Plans for 2021!
After what was clearly a rather different 2020, many of our plans didn't quite work out and you'd think that maybe we'd try and tone it down for 2021... but why would we want to do that?! Full steam ahead with maximum shiny!
I'll start with a bit of big news and work from there:
This was something we hadn't planned for this soon, but we're going to need to update our website around Mar/Apr time. There's various reasons for this but the main one is the amount of paperwork that can be saved with one of the off-the-shelf ecommerce sites. The new site will be able to integrate with Royal Mail's Click & Drop software, so our packaging staff won't have to manually enter the names and addresses of every package that they send out. When we're doing 200-250 packages per week now it's a lot of time spent sitting and typing in data. With Brexit behind us now and the VAT OSS system looming, the new site will also be fully compliant with all of the new legislation and will save a lot of time and hassle when it comes to filing EU VAT returns.
As well as the benefits for us, the new site will also be a lot better for our customers. We'll have multiple payment options so you can choose to pay by card instead of PayPal, we'll have the ability to sell gift cards or vouchers, we can do discounts on certain ranges if we want to, there's a Wishlist function for when you want to save something for later, and also the potential for a Loyalty points scheme so you're getting a little something every time you order.
The new site will also combine all of our products into one location, so Pendraken and Minibits will become one entity. This means that you'll be able to order everything in one go rather than placing orders through two separate sites as you do currently.
And finally, one note to reassure everyone: Your logins will continue to work on the new site, there will be no need to register again! I know how frustrating it is to return to a website and find that your details suddenly don't work so we're going to make sure that this is carried over. You may need to re-enter your password on first login, but that should be it. I don't know yet if we can transfer all of the old order details (as the product codes/lines in the database won't match the new site) but we'll see if we can download those and store them here for anyone who wants them.
This has to be our priority for the first few months of the year, to get everything sculpted, moulded and out to the people who backed the project originally. If everything goes to plan then we should be able to get the bulk of the figures done through Jan/Feb, potentially into March and then we can begin shipping in April. The moulds for the cart, wagon, mule train and civilians will be done this coming week and then we'll starting working on some of the items that will be duplicated from our existing 1815 British range, just to get ahead of ourselves.
During the gaps between Napoleonic prep work we'll be getting the next batch of Fantasy releases ready, which should include things like Troglodytes, Gargoyles, Unicorns, Pegasi, Dark Elf Spiders, Undead Coach, Giant Worms, Flying Lizards and Woolly Beasts...
Techno has already started work on these and we should start to see the first batches of sculpts arriving at Pendraken HQ in February I think. We'll be getting them into master moulds but production moulds won't be started until the Naps moulds have all been done. We'll be covering Egyptians, Israelis and Syrians in this batch, and once complete we'll be moving on to Cold War US and Soviets.
There's only one more range to be done in the TB 'Middle Ages' ranges and that's the Mongols. I'll get those sorted out after the Naps and Fantasy probably. Then we'll be heading to the Ancients ranges where we're going to ask Techno to clean up and tweak all of the existing masters, to give better quality figures for production moulding. This should speed up the process considerably so we'll aim to have these online somewhere around Sept/Oct maybe?
This might be one to keep an eye on for some of you out there... In preparation for Future War Commander II we'll be revamping our entire Sci-Fi offering. Current plans are for about 20 different races/factions, over 120 vehicles, infantry, support, all sorts of fun stuff! We'll have some more announcements about this coming soon so keep your eyes and ears open for those!
Beyond these projects we'll also be working on the following...
Crimean revamp - Once Tony has finished with the Naps he'll be moving on to revamp our Crimean range for us.
Post-1950 MBT's and trucks - Martin is still working on these so we're hoping to see something soon.
Korean artillery - These are all done and have just got caught up in the moulding queue. We've got a few troop additions to come as well so we'll probably release everything in one go.
Cold War Commander II
Work on the new rules continues and we should have something ready for proofreading in a couple of weeks time. I need to get the army lists formatted as well but with those being a separate entity to the rulebook I can finish them off while folks are checking over the rules text. I need to get some more example photos this coming week as well.
Korean War Supplement
This one is a much smaller job than CWC-II so once we've got some stuff back from Rob I'll start putting together the documents. We'll probably have 2 or 3 rule mechanics in here, along with all of the necessary army lists, and it'll be available in pdf and print like we did with Libertad! for the SCW.
New Army Builder Software
The work on this was severely impacted by Covid so we're a bit behind schedule with it. I had a video chat with Chris last week and he showed me all of the databases and fancy tech stuff that'll be holding it together and it looks really impressive. Some of the new features will make this a lot better than the existing builder. Timewise we're probably looking at April/May time I think, but we might need some beta testers before then to try and break it for us! We'll let you know when this is and get some volunteers together.
We've still got this one sitting from last year's plans so I'm determined to get it sorted out. We need to remould a lot of the monsters and furniture to make them easier to cast and then a quick formatting of the rules to polish them a bit. They'll be launched as pdf and print versions, so go with some shiny new boxed Dungeon sets!
Our current webguy Stewart has agreed to take over the running of the Forum so I'm just waiting on Matt to transfer the domain and files over to him. Once that's done he can run the software upgrade, fix those bugs and get it all running smoothly again.
Painting Competition 2021!
It's back! After a hiatus of too many years the Pendraken Painting Competition will return and will be running throughout February. With so many of us stuck at home it's the perfect time to get some painting done and give us all something to focus on. You can enter anything you've painted over the previous 12 months so anything from the various lockdowns is eligible. We hope to see loads of entries this year and we can all have something positive to talk about for a month.
One of the small successes through 2020 was the number of photos we were able to add to the website so we're going to continue that through 2021 as well. There are currently 771 anonymous codes to do which should be greatly reduced over the coming months:
- The WWII US and British artillery has been photo'd and will be added to the site in the next day or two.
- The German and Soviets will be next up by the end of the month to complete all of the WWII ranges (except the aircraft).
- The 1812 Naps ranges are over with Kev Rouse being painted up.
- The rest of the WWII vehicles are with JAD Designs and will be back with us in the next few months.
- All of the Fantasy ranges are getting a full paintjob by Cornish Mikey and will be coming back to us over the course of the year.
- The LoA range is going off to BattleBrush Studios to do his usual great job on those.
- The Schleswig-Holstein ranges are with Gun Dog and we should see those around March/April time I'd think.
Over on Minibits we've got about 100 new MDF designs to get up and running so we'll be spending most of our time on those. We've got new fences on the way, a 10mm Cafe Gondree hopefully, a Falklands house, some Belgian gates in multi-scale and lots more.
That's about everything I can think of right now, but I'm sure there'll be something I've missed. Actually, there is something I've missed but you'll have to wait for that... It's big news, the bigliest news ever, biglier than everything I've listed above... but you'll have to wait for it... shhh....