Friday, 24 December 2010

Super secret project - III

There is one question I have yet to resolve.  How to assemble, store and transport this thing!  I dislike sectional boards as the edges are always so visible so I would prefer to glue this all together into a 6x4 or 8x4 complete board. The location of the buildings and river and such like is also a problem as they dont match the edges of the boards.

I guess I should glue the foam to a sheet of 6mm MDF or something similar? I'm then paranoid about the edges being damaged... especially as i will need to move it about the country. Should I surround the outside in a box structure of ply or MDF or something?  I can probably borrow a van in which it will travel and the buildings will be held in place by magnets so I am not too worried about them getting damaged but the other end of the board is going to be wooded with sea-foam trees and the trees will be a nightmare to transport. I'm also worried about stuff falling on the board and damaging the foam. My natural reaction to this is to make a wooden box with handles that completely surrounds the board?  Those of you that transport large terrain boards regularly... what do you do - advice please?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Super secret project - I

Shhh - don't tell anyone.

A little something I am playing around with

Shhhh ... i can't tell you anything as this is a super secret project that only Mike Thorp and I know about, and i only have until the middle of April to finish it (so don't ask ...ok?)

Thursday, 9 December 2010


Well, it's been a while, but finally I think most of the problems and delays are behind me and I find myself back in a position to be able to relaunch my small laser cut buildings endeavour. The only problem  have now is one of time, so don't expect anything other than a snails pace.

I expect to be reopening the store in late january, with a couple of new products already shown here, the watchtowers and stockade walls, with a few new modular bits and pieces thrown in too.

I also have secret plans for Salute 2011 in the works, so maybe see you there?

Thank you all for your patience.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Watchtower Variant

This is a variant of the watchtower kit with an extra storey added to the top of the tower using the good old Pringles Tube. It will be possible to make this from the watchtower kit...

I have also added a number of pictures of the new kits to The Gallery such as this one:

And finally - I think I have some good news on the way which means I will be able to relaunch - hopefully during October. More news soon.


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Watchtower prototype finished

I (mostly) finished painting up the prototype Benan Watchtower. Sorry about the change in tones between the pictures the real colour is somewhere between the two.

Watchtower without the canopy roof.

The optional die-cast hatch opens and closes and is not yet painted. The recessed magnets to connect the canopy roof can clearly be seen in the deck. In the right hand picture you can see the door modeled into one of the flat wall connecting sections - this is hidden by an attached wall, but can be used as an entrance to the tower if it is used stand alone.

With canopy roof installed
4mm magnets are glued into the base of the tubes that form the pillars for the roof and the whole roof section snaps into place. There is too much of the wood colour and pattern here so I will probably change the pillar colour slightly before I finish the grain on it.

Overall I like the design but there are a couple of changes I want to make.
  1. Don't recess the magnets so far. So when the roof is not installed  the magnets are flush with the surface.
  2. Simplify the underside of the canopy - it currently has beams and trusses cut from styrene sheet. Although this looks good its almost never visible and is a pain to make and paint well, it also doesn't provide a good enough gluing point for the tops of the pillars. I'll replace this with a hexagon with holes cut to accept the pillars. should use less styrene too, hence cheaper
  3. Change the roof on the canopy. Although the planking works I think it is too similar to the rest of the wood. I think I shall offer a shingle kit to go on top of it. (note that a conical roof from the pryn-gul tower or the stables kit will also fit.
As always comments and suggestions are very welcome.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A little more wall progress...

A little more progress: I am pleased with these.(pics taken on my phone so sorry they aren't quite as sharp as usual)

Finished Wall Section
Finished Wall Assembled to a WIP Tower & Bridge.
The upper sections of these pieces matches the colours of my existing buildings. The lower sections have small stones PVA glued to the sections and painted to resemble flint covered stone built sections. I hope this gives them more of a rugged appearance than the basic buildings but still looks more like a stockade than a stone fortress/castle.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Stockade Prototypes

I'm not intending to give up on my laser cutting venture, so I thought I'd show you some of the stockade prototypes that I've been building (wall, bridge and watchtower). These are laser cut test pieces and there are a few adjustments needed but otherwise are broadly ok. You'll spot some blue and green gap filler!

Watchtower with Bridge/gateway and three wall sections

Each of the wall sections (and the bridge) are 150mm long, and the platform of the watchtower is 115mm high which exactly matches the second floor of the Pryn-Gul Tower model so will be fully compatible with that model in future.

Watchtower with Bridge/gateway and three wall sections
The walls are constructed from foam board which I intend to cut and put in the kits, with laser cut styrene for the shaped, ends decks, handrails, and palisades. As a guid I'm expecting each of the wall sections and bridge to be priced at around the £5 mark and the Watchtower at around £10.

Close up of the watchtower with the canopy in place
This copy of the watchtower is constructed with 2 wall attachment buttresses, the kit will also allow you to construct one with one or none and (by combining 2 kits) 3. There is enough palisade in the watchtower to surround the upper deck - the version I have built has the safety handrail at the back.

Each of the components locates to the others with 4 x 4mm disc magnets recessed into the styrene, allowing any orientation to be achieved. Magnets also position and hold the canopy in place. The magnets are strong enough to snap the components together and you can lift 3 wall sections by simply holding the middle one, but can easily be separated by tilting the models apart. I intend to sell the magnets as an optional extra to the kits.

Canopy removed to show the 12 magnets that snap it into place
The trap door hatch in the watchtower is a 14mm square die-cast gun portal from a ship scale modeling company and will be provided as an optional extra... eventually!

I hope that whets your appetite, and I shall try to keep you up to speed with progress, but it will be a lot more erratic and slower than previously expected.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

I'm OK! and SALE!

Thank you to all those that have sent their best wishes, either via the comments here on this blog, on email, or messages on other forums I frequent. Your kind words have been appreciated even though I have not, until now, taken the time to reply.

Thank You!

I would like to take a couple of minutes of your time to clarify a couple of things though.  The bad news I had was NOT health related. Me and all my nearest and dearest are fit and healthy and battling along, so my apologies to anyone who read my previous blog-post as indicating that there might be serious illness involved. I am simply being forced  to take a break whilst I resolve a few financial issues.

I have also NOT closed the web shop, and I have NOT given up on the laser cut kits. I do however need to recover the cost of the stock I currently have in the shop. So, to that end I have cut up to 25% off the price of all stock, available immediately and only for the small amount of stock I already have.

Think of this as a chance to get a couple of kits at a reduced price and benefit from my misery! When I get things sorted at my end, these kits will be restocked and made available again at the previous full prices. This is NOT a closing down sale.

So, to unimaginatively quote Arnie, "I'll be back!"

I just don't know when. Watch this space.

Brandlin (Alan)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Bad News.

Yesterday I received some bad news which has really shocked me.

As a consequence there will be little or no posting on this blog for the forseeable future, and I shall not be progressing the WIP models.

I will sell the remainder of the stock I have in the store, but will not be restocking.

My apologies to those who were awaiting new models, and those of you that have supported my venture with your comments and feedback.  I hope to be able to take this up again at some point but have no idea when.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Stockade Walls - First Build

I got a bundle of plastic in the post yesterday which included the prototype kits for the walls, bridge and watchtower. This is the first quick and nasty assembly of a 6" section of stockade wall just to make sure that all the bits fit.You'll see from the pictures I have done little to clean the models up and there were a couple of 'glue incidents' - but thats what you get for having a 9 year old son as your Glue Marshal. ;)

Its the simplest of the kits so far - it's nice not having to fit everything to curved surfaces for a change! I need to adjust the lengths of he beams a trifle (a trifle is a technical engineering term - i wont bother you with the full definition) and the template for the foam core is a little large... but other than that Bingo!

And just because some of you always complain about the lack of pictures with figures in.

Left to right: Hasslfree Grymn, Spyglass Inga, Wyrd Minaitures Mad hatter; the latter two on 30mm display bases.  Assuming the rest of the builds go as well this week I'll be opening up pre-orders for the kits with an availabiity of mid August.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Not again!

Those of you who have been reading my mutterings from the time before laser cutting took over may remember my long time project to create opposing Grenadier Fantasy Warriors Dwarf and Orc/Goblin armies.

One of the models that has alluded me for some time are the Chronicle Miniatures Orc and Goblin Chariots. Although not technically Grenadier figures they were sculpted by the same sculptor who did the FW line - Nick Lund. I have three of the Grenadier Orc Warchief Chariots but want the other variants too!


