Sons of Fūjin

Today sees the official website release of our new, remastered Japanese Aeronef capital ships. We’ve previewed these extensively and had them for sale at Tabletop Gaming Live last weekend, so you’ve seen them before. There are four new models – replacements for the Yashima and Yamashiro battleships, and a new version of the Ryujo class carrier. There’s also a brand new ship, the Shinano class dreadnought.

All follow the new configuration of resin hull with lots of metal detail fittings, including separate turrets – the Japanese use the same types as our British battleships.

We’ve reconfigured the existing fleet packs, added a new one containing two Shinanos plus escorts, and introduced a Japanese Grand Fleet Pack for the first time.

VAN-602 – Yashima class Battleship – £7.50
VAN-603 – Ryujo class Carrier – £9.00
VAN-615 – Yamashiro class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-617 – Shinano class Dreadnought – £8.00

VANFP-026 – Japanese Grand Fleet Pack – £48.00
VANFP-601 – Japanese Fleet Pack #1 – £22.00
VANFP-602 – Japanese Carrier Pack – £22.00
VANFP-604 – Japanese Fleet Pack #2 – £22.00
VANFP-605 – Japanese Fleet Pack #3 – £22.00

That leaves us on target to complete the overhaul of all of the major powers’ capital ships by the end of the year. We’re only left with the USA to update, and the new masters arrived for those a couple of weeks’ ago (in fact Phil is already making the moulds for the metal parts).

Painted Japanese

One last post before the weekend – I’ve finished painting the new Japanese Aeronef and these are ready to go at Tabletop Gaming Live.

There are four new models – from left to right these are the new Shinano class dreadnought, and new versions of the Yamashiro and Yashima battleships, and the Ryujo fleet carrier. We have stocks of all of these models and fleet packs (the only thing I didn’t manage was to create a new fleet pack with the Shinano in – that will have to wait until they hit the website next week).

VAN-602 – Yashima class Battleship – £7.50
VAN-603 – Ryujo class Carrier – £9.00
VAN-615 – Yamashiro class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-617 – Shinano class Dreadnought – £8.00

Big in Japan

As mentioned, we’re looking to have some new releases at Tabletop Gaming Live, and these are the first of them. The Japanese Aeronef fleet is the penultimate one of the major powers to get an overhaul (the US are coming by the end of the year), with replacements for the Yamashiro and Yashima battleships and the Ryujo carrier. And as we have with the other fleets, I couldn’t resist adding an extra model, so we also have the Shinano dreadnought. The photo below is of my semi-painted prototypes, I’ll arrange for someone proper photos next week.

Long-range Patrol

As previewed a couple of days ago, today we’re launching a pair of new British Aeronef dirigibles. The first, and smaller vessel, is the LRS class (Long Range Scout) which, as the name suggests, is a patrol vessel with minimal armament but capable of long duration missions to scout out enemy fleets.

The large, twin-envelope craft is the Mantis class Dig Bomber. These vessels carry significant loads of gravity bombs for dropping on ground targets or, if the bomb-aimer is very good (or very lucky) even on enemy vessels below.

Both craft have non-rigid main envelopes using the distinctive tri-lobe design employed by British WW1 airships, with multiple independent ballonets inside each lobe to provide some measure of redundancy and damage-proofing.

Both craft can operate with the Ark Royal class Dig Tender. A group typically consisting of an Ark Royal, several conventional escort vessels and 6-8 digs would be deployed as an independent long scout unit. The digs would be sent off on patrol missions of several weeks’ duration, returning to the tender for refueling, rearmament and replenishment of their gasbags. The tender can handle either two LRS class or one Mantis class on deck, with room in the large hangar for two LRS.

