The web store is now open for business!
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
REAPERCONThis has probably the most fantastic ReaperCon experience ever! I had a wonderful time meeting new fans and introducing everyone to the Babes™. It was especially exciting to see many of our backers in person and talk to them about our project. Most of our Bomb Squad crew was on hand and we all had a wonderful time. As an added treat Kev White and the Hasslefree clan came over from England and was fantastic to hang with. Red Box's Tre Manor and I sang a little "Crazy Train" on the loading docks Saturday Night. Jim Ludwig from Dark Sword Miniatures had us all in stitches the entire time. Even Victoria Lamb came all the way from Oz and stopped by on her return trip from Adepticon. We sold quite a few Babes™ and more than a few Bombshell Sculpting Kits.
Now I have lots of unpacking, catch-up work and recovering to do. I can neither confirm nor deny any of my activities during the convention. What happens at ReaperCon stays at ReaperCon.
PROGRESSWe have completed sending out all of the packages that we have surveys to fulfill! We still have a handful of packages left to resolve with selection issues and shipping amounts but the majority is now shipped out. Our patient backers still waiting for their painted models and original sculpts should be relieved to know that those I have in hand will be packaged with their rewards shipment and we'll be sending those out this coming week. There are a couple that the painters are still working on but we should have those soon.
I want to assure our supporters that the extent of our main frustration with the project has come from Kickstarter's survey system. With the amount of funds they withhold it seems possible they could offer a much more robust, feature-rich pledge manager without the need to go to third-party designers. We have been having lots of trouble sorting out the surveys because we didn't have a slick pledge manager to implement. Using Kickstarter's own survey was extremely cumbersome and created a lot of errors for us to resolve at the time of shipping.
Once our online web store is available for purchases we will send an announcement update through the Kickstarter backer system. We will no longer be posting any further updates regarding the Babes™ Kickstarter project on the project page. Future updates will be posted on our blog at Bombshell Miniatures. If you discover issues with your rewards package and need to notify us regarding damage or missing items, we will work to resolve your issue as quickly as possible. You must send an email with your name, backer ID, rewards level and a description of your issue to email@example.com
NEWSChristopher Sheets has posted a great unboxing of his Bombshell rewards package. You can read it here!
I posted this over on the Reaper Forums but thought you may like to see what is coming up.
For the the Babes™ line we'll be releasing more female characters that were designed for the Kickstarter project but did not reach funding. There were several concepts we had designed but didn't quite get to make so we'll be offering these later. In addition, I still have a list of artists I contacted that couldn't find the schedule to get something to us for the Kickstarter and I will be contacting them for future character designs.
The Sidekicks™ were an unexpected by-product of what we were doing. I really just wanted to have a fun little critter or two to go with some of the characters like that were depicted in some of the Matt Dixon art we licensed. I didn't expect them to take on a life of their own and become a separate line. We will be branding them now for their own range and will continue to release critter character models much like Reaper's mouselings. There are several other robot designs I still want to do, too.
Stirring in the background is the Epic Models™ range. Currently I'm looking to brand our kit range that will include bigger pieces like Shunkaha and resin things like the Rocket Bike and Girron. This will include larger sculpts like 54mm or even 75mm figures, busts, and more vehicle kits.
Developing in the Secret Lab is our cinematic retro pulp Sci-Fi RPG with supporting miniature range. There will be more about that soon.
As of now I'm hoping to keep putting out at least 2 to 3 pieces a month but if sales and interest increase we will certainly be expanding our release schedule. This is all in addition to the regular pieces I will continue to do for Reaper, Dark Sword, Privateer and other clients.
I want to offer a sincere thanks to ALL of our backers. We literally could not have done any of it without the support of the hobby community. A select few of you have received commendations in your rewards packages for your exceptional promotion of our work. All of us at the Bomb Factory hope to continue to bring you exceptional models.
The Bomb Squad looks forward to seeing all of you at GenCon 2013.
Thank you for your support!
Friday, April 12, 2013
PROGRESSBarring very few snags considering Vicky has been the only one packing and shipping over 1000 fulfillment packages with only occasional help from either Brett or I, the completion point has been exceptional.
Most of the surveys with discrepancies have been resolved. There are still a handful of pending issues that are in progress as noted below. Otherwise, packages have been sent to every backer we received a survey from for the indicated levels.