There was One on ebay recently from New Zealand... and for the 6th time in the last 3-4 years I managed to be the SECOND highest bidder. Despite sniping the auction I was outbid by another sniper! I'm not complaining about this practice, its a sensible way of bidding - it's just frustrating that I continue the hunt yet again.

I did turn down a chariot a few months ago that had the driver figure missing and i reasoned i was unlikely to be able to find a spare driver from the set - I'm beginning to regret that.

So in the vain hope that any of you guys out there have any of the Chronicle chariots and are prepared to sell or swap then please let me know. It might be worth reminding you that I have a 'Wanted Page' which I try to keep up to date with my current obsessions. 


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sur la pont...

While I am waiting for the prototype kits of the walls and watchtower, I thought I'd play around with a few bridge ideas..

These first ones are variations on the Tew-Fah Bridge. Same length, but rising from a single storey to a double storey in height. These images are just shown as the very basic block styles without detail - the slopes on them are soo great to be viable so some steps are going to be necessary in the finished models.

One bridge could be made into a ground floor ramp of sorts and form a modular staircase rising up to meet buildings. With a little thought, a number of different layouts could be achieved.

These seem to be good options to help make 'platformer' style table layouts. Particularly good for games where line of sight and such are important or skirmish games like Mordenheim.

On another bridge theme though - what if you just want to cross a river?  These block models are curved in both the x and y axis but each individual styrene piece is only curved in one axis so its probably as close to a double curved shape as I can make easily. Again with a little thought it's possible to make these into a modular bridge type. And by making the top of the bridge a single storey tall, It will mate with existing buildings to make a grand entrance perhaps...

Welcome also to my latest follower Galpy. Pull up a comfy chair and roast some marshmallows over the fire.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Ho, and indeed, Hum!

These are the days I dislike.

Well, not so much dislike as ... well I'm not sure.

Since I decided to give this "making and selling things" idea a go about 3 months ago, it's taken up quite a bit of time. Well a LOT of time if truth be told and my wife is asked. Even for what seems like a simple product as I have, each kit still needs designing, prototyping, cutting, instructions writing, display models making, painting and photographing, web site managing, packing and shipping and then there is the ongoing pimping around any and every forum on the interwebbery that will let me log in (and some of them don't).

Not that I'm particularly complaining you understand. Just pointing out that it's not just, "Oh look a new shape of yoghurt pot - lets make a Palace!" and bingo, another product rolls off the production line to fill the coffers at Brandlin Towers.

There are some quiet times.

And this is one of them.

I have three kits out for prototype cutting and am waiting on a restock order too. So until the prototypes return and I have to assemble, paint, photograph and pimp them, fix any snags and order a new batch, I really don't have much to do.

And then it struck me. I should be painting up some figures or reading a new rule set or at the very least reorganising my storage system. But still, I am sat here, writing this to you because I actually can't turn my attention or interest to anything else.

I have Dwarf and Orc armies to paint, a Rogue Trooper project and an ABC warriors one, my beloved Grymn and their drop ship, many old crow vehicles not to mention two Rackham armies all needing paint.

Yet I know that by Friday morning a whole pile of plastic sheet is going to land on my doorstep care of the good old royal mail and I'll be gluing and painting like a trooper to cries from my nearest and dearest of  "you're always up there playing with your toy soldiers."  So perhaps I had better sign off here and go make the dinner.

Kind of like a pre-emptive apology.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Possible Roofs...

While I wait for the watchtowers and walls to come back from the laser cutter i thought I'd play about with some very early ideas for the next kits.

These will be simple homesteads. I envisioned a set of three buildings being very modular and interchangeable allowing you to buy a couple of kits and end up with many many different simple buildings.

I was wondering what shapes to make the roofs... A flat one or two would be good, but I fancied doing something a little more unusual too.

These are simple cones but with the point of the cone offset.

These are a simple angled section to create a unusual roof line

A curved roof.

And something odder...

Not sure any of these really grab me...



EDIT : this is the "double cone" image Andres suggests in his comment below.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Regular Slates - New Product

Following on from a number of requests - most recently from a couple of gamers I met at Gauntlet 2010 (the annual show of the Deeside Defenders - my local club) I have designed a new roof covering for my components range of models.

This product is available to order now and will be shipping by 26th July 2010

This pack of building components consists of TWO 0.5mm thick A4 laser cut sheets.

