A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Monday, 25 September 2017

Vauban Fort update - a hesitant toe in the water

Low-grade photo of my current half-fort from the old Terrain Warehouse range
I've mentioned a few times over recent years that I was keen to augment my collection of bits for my (15mm scale) Vauban fort. I have enough parts to make just over half a complete fort (on a hexagonal plan). I bought these - cast and finished (painted & flocked - including glacis sections) from Terrain Warehouse, maybe 9 years ago. Nice - as far as I can trace, no-one ever really produced anything to match it. Henry Hyde once described this range as "the Rolls Royce" of siege toys in this scale.

Two bits of bad news:

(1) The range was never complete - I had some correspondence with TW back then about providing drawings for some extra sections - garrison buldings, gates, a ravelin with a bridge etc.
(2) Terrain Warehouse stopped production - the range was sold on.

I have spent some years trying to keep tabs on who had the moulds, and what they intended to do with them. The current owners manufacture a wide range of products, and they are rationalising. I learn this morning that they have decided that the Vauban Fort is not one of the items which will be continued. The word is that they might be open to offers for the moulds and, since the manufacture uses an expanding foam product, the moulds come with a frame to hold the parts rigid during curing.

In context - with extra buildings (not in range) and 20mm figures - a useful piece of kit
A couple of thoughts here:

* The most sensible approach for me here might be simply to shrug, and resign myself to scratch-building any future fortress expansions
* On the other hand, it does seem a pity to let these things disappear.
* I have no experience of (nor facilities for) resin casting - I did, however, have a friend who had to pack in his business and retire because he damaged his health running exactly this type of cottage industry...
* There are many unknowns - I have no idea what sort of price the current owners would be looking for (not huge, I think), I have no idea at all of the current state of the moulds - or where they are. Basically I have no idea about anything.
* I said it was a toe in the water.

I'm looking for some input here. Anyone have experience of working with these materials, or a tame, air conditioned workshop just waiting to start up, or any thoughts at all, really?

This is not necessarily a vision of a crack-pot start-up or a business venture - though such a thing is not out of the question if there is interest and it makes sense. If someone with a current manufacturing capability would like to take these on, or talk about them, that would be useful. What I am NOT looking for is for someone to take the stuff on, and then shelve it as commercially unviable. We've already been through that - a few times, in fact.

At that point I would just go back to the scratch-building plan...

This is not a hustle. As a first priority, I have no wish to mess anyone about - not the current owners, nor anyone else - especially myself. If you wish to get in touch, without commitment, email me at the address in my Blogger Profile, or send a comment here, which I shall not publish if it is sensitive or confidential. I'm interested to see whether we can save these things from disappearing, but only if it makes any sort of sense.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Tony, that fort looks lovely. I'm doing my ECW stuff in 6mm and thankfully Leven Miniatures do a super Vauban fort in just that scale. Sorry to hear that your friend damaged his health using the resin these things are made of, I'm sure the fumes off it are bloody horrible. Hopefully the chappie at Leven wont croak before I've saved up enough pennies to put my order in...(even if he does spell it VaubEn). I'm all heart, me.

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    1. The Leven stuff looks very nice - 6mm looks more attractive all the time. I'm trying to find out more about what is involved. I've had phone conversations with a nice man at a casting firm in Glasgow (they don't do foam), and I'm also in discussion with some people who make wargames scenery who might just be interested - all very tentative thus far.

      As I said to my wife at lunch, the one thing I really need at the moment is another crackpot project...

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