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Taking a Breath

It looks like I’ve finally caught up with orders, with no small amount of help from a friend. I’ve worked hard this week to also catch up with many of the tasks on my list for GCT Studios’ Bushido. As such, I feel this is a good time to take a break.

I’ve only taken a couple of weeks off in the 7 years over which I have been running MCM. Mostly, these have been when my wife has wanted to go on holiday or, unbelievably, our honeymoon. I have worked solidly, though often inefficiently, during the UK COVID-19 lockdown. I feel I’ve only managed in the last few weeks to adopt an effective working practice. You may recall that my father passed away in the first week of lockdown.

I’ve come close to being overwhelmed several times in the last few years, but right now I’m feeling very… compressed. It’s strange, because I’m also really optimistic about the future of the business and feeling like I have figured out a lot regarding my working practice. I need to stretch out, to take the pressure off for a short while, so I’m taking a week for myself. No holiday – I’m not going anywhere – just taking some time to play some video games, painting some miniatures, and tinker with some other personal projects.

During this time, the store will remain open, but orders will not be fulfilled until I return (likely on the 21st of July).

As a side note, myself and a friend run a podcast called Robot Dice Explosion where we discuss games in general, though there is a heavy focus on Bushido. I’m looking to do more with this project, including streaming some video games and tabletop games over on YouTube. There’s likely to be more of that over this week off.

Thanks for your support, Ben.

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Re-emergence

If you’re one of the many customers waiting patiently for your back-order, I have good news!

This week I regain access to the workshop and can begin the long task of fulfilment and restocking of out-of-stock items. I’m prioritising the fulfilment of back-orders, so the delays on new orders of affected items (as detailed in my previous post) remain.

These are still uncertain times and I don’t know for how long I will have access to the workshop. If government guidelines increase the restrictions once again, I may lose that access. Moving everything I have already brought home is a non-trivial task. I must also juggle the order fulfilment with the 3D-printing of masters for GCT’s Bushido (the MCM store is a part-time endeavour). With all this considered, I am still largely working from home with all the inefficiencies that introduces.

Please bear with me – this will be a long job!
Ben.

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Hunkering Down

First of all, thank you to everyone who has ordered since we went into isolation and then lockdown. It’s really helped to have some sales coming in. Despite fulfilling print-on-demand orders, I’ve been somewhat anxious about the delay in fulfilling the rest leading to a massive pile to catch up on! Fortunately, I was able to access my workshop this week and retrieve the bulk of my resin stock. This means many orders containing pauldrons, hands, wildlife, etc. have been packed.

Whilst resin products may be listed as in-stock, I am normally able to cast them when actual stock is depleted. This currently isn’t the case, so those order containing items which need to be cast are still on hold. I will email those customers as soon as I have an understanding of the situation.

I still can’t say when I may be able to restart the casting side of the business. Even if I can gain access to my workshop again in order to retrieve equipment and materials, the business has expanded somewhat since I moved out of the garage – and quite a few other things have moved in to take the space – so I’m not quite sure how to arrange things. As it stands the conservatory is already housing a couple of 3D printers, postage boxes, and crates of resin products!

I’ll try to get a stock-take done soon, so you can know whether the item you want exists or not. In the meantime, feel free to contact me and ask in advance of placing an order. Additionally, I’d like to clarify what is definitely available to order:

Anything with the ‘print-on-demand’ tag

Speaking of movement trays, there are a few new releases! These designs were made at the request of two customers. Need something custom? Just ask!

Stay safe and paint your minis!
Ben.

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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.

Print-on-demand items include: 3D Alien Worlds scenery, Bushido zones and accessories. All resin items, such as shoulder pads, are stuck at work 🙁

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.