Each sheet includes strips of regular width slates which can be cut to length and overlapped up a model roof to create a realistic rustic slate or shingle roof effect. Suitable for terrain building in roughly 1:50 scale - suitable for 28mm miniatures.

36 strips of slates capable of covering a roof over 500 square cm. Each slate is 5mm in width (at 1:50 scale thats around 250mm or 10" across ). The lower corners of each slate have a regular small chamfer. The rows of slates overlap by 5 mm up a roof giving a good glue area.

Check out the store for full details.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

New store front!

No sooner did I suggest I was going to move away from e-bay and start selling directly so I could offer better value for money to my customers, than I had a couple of people pointing me at 'free' shopping cart software.

So I thought I'd have a look. I've had my fingers burnt with this stuff before, and I particularly dislike the set ups that need 14 clicks to see a tiny thumbnail of the product whiclst the sceen is cluttered by "other people who bought this also bought tickets to the world cup final and a can of beans" rubbish.

So I was pleased with what I saw at Nice clear "does what it says on the tin" kinda set-up and big, clear, fast-loading pictures. I am very impressed for free.

One evening later and I think I have it all operational.  So have a look at the new store front - if you think you see problems then let me know....

You could always spend some money while you are there :)

Big progress and Wall Name Needed!

A big step this evening on the next batch of kits. I have finished the initial lay up of the 2D geometry of three further kits, and have sent them to the laser cutter.

  • TWF-03 Tew-Fah Bridge
  • TWF-04 Benan Watchtower
  • TWF-05 Stockade Wall

They wont get any attention until next week but I hope that by next weekend I shall have prototype kits back and be able to check assembly - and all being well open pre-orders and have the kits available for the first week in august.

However I need a good name for the Stockade wall section. As you can see from the other names, they are all a pun either on the name of a real building structure or on the materials used to create it. In this case the wall is built on a foam-board core.


Oh I just noticed I have an 87th Follower... Welcome to "Foot of Adhesive Tape" I'd have thought that would make taking your shoe off tricky? Hope you stick around though, and find plenty things of interest for you to adhere to :)

For completeness, these are images of the files that have gone to be cut...

Friday, 9 July 2010

"A Call to Arms" - Review and Interview

The guys over at "A Call To Arms" (an online hobby e-zine -  think thats what it is?) have published issue #6 of their 'zine.

In it they feature their experiences in building of a Pryn-Gul tower.  They also made the mistake of asking me a few questions, and then published my answers! Go along, have a read and support this small hobby venture.

Thanks to James of A Call to Arms for his honest views and time in doing this... and in his own words.
"The finished product is strongly built and surprisingly professional looking considering I have the dexterity of an amputee hamster."
Now you can't argue with an afflicted rodent can you?


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Direct Selling and 15% Price Reductions!!

Sometimes prices do come down!

As well as selling through e-Bay, I am now selling directly using paypal. This means that I am able to sell direct to you cutting out the e-bay costs meaning a price reduction of around 15% to you the customer.

That's a £2 reduction on the Pryn-gul Tower, bringing it down to £12, and a similar reduction on the Haft-Oob Stables making that kit just £10!!

All you need to do is e-Mail me quoting the products you want to buy and telling me your paypal account address, and i'll invoice you as soon as I can, then simply pay me and I shall ship your goods. 

All my future kit releases will be priced in the same manner for direct selling. I think this more accurately reflects the true costs of the kits and if things go well then I shall upgrade to a shopping cart system at some time.

If you wish to take advantage of the extra protection that e-Bay provides then I am continuing to sell there at the previous prices, with my 100% feedback. My e-Bay store

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Tew-Fah Bridge - Redux

So I've almost finished the Benan Wachtower and turned my hand to the Stockade walls, and then I realised that to keep this modular the walls really need to be the same length as the Tew-Fah bridge so that they tessellate properly. The size of the bridge itself is defined by the radius of the two arcs under it, and the arcs are defined by the floor heights and the pallisade depth on the watchtower.

So I ended up having to redo the whole bridge!

That might not look too impressive, but now i'm sure it will meet the Benan Watchtower properly so that the railings and the pallisade meet properly.

Each bridge will be sold with one side as railings and one side as pallisade. This gives an idiosyncratic look which i think matches the buildings but also means that it can double as a gateway between two Benan Watchtowers, with the pallisade facing outwards to match the towers and the railings facing inwards.  Multiple bridge kits would then enable a bridge to be built with pallisade on each side or railing on each side.

