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Lockdown

Sunday was a bit of a shit day for our self-isolating little family. First, my wife was told that her grandad had passed away in the night. Shortly after, I was told that my dad had also passed away. Both largely without drama, and nothing to do with COVID-19. It does mean that visiting was out of the question and any funerals will be somewhat difficult to plan.

I was fairly prepared for my dad passing. I saw him last Sunday and he was clearly done with it all – he said as much. Not in a depressing, defeated way – this has been a rapid deterioration – but he was ready to go. I knew I may not see him again.

Still, rough day, & weird times. I think we’re OK. Little man is clinging to his mum a lot, and is getting upset easily, but seems otherwise fairly well. Hopefully a false alarm. He bloody loves Totoro right now, so we’re watching that twice a day and spending time in the garden whilst the weather is nice. Could certainly be worse!

I received notice this morning that, following Monday’s announcements by the UK government, my place of work is shutting entirely. As I’m still not allowed out, I can’t retrieve any stock from the workshop. The store will remain open, but all orders will be delayed indefinitely – except those consisting only of print-on-demand items. Those will continue as long as I have material with which to print.

Take care of yourselves, and paint your minis!

Ben.

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Isolation

These are strange times. Our hobby finds itself split between being ideal for isolation and massively crippled by it. In some ways, I can imagine demand for hobby products increasing, but many of us find ourselves in a position where we can’t guarantee our income over the coming months.

I’ve moved much of my office home for the time being, though the workshop remains at work. The intent was to head in to the workshop once a week to cast, pick, & pack orders. This could lead to delays in dispatching orders, but would allow things to keep going. I have brought my printers home, so print-on-demand stuff should be largely unaffected. I simply can’t transport all my stock and resin casting equipment home right now.

All of this was fine until my son developed a cough and fever on Friday. Our family finds itself looking at at least 14 days of self-isolation. At the same time, my 86 year old father is in A&E suffering with breathing difficulties and other complications. We’re awaiting test results. It doesn’t look great, honestly, and I have had to come to terms with the possibility that I have seen him for the last time.

How does this affect Master Crafted Miniatures for the time being? For the next 14 days, no new orders will be fulfilled. I’m looking at a way to circumnavigate this, but I obviously can’t head in myself. Any print-on-demand orders which are made will be printed during this time, for dispatch once I am able to return to the workshop. I will continue my freelance sculpting for GCT during this time, so expect to remain financially secure. MCM isn’t going away!

I’ll update as things change, and post to social media when I can.

Stay safe, and paint your minis!

Ben.

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Year of the Risen Sun

They’re finally here! Bushido Chits!

Many of you have been waiting a couple of months for me to finally publish these. Honestly, I was waiting until I had taken photos of each colour and material option, but have decided I’ll do that as I fulfil orders for each of those colours.

I’ve been working for a long time on a full set of Bushido chits (I refer to them collectively as chits due to counters, markers, and tokens each being distinct things in-game).

  • Markers Set: 48 double-sided Markers
  • Counters Set: 34 double-sided Counters
  • Tokens Set: 18 double-sided Tokens
  • Ki tokens Set: 35 double-sided Ki Tokens

Each is available in budget MDF, a selection of coloured acrylics and, my personal favourite, bamboo.

Each type of chit has a specific shape, to help identify them quickly in your storage container. Markers are triangular, counters are rectangular, and tokens are round. Many people, like myself, already use cheap Chinese New Year coins for Ki Tokens, so I’ve split them into their own set.
They are also all double-sided, to minimise the amount of time you spend looking for the one you need.
Translucent and fluorescent acrylic options will be available at a later date, but will have to be single-sided, for obvious reasons. You can also expect faction-specific sets to follow, though these won’t duplicate anything in this wave of sets.

I’ve bundled the sets together into the Chits Set, consisting of one of each set except the Ki Tokens, and the Megaset, which includes the Ki Tokens.

Bushido MDF Tokens Set
MDF Tokens Set

The MDF sets are line-engraved very simply, and are easy to read. They could be painted for additional clarity, of course.

The Bamboo sets are engraved with deeper and wider details and shouldn’t require any painting, thanks to the charring of the wood.


The Acrylic sets are engraved in the same way as the Bamboo sets but, without the charring, this doesn’t create the same clarity. I recommend painting these with a contrasting colour. The masking is left on to aid this. Any hobby paint will do. I experimented with spray-painting below, and that seemed to work, though you’ll want to do a couple of coats and may need to tidy a little with isopropyl alcohol or a similar solvent.

Bushido Player Aids

The much-delayed ZoC rings clip on to a miniature’s base to show a 180 arc to the front of the miniature, with a notch to show the front. These can be handy to adjust the arc during a game for those situations where a model’s weapon prevents proper alignment, or even if you just hate marking the arcs by hand.

Joining these are two card-sized plastic solutions for Kimiko Hoshi’s Ice Patch and Kaito’s Tilled Field, from the Minimoto Clan and Temple of Ro-Kan factions, respectively.

3D Alien Worlds Scenery

A few newly-added products. The rice barn is the first of the buildings . Farmhouses should follow in a month or so. Buildings like this do take a long time to print, so please bear that in mind when ordering.

I’ve also customised a host of ruined variations on the stone walls pieces. These ruined versions make the stone walls more usable for games played on smaller boards, such as Bushido.

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Speed Demons!

The first release of 2020 consists of four wheels with different styles of bike tyre, intended to fit on Games Workshop’s Space Marine bikes. These are great kits, but I’ve always wanted more bike-appropriate tyres. Choose from slicks, wet-weather, off-road, and spiked.

Also available in squad packs – three sets of two wheels.

There are a couple more sci-fi releases on their way, but the next release is all Bushido-themed – tokens and scenery.

Finally, thank you to everyone who took part in the Black Friday promotion in November. Thanks to you, the George’s Rockstars charity will be getting a £200 donation. You’re all rockstars.

Ben.

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George’s Rockstars

Master Crafted Miniatures doesn’t hold Black Friday sales. Instead, for the last few years, I have donated the proceeds from all sales of MCM products on that day (or the corresponding weekend) to charities which fight against blood cancer and work to improve the lives of those affected.

I started doing this because of a little boy, George, who had been fighting leukaemia for a couple of years. With the support of his family, blood donations and the wonderful staff of the NHS, he put up a heroic fight. This year, however, his family was given the terrible news that his leukaemia had returned and, later, that there was no course of action left to take.

With my own son only just over a year old, attending George’s funeral was a tough experience yet, as an event, it was incredibly positive. His short life affected so many, and I wish I had known him better myself. His parents have since begun the long process of setting up a charity to help those in George’s situation, allowing him to continue being a force for happiness through music, which he loved: George’s Rockstars.

Stories like these are too common, but there are many ways in which each of us can make a difference. Donation is the easiest way to contribute to research and support, but there are other things you can do which are just as important.
Give blood. This is crucial and very easy. Whilst you’re there, get them to test you for platelet donation, as few of us have high enough platelet counts to do this. Register as a stem cell donor. Register as a bone marrow donor. You may never be called upon but, if you are, you will be saving a life.

This year, if you buy through the MCM store from Friday 22nd to midnight on Friday 29th of November, you’ll get yourself some stuff for our funny little hobby, and the proceeds will be donated to George’s Rockstars. If I have nothing you want, please try to donate, but whatever else you do – and this will cost you nothing but your time – register:

Thank you,
Ben.