Just a reminder that the fourth and last part of our summer sale is coming to a close; you have until midnight BST on Sunday 30th (around 7pm EST or 5pm PDT) to get 15% off our 6mm and 15mm SF ranges.
Month: September 2012
I had meant to include images of the Scandinavian Union Aeronef models in yesterday’s post, but time had overtaken me and I didn’t get the photos taken (and, if truth be told, three of the models weren’t quite finished). But that’s all the more excuse for another post today with pretty pictures ! The photos aren’t the greatest, I had trouble getting the lighting right in a hurry so they’re a bit dark but you see them clearly enough. And of course there are no turrets on any of the models (they will have a mix of large and small turrets on each ship) so you won’t get the full effect until the turrets have been cast and we can make up some complete models. But enough with the excuses, on with the photos !
There are ten models – all are one-piece hulls apart from the battlecruiser and battleship, which have separate superstructures (which will allow me to make variants at a later date). I haven’t named any yet apart from the Lillehammer battlecruiser, I need to do a bit of research first into suitable names.
The models are on their way to Phil for casting, so we’re still aiming for a SELWG release for at least some of the fleet, if not all.
[edit – I did start off titling this as the Scandinavian Confederation but I had a change of mind, so we now have the Scandinavian Union. The post has been edited throughout to reflect this]
Last week we revealed some new Aeronef masters, with a rather cryptic headline (if the truth be told, it’s a rather awful pun) concerning their origin. One or two on our forums surmised from this that the new fleet is Swedish, which is a pretty good guess. In fact, we’ve taken as our starting point the C.19th historical union between Sweden and Norway, extrapolated this a bit, thrown in a bit of Denmark for good measure and have come up with the Scandinavian Union. The Scandinavian countries aren’t mentioned at all in either the Aeronef or Land Ironclads timelines, so there wasn’t anything official to go on – so we’ve made it all up, but have tried to get it all to fit within the existing history.
The historical union resulted from a series of events in the Napoleonic wars, involving a Norwegian breakaway from Denmark, then a war with Sweden, Denmark handing Norway over to Sweden under threat of being overrun by German, Swedish and Russian troops (led by Crown Prince Bernadotte, formally one of Napoleon’s generals).
In our (unofficial) Aeronef timeline, the Swedish/Norwegian union has been joined by Denmark and controls most of the Scandinavian peninsula, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroes and of course the Kattegat, Skagerrak and the Danish Straits between the Baltic into the North Sea.
The Union is a primarily defensive organisation, with no expansionist agenda, merely a desire to look after the territory and peoples of the three countries.
The Aeronef fleet is divided into two main arms, each with their own distinct function. The Home Fleet has a purely defensive mission, keeping the borders of the Union safe from incursion. It mostly comprises smaller vessels, patrol boats, corvettes, frigates etc with long endurances for these patrol functions. These vessels are stationed in bases close to their assigned border patrol areas. The Home Fleet also has a number of Heavy Squadrons, positioned more centrally but still within easy reach of the borders. The task of these squadrons is to act as a blocking and delaying force when any breach of Union territory is detected. To accomplish this, the Home Fleet heavy squadrons have been successively bolstered by the addition of increasingly heavier cruisers and, more recently, light battleships.
The second main component of the Union aerial forces, the Pursuit Fleet, is much the more glamourous arm, the aerial cavalry to the Home Fleet’s foot-slogging infantry. Equipped with fast, heavily armed vessels, their task is to act as a hammer to the Home Fleet’s anvil, sweeping in at speed to deal with enemy forces detected (and hopefully delayed) by the patrol forces. On occasions where enemy forces are too swift or too distant to be dealt with by the Home Fleet, the Pursuit Fleet is expected to intercept and engage these forces alone, hence the recent entry into service of well-equipped Lillehammer battlecruisers. Once the intruders have been broken, the Pursuit squadrons apply the coup-de-grace, pursuing the battered, fleeing enemy back whence they came.
Fortresses and Bases
The heavily crenelated Scandinavian coastline is ideal territory for concealing Aeronef bases. Scattered among the fjords of Norway’s Atlantic coast, and the Swedish Baltic coast, are the bases of the Home Fleet. Some of these bases are literally dug into the cliff faces, with landing pads for lighter craft projecting from artificial caves. Protecting these bases are fortified gun positions and turrets, often with heavier ordnance than could be fitted to an Aeronef.
Further out to sea, and also in the mouths of the larger fjords, are sea forts, similar to those designed by the British military architect Maunsell, but fitted with turrets of Swedish design. These installations carry between one and four turrets and make any foe think twice about approaching the coast.
