Dropping from Orbit

The Fearless class of Assault Ship is capable of carrying a full Royal Marine battalion plus supporting vehicles, including a company of tanks, through jumpspace into orbit ready for insertion. This task is accomplished by atmosphere-capable craft including the Heracles shuttle and Athena VTOL/dropship. The 750-foot long Fearless has considerable offensive and defensive weaponry including a heavy railgun turret, anti-fighter defences and a battery of orbit-to-surface Kinetic Energy bombardment missiles.

The Heracles shuttle is large enough to carry two tanks or APCs plus their infantry, or as many as two platoons of infantry on foot. The Heracles is fully equipped for orbital or atmosphere operations, and is also used to recover Athena dropships after operations.

The Athena is a drop-capable craft which can be deployed from orbit and then can be used as a conventional VTOL once in the atmosphere. It is capable of carrying two sections of fully-equipped infantry (16 men), a light vehicle or a towed gun. One downside of the Athena’s design is that it lacks the necessary engine power to reach escape velocity, except on low gravity worlds, and has to be shuttled back to orbit by larger vessels.

SFS-171 – Fearless class Assault Ship – £7.50
SFS-172 – Heracles class Assault Shuttle (x3) – £1.25
SFS-173 – Athena class VTOL (x6) – £1.00

Soviet Colours

I’ve recently been putting together a small force of our new Neo-Soviet tanks (and some of the older ones as well). Up ’til now I’ve only been able to paint a sample of each model for the website and display stand, so I was looking forward to assembling a larger army and getting them on table.

Altogether I’ve started with a dozen vehicles (you might spot more than that in the photos – I painted two extra assault guns to use on the stand at the same time). My force consists of three Bars tanks, two Vombats, two Terminators, one each of the new assault guns and a recce section of one Rosomakha and two Laska tankettes.

I’ve based the camouflage scheme on the sample models I painted before Salute, using the excellent Anarchy Models airbrush stencils, but with a slight difference. Whereas my first models had a three colour scheme with two layers of stencils, the main force was painted with a two-colour grey-green utilising the Mini Digi Camo sheet (basically lots of tiny squares arranged in random patterns). This was simply to save time, as two layers of stencils on a dozen vehicles would have taken ages.

I won’t go through the full step-by-step process this time – you can read my previous article for that. However, as a quick summary, the process was:

  • Spray with grey automotive primer (Halfords)
  • Drybrush primer light grey
  • Apply stencils
  • Airbrush Vallejo Russian green over entire vehicle
  • Drybrush whole vehicle light green
  • Remove stencils (be thorough here – it’s easy to lose some of the stencils)
  • Touch up any areas where the stencils have pulled up the primer or green has leaked under the stencils with a small brush
  • Brush paint in remaining details – guns, crew, stowage, tracks, lights, sensor lenses
  • Brush coat entire vehicle in Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade
  • Leave 24 hours (minimum) to dry
  • Apply decals – the glossy Quickshade is deal for this
  • Airbrush acrylic matt varnish (Tamiya Flat Clear) – DO NOT use Army Painter’s own aerosol varnish, it reacts with the Quickshade and will ruin your hard work

This is the first half of my army – the next stage will be the infantry and APCs (if you’ve read this month’s Miniature Wargames, you might have seen a preview…).

City of Dreams

It’s Friday, so it’s new release time again. We try and vary our new releases across the different ranges, and today the wheel has stopped on our Small Scale Scenery range, and what we hope should be some very useful City Apartment Blocks. Many European city centres are built, at least partially, on a block system. The best example I can find to illustrate this is Barcelona’s appropriately named Eixample district – the photo below shows the layout of the city perfectly.

Photo taken from Wikipedia - licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The blocks of apartments generally have shops or offices on the ground floor with 4-6 levels of apartments above that. They surround a central courtyard which can be a garden space, parking or can sometimes be partially filled with smaller buildings and sheds.

For this initial release we’ve created three sets – a pack of four corners, another of four straight blocks, and a third consisting of two T-pieces and two straight pieces with an archway into the courtyard area, all with flat-topped mansard roofs (although there are one or two areas with flat roofs for variety). All are 1-piece resin castings. Each piece is slightly different so that the look of the blocks is varied. The blocks are built on a 40mm footprint – each corner is 40x40mm with the depth of the apartments set at 20mm. This means that a pack of four corners will create a block 80x80mm, with a central 40x40mm courtyard. Adding straight pieces means that the blocks can be extended in 40mm increments. For gaming purposes, this works perfectly with rules that use 40mm frontages for figure bases (such as Land Ironclads).

If all goes well with these, there’s certainly plenty of scope to add more variety in terms of frontage detail, different roof types, varied number of floors etc.

SSS-8094 – City Block Corners – £7.50
SSS-8095 – City Block Straights – £5.00
SSS-8096 – City Block Ts and Arches – £6.50

Yenpalo Tank Upgrade (now I remember !)

We’ve had this new version of the Yenpalo Xarledi tank ready for some time, but just haven’t got round to releasing it – originally I just hadn’t had time to paint one, but then I finally managed to get that done. It was then supposed to have been rolled in with last week’s release of the Neo-Soviet tank hunters, but again was somehow missed off (the vehicle got onto the website, but news of it was missed from the blog post). I blame this damn summer cold I’m suffering from…

Anyway, it’s a support version of the Xarledi grav tank, armed with a short barrelled fusion cannon in place of the mass driver. It’s available now from the website (and in fact has been since last Friday !).

SF15-1101a – Xarledi Support Tank – £9.00

Tank Hunters

The Neo-Soviet Union armed forces are continuing the rollout of their new series of heavy armoured vehicles. The ISU-135 Mech and and ISU-175 Volk are the latest generation Tank Hunter and Assault Gun respectively. Based on the common Bars chassis, both feature the same fixed superstructure but carry different weapons – the Mech a 135mm long-barrelled DS gun, the Volk a massive 175mm low-velocity howitzer for clearing fortifications and strongpoints.

Both have a choice of secondary weapon – tri-barrel gatling, twin missile launcher or long-range sensor pod.

Also available is a 5-piece armour kit to upgrade vehicles from the Bars/Vombat/Terminator/Mech/Volk family. Includes sideskirts (fit any vehicle), bow armour plate (fits any tank) and two turret cheek armour pieces (Vombat or Bars).

SF15-1207 – Mech Tank Hunter – £8.50
SF15-1207a – Volk Assault Gun – £8.50
SF15-1254 – Heavy Tank Armour Kit – £3.00

Federal Reinforcements

It’s time for the next batch of new models for our EuroFed spaceships range. We brought out the first wave in time for Salute, but this only replaced a small part of the existing fleet. Today we have a pair of capital ships, new versions of the Liberté battleship and Cerbere light carrier. These two have changed in design more than some of the other new models, being based on a similar hull that has the same design styling as the Milano and Umberto. At the other end of the scale we also have the diminutive Comète starfighter, tiny but with an amazing amount of detail for something so small.

The release also includes a fleet pack containing a Liberté and a Cerbere along with escorts, fighters and bases. Fleet pack #2 also has a slight change in contents, with the new Comète class replacing the Meteore in that pack.

SFS-400 – Liberté class Battleship – £6.00
SFS-411 – Cerbere class Light Carrier – £6.00
SFS-460 – Comète class Interceptor (pack of 12) – £1.50

SFSP-401 – EuroFed Fleet Pack #1 – £22.00

There will be a further release or two later in the year with new versions of the rest of the EuroFed fleet, possibly with something new as well.

Upgrading the Empire

As the next stage in our gradual resculpting of the Aeronef range, we’re pleased today to be able to release five new capital ships for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Three of the models replace their existing battleship designs (the Erzherzog Ferdinand Max, Budapest and Szent István class battleships) while two are new designs. All have new resin hulls with the customary collection of metal fittings – turrets, masts, funnels and tails.

The Ferdinand Max and Szent István share a similar (but not identical) hull design but differ in important details, with the Austrian-built Ferdinand Max having one main and one secondary turret along with a heavy broadside battery in casemate mounts in the amidships and aft superstructures. The Hungarian built Szent István replaces much of this fixed armament with a heavier turreted layout including moving the secondaries to turrets. The Szent class also has improved steering vanes and a for’d steering house under A turret along with bridge wings, improving on the limited view of the aft bridge on the Ferdinand class.

The Budapest is a lighter vessel, more of a battlecruiser size but without the speed. Armament is concentrated in two single turrets for’d along with a respectable secondary battery and upper deck mounted rocket tubes.

The Viribus Unitas dreadnought may be familiar to more venerable Aeronef gamers – long, long ago I wrote an article on our website about converting a Ferdinand Max model to the Viribus Unitas class by extending the hull and adding to the armament. This version of the Viribus is similarly an extended Ferdinand with an extra main turret.

Finally, the Habsburg class utilises the semi-rigid dirigible hull of the Kaiserin class fighter carrier, but replaces the flight deck with a substantial mixed main battery, and the flank anti-fighter turrets are replaced by eight secondary gun turrets. The result is a powerful vessel with very heavy hitting power but less armour than a conventional vessel.

The three existing models are already in fleet packs, and we’ve created an extra fleet pack with a Habsburg and Viribus Unitas in, along with escorts. There’s a new flag sheet too, the older yellow-black Austrian Empire one. And although the older models are technically being retired, they’ll still be available to anyone who already has some and wants compatible models – just go to the page for the new versions and scroll down, then you’ll see a link allowing you to buy the old version.

VAN-704 – Erzherzog Ferdinand Max – £7.00
VAN-706 – Budapest – £6.00
VAN-708 – Szent István – £7.00
VAN-714 – Habsburg – £9.00
VAN-715 – Viribus Unitas – £7.50

VANFP-704 – Austro-Hungarian Fleet Pack #3 – £22.00

VANF-703 – Austrian Empire Flags – £0.50

Squadron Commander Update

Following the release of the new Neo-Soviet and British Squadron Commander models, I’ve given the rulebook an update and added profiles for the four new fighters.

For those who haven’t come across it before, Squadron Commander:Reheat is a game of starfighter combat in deep space. It’s supported by a range of 1/300th scale metal miniatures for over half-a-dozen different forces which tie into the existing background of our other SF ranges. The Squadron Commander rulebook is free to download from our website, along with fighter playsheets and game aids such as counters and quick-play sheets.

Last Minute Town-Planning

As we prepare for The Joy of Six on Sunday, today sees the last of our month-long series of new 6mm releases. Our selection of 6mm scale SF buildings is ever-growing, and we’re adding five* more new items to the Desert Buildings and Desert Domes ranges.

There are two new large town buildings, the Guildhall and the Customs House, in a similar style to our existing buildings.

Something new are these two walled compounds, which can either be used in a town or smaller settlement, or make ideal stand-alone farmsteads. They’re cast on integral bases, which are as thin as we can possibly make them.

The final building is in the Desert Domes range (although the Desert Buildings and Desert Domes set are really interchangeable) – a small circular dwelling set on a platform reached by steps.

We’ll have stock of these on Sunday (although not a huge number – best get to me early if you want to make sure of getting some) along with all of our new vehicles and figures, along with a huge selection of existing models.

B300-139 – Guildhall – £4.00
B300-140 – Customs House – £4.00
B300-142 – Walled Compound #2 – £2.25
B300-143 – Walled Compound #3 – £2.00
B300-412 – Circular Dwelling on Platform – £2.00

* – there should have been six new buildings today, but someone (no names, no pack drill) forgot to add the last one to the list before ordering the masters, which is why the code numbers aren’t contiguous…

Mercenary Scouts

Today we’re releasing two new vehicles for our 6mm Mercenary Brigade force, bringing the small-scale range into line with their 15mm counterparts.

The first is the Mantra Cavalry Vehicle. Based on the drive train of the Shaman tank, this is an open-topped fast recce vehicle which dispenses huge amounts of firepower from the three crew-served gatlings in the rear compartment. The gunners are protected from shrapnel by an overhead splinter screen.

The Shinigami is the Mantra’s predecessor, essentially an extended jeep with two gatlings in the unprotected rear deck.

Both models are metal castings with separate guns. The Mantra’s splinter screen is an etched-brass piece – it just needs to be cut out of its frame and the legs bent downwards 90°, which then pop into position on the chassis with a drop of superglue. Both models are available individually or in a Recce Troop pack containing six of each model along with a pair of Wizard jeeps.

SF300-1506 – Mantra Cavalry Vehicle – £1.00
SF300-1510 – Shinigami Combat Car – £0.60
IC-1516 – Mercenary Scout Troop – £9.50