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Boys from the Dwarf

They’re here! I was planning on making this a big release, with marketing hype and such, but we’ve had enquiries from people who missed out at Dimension Jump 2021, and I’m short on time, so with all the fanfare of a squeaky fart in an empty theatre… here they are.

Sculpted by Andrew of Recluse Studio. Here’s a little info he wrote about the project:

The choices were primarily made up of moments that fans would hopefully get. As diehard fans ourselves, it was very important to make a connection to other fans by choosing non vanilla, non generic poses. Real moments from the show that hopefully say we laughed at the same bits, too. In it’s various forms, Red Dwarf has helped us through difficult times… even if it’s just because we’re not 3 million years from home with only Rimmer for company. 

The Rimmer Shapiro felt like taking the recognisable salute pose but tying it to “Future Echoes”. I just wanted to capture the super smug moment before he looks in the mirror.

With Kryten, his role is usually in service or with a prop. I originally sculpted the psi scanner and his triangular bag from Quarantine but it still felt too generic. I remembered hearing that the audience laughter went on for so long during …that scene in “Polymorph” that they had to cut part of it out. Kryten’s ‘Oh, no!’ face and the changeling underpants seemed like the perfect pose.

When it came to Lister I had originally wanted to make a sculpt on his gibbon style trike but it just became a nightmare to work out manufacturing. We settled on Jim and Bexley because they actually feature in the “Better than Life” book and it was sort of getting three characters for one. Mostly though, it was like showing Lister’s character with some depth rather than just having a lager or a curry.

Sticking with the books, I loved that Cat had spent 28 hours preparing a cufflinked spacesuit for the totally-alive-and-not-dead crew of the Nova 5. Truthfully, I really, REALLY wanted to make the original cone helmet from the book but thought that might be a little too niche. From the episode “Kryten”.

As the rest of the crew had been chosen from the earlier series’, it only felt right to go with the Norman Lovett’s Holly. Also, we didn’t want to have to manufacture a whole wall on the mini base so his being smeared with jam and half buried in a Rhyll sandpit fit perfectly. From the “Better than Life” episode.

We hope that they’ll be popular enough to do more in the future with different versions of the cast and other characters but, if not, we got to do at least a set and share it with other fans. That’s what the whole thing has been about so we’re over the moon to be finally here and shipping them out! 

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A Multitude of Things

Falling Behind

I’ve had a tough time keeping up for the last couple of months. Not just with the store, but with my main job too. I’m really sorry to those of you who have waitied too long for your orders. I think I’m catching up with things, but it’s been easy to say that in the past only for me to find I’m actually not. I’m working on it.

I won’t spend any real time musing here as to why I’ve allowed this to happen. In short, depression and poor executive function are not ideal partners!

My main failing with the store, other than many orders being slow to go out, has been keeping up with customer emails. My MCM inbox has become more and more cluttered over time and customer emails weren’t getting the priority they require – some have been completely missed until way too late.

My attempt to address this is a much-overdue move to a ticket-based support system. This is very much a trial but, with tickets being tied to orders, I hope it will lead to much quicker resolutions. It’s still just me, with MCMGraham handling casting and much of the order packing one day per week, so please bear that in mind.

New Releases

We’ve got a couple more products for the store. These are mostly commissions which had been waiting for stock levels to get high enough to go public, and I then forgot existed until today!

Salute

Preparation for Salute in November has begun, and traders have already been asked to apply for spaces at the April show. I’m not sure how great it will be to have two Salutes within 6 months of one another, but I intend to be there for both. We’re taking a different approach this time around, with a walk-in space and products all bagged-up in a fashion approximating a professional operation. We hope this means that there will be less of a traffic jam at the stand and more opportunity to browse.

Boys from the Dwarf

One of the projects I’ve been working on for a while has been producing a set of Red Dwarf miniatures. I’ve been involved from the start in terms of planning, but my main responsibility has been prodcution, with Andrew of Recluse Studio doing a great job on the sculpting. Here’s a little info he wrote about the project:

The choices were primarily made up of moments that fans would hopefully get. As diehard fans ourselves, it was very important to make a connection to other fans by choosing non vanilla, non generic poses. Real moments from the show that hopefully say we laughed at the same bits, too. In it’s various forms, Red Dwarf has helped us through difficult times… even if it’s just because we’re not 3 million years from home with only Rimmer for company. 

The Rimmer Shapiro felt like taking the recognisable salute pose but tying it to “Future Echoes”. I just wanted to capture the super smug moment before he looks in the mirror.

With Kryten, his role is usually in service or with a prop. I originally sculpted the psi scanner and his triangular bag from Quarantine but it still felt too generic. I remembered hearing that the audience laughter went on for so long during …that scene in “Polymorph” that they had to cut part of it out. Kryten’s ‘Oh, no!’ face and the changeling underpants seemed like the perfect pose.