The Danish Straits leading to the Baltic are also heavily fortified with forts on the many islands. Some are becoming rather dated, originating from the Napoleonic wars, but a modernisation programme is slowly seeing them updated and the 18th century smoothbores replaced by more modern breech-loaders.
Conflict in the late 19th Century
Although the Union has a defensive outlook, politically and militarily, the strategic position at the mouth of the Baltic and the wealth of natural resources (Swedish iron ore being much prized) means that predatory powers often turn their gaze to the north. In keeping with the fickle politics of the age, alliances and treaties are made and broken with alarming regularity, and allies can become foes in the blink of an eye.
Skirmishes throughout the Baltic are regular occurrences with Russian flyers, although the Russians tend to try to keep the Scandinavians onside to preserve their access to the Atlantic.
The Germans, with their own pathway through the Kiel Canal, have less need of the Danish Straits, but they would still prefer to have the area under their own control to restrict the movements of their perennial foes in Moscow. In 1891, during the war between Britain, France and Germany, Prussian forces landed on the Baltic islands of Zealand, Funen, Lolland, Falster and Mon in an attempt to seize control of the straits without attacking the main Jutland peninsula. After a campaign of many months, the Prussians, weakened by the demands of the ongoing war against Great Britain, were finally repulsed with the aid of the Russian Baltic fleet and a small British Expeditionary force drawn from the colonies.
Further afield, the islands of the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland are coveted by other powers, not so much for their resources as for their strategic location. It has even been rumoured that Japan has eyes on remote areas of Greenland as a staging post for surprise raids on the American east coast and the Aeronefbase of New York ! The vast areas of the the Greenland tundra make it very difficult to patrol effectively, so for all that anyone knows there could already be a Japanese base in place.
A more mundane task for the Home Fleet is convoy escort duty and regular sweeps against sky pirates in the Baltic, preying on the iron ore convoys from Sweden, a menace that can never completely be eradicated.
Over the weekend, a customer asked if he could buy some of our Great War Belgian cavalry figures separately (ie riders without horses) to mount on monsters as part of an SF game. We always try to listen to what our customers want (sometimes it can take a bit longer to get things done, but we do listen), so the website has been updated so that you can purchase any of our cavalry figures on their own, and just for good measure we’ve made the horses available on their own too.
This particular customer didn’t mention what he was using as mounts … we figure you could do worse than some of our Celtos models, for example the Sidhe Dragons or Fomorian Blood Reavers (which we already sell on their own). At a show earlier in the year one customer bought up our entire stock of dragons to use as mounts for plastic Teutonic Knights !
It’s not really summer anymore (even though the weather is as good as it’s been all year !), so it seems a bit of a misnomer, but we’re announcing Brigade Summer Sale, Part #4: Surface Action.
What this means is that for the next 9 days, running from midnight tonight until midnight on the 30th, you can get 15% off both our 6mm and 15mm SF ranges – vehicles, figures and buildings (the only thing not covered are rulebooks and the Xmarx buildings range).
The brigadieress was out yesterday evening, off for a girl’s night out with some friends, so I settled in for an evening of master making. There was even some cricket on the box to keep me amused (not proper cricket, mind, only some 20:20 hit-and-giggle, but at least it was better than Eastenders !).
I’d decided what I was going to do beforehand (many’s the time I’ve sat down in front of the modelling table and fiddled with a few bits of plastic but not really achieved anything) and had sketches and a plan in mind – mostly Aeronef, but also finishing off a master or two that had been sitting almost completed for a while.
My first achievement was finishing off the Neo-Soviet river patrol boat – it just needed a little bit of filler rubbing down in one or two places, some more little details and I was done. This will hopefully hit a mould pretty soon and be released in time for SELWG.
My Aeronef endeavours were concentrated mostly on a new fleet I’ve been working on (the headline of the post is a bit of an oblique clue as to their national identity). I’ve had the hulls done for ages, sitting on the workbench taunting me with their blank decks – so now it was time for some serious superstructure work. I wasn’t sure how far I’d get, and in the end I was quite pleased to have completed a light battleship and torpedo boat and be well on the way with most of the others. Another evening or two and these guys will be ready – I’m hoping to do this in the next few days.
In the photo below you can see the ten assorted hulls with basic superstructures, along with a pair of turrets on a sprue ready for the mould. The little plane isn’t part of this fleet, it’s a French monoplane fighter (Phil and I are working on a plan to give each of the major powers, and some of the minor ones, their own unique fighter and bomber models).
