Clearance sale: AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures

Fighting 15s’ clearance sale of figures from AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures has begun: some prices in the online shop are now at levels that haven’t been seen for about 10 years.

All the codes listed are genuine imported stock made by Eureka Miniatures in Australia, and therefore quantities are limited to what is to hand: Fighting 15s cannot obtain any more of these items. If a code isn’t showing, we do not have it in stock. Stock levels are live, although to find how many are available of a code you have to add them to the cart until the system says there aren’t any more. It’s a quirk of the shopping cart that we cannot change.

We have rationalised the listing for AB Figures to just the quick codes, because a number of categories for some nations were empty. Therefore you’ll find all the remaining Imperial French, for example, on one page of the shop, not divided up into Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Generals. Items should still be searchable by code.

Link: https://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/

Christmas hours for Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Last year, Fighting 15s shut completely for two weeks over Christmas and the new year. Although it turned out to be a lovely break from everything toy soldiers, the reality of the return to work was a nightmarish backlog of orders that took months and months to beat into submission.

So, this year, Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures will remain largely open over Christmas. We’ll be shut on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, and will be off to see family one random day during the holiday season, but otherwise, we’ll be at work processing orders, casting figures, making moulds, updating the website and in general keeping on top of everything. Orders may be a bit slow going out, but they will go out. The online shop, of course, remains open every day.

We will also be at work planning new releases from Gladiator Miniatures over the coming year. Stay tuned!

Last posting date for Christmas has gone: we cannot now get your order to you in time for the big day. Many thanks to everyone for their custom over the past year.

It only remains to say Merry Christmas, God Jul, Joyeux Noël, Frohe Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, Feliz Natal, Wesołych Świąt, Счастливого рождества! and Vrolijk Kerstfeest to our customers in the UK and beyond.

E Day arrives

I thought it would never happen, but Fighting 15s is no longer the EU agent for Eureka Miniatures and AB Figures. My agency ends today (4 September, or “E Day”) and Fighting 15s embarks on a new journey as a manufacturer in its own right.

It’s hard to believe that 15 years ago I emailed Nic Robson of Eureka Miniatures when I saw his new 18mm British Napoleonics on a forum, and asked whether he had a UK agent. When he replied that he didn’t, I asked if he wanted one. The result was that in fairly short order boxes of 18mm British Napoleonics and 28mm Seven Years War bears appeared under my desk and I began the work of introducing Eureka Miniatures to the UK and Europe. It seems hard to believe anyone could get so lucky today, now that internet use is so commonplace.

I’d like to thank Nic for putting up with me. I’m quite difficult to deal with when I know what I want, and I can say what I want pretty bluntly, for which I blame 20 years of journalism and being paid to be right about everything. It has been a blast dealing with him, Tony Barton of AB Figures, and the various members of Eureka’s staff in my time: Tony Ramsden, Jack Garley and John Chadderton.

I’ve said that I’m basically taking semi-retirement to focus more on the house and garden. But rest assured, I have plenty to do: Gladiator Miniatures (the former Black Hat 15mm) needs reorganising to be fit for the next 10 years, with new moulds, new horses for some ranges, and better photographs of what are some quite marvellous figures (and new versions of the less marvellous ones). Martian Empires needs completing. Those Oddzial Osmy 15mm Napoleonics I’ve owned for years may eventually appear now that I have time to rework and remould them. Plus I aim to start expanding the 40mm offerings for the former Flashing Blade and D’Arlo ranges. As to the question, where to start? rest assured, the answer is new photographs for Gladiator Miniatures!

Oh, and I may find time to take a paintbrush to some figures for the first time in years.

Ian
Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Fighting 15s shop: live stock levels

Parts of the Fighting 15s online shop are inaccessible at present because I am switching the whole of my stock to live stock levels. This simply means that if an item is shown in stock, then customers can buy it up to the stock limit.

This has been largely irrelevant up until now because so many of the items I sell are cast to order, and because I can get key items quickly if necessary from Australia. However, as Fighting 15s heads towards the end of its status as agent for AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures, it’s important that all items from those manufacturers are set to live stock levels. That way, come E-day on 4 September, Fighting 15s can simply run down stock and I can provide an inventory for the new agent if they decide to take on the stock. There’s no guarantee of this, hence plan B is to continue listing items on the site until they sell out: live stock levels will automatically ensure that a code is delisted and hidden when it runs out.

Obviously, this is a huge amount of work, because I have to count the existing stock. Therefore, all items have been set to a stock level of zero until I have been able to count the stock for that code: one they have a stock level of more than zero they will reappear in the shop. So, although the shop looks empty in places, it will fill up again over the next week or so. I am focusing on getting all the AB codes live first. The Imperial French, Imperial Guard, Peninsula British and the 20mm WWII lines are already done. Eureka’s 10mm Fantasy and 18mm Seven Years War lines are also running on live stock levels.

I’m doing this now rather than nearer E-day because orders have dropped to a manageable level. My apologies if the short downtime for some items affects buying plans, but at least when codes are set to live stock levels customers can buy knowing that what they’ve ordered should be in stock – subject to my counting errors.

Gladiator Miniatures, Martian Empires, and Fighting 15s figures and flags are unaffected by the change because earlier this year I set them to high stock levels. They are therefore still available to buy. I may have to cast figures or get flags from my designer, but this usually involves a delay of one week at most. Shadowforge Miniatures and Laughing Monk are also set to live stock levels, but these ranges are clearance items.

Ian
Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Fighting 15s: Brexit update 11 March

Incredibly, with 18 days to go, there is still no clear idea of trading conditions in a post-Brexit world. Parliament will decide this week whether to accept or reject Theresa May’s deal with the EU, and if the deal is rejected Parliament will then decide whether to have a no-deal Brexit, whether to extend the negotiating period, or potentially whether there should be a second referendum.

A no-deal option basically throws trade with other countries into chaos with regards import and export taxes, and back in January – because Fighting 15s has to plan that far ahead – a short closure period for Fighting 15s looked like the only option. Back then, closing from 15 March to 15 April looked as if it would avoid most of the immediate tax issues and allow orders to customers in EU countries to be dealt with in time. The period from 15 March to 28 March was envisaged as a period where Fighting 15s would clear international orders first, then deal with domestic orders.

Ian booked holiday to escape some of the madness, so whatever happens this week in Parliament, Fighting 15s will close from 29 March to 15 April with just an appearance at Salute (6 April) on the Colonel Bill’s stand to show Fighting 15s is still active. The online shop will be shut during this closure period.

If this week Parliament decides to put back Brexit by, for example, two to three months, to allow more negotiating time, Fighting 15s will, of course, remain open up to and including 28 March and then work out the next planned Brexit closure period. [Update: The government didn’t act in time so as to guarantee more negotiating time, so Fighting 15s has kept to its temporary closure plan.]

Please note that Fighting 15s has not been, other than items to complete customers’ orders, ordering in new stock. Nic at Eureka and AB Figures has been busy completing our shipments that were ordered in November and December 2018 with the aim of them arriving before B-day (29 March). Fighting 15s is still expecting two consignments before then, and has two recent arrivals to unpack and sort that will bring some of the out of stock items back into stock. The reason Fighting 15s is not ordering new stock is simple: until any tariffs are known, it is madness to commit to buying stock at an unknown price and potentially selling it at a loss. As a result, Fighting 15s is not currently back-ordering items for customers’ orders if those items go out of stock. [Update: The draft tariffs were published on 13 March, and from the 1,478-page document it looks as if there will be no extra duty on imports of toy soldiers, so it will just be VAT on imports as is currently the case. But frankly, 13 March is a tiny bit late in the proceedings.]

Fighting 15s has a more than adequate supply of rubber moulding discs and casting metal to cover any immediate post-Brexit supply issues so there is no risk to the supply of our own ranges and of licensed castings. Fighting 15s is also financially secure enough to withstand a month of closure, so whatever happens this week Fighting 15s will definitely reopen, initially to UK customers, on 16 April.

This article will be updated when events this week in Parliament clarify what is happening.

Fighting 15s acquires Gladiator Miniatures from Black Hat

Fighting 15s is taking over the 15mm and 18mm ranges from Black Hat Miniatures, and ownership officially transfers this weekend at Colours.

All the 15mm ranges will be sold as Gladiator Miniatures – as they were before Black Hat produced them. The 18mm Martian Empires range will be sold under the Martian Empires name in the Fighting 15s shop.

All the codes have been uploaded to the Fighting 15s shop and will go live within the next week. I have been working hard to make descriptions consistent, and remove quirks of spelling. There will still be errors that I will kick myself over each time they become apparent…

Until the moulds and stock arrive, the pictures will be the same as used by Gladiator and Black Hat – some of these go back to 2002 and the era of modems and tiny image files, and are not satisfactory for today’s website. Some codes were never photographed. I will be updating and adding photos as soon as possible, but there are more than 800 codes to ink, photograph and edit, so please bear with me.

I have all the masters and production masters, and I should take delivery of the moulds within the next week.

Looking ahead, I aim to use Fighting 15s’ shows rep, Stuart Armstrong at Colonel Bill’s, to offer army packs of the Gladiator Miniatures ranges at UK wargames shows, but this will take some months to organise. Stuart already takes some AB, Eureka and Fighting 15s figures to shows.

Mark Severin at Scale Creep Miniatures will continue to carry the figures in the USA so there should be no disruption in service to US customers.

In future, all Gladiator Miniatures will be cast in lead-free pewter. This affects the costs of figures, originally priced for a much cheaper lead-tin mix, and because adding VAT will also affect the price to customers in the EU I have taken the opportunity to reorganise the contents of many of the packs to reduce the impact on final price of tax.

