Ship Classes

Ships in A Billion Suns are categorised from the tiniest fighters up to huge dreadnoughts. We’ve created a handy chart that puts all of our spaceship models into the appropriate category for the game, which you can download as a PDF.

Not every fleet has a ship for every category – but for us this was a handy exercise as it shows up where there are gaps in some of our major fleets that need to be filled. For utility vessels you can also pick from our range of Merchant Ships, which are ideal and can serve in any fleet.

A Billion Possibilities

It’s still all hands to the pump at Brigade HQ, we’re slowly and steadily working through the order backlog – we’ve now caught up to Feb 14th and with luck should have cleared the backlog by the end of the weekend. However, we just had to find some time this week to get something new on the website.

Today sees the release of A Billion Suns, the new starship combat game by Mike Hutchinson of Gaslands fame. ABS isn’t just another line-them-up fleet combat game, instead you take control of an interstellar corporation exploiting the riches of newly discovered star systems. There are no pre-defined fleet lists, you need to make decisions about what resources to deploy to fulfil your contracts, balancing risk against potential reward. Contracts are assigned randomly, so each game should be different. And you can play on multiple tables, jumping between star systems.

Pop over to the official website, where Mike makes a much better job of explaining it all.

The rules are not tied to any particular set of miniatures, you can use whatever you like, although we would obviously be very happy if you used at least some of ours 🙂

We will be creating some specific packs to support the rules, just as soon as we get five minutes to draw breath…

ABS-006 – A Billion Suns – £12.99

Snowed Under

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog for the past week or so – nothing untoward is going on, we’re just busy, really busy. We’ve had a lot of orders lately, far more than we’d usually expect this time of year, on top of which there’s been a restock order for one of our overseas stockists plus initial stock orders for not one but two new UK stockists. All of this has left us about a week behind on mail order – everything that arrived on or before January 30th has been posted, and a few from Jan 31st have also gone but that’s as far as it goes.

To complete this perfect storm of delays is, well, another storm! We’ve had a cold snap and quite a bit of snow in our corner of the UK this weekend which has made the workshop inaccessible for today at least, so our hopes of making some dents in the backlog have been put on hold for another day or two until the roads clear. But when the weather eases we’ll be back at the centrifuge at full pace and getting orders out of the door.

In the meantime I’m going to use my unscheduled snow day to work on some new releases – we have a lot of models lined up in various stages of readiness across most of the ranges so the extra time to work on them is a definite bonus. Here are a few of them…

AmRep Enhancements

First up, an important show update. Since we published new dates for Broadside and Salute earlier in the week, we’ve been informed that the organisers of Broadside have been forced to change the date again (they have our sympathies at the moment…) and it is now to be held on Saturday December 4th.

As a follow-on from last week’s 6mm New Ukrainians, two of our existing 6mm American Republic vehicles have been given a makeover. Since the NUA Vyriz and Bulava MBTs use the same turrets as the AmRep Kochte and Curtiss respectively, it made sense to replace the older versions at the same time (we had to make new moulds anyway). Both models are available individually or in company packs with 12 tanks and a command vehicle.

SF300-202 – M-83 Curtiss Heavy Tank – £1.25
SF300-208 – M-84 Kochte MBT – £1.00

IC-212 – AmRep Cavalry Tank Company – £11.75
IC-213 – AmRep Heavy Tank Company – £14.50

Show News

News of changes to some show dates came through this week. As the UK continues under a fairly strict lockdown, it’s difficult for show organisers to make plans without knowing what the situation will be next week, let alone in April or beyond. We’ve been informed that two of our regular shows, Broadside and Salute, have rescheduled to later in the year – in fact they’ve selected consecutive weekends in November. The new dates are:

  • Broadside – Saturday November 6th December 4th(Medway Park Sports Centre)
  • Salute – Saturday November 13th (ExCel centre)

Note that Broadside is being held at a new venue in Gillingham, and is also on a Saturday rather than a Sunday as it has been previously. UPDATE – Since this post was first published, we’ve been informed that the date of Broadside has changed again, and is now Saturday December 4th.

We’re now off to rewrite our release schedule, which generally revolves around Salute for the first half of the year and will now have to be ripped up…

Starship Painting Guide #2

Robin of Rottenlead has posted the second part of his guide to painting spaceships on Youtube, so if you fancy a watch, here’s a selection of stills to whet your appetite and a link to the video. We linked to the first part a week or two ago.


