The Russians are Coming !

The four new models we created for the Imperial Skies Kickstarter were all the result of stretch goals that we hit in the campaign. There were several other goals that we didn’t quite get to, including a new Russian battleship. But in this case I decided to go ahead and make one anyway – and got so carried away that I ended up making three!

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The first model is actually a remake – it’s a new version of the Borodino class battleship, with the same layout but a new design and new turrets.

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Next up is the Poltava class dreadnought, very similar to the Borodino in styling but larger and with four turrets in a diamond layout.

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The third new model is the smaller Admiral Nakhimov class battlecruiser (although some naval experts feel she is more correctly termed a light battleship, as the class doesn’t have the speed of a conventional battlecruiser).

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All three models have resin hulls with metal turrets, funnels and masts. All are available from the website now.

VAN-506 – Borodino class Battleship – £6.50
VAN-514 – Poltava class Dreadnought – £7.50
VAN-515 – Admiral Nakhimov class Battlecruiser – £6.00

The Gaulois

The huge Gaulois class Dreadnought is a departure for the French aerial fleet, being slower and heavier than existing French vessels.

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The tumblehome-hulled ship has four heavy turrets arranged in a diamond layout with two centreline twins and two outboard singles. There is also a secondary battery of eight lighter turrets.

The main hull is a resin casting, with separate metal pieces for the turrets, tail and other fittings.

VAN-418 – Gaulois class Dreadnought – £9.00

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

Imperial Upgrade #3 – Russian Behemoths

I’ve been planning some new Russian Aeronef capital ships for a while – we rolled them into the Imperial Skies Kickstarter as a stretch goal, but the total didn’t quite get that far. However, since I had the idea for them in my head, I’ve gone ahead and made them anyway. There are three vessels altogether – a light battleship/battlecruiser, a battleship and a dreadnought. Each will have a resin hull, and will share a standard metal pair of funnels and heavy turrets – as you can see, we’ve already cast the metal parts.

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The middle ship of the three, the battleship, is based on the existing Borodino and will replace the old model. It’s pretty much the same design, just a better version with more detail. All that remains to be done is to clean up the hulls (rubbing down print lines etc) and make the resin moulds, so we’ll have them done in time so that anyone who has ordered a Russian fleet pack as part of their pledge will get these new models instead of the older ones. As with the Japanese cruisers, they’ll then go on general release.

Imperial Upgrade #2 – A Masty Business

The Imperial Skies Kickstarter requires us to cast well over 1000 Aeronef. Almost all of these have our standard masts, which have been around since the very first Aeronef releases. The mast production mould is one of the oldest we have, and is showing some signs of age and wear – we generally only get 10-12 decent castings per spin of the mould nowadays. So when we were looking at the amount of work required, one obvious thing to do was replace the mast mould with a more efficient one. Since we were making a new mould, we also decided to do it properly and remastered the masts, as the originals were almost the first piece of Aeronef model ever designed. The new ones are of the same basic size and style, but much improved in detail – see for yourselves below.

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The new mast mould produces twice as many castings per spin than the old one, cutting 3-4 hours off the casting work needed to fulfil the IS pledges. Once the pledges have shipped, the new masts will replace the old ones in all orders.

Imperial Upgrade #1 – Japanese Cruisin’

To support the Imperial Skies Kickstarter, we’ve needed to produce large numbers of models. Although we chose models that we felt we had reliable production moulds for, one or two have ended up being more troublesome than expected. One of these was the mould for the Japanese Akashi and Yakumo cruisers, which if we’re honest has needed replacing for some time. In the end, rather than make a new mould from the old masters, we’ve decided to go the whole hog and completely resculpt them, replacing the old hand-made master models with new, 3D-designed ones. We’ve kept the overall designs and dimensions pretty much the same, but in detail the models are much improved with redesigned sponson guns and, in the case of the Yakumo, separate main turrets in the bow positions. So if you ordered the Japanese fleet pack, you’ll get these shiny new versions of the two Japanese cruisers in it. Once the KS has shipped, they’ll go on general release.

New Akashi CGI

New Yakumo CGI

Lufthandel*

Our focus has been largely on ground SF lately, with the 15mm and 6mm ranges getting a number of new releases. However, Aeronef still has a large and faithful following so we like to keep the range moving with the occasional new model or two.

We have a small number of merchant Aeronef, mostly British and French, but today we’re releasing three German models. The hull forms are clearly recognisable as German, being very similar in style to their warships.

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The huge Widder freighter has a resin hull with metal components, while the two smaller vessels are all metal. Bothe the Widder and Belchen coaler have metal deck cranes to help with unloading. There is also a German Convoy pack containing seven merchants plus escort vessels to help create scenarios.

VANFP-5003 – German Merchant Convoy – £22.00
VAN-5011 – Widder class Heavy Merchant – £7.00
VAN-5012 – Belchen class Coaler – £1.50
VAN-5013 – Marburg class Lighter – £1.50

* Apologies to German speakers if this title isn’t correct – please put me right and suggest a better or more grammatically correct term for German Merchant Airships