Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Interview: Steve Cummings Sarissa Precision

Yes that's the Warehouse. Yes that's a Guija TAG. Yes it's that big!!!

Right yesterday I blew your socks off with a World Exclusive (let me have my moment of glory) and today I'm bringing you all a brief interview with one of the guys behind Sarissa Precision, Steve Cummings. Hopefully you'll find it illuminating and hopefully you might also get to see some more concept pics of the stuff I teased you about yesterday. Reviews following shortly.

Frontline Gamer: I think the first question many people will want an answer too is when will this stuff be available to buy? Will it all be available at the same time or will some of it be staggered over a period of time?

Steve Cummings: It will be available on January 2nd, most of the range will be available right away. There are some ideas that we haven’t done anything with yet or are still testing. We will do some variations of some items as well. The range will expand, but I think there is enough choice to keep people happy for quite some time.

Yep this is the 'small' Pod, and yes that's still a Guija!
FG: That's cool, so there's more yet to come. The second most important question I guess will be how much is this stuff going to cost

SC: We think it’s very well priced as a guide, the 3 Standard Pod variants will be priced as follows -

Habitation Pod Explorer will be £12.00
Habitation Pod Settler £16.00
Habitation Pod Family £20.00

Accessories and upgrades £2.50 - £10.00

All the extras which make the range what it is will be available in a pick’n’mix style. This is so you can create the table you want and don’t have to buy things you don’t need. We’ll also have some special offers and bundle deals as well up on the web store.

FG: I think those price points will be pretty tempting, especially when coupled with the fact that it's all pick 'n' mix so no wastage. I think this stuff, as you know from my emails, is pretty damn spot on for Infinity. Admittedly I can see uses for it in plenty of other game systems as well. However, when designing this stuff were you guys thinking of any game systems in particular?

SC: Infinity was high on the list. It has got some very specific requirements to make it work and we’ve tried to allow for these with some of the design elements, and all the assembly variations when used with each other.  We’d spoken to people and know from feedback what they were looking for. We’ve tried to cater for those needs and we think we’ve done a good job. There are some things we’ve done which, on the face of it look very simple but were done to actually add to, and influence the game. “Part of the game, not of the table” was the main consideration at all times. The good thing is that in doing so it makes it very usable and adaptable for many other systems, even if it’s just a couple of the buildings or accessories on a 40k table. Or a full blown Necromunda setup with gantries and stairs

The 'Medium' Pod with ladders, and yes it's that Guija again
FG: Right, I think yesterday in my article I said my favourite piece of terrain so far has to be the big Warehouse, it's fantastic. However, is there a particular piece of scenery from the range that you’re particularly pleased with? If so which one and why?

SC: We’re very happy with it all, but it’s some of the small details that are my favourites. The small ladder that fits on the side of the pods, the acrylic light sets and the comms array are the little detailed bits that I’m most pleased with in the range.

FG: Yeah I can understand that, 'street clutter' and detailing are often things us gamers leave off of boards so it's great you've given us the option to include them. I know that you’ve shown us all a lot of different options already. And, quite frankly what you have shown us could keep gamers happy for many years to come. But, do you have any other future plans in the pipeline, or is this the full range?

SC: Yes there are future plans, phase 2 releases are all in hand and among them feature a real centre piece. Some of them are ideas we’ve still to work on and others no doubt will come from the gamers out there who will no doubt let us know what they want to see added.

FG: Ah yes the 'centre piece', I'm so getting one of those with extra floors by the way! You’re buildings have a very different ‘feel’ to them from other things on the market. So what I guess I’m wandering is what, if any were your inspirations? Any comic books, movies or other things that were your muses?

SC: Space 1999 has to be right up there as inspiration but a lot of it has just been what looked right once we’d got a style for the range. We tried very hard to achieve a look that could be carried through the entire range but also allowed it to look equally as good as a pristine commercial building or a scruffy industrial unit.

The 'large' Pod, covers a lot of floor space on your gaming boards

FG: Well I think you've achieved that design goal. So what's the design process behind all of this stuff? I mean is it hand drawn sketches, CAD or some other mythical process? Are you able to do mock ups and refine your designs? And if so do you do that?

SC: I’m glad you asked this question, it allows me to big up our unsung hero. It is all done in CAD. We’ve been working with Gary Falkner at 'March Attack!' who came on board with us this year. Gary is a whiz in working in 3D CAD which, allows us to design and create mockups and see them on screen without going anywhere near the laser. This help us greatly, we can mockup layouts to see that it all works and how it will look when it’s all done, sitting on the gaming table. Another big plus is that we can use the 3D images to produce exploded diagrams for instructions and also artworks for the products as well.