Total backers: 1126
Dropped backers: 6
Backers not responded to survey: 7
• $1 RACK LEVEL - Completed
• $7 PRIMER LEVEL - Completed
• $15 FUSE LEVEL - Completed
• $20 CASING LEVEL - Completed
• $25 CHARGE LEVEL - 2 Remaining
• $30 IGNITOR LEVEL - Completed
• $55 DETONATOR LEVEL - 1 Remaining
• $75 BOMB KIT LEVEL - 5 Remaining
• $100 BLAST LEVEL - 13 Remaining
• $120 BARRAGE LEVEL - 6 Remaining
• $140 INCENDIARY LEVEL - 1 Remaining
• $150 NAPALM LEVEL - In progress
• $170 PLASMA LEVEL - 8 Remaining
• $200 NEUTRON LEVEL - In Progress
Over the next several days we will be working to package and ship the NAPALM and NEUTRON levels which are about 320 packages or so.
For the rewards levels THERMITE and HYDROGEN, those of you receiving painted miniatures, we will be shipping those out as soon as the models are in hand. Rather than ship most of the painted models to me, I will be picking them up in person since all of our paint crew will be present during ReaperCon.
Thank you for all of your feedback, both encouraging and critical. We have been working under a pressure cooker over the last several months to get everything out and stay on track to get the web store up and running. This has always been our main goal and now it is only a few weeks away!
All of our painters have been hard at work and here are a few more tasty tidbits! Meg Maples painted our studio model for Vivian Gale with exceptional looking metallics and clever water effects. Martin Jones never fails to impress with his camera friendly NMM techniques for Tetsu Ko, Pussy Patrol, Wu Ling Shu, The Cave Girl and Ping.
We will likely only have one more Fulfillment Update™ before things are wrapped up and the following week I will make a special announcement for the online web store. I will be transmitting the next update remotely from ReaperCon where all manner of folks will descend to revel in the Bones goodness.
See you next week!
Saturday, April 6, 2013
PROGRESSAccording to Endicia, our shipping software, we have processed 391 domestic and international packages since March 22. Since I cancelled our PB account, I don't have a way to go back and get a total from them on how many were shipped through that system.
As of today all of the rewards levels from the $1 RACK LEVEL through the $55 DETONATOR LEVEL that we could process have been shipped. Vicky finished packaging the remainder of the $75 BOMB KIT LEVEL today and those will go to the post on Monday with several more from the higher levels. We are projecting that all of the packages with no survey discrepancies will be shipped out by April 19th.
Only about twenty of the processed rewards contained errors in calculating their totals, indicated too many or too few items for the amounts donated, or simply did not include the amount to cover international shipping. Weeding through these is taking an exceptional amount of time and all of the rewards that we can process with no issues have a priority and are being shipped as soon as possible.
Brett is still contacting many of these backers via email to resolve whatever issues there are and ship these packages when they are ready.
Shipping prices have increased since the beginning of the year and we are taking a hit on increased international shipping charges. When we set the international shipping amount to $12 during the run of the Kickstarter project that covered what we estimated the shipping to be at that time. The average cost of BOMB KIT level rewards packages going out with and without a shirt have ranged from $16 to $18 a package. We have approximately 400 international backers so we've eaten about $2,000 in shipping. We will not be asking international backers for an additional amount to cover this shipping cost if they included it with their original pledge. If you are an international backer and you did NOT include an amount for shipping in your pledge, we will not be sending your rewards package until we receive your payment for shipping.
NEWSOur accountant completed the tax return for 2012 and due to the income the Kickstarter project generated we will be paying in an additional $19,375. Fortunately we anticipated this and Vicky put enough aside to cover the taxes owed. We are sending this to the IRS this week.
All that remains is the final consignment of 215 Rocket Bikes this coming week and we will have received and completed everything from the Production Phase.
I am massively behind in my client sculpting work and will be working diligently to complete as much as possible before heading out to ReaperCon.
So, in the interim, here are a few cool shots of the Atomic Punks set painted by Jessica Rich.
See you next week!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
PROGRESSThis will be our final Production Update™! The production process has now been completed. As of yesterday Vicky, Brett and I ran the final molds for the remainder of the pieces we needed for fulfillment. We are now moving into our Fulfillment Phase and you will be receiving updates regarding our fulfillment progress until shipping is completed.
We have completed 16 four- to eight-hour casting sessions since the first weekend of January. Over that period we have finished 44 sculpts, 8 master molds, 82 production molds, used 594 pounds of metal, and cast 38,350 individual pieces. Unfortunately since I contracted the resin casting to Valiant I don't have the metrics for their production contribution to the project. But, they have cast 13,750 assorted base inserts, 1000 ammo dump pieces and 400 rocket bikes.
