The first of the new Imperial Skies Kickstarter models to be launched is the British battleship Vanguard.
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 !).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.