FG: Neat! I’ve said quite often now on my blog that I personally think that HDF and laser cut scenery is the future for the hobby. Obviously you guys would agree with that I guess. But, what do you think the strengths of HDF scenery as you see them?

SC: The main strengths of HDF/MDF scenery are  firstly its cost, it is a fairly inexpensive base material to use so it allows costs to be kept down on products. The second thing is that it’s easy to work with, it paints well, it is easy to cut if you want to do some conversions on it. Finally it is fairly robust, it can take a bit of manual handing and with it being fairly lightweight its makes it easy to transport.

Yep Its a futuristic container, perfect for Guija's to hide behind

FG: Yep, those are the plus points I see to it as well. I’ve had plenty of people send me emails asking me what HDF is and other technical questions that quite frankly I’m not really qualified to answer, sure I know what it is but I can't even put a shelf up straight so I'm probably not the best person to ask! Could you tell us a little bit about the substance you use in your buildings and what its qualities are?

SC: MDF/HDF – Medium/High Density Fibreboard is a particleboard produced from wood fibres that are bonded with wax and resins at high temperature and pressure. The end result is something that is much stronger and denser than conventional particleboards.

FG: Thanks, hopefully I'll stop getting those emails now! Thinking a little bit wider than the 'System ∞' range for the moment, have you got any new things planned for the other ranges you do? In particular I’m interested in the Old West stuff.

SC: We are at the moment sitting on a huge number of designs for current and brand new ranges with even more ideas on our to do list. It’s just a matter of us working our way through them in a controlled manner. You’ll be pleased to know that includes the Old West Range, which has some accessories and a couple of new building styles which are all ready to go as we speak.

Sorry all you Infinity fans, I just love my 'November Rain' church

FG: Awesome, I'm sure I probably have more than enough Old West stuff already, but what can I say I'm a sucker for cowboys and Indians! Could you also tell us a little bit more about your various other ranges as well, and what games they can be used for? Because I’m sure many people aren’t aware of the large range of wargaming scenery you offer.

SC: Our main product ranges are our building ranges, our larger ranges consist of:

Old West - was our largest range, System∞ might have just overtaken it though. It was originally done for Cowboy games but has become a very big hit with the Malifaux crowd who’ve loved it.

WWII - some generic European style buildings (a 28mm range and a 15mm range) suitable for countless games where you require such buildings. The small scale is perfect for Flames of War etc and the larger ones we’ve been using for Operation Squad which is a cool little WWII skirmish game.

CityBlock - These 28mm scale buildings are perfect for Superheroes, Gangsters, Zombies and all sorts. They recently featured in a large article in Wargame Soldier and Strategy Magazine

And finally we obviously do MDF bases and Movement Trays, it would be silly not to offer these and we try to make them as exciting as squares of MDF can be but they do exactly what it is required and we offer a custom base and movement tray service as well.

Guija next to a silo... you know the rest!!!
FG: Cheers. So why did you start Sarissa Precision? Apart from obviously wanting to become millionaires over night! What were your original aims, and do you think you’ve achieved them?

SC: We actually started out manufacturing laser cut products for a couple of large retailers. The ‘Sarissa Precision’ stuff is all things that we did in our spare time for our own games. They went down a storm and a friend of ours, Steve Wood at 'Arcane Scenery and models' was very keen to sell the Old West range through his webstore. Two years later and here we are, we’ve expanded and are still growing our own brand ranges alongside the products we produce to trade. It’s been hard work but great fun although the disappointing thing for us is that millionaire status seems to be a distant dream. If it hasn’t happened by a week next Tuesday we might just give up.

FG: No don't do that, where would I get my Old West Saloons from then?!?!?! And finally is there anything else you’d like to add?

SC: Yes, we love feedback, good and bad. As clever as we like to tell everyone we are, sometimes even we don’t think of everything. If you’d like to see something that we’ve not got or you think something is stupid, and would be better if done another way give us a shout. We might be able to do something about it.

FG: OK, then all that's left for me to say is thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my question and for giving us gamers such cool scenery, keep up the good work. Oh yeah I guess I'd better give them all a sneaky peak and that 'Centre Piece'. Peace out! 

Awesome isn't it? You can get extra floors for it and it has internal stairs and walls...


  1. All this stuff looks awesome. My wallet will dread January... Good stuff and good article

  2. @Joesmokem, Thanks for the compliment and I agree I think the buildings look fanbloodytastic!!!

  3. Yeah, these and the MAS ones well set me back 100£ atleast.

  4. @Joesmokem, £100 at least... be honest with yourself, they'll set you back way more than that and you know it!!! A lot of my friends have cursed my name for showing them stuff. One of them has already told me he's in effect planning on shelling out £350 on this stuff. I'm sure he's not the only one.

  5. Thats what the "at least" bit is for. It's my "get out of jail free" loophole.