Standard packs of Gladiator Miniatures 15mm infantry and cavalry therefore now contain 8 infantry or 4 cavalry to fit in with the rest of Fighting 15s’ ranges – and most of the rest of the wargaming hobby. A standard pack is now £3.40 inc tax. Chariot packs and elephant packs are £3.60 inc VAT. Command packs typically contain 5 foot or 3 mounted, and cost £2.55 inc VAT – the number in a command pack varies from range to range and descriptions of command as being “1 set” will be changed as soon as possible. Standard Martian Empires packs will be £3.60 inc VAT and continue to include 8 infantry or 4 cavalry.

Note that Mike at Black Hat Miniatures will continue to produce and distribute Coat d’arms paints, as well as focus on his 54mm toy soldier business, Imperial Miniatures. Fighting 15s will continue to represent AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures in the EU.

Ian
Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures

Links

Fighting 15s: www.fighting15sshop.co.uk

Gladiator Minatures: www.gladiatorminiatures.co.uk

Black Hat Miniatures: www.blackhat.co.uk

Fighting 15s, Colonel Bill’s and the future of wargames shows

From August, it will be all change on how Fighting 15s deals with wargames shows in the UK as we expand our relationship with Colonel Bill’s.

Since Salute in April this year, Ian of Fighting 15s has been helping out on the Colonel Bill’s stand, which means that 15mm AB Figures have been available to buy at selected shows. Our agreement with Eureka/AB, however, has meant that AB Figures can only be on the Colonel Bill’s stand while Ian is physically present, with the result that the figures have not been available at other shows.

This situation will change in August. As a result of discussions with Tony Barton and Nic Robson, Colonel Bill’s will be able to carry 15mm AB Figures in prepackaged units to shows even if Fighting 15s is not helping out, meaning that AB’s fine 15mm Napoleonics will be available to buy at the 40 or so shows a year that Colonel Bill’s attends. Britcon in Manchester will be the first show to work this way.

All the 15mm AB Figures sold this way will be licensed castings made by Ian at Fighting 15s, cast in lead-free pewter. Units will be sold in packs comprising 24 foot or 12 mounted figures. AB Figures, however, will not be available by mail order through Colonel Bill’s; Fighting 15s remains the EU mail order outlet.

Ian, however, will still be attending shows and working on the Colonel Bill’s stand, according to Fighting 15s’ shows schedule. Ian is able to take advance orders for those shows only. The remaining shows that we plan to attend with Colonel Bill’s in 2017 include Claymore, Colours, Derby Worlds, SELWG, Crisis and Warfare.

Fighting 15s’ ability to provide figures for Colonel Bill’s to take to shows relies on them being licensed castings made in the UK. Therefore items cast in Australia, including the whole of the 20mm WWII range of AB Figures, will not be available at shows except to advance order through Fighting 15s.

Colonel Bill’s remains Fighting 15s’ sole authorised outlet at shows for our own 15mm medievals, Eureka’s 18mm Seven Years War range, and Bartek’s pin-up playing cards, all of which can be ordered in advance for shows through Colonel Bill’s.

Fighting 15s at Salute 2017

f15s_colonel_bill_iv_90x135

Contrary to all expectations on my part, Fighting 15s will be at Salute 2017 on 22 April. I will be helping out Colonel Bill’s on stand TD21, and you’re welcome to pop along for a chat and to take a look at the ranges that Colonel Bill’s takes to UK shows on my behalf.

Please contact Stuart at Colonel Bill’s to order Bartek’s playing cards, Eureka’s 18mm SYW and Fighting 15s’ 15mm medievals in advance.

Stuart has kindly allowed me to take advance orders for Fighting 15s’ other ranges: please place an order with Fighting 15s by email – unlike before, there is no option in the online shop: payment for all show orders with Fighting 15s must be in advance by card or PayPal as I cannot take card or cash payments on the day. This is to avoid any issue with cash or other payments going through the wrong till.

Fighting 15s’ forgotten projects: 28mm SF Catgirls

SFC06 Roberta

SFC06 Roberta

Back in about 2010, Mystic Spirals sculpted some 28mm science fiction catgirls with a space pirate theme for Fighting 15s. Unfortunately, that project was put on a shelf, even though samples had been painted and the mould made. Spring cleaning for the online shop this month led to the discovery of the pictures for the range on an old hard disc and the unearthing of the mould. Despite the age of the sculpts, the range has now been uploaded to the shop.

Mystic Spirals designed the kits as Fighting 15s requested so that they are elegant 28mm figures, not chunky, and accordingly they are fiddlier than usual to assemble and experience of putting together white metal kits is therefore an advantage. Swords have been designed to be exaggerated, but are intended to be painted as “force blades”. The figures were intended for a personal HOTT project.

The Furred Dimension range includes:

SFC01 Claudia
SFC02 Ginger
SFC03 Nadia
SFC04 Natasha
SFC05 Pushkin
SFC06 Roberta
SFC07 Sonja

Figures are priced at £3.00 each including VAT.

Link: http://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/the-furred-dimension-1114-c.asp