevated Track (x4) – £7.00 £6.47
B300-1103 – Monorail Desert Station – £7.50 £6.94
B300-1104 – Ramps (x2) – £8.00 £7.40
B300-1120 – Passenger Train – £6.50 £6.01
B300-1121 – Freight Train – £9.25 £8.56
B300-1130 – Engines (x2) – £3.00 £2.78
B300-1131 – Passenger Cars (x2) – £3.00 £2.78
B300-1132 – Freight Wagons (x2) – £3.00 £2.78
B300-1133 – Flat Cars (x2) – £3.00 £2.78
B300-1134 – Tanker Wagons (x2) – £3.00 £2.78