When we initially launched the project last September, we projected an estimated delivery of January. At that time, I anticipated we would probably top out at maybe eight to ten pieces. Although we prepared twenty four concepts for production, I assumed the Kickstarter project would only fund about half that and we would make the remainder over the following year for the online store. Response to the project was exceptional and we have been working day and night to get the fulfillment completed between Vicky and I plus the help of our local Bomb Squad team. Thanks for sticking with us and thanks for your patience and encouragement.
NEWSAt this point about 85% of the lower backer rewards packages (under BOMB KIT level) have been processed and shipped. Approximately 70% of the BOMB KIT level has been processed and/or shipped out. The remaining unprocessed packages number around 700 or so. This coming week we will be tackling the rest of the Bomb Kits and above to get as much out to you as we can. Valiant has indicated they should be completed with the reminder of the Rocket Bikes and we are supposed to have them by Friday.
Over the next couple of weeks as we work to package up shipments and get them labeled, some of you will be contacted by Brett who will be handling support. He is now filling the role of troubleshooting about 10% of the total pledges that contained errors or confusing selection in the backer surveys. We want to make sure that all the backers receive the items they are expecting. For the rest of you, your packages will be going out as soon as we can get them processed.
Several factors have delayed the Convention Maelee piece, the largest of which has been completing the production for the Kickstarter fulfillment. So, we will be making her available for GenCon. With ReaperCon three weeks away the work required for sculpting, molding, casting, and packaging is outside the realm of possibility within that period. We are making plans to have a selection of the Babes available for purchase at ReaperCon.
The online store should be ready by the end of April. We are projecting that the majority of fulfillment packages with correct survey selections will be shipped by ReaperCon, the third weekend of April. Packages with selection or selection issues will be handled on a case by case basis but will not affect the launch of the online store. When we return from the show, we will finalize the web store for launch and notify all of you with another update then.
See you next week!
Monday, March 25, 2013
PROGRESSThis past week the final master molds were made from the remaining batch of sculpts and half of that was turned into production molds. The remaining production molds should be finished this week allowing us to complete the rest of the metal casting next weekend.
NEWSThe much publicized label printing issue has now been resolved and we are back to prepping packages to go out. Thanks to Endicia for providing simple and usable software, we can now print both domestic AND international labels on the same printer. Two bins of domestic packages which included DETONATOR LEVEL shipped out Friday and there are two more international bins that should go out tomorrow. Once that has been processed, packages that include the Bomb Kits will begin shipping.
Thanks for your patience. We are just as eager to get the inventory out of the studio as you are to receive it! Shas'tan is even willing to lend a paw to help with the packaging!
I received the remaining resin base inserts and a handful of Rocket bikes this past weekend. The remaining bikes will arrive in a week or two.
Today is Vicky's and my seventeenth wedding anniversary. I'll be taking the day off today and will back at it again tomorrow to get the fulfillment going again.
See you next week!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
PROGRESSThe results of the Cast-a-thon have allowed Vicky and Brett to consolidate all of the Bomb Kits and organize all the Babes™ choices into corresponding bins.
Each box contains 25 Bomb Kits bringing the total to over 875 to cover all the backer levels.
SCULPTSThe remaining sculpts have gone to mold. I have now turned in all of the pieces featured in the Kickstarter Project as rewards. The mold team assured me they will have a selection of new molds from this batch to start casting this coming weekend, so we'll have more progress on the production after that.
Thulle is sculpted by Kevin Williams. Since he was already tabbed for molding I was unable to get any pics of him assembled. I will try to post some pics of the masters assembled once I can get some copies.
NEWSOur casting vendor Valiant notified me they have shipped the remainder of our resin base insert order and we should be getting that later this week.
Once again I am thwarted on the shipping process. Pitney Bowes crashed again and will not talk to our printer. I tried the Stamps.com site only to find out after registering and uploading all the addresses that the site also does not support our label printer. So, I will be canceling both of those accounts and researching four of the top Mac-based shipping solution apps I have been able to locate. As soon as I can get that up and running we will resume printing shipping labels and sending stuff out. It's been like two steps forward and one step back with this stuff.
Martin turned in two awesome pieces this week. He painted up the Sword Maiden and Pussy Patrol figures based on the Matt Dixon licensed pieces. I think he did a great job matching the art.
As a reminder, Matt Dixon's art is not included in the postcard sets. We posted about our agreement in August when he signed on to license his art to us and many of you may have missed the announcement. You can get the details in the post here.
See you next week!