When it came to Lister I had originally wanted to make a sculpt on his gibbon style trike but it just became a nightmare to work out manufacturing. We settled on Jim and Bexley because they actually feature in the “Better than Life” book and it was sort of getting three characters for one. Mostly though, it was like showing Lister’s character with some depth rather than just having a lager or a curry.

Sticking with the books, I loved that Cat had spent 28 hours preparing a cufflinked spacesuit for the totally-alive-and-not-dead crew of the Nova 5. Truthfully, I really, REALLY wanted to make the original cone helmet from the book but thought that might be a little too niche. From the episode “Kryten”.

As the rest of the crew had been chosen from the earlier series’, it only felt right to go with the Norman Lovett’s Holly. Also, we didn’t want to have to manufacture a whole wall on the mini base so his being smeared with jam and half buried in a Rhyll sandpit fit perfectly. From the “Better than Life” episode.

We hope that they’ll be popular enough to do more in the future with different versions of the cast and other characters but, if not, we got to do at least a set and share it with other fans. That’s what the whole thing has been about so we’re over the moon to be finally here and shipping them out! 

MCM Graham and I have produced a limited quantity of numbered sets for the Dimension Jump 2021 Red Dwarf convention, including some nifty base toppers. We look forward to making sets available after the show, and hopefully producing different sets in the future, so keep an eye out for more information.

Thanks, Ben.

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Disruption

I have taken a few days off to look after my son before and after a routine operation. Everything went well today and he’s doing great. There will be some disruption and delay over the next 2 weeks as I will only be able to spend limited time at the workshop. Thank you for your patience.

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Yo, I Heard You Like Spikes

I’ve had my first vaccine shot, I’m back in the office & workshop, and I’m nearly caught up on back orders! On top of that, here’s a new release! Holy spiky spikes, Batman! It is about time.

The theme, as you may have deduced, is spikes. Bigger spikes, rounder spikes, ornate spikes, veteran spikes. Spikes.
I’ve stopped short of putting spikes on your spikes, but I’m open to such a commission should anyone feel they aren’t getting sufficient spiky action. I’m not here to kink-shame you.
There will also be arc versions of the conical spikes to follow, so keep an eye out for those.

Of course, these have all been made available in squad pack form.

Less spiky, but still pointy, we have two lengths of ninjato with matching saya. Whilst this sword is almost certainly a fabrication of the 1970s, it still looks pretty cool in the hands of your super soldier of choice.

Closing out this wave of releases, we have the return of the ghillie hellmask heads, and our second set of waterslide decals. If you’d like to see any existing pauldron design on a sheet, contact us and we’ll arrange it. Customs will be coming, but my workload is a little too high right now to offer that service as standard.

Thanks for checking these out. Stay safe and enjoy life getting back to normal!

Ben.

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Returning to Regular Scheduled Programming

Thanks to Graham and his dad’s hard work, we’ve moved everything back to MCM’s permanent premises. This should mean a return to normal operations very soon. I’ve taken a little time to make some changes to the way the business works, so we’re not quite back to normal order fulfilment just yet.

First has been a reorganisation of the workshop and the office. It is easy to put such tasks off when there are so many more pressing things to deal with on the day-to-day. Moving back in has provided a great opportunity to change some things up. We’re not quite there, but I’m confident things will run a little smoother as a result.

The second big change is finally moving to a better system for shipping. Changes to Royal Mail rules at the start of the year resulted in me having to write a hell of a lot more information on customs forms and not being able to print them myself using my old method. I’m still getting to grips with the RM Click & Drop system and store integration, but it is immediately more efficient – even if the larger format makes international parcels 90% label! Tracking numbers should now be automatically sent to customers when their order is dispatched, which is a big improvement.

Before the move back, we almost completely caught up with orders. Graham was a massive help here, though he isn’t as available right now due to other work commitments. My house is currently a building site, with the extension work coming to its conclusion in the next week. This has meant sleeping on the floor of the room which continues to serve as my wife’s home office, and moving my home PC to the office so we have space for the mattress! No PC at home for me to catch up on work in the evenings, and my workplace is closed on weekends. This is probably healthier for me, but I’ve missed being able to put in a little extra work whilst my wife works on her uni course. These factors, along with the move and reorganisation, has meant things have slipped a little again.

I have a bunch of new products to release, but I’m reluctant to do so until I’m happier with the number of back-orders awaiting fulfilment. I’m now planning on releasing at the end of the week, so stay tuned.

It’s been a hell of a year, and I’m really looking forward to settling back in to normality again. It has been great seeing people at my workplace, I had my first vaccine jab on Saturday, and my local games club reopens pretty soon. Things are looking better 🙂

Ben.