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.
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.
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
Remember those merchant spaceships we previewed before Salute? And how they didn’t quite make it, but we promised to remake the mould and get them out as soon as possible? Well, here’s a second set of masters with a few repairs and tweaks, which are being remoulded with a view to getting them out very, very soon.
And staying non-combatant and merchant-y, how about some new Aeronef merchants ? We have a small number of British and French merchant vessels already, and here are a couple of German vessels – a small coal lighter (left) and light freighter. The lighter will have coal modelled in the hold in the final version.
It’s Good Friday today, which is a public holiday in the UK. This means I get a day off (woot !) but the shorter working week also means no new releases this time – and with Salute looming large on the horizon, we’re at the stage where we hoard all our new stuff for the show.
However, I came across an article yesterday on the BBC website about the national flag referendum in New Zealand, which led to a few clicks round the web and ended up with me discovering the state flag of Hawaii. I had no idea that the flag of one a US state contained, of all things, the Union Flag, especially since Hawaii has never been a UK territory. According to Wikipedia the origins of the flag aren’t clear, but I still thought it would be an interesting addition to our range of self-adhesive Aeronef flags.
While I was there I drew up a couple of others that might be useful, including the national and naval flags of Cuba (handy for the Span-Am war).
VAN-204 – Confederate National Flag – £0.50 VAN-205 – Hawaiian State Flag – £0.50 VAN-2801 – Cuban National Flag – £0.50 VAN-2802 – Cuban Naval Jack – £0.50 VAN-2901 – Romanian National Flag – £0.50
Having teased you all with CGI previews of the new Imperial Skies designs, we can show how much progress we’ve already made on the models themselves – quite a lot, in fact. When I wrote the posts on the Kaiser, Gauloise and Vanguard we had only just ordered the 3D prints. Now, just 10 days later, we have moulds for the resin hulls and master moulds for many of the metal parts. The only missing items on the models are many of the turrets – and that’s simply because there’s a finite limit to how fast Phil can produce moulds, and the moulds for those aren’t ready yet. We now have a pretty good idea of numbers required to fulfil the Kickstarter pledges and we’ll start producing stock immediately.
The final preview of our new ships for Imperial Skies is the British Vanguard battleship. We’ve given it some slightly different armament in the form of two very large barbette weapons, plus a number of more conventional secondary turrets on the broadside.
Progress has been good with these models – we already have the masters printed, cleaned up and ready for moulding (in fact the moulds for the resin hulls of the three larger vessels have already been made). Here’s a shot of all four side by side before moulding, which should give a good idea of the size of the German and French vessels.
After yesterday’s preview of the Kaiser, today it’s the turn of the French. This is the Gaulois, which started off as a battleship but has ended up growing to the size of a dreadnought. The main turrets and masts are the same as those from the Charlemagne battlecruiser, but the secondary turrets are new models.
We showed some preview screen grabs of the USS Lexington battlecruiser a few weeks ago, one of the four stretch goal models we agreed to produce as part of the Imperial Skies Kickstarter campaign. Today we’re showing another, the German Kaiser class Dreadnought. It follows similar design lines to the existing Blucher and Markgraf, just bigger !
The turrets are all new and will be made available as separate packs.
The Lexington is one of the new models we pledged to produce as a result of the Imperial Skies Kickstarter campaign. It’s a battlecruiser class, and we decided to do something a bit different, going for a cross between a Civil War ironclad and a stealth submarine ! It has four very large main guns in semi-circular armoured citadels, a broadside battery of secondaries either side and two aerial torpedoes.
These are screen grabs of the 3D model, it won’t be going off for printing until the other three models are ready.
As a bit of Monday morning eye-candy, here are some photos of an Aeronef game run at the Houston Beer and Pretzels club recently. The game, as the name suggests, was a Mediterranean encounter featuring some splendidly painted Ottomans, Austro-Hungarians and British. We’ve put a few photos below, but you can go the the HBP site for more (and other Aeronef galleries besides).
UPDATE – an AAR has been added to their blog which is a bit of fun 🙂