SMS Kaiser

One of the largest aerial vessels in service anywhere in the world is the German Kaiser class.

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The Kaiser has six heavy new-design turrets, two twin and four single, along with an array of secondary turrets and sponson guns. The model has a resin hull with a number of metal parts to make up this impressively large model.

VAN-322 – Kaiser class Dreadnought – £9.00

USS Lexington

The US aerial fleets have a new vessel entering service – the battlecruiser Lexington.

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The Lexington’s unique layout has her four heavy-bore guns in huge semi-circular sponsons, able to rotate through 110° arcs. Secondary armament is a more conventional broadside layout, with smaller guns arrayed either side. Two torpedo tubes fire through the front hull.

The Lexington is an all-metal model consisting of six parts – upper and lower hull, two funnels, tail and mast.

VAN-216 – Lexington class Battlecruiser – £8.00

HMS Vanguard

The first of the new Imperial Skies Kickstarter models to be launched is the British battleship Vanguard.

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This all new model has a resin hull and a dozen metal parts which make up a detailed flying battleship, ready to serve Her Majesty’s aerial navy in all corners of the Empire. Armed with two heavy-bore cannon in huge barbettes fore and aft, it also has a hefty secondary armament in four secondary turrets amidships.

The photos above are of her sister ship Valiant (I couldn’t find any decals saying Vanguard !).

VAN-119 – Vanguard class Battleship – £8.00

Taking to the (Imperial) Skies

Today is the day – the Imperial Skies rulebook is now available from our website for those who missed out on the Kickstarter. We also have accessories such as the turn rulers and logo dice.

In case you don’t know, or are new to us, Imperial Skies is a set of fast-paced rules for aerial combat between huge flying airships in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The game is designed with our range of Aeronef miniatures in mind and includes stats for almost all them. It can also be played using models from other manufacturers, and a design system is included to allow you create your own ships.

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The 117-page, full colour rulebook contains the rules, design guidelines for your own ships, stats for the full Brigade Models range and a painting guide.

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Turn rulers can either be photocopied from the rulebook or downloaded from our website and printed into thin card. However, as a more robust and attractive solution there are also laser-cut acrylic turn rulers available.

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Each ship has three sizes of gun available – Big Bore, Medium Bore and Small Bore. To speed up the game and allow each ship to roll all of their dice at once, you can use different colours to differentiate the gun types. Our sets of dice have ten each of red, orange and yellow d6 (the colours match those used on the stats cards) with the six replaced by the Imperial Skies winged bomb logo. Extra sets of a single colour are also available from the website.

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ISK-001 – Imperial Skies Rulebook – £20.00
ISK-010 – Turn Rulers (set of five) – £7.50
ISK-011 – Logo Dice (set of 30) – £10.00

General Ridgway

The M-65 Ridgway is a one-man American Republic combat walker which can be equipped with a variety of weaponry depending on the required role.

It’s also an additional contribution that we made towards the Polyversal Kickstarter – everyone who pledged at ‘Adjutant’ level or higher gets a free set of three models, one of each type. The original design was something I put together a couple of years’ ago, but with the benefit of more design experience I felt I could make it better. So I’ve sat down and redrafted the model, and this is the result (or almost – there are one or two more tweaks to make before it’s 100% finished).

The Ridgway will ship to all qualifying contributors with the rest of their pledges, won’t be made available for general sale until 12 months after that.

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Imperial Update #5 – Liftoff Delayed

Let’s start with the good news, shall we ? I can finally say, after a last visit to the Post Office yesterday, that

100% of pledges have now shipped!

Robin and ourselves should really be dancing in the aisles at this point after the successful conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign.

But … and there’s always a but. At the end of packing everything, not all of the items we’d expected to ship had gone. There was stuff left which shouldn’t have been there. So we investigated this, and discovered that somehow there were anomalies between orders and the master packing list. It didn’t affect the basic pledges – so everyone will have their rulebooks and main fleet packs. But a small number of add-on items placed through Backerkit had not made it onto the packing list that we used to pack the orders. It only seems to affect a small proportion of pledges and a very small number of specific items. We have emailed everyone who we think may have been affected and asked them to check their orders when they arrive (the last ones only went yesterday and won’t reach far-flung locations for a week or so).

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And of course it means that, sticking to our strict ‘no retail sales until the KS has shipped’ policy, it’ll be another few days before the rules hit the website.

Imperial Update #3 – The Akashi Flies !

The good news is that Phil has managed to get enough good castings of the Akashi to fulfill all the pledges for Japanese fleet packs, so there are now no obstacles to finishing the shipping of Imperial Skies.

The not-so-good news is that the mould is still too unreliable for normal use, so the Akashi will again have to be remastered (probably with some design tweaks) before the new version replaces the original on the website.