I had to do a bit of a rethink on the magnets position and will have to change the locations on the tower, but now the walls, towers and bridges will all match.

The tricky bit of this was to get it onto a single sheet of A4 styrene! I've *just* managed it, it's an incredibly tight squeeze. It should be OK as long as the closeness of some of the parts doesn't cause heat issues and therefore bending.  The fact that this is a single sheet should mean that I can keep the price to around the £5 mark.

I must admit its so much nicer to be doing something with straight sides too! :)

Oh, and the obligatory assembled to a couple of Benan Watchtowers picture.

Sketch-Up files released.

I have decided to release the 3D CAD files of the kits I make. This will allow customers to download the model, and see how they go together. You will also be able to plan your own layouts and such like.

Each of these files is a Sketch-Up version 7 file. Sketch-Up is a completely free 3D CAD program from Google and is available here. It is by far the most intuitive 3D CAD program I've ever used, and I thoroughly recommend its use.

So, click the link above and download the file, and you can play with it to your heart's content. I'd love to see what you come up with.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Benan Watchtower - 3D view

After I've created the 2D geometry I put it all back into Sketch-Up, give it some thickness and then reassemble it. That means I find any remaining geometry issues (and there are a couple) but I also get the fully built model to do the assembly instructions from.

It also means I get to do this...

I've not played around with the animation on Sketch-Up but I think it might be useful as another good marketing tool.

As always comments and suggestions welcome.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Benan Watchtower Geometry

A few hours on the PC and several attempts later and I have laid up the 2D geometry for the Benan Watchtower.

This was a bit of a challenge to get the pieces tessellated onto as small a footprint as possible. The good news is that I've managed to get it onto 1 1/2 sheets of styrene (all 1mm thick) and that means the likely price will be around the same as the Tower.

All I have to do to add the thousands of tiny little fiddly awkward tabs that hold the pieces to the sprue.. thousands and millions of the damned things... You may notice I don't actually like that bit! I get to this point in the kit design, and I feel like I am finished. There is still a long way to go - notably creating the assembly instructions, which are necessary but not fun and it can be soul destroying - especially when you awkward customers then suggest things that would have been great ideas and helpful 4 weeks ago but are now just a pain in the proverbial! Grrrr.... customers!

I shall work up the Geometry for the attaching walls and then send them for the prototype cut together hopefully by the end of the week. An I hope to have both models available for Pre-order by 2nd August.

Gauntlet 2010 - Deeside Defenders

My local club - Deeside Defenders - held their annual show over the weekend at "Wings" - the Airbus Sports and Social Club at Broughton North Wales. Due to family commitments I was only able to pop along on Sunday afternoon with a bundle of model kits and some panted demo pieces.

Because of work commitments I am almost never able to actually go along to the club to play, but I am always welcomed when I drop in and there was a lot of good conversation , suggestions and feedback, and a number of models exchanged hands for nice crisp folding cash!  If anyone who bought kits has feedback, suggestions or any questions then I'm very happy to hear them as I am to have any customer pictures for use in the gallery.

I picked up many ideas for kits - a lot of them different layouts of slates and shingles and roofing, and a few for windows, doors and other building bits, and there was some enthusiasm for the stockade kits I am working on.

Thanks guys for making me welcome, and a big thanks also to the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers (SOTCW) for entertaining my 9 year old son and letting him help the Spanish invade Morocco.

I can thoroughly recommend the club to anyone in the West Cheshire or Flintshire areas.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Haft-Oob Stables - Now shipping early!

I'm happy to say that I have the pre-ordered Haft-Oob Stables kits in my hands, packed and ready to ship on Monday 5th July. That's a week ahead of the planned release date!

If you ordered this second kit in the range, then it will be in the safe, reliable and efficient hands of the Royal Mail first thing on Monday morning.

I have more of these kits available to buy from the Shop link above.

I've also updated progress on the Coming Soon page. 3D modelling for the Benan Watch Tower and the Stockade Walls are both complete ad I'm well on the way to completing the 2D layout. I hope to have prototypes of these kits being cut by the end of next week.

Oh, and welcome to the 86th follower of my (I can't understand why its not already been Hugo and Booker nominated) blog - ME! It turns out you CAN follow your own blog! - who knew???