Jutland Refought

Over the weekend, a small but intrepid group of gamers gathered again at Stoke Rochford Hall for our latest Aeronef weekender. Joining the usual crowd all the way from Houston, TX was Andy Bouffard, who had managed to combine a business trip with a weekend’s gaming.

SRH

This time the theme was Jutland – or a refight of it using Aeronef instead of wet navy ships. The order-of-battle for Jutland is immense, with a total of 250 ships, and much e-mail discussion had ensued about how to portray this, how many of the escorting ships to use etc. In the end we decided to only portray the heaviest vessels – the battleships, battlecruisers and the eight British armoured cruisers. It was felt that the many other smaller vessels would simply clog up the table without adding much to the fight.

So the British took to the skies with 28 dreadnought battleships, nine battlecruisers and eight armoured cruisers. The Germans on the other hand had 16 dreadnoughts, six older pre-dreadnoughts and five battlecruisers. The stats for the game were derived from the real ships, by using the figures for displacement, armour, weight of broadside and speed to create Aeronef game stats. We only generated figures for hull points, gun dice, speed and turn rate – we ignored the small number of torpedo tubes carried by the capital ships since they were rarely used in battle, and bomb dice were unnecessary since there were no surface targets. I’ve made PDFs available for the Germans and British stats so you can see what we used. The German dreadnoughts were more powerful than all but the largest British vessels, but they were heavily outnumbered – the British ships totalled over 4100 points, while the Germans came to just 2500.

Things started badly for the Germans as the battlecruiser scout force got too far ahead of the main fleet and, isolated, was quickly torn to pieces. In a mirror of the historical engagement, the battlecruisers Invincible and Indomitable succumbed to magazine explosions in the same turn (we were using the “There Seems To Be Something Wrong With Our Bloody Ships !” special rule). The slugging match between the two main fleets then panned out as expected, with British firepower proving too much for the Germans, although some nifty German manoeuvring initially saw a large part of the British force left too far away to have much influence on the battle until they were able to close the range. We fought almost to the bitter end, and called a halt with just six German battleships still aloft. The Grand Fleet had been hit hard however, losing seven battlecruisers, several armoured cruisers and half-a-dozen dreadnoughts – so they could really only claim a minor victory in tactical terms, although strategically the loss of almost the whole of the Hochluftflotte would have a major bearing on the outcome of the war.

On Sunday morning we tried out Land Ironclads using Silvio la Verde’s excellently painted Italian and Austrian forces – although this was only a brief skirmish, we all saw enough to want to play more, so next year’s SRH weekend may have more of a land combat theme…

(Almost) Ready for Action

This weekend sees the latest Aeronef weekend at Stoