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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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Post-Salute Releases!

Salute was great again this year. I was feeling quite under-prepared, as I’ve had a lot of freelance work on and the start of this year was pretty testing personally. I also had very few new products and had failed utterly to promote them. Nonetheless, I roped in a good friend to help with the casting in the week prior to the event and we actually managed to get a decent amount of stock together, though he’ll be correct in reminding me (incessantly) that we didn’t have enough toads or tortoises!
This year was less of a rush to get set-up, thanks to me packing up most things on the Thursday. Despite being 23 weeks pregnant, my wife was an absolute legend. She helped me pack the van, get set up in the afternoon and, along with a couple more awesome friends, she helped me run the stand on Saturday.
It was great to see old friends and customers, and make a few new ones! Plenty of you had some great suggestions for new products, so I’ll be trying to get them made over the next few months. Speaking of new releases, there’s quite a few added to the store today:

  • Flaming Skull pads now get a veteran variant.
  • 4 new pad sets with the new Ornate rim.
  • Hazard and Studded Arc pads.
  • Damaged variants of Studded and Spiked Arc pads, plus a plain Damaged Arc set.
  • An option for ordering individual standard pads. If this is popular, I will roll it out to the art-scale and arc pads.
  • New Golem and Maow miniatures.
  • New(ish) Fanplastic Little Men miniature.

All other stock levels have also been updated, so you’ll be able to order knowing that you won’t have to wait for stock to be cast!

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Salute 2018

I am not ready for this show! Hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaargh!

It’s been a busy year, with freelance work almost burying me, and a really tough couple of months personally, but time marches on and Salute is just around the corner. I’ve not done much preparatory work, though I’m starting to ramp up production, and I’m not sure if I will have much in the way of new releases. Nonetheless, my first Salute as a trader was a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to doing it all again. Make sure you drop by on April 14th. South London Warlords have given me the same stall I had last year, so that keeps things simple!

salute2018floorplan

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Salute 2017

In little more than two weeks, I will be attending Salute – this time as a trader. Details down below; but first, some self-indulgent rambling!

This is something I have wanted to do for a while, but I have been reluctant to commit. This is due to the fact that the Master Crafted Miniatures store is largely a side-project; the majority of my time being spent sculpting for companies such as GCT, Mantic, and Palladium. I’m also heading up the sculpting team on Rogue Heroes’ project set in the Rifts universe. All of this means I have had precious little time in which I could work on developing my own range and preparing for such a big show.

Nonetheless, I decided this year was the year to give it a try. I could have attended a few smaller shows beforehand, in order to get an idea of what I am getting into, but I instead opted for the baptism of fire! Not particularly sensible, perhaps, but pressure is a mean motivator.

There’s so much to consider prior to one’s first show. How much stock will I need? How will I display it? What size van to rent? Where to stay? How many display cabinets? How many helpers? Can I take card payments? What promotional material? Banners? Flyers? Branded bags? Clearly, I need t-shirts! Some of this allows me to indulge my hobby of 2D design. I’m not fast, nor particularly good at it, but I enjoy the process and tend to produce something reasonable for my efforts.

At this point I’d like to point out that, other than the 3D-printing of my sculpts, the third-party stuff I like to stock, and those rather nice Star God paint jobs, everything you see from Master Crafted Miniatures is produced by myself. This means the logo, website, renders, photographs, mould-making, casting, packaging, order-fulfilment, and everything in between is all down to me. If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. Hopefully, this goes someway to explain the infrequency of new releases, as well as erratic restocks and delays to dispatch of your orders.

I have a small stand at Salute 2017, located at TL14. I’ll have as many of my products as possible, as well as miniatures from Maow, Golem, and Happy Games Factory’s Eden (though you should check their stand out at TK02). I’ll also have a few new releases, which may be very limited in number. It rather depends on how much casting I can get done in the fortnight running up to the event. A couple of the prints haven’t even arrived yet, but I know they’re on their way! I will be able to take card payments through PayPal as long as my phone battery lasts (I have a backup too!).

So, here’s a peek at some of the new releases at Salute, with a new set of hands, and some more Japanese-themed scenery, still to come.

First-up, a little experiment with shields:

Next, some simple pads to help those wanting to paint divided schemes with a crisp line, every time:

Lastly, at least for now, a non-veteran version of my most popular design, and some retro/throwback skulls:

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Store is Live! (again)

The store is once again accepting orders. Slight hiccup getting open again this week – with the compressor needing replacement parts, I haven’t cast as much stock as I had intended. Stock levels, however, are correct and backorders are possible as usual.

Exciting for Master Crafted Miniatures: we will have a stand at Salute 2017! Whilst the MCM store is secondary to industry freelance work, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. The plan is to get some new releases ready for the show, and to run some discount offers on the day. More details, of course, closer to the event.