New Ukrainians in 6mm

We have a number of new releases at various stages of preparation, and it seems that many of them are 6mm SF. This is in part because we held back a number of new releases for the Joy of Six show last year which, like everything else, didn’t happen. So if you’re a micro-scale SF gamer then it could be a bumper time in the next couple of months.

This week we have the New Ukrainian Army for Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible. The 15mm NUA appeared last year and it’s now the turn of the smaller scale. There’s a bonus too, with three extra vehicles that haven’t yet appeared in 15mm (but will very soon).

The NUA have eight new vehicles altogether, plus three detachment packs. NUA forces can be fielded as either Elite or Veteran units – the packs include enough vehicles and infantry to field either option. The detachment list can be found on the Crucible website which detail the TOEs for both types of formation.

HSD6-3901 – NUA Heavy Armoured Detachment – £9.75
HSD6-3902 – NUA Support Detachment – £7.75
HSD6-3903 – NUA Light Recce Detachment – £7.50

HS6-3901 – Vyriz Medium Tank – £1.25
HS6-3901a – Burun II AA Tank – £1.25
HS6-3901b – Vyriz Medium Tank – £1.25
HS6-3901c – Groza II Artillery – £1.25
HS6-3902 – Bulava Heavy Tank – £1.25
HS6-3903 – Zhalo Light Tank – £0.80
HS6-3904 – Shershnem Tank Destroyer – £0.80
HS6-3905 – Yastrub MICV – £1.25

We would also like to give a shout of to Geek Villain – these models have been photographed on one of their splendid printed fleece gaming mats. This one is a Summer Field design. You’ll be seeing more of it in our photos, and I suspect we might be buying one or two more.

Baby Hippos

Firstly, an update on our sale plans – before Christmas we mentioned that we were hoping to run a sale in the early part of the year, possibly during February. However, that was before the UK entered the latest set of strict lockdown conditions. Because of this we think it’s probably an unwise move – a sale means more trips to the workshop, more trips to the post office, more deliveries for supplies etc. So we’re putting it on hold for the moment, and will carry on with business as usual for now. I’m sorry if some of you have been waiting for it, but we’re still planning to hold a sale at some point – we’ll update you as and when we can (although at the moment there’s no fixed end date to the current restrictions).

At the end of last year we released some new versions of the South African Hippo heavy truck. On our Facebook page, someone asked when we were going to release them in 6mm, in particular the two armed variants. It occurred to us that we could do that very easily, since the turrets we require already exist and the base Hippo chassis even has a convenient hole for the turret pins. All we actually needed were photos for the website (one of our cardinal rules nowadays is that nothing new goes on the website without photos of a painted example).

As always, this took longer than it should have, but we’re there at last. We have two new versions of the Hippo, armed with either a 12-barrelled rocket launcher or twin tri-barrel air defence system.

SF300-608d – Hippo with Twin AA Tribarrels – £1.00
SF300-608e – Hippo with MRLS – £1.00

Gaolhouse Rock

This week we have a first – since we switched to digital sculpts and 3D printing, Tony has done all of the design work on our new releases. But this week it’s Phil’s turn – these are his first two 3D sculpts to see the light of day.

He may also be making some sort of statement about working at Brigade (!), with 1/1000th scale models of a Workhouse and Gaol for our ever-expanding Small Scale Scenery range.

The workhouse is a rather unusual three-winged design in a hexagonal outer wall, based on the long-demolished one in Abingdon, Berkshire.

The Gaol is also from Abingdon, with a similar three-wing design but a different layout to the grounds. The building is still standing, although it’s been converted to luxury flats – the original walls have gone so Phil has had to create these himself, based on those around Maidstone prison.

SSS-8162 – Gaol – £3.00
SSS-8163 – Workhouse – £3.00

Luxury Travel in the Skies

Today we take to the skies in unprecedented aerial luxury, with the release of three flying passenger liners. We have newly designed versions of the Majestic, Stirling Castle and Kaiserin Elizabeth class ships, all with resin hulls and metal parts. The largest, the Majestic, even has a small swimming pool on the afterdeck surrounded by sun loungers, for passengers who wish to swim in the sky!

And representing the more grimy, utilitarian face of merchant shipping, we also have a new version of the French Rochefort heavy merchant, featuring a deck festooned with cranes and cargo hatches.

VAN-5001 – Majestic class Passenger Liner – £8.50
VAN-5006 – Kaiserin Elisabeth class Liner – £4.00
VAN-5009 – Rochefort class Heavy Merchant – £8.00
VAN-5010 – Stirling Castle class Liner – £5.00