VANFP-107 – British Patrol Fleet – £22.00
VAN-126 – LRS-class Patrol Dig – £1.00
VAN-127 – Mantis Dig Bomber – £2.00

Back to Normal

Two weeks after coming back from my holiday, I’ve finally managed to get back on track with orders – everything that arrived before midday on Monday has been completed, packed and posted, and for the first time in several weeks I was able to go home with no outstanding orders left over. So that’s a little ‘yay’ for me at last 🙂

As a consequence I’ve had a couple of days catching up with new releases, getting painted versions ready for the website and preparing master castings for production moulds. Apropos of nothing else, I thought you might like a quick glance of what’s sitting on the painting table today…

These are some rather nifty 15mm GEVs that were part of the former Ainsty range. We’ve spent a little while getting these into shape – the original models used a common resin-cast hull with separate
superstructures for the different versions. We’ve had the superstructures reprinted and made new moulds of each hull version as single piece castings – the only separate pieces now are the turrets and gun barrels. The production moulds are now ready, so I’m just painting up a set ready to photograph and they should be on the website in 2-3 weeks.

These Aeronef dirigibles are new British models – the original plan was that they should have been released at the same time as our Ark Royal Dig Tender (you may have seen the smaller one lurking in photos back in April), but we had a slight hitch and in the usual pre-Salute pandemonium there simply wasn’t time to fix it. Anyway, they’re ready now and will be this Friday’s new release.

And spreading the love to the vaccheads as well, how about some new spaceships ? These splendid craft were designed by James at Beadspoke Designs (pay them a visit – they make all sorts of useful laser-cut acrylic markers and templates) and we thought they were great. They are going to be introduced to our range as replacements for the old Yenpalo fleet models which are looking a little dated.

You might see other stuff in the background – I’m also in the midst of painting some fresh detachments for Hammer’s Slammers, using many of our recently released new vehicles, and there’s even a new pack or two of 15mm figures coming from the ArmiesArmy archive.

Holiday Time Again

I returned home from Sheffield where I’d been attending the Joy of Six last night, and after a brief night’s sleep, the Brigadieress and I were up and off to Dover to catch a ferry to France. By the time this is published we’ll probably be mid-channel, on our way to deepest Normandy for a week’s R&R. Although in theory the cottage has wi-fi and I will be able to read messages/emails, don’t expect any speedy turnaround on queries this week.

Obviously that means any orders will be delayed until I return – I am up-to-date to last Thursday, but anything that’s arrived since will not be dealt with until I get back to work on Tuesday 24th at the earliest (and the likelihood is that there will be a backlog that will probably take the week to clear) – so apologies if you were one of the minor deluge of orders that arrived over the weekend, but I’m afraid it’ll be next week before I can get to those.

As a bit of fun, I’ve left you with something new and appropriate – here’s a version of the flag of Normandy (this is the Nordic Cross variant apparently known as Flag of St Olaf) – now available from the website.

VANF-402 – Normandy Nordic Cross – £0.50

Avanti Italia!

We seem to be on a roll with our Aeronef updates as we gradually redesign the range. In between the major fleets, we’ve also found time to update some of the other fleets, and this week the Italians get an upgrade with new versions of their two battleships. The Re d’Italia and Guilo Cesare are smaller vessels, not up to the size of some of huge battlewagons of the major powers, but perfectly adequate to face off against the Austro-Hungarians in their seemingly permanent squabble over the Adriatic Sea.

As with all of our updates, the models now get separate turrets of a new design, which are also available as accessory packs. The hulls are resin, with metal funnels, tails, turrets and masts.

I wanted to do something different with the Italian colour scheme, so I took a cue from my friend Silvio, who owns the largest Italian Aeronef fleet in existence. I went for conventional black hulls, but painted the superstructures and turrets in Azzurri blue (the paint I used is Citadel Caledor Sky). They were painted in my usual base/wash/highlight style and finished with tail markings from Dom’s Decals.

The Italian fleet pack has also been updated, and now contains a Re d’Italia, two Cesares and escorts

VANFP-1801 – Italian Fleet Pack – £22.00
VAN-1801 – Giulo Cesare class Light Battleship – £6.00
VAN-1802 – Re d’Italia class Battleship – £7.00
VAN-7181 – Italian Twin Turrets (x10) – £1.50
VAN-7182 – Italian Triple Turrets (x10) – £1.50

Die Luftschiffflotte

The German Aeronef Fleet is the latest one to be updated, with the existing battleship and battlecruiser models replaced with new designs. In addition, there are two new models, the Derfflinger class Battlecruiser and Weser class Carrier.