We’re targeting a SELWG release for at least part, if not all of this fleet, so stay tuned for more progress.
One of the more obvious phenomenons in UK supermarkets this summer (if the past rain-lashed three months can actually be termed a ‘summer’) is that there’s nothing a large conglomerate likes more than the opportunity to cash in on just about any event going. Usually it’s football tournaments (for as long as it takes for England to get knocked out on penalties, or by the Germans), very occasionally other sports (Rugby World Cup, the Ashes) and or course we all love a good Royal Wedding. This year they’ve had three bites of the marketing cherry, with the Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 tournament (knocked out by Italy this time – on penalties, of course !) and finally the London Olympics.
The result of this is that just about anything that can be branded, marketed or tied in, has been. There are the obvious official products plastered with Olympic logos, or if it’s not official then it’s festooned with Union Jacks, or failing that, let’s just make it red, white and blue ! Clothes, cakes, sweets, even bottles of shampoo have union jacks across the label.
So never let it be said that we passed up the opportunity to shamelessly jump on the bandwagon ourselves ! We popped down to Tesco, bought some coloured cakes and now we can feel part of the whole Olympic cash-in. And in time-honoured Brigade tradition, we are of course far too late and behind everyone else …
Read what we though of Mr Kipling’s ultra-patriotic red, white and blue British Fancies by clicking on the picture below.
You might remember that I had the odd trial and tribulation with the ink washes on my desert township. Having watered down my GW Agrax Earthshade, the airbrush spattered (probably the fault of a cheap airbrush or at least low pressure in the compressed air can), then when I switched to a brush it ran, pooled and did all those things you don’t really want a wash to do. But I persevered and ran a coat of wash over all of the buildings.
Coming back to them after a day or two drying in a nice warm shed, it’s not as bad as I feared. In one or two places, especially where the wash had accumulated, it’s dried to an odd dusty whiteish colour; googling around, I’m not the only person who’s had this problem – it seems that the solution is to make sure the wash is properly mixed (give it a really, really good shake – not just a couple of desultory wafts). But the patchy bits, dark spots where the wash has spattered, even the odd tide mark, all add to the dirty, used effect that I’m looking for. And there are some mysterious unexplained black spots that look suspiciously like mould, but I’m sure it’s not …
I went back over the buildings again with come undiluted wash, this time being more selective and brushing it into the crevices and angles to enhance the shadows (I went over the white deposits and got rid of those). I also used it to darken the bottom of the walls, using a dryer brush to blend it out towards the middle and top of the walls (gravity helps here).
So I have to say I’m much happier now, the effect is pretty much what I’m after. The final stage of painting the walls will be a good drybrushing in the original Deck Tan colour
The SELWG show is coming up on us soon – it’s on October 14th, so just over five weeks away. We’ll be taking advanced orders as always, with the usual 10% discount for any over £50. Any orders should be in a week before the show please, to give us time to get them ready for you.
We’ll also be taking orders for anything from our Shapeways Shop – we’ll put all the requests together into one super-order and time it to arrive before the show. There is a lead time of three weeks on Shapeways items since they are printed to order – so if you fancy getting hold of some 6mm Power Pylons, a large water tower, Pegasus Bridge or a Norman Town Hall, or a 15mm Mobile Phone Mast – we must have your order in by September 21st at the latest
A couple of weeks ago we mentioned our new 15mm Mobile Phone Masts which were available through our Shapeways Store. I’ve finally had a chance to paint the first of these, the tower mast with three antennae.
I first stuck the model onto a 40mm round figure base, with a large washer stuck underneath to weigh the base down and make the tower stable. I made a little stand from it from a square of plastic card with a bolt in each corner made from hex section plastic rod. The base was then covered in PVA and sand. Normal superglue works fine when sticking Shapeways plastic parts, you don’t need any special adhesives. Once everything had dried, I undercoated with a spray can of white primer.
I then painted it in two shades of grey, a pale grey for the base and top framework and a green-grey (Tamiya Slate Grey) for the tower body (although this isn’t too obvious from the photos). After a black wash and drybrush, the three antennae were picked out in white. The final touches were a few splashes of orange-brown wash for rust patches (these towers are out in all weathers after all). The base was painted in Tamiya Flat Earth, drybrushed a pale stone and then patches of static grass were PVA’d on.
So that’s it – a simple enough paint job, bringing communication to the backwaters of the galaxy.
The other phone mast, the larger lattice tower, is being saved for a later date – I have a slightly more elaborate base planned for it.