While he was doing this I packed up another bunch of parcels, and we can now say that …

69% of pledges have shipped

I’ve been working from the top of the list, so if your order number is 4086655 or less, then you have definitely shipped; if it’s above that, then there’s still a 60% chance it’s on the way. My kitchen has temporarily turned into a goods bay with all manner of boxes, parcels and packages – fortunately I got this all cleared out before the Brigadieress got wind of it ! We’re hoping that with a fair wind behind us, we should get everything cleared next week.

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I’ve also caught up with mail order again, after a very hectic week, so all orders up to 6pm Thursday
have been filled and posted. Today I’m at Colours at Newbury Racecourse, an excellent one-day show – hope to see you there !

Imperial Update #2 – The Baked Brigadier

During a rather hot, sweaty and muggy day yesterday, another large chunk of Imperial Skies pledges were packed up ready to be shipped off. I did my best not to perspire on the rulebooks! This means that…

51% of pledges have now shipped

The current state of play is:

  • If you are in North America, you should have received your book at least by now;
  • If you ordered just the rulebook or rulebook and turn ruler, your order will have shipped;
  • If you ordered a Japanese fleet pack, your order won’t have shipped yet (see below);
  • If you ordered a counter pack, you won’t have shipped yet (these are being sorted into packs and should start leaving today);
  • Any other combination … well, it’s 50:50 over whether or not you have shipped !

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Phil delivered the Lexington and mk.II Japanese cruiser production moulds on Tuesday, with mixed results. The Lexington is fine now and we very rapidly cast all of the models needed for pledges, so the first of those are in today’s batch of parcels. However the Japanese cruiser mould is very (very) unreliable. It took us an age to get out a small number of good castings, so we’ll have to work at it until we get enough (fortunately we don’t need too many). This might mean that the new versions of the Akashi and Yakumo don’t immediately go onto the website.

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We’re had a couple of enquiries about when it’ll be possible to buy the rulebook, accessories and new models for those that missed the Kickstarter. The answer is ‘not until all the pledges have shipped’. I’d love to have some on the stand at Colours on Saturday, but we don’t think it’s fair to those that supported the project for others to be able to buy the game until all of the original backers have their items. However, since the only remaining hurdle (Japanese cruisers notwithstanding) is simply getting everything in boxes and shipping them out, that won’t be too long.

Polyversal PacFed

In the recent Polyversal Kickstarter, one of the starter armies available featured our PacFed models. We’re going to have to cast several thousand PacFed models to fulfill our part of the pledges, and we had already decided that we’d need to create some new moulds to do this. And we figured that if we were making new moulds, it would be an ideal opportunity to update the designs to match the resculpted 15mm versions. This means that everyone who’s ordered our PacFed models in their pledge will get these lovely shiny new ones instead of the original versions. We’ll be doing the same with the Catroux as well – a major change to this model will be to get rid of the separate wheels and make the hull a 1-piece casting.

Now there seems to be a commonly held misconception that because a digital version of a model exists in one scale, it can be magically resized to another scale with a single keystroke, new 3D masters can then be printed and away you go to the casters. Not so.

Think about it – our 15mm vehicles have separate crew hatches. Would you really want that in a 6mm model ? So small parts like these have to be attached/welded to the model (in some cases it’s as easy to simply recreate the geometry from scratch). Our 15mm Wombat has three parts to the hull – two metal and one resin. Again, this makes no sense in 6mm, so they have to be joined together, which invariably creates duplicate or redundant points and faces, so these need to be cleaned up. Scaling some 15mm parts down to 6mm makes them too small – in particular this affects gun barrels which generally end up too thin to cast, or even if they do cast they would be too brittle so that they would bend or break. So gun barrels have to be made fatter, but that means they no longer fit their mounting point so that has to be remodelled. I also sometimes make whole pieces (turrets especially) slightly bigger in the Y-axis – it just looks better. Some pieces of detail have to be enlarged to that they will cast better, and I often make hull plates thicker or recessed details deeper.

The same is true of the reverse process – taking a 6mm design and scaling it up to 15mm. In this case models often have to be broken into pieces to cast, and some details scaled down as they simply would look oversized in 15mm. Gun barrels have to be removed from turrets and hatches opened up – and so on.

So after that brief rant, here’s the result of some of my work – I’ve been taking the 15mm versions of the Ocelot, Wombat and Catroux and converting them to 6mm, and I’ll also have to create a version of the Quoll, which doesn’t yet exist in 15mm (still working on that).

Wombat CGI

Ocelot CGI

Catroux CGI

Once the Polyversal KS has shipped, our plan is to finish the job and remodel the entire PacFed 6mm range to match the new 15mm versions and replace everything at one go – this is quite a task that will involve replacing lots of moulds, but one that should be worthwhile. It further benefit is that some of the vehicles that have yet to be made in 15mm (the Quoll, Koala, Tanami and Bilby) will also be made available in the larger scale.