All of the new models are digital sculpts featuring resin hulls with metal fittings. Turrets are now separate parts along with metal tails, masts and other parts.

The existing fleet packs have been updated with the new models (VANFP-301, 302 and 304, which now contains one Moltke and one Derfflinger) as has the Grand Fleet Pack, and there’s a new carrier pack.

VAN-301 – Blücher class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-307 – Markgraf class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-312 – Moltke class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-323 – Derfflinger class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-324 – Weser class Carrier – £9.00

VANFP-023 – German Grand Fleet Pack – £48.00
VANFP-301 – German Fleet Pack #1 – £22.00
VANFP-302 – German Fleet Pack #2 – £22.00
VANFP-304 – German Fleet Pack #3 – £22.00
VANFP-306 – German Carrier Pack – £22.00

This now just leaves us the two Pacific powers, USA and Japan, to be updated, which will be completed by the end of the year.

Furious Joins the Fleet

Having replaced all of the British Aeronef capital ships earlier this year, it’s now time for the carrier aviation side of the fleet to get a makeover. Joining the fleet today is the Furious class aircraft carrier, a long, slender vessel with a full length flight deck. The ends of the hangar deck are open so aircraft can also be flown off the short lower flight deck forward. The Furious is armed with a battery of six anti-aircraft turrets to ward off attackers.

The Furious carries eighteen fighters of new design. The usual mix is twelve single-seat scout fighters, and six larger two-seater fighter-bombers. The latest aircraft to enter service, both specifically designed for the Furious, are the Fitton Scout and the Thornton 2-seater.

A rather more unusual vessel is the Ark Royal class airship tender. This has a huge hangar amidships with space for two fully inflated dirigibles, or as many as six gondolas can be carried with their gasbags deflated – the ship also carries enough liquified helium to inflate them. Converted from merchant vessels, they’re heavily armed with two cruiser turrets for’d and anti-aircraft turrets on top of the hangar.

VAN-122 – SE-32 Fitton Scout (x6) – £1.25
VAN-123 – Thornton TA-7 2-seat Fighter (x6) – £1.50
VAN-124 – Furious Class Fighter Carrier – £8.50
VAN-125 – Ark Royal class Airship Tender – £8.00
VANFP-105 – British Carrier Pack – £22.00

The Furious replaces the older Albion carrier model which is being withdrawn and will also be replaced by a new model later in the year. We’ve updated the contents of the British Carrier Pack with the Furious and new fighters as well.

No, wait – there’s more !

And you thought we’d finished the Salute releases … actually so did we. I shall be brief here, as I still have a thousand and one jobs to do and writing long blog posts isn’t one of them ! Painting display models is, but I suspect that these will have to remain in their undercoat for Saturday.

The next Aeronef fleet to benefit from an upgrade is the German Luftschiffeflotte. We’ve replaced the three German capital ships (the Blucher and Markgraf battleships and the Moltke battlecruiser) and added a new model, the Derfflinger class battlecruiser for good measure.

And that’s not all – the Germans now have something to fly their Dreidecker fighters from with the arrival of the Weser class carrier.

VAN-301 – Blücher class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-307 – Markgraf class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-312 – Moltke class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-323 – Derfflinger class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-324 – Weser class Carrier – £9.00

VANFP-306 – German Carrier Pack – £22.00

The models in the existing fleet packs will be replaced by new ones (VANFP-301, 302 and 304, which will now contain one Moltke and one Derfflinger) and there’s a new carrier pack. Stocks of these, especially the Weser, will be limited to just a handful – I only started production this week – so you’ll need to be early.

That really is pretty much it for Salute, barring any more last-minute additions (which could still happen, you never know…). The Salute 2018 page has a list of all of our new releases (or will do when I add the last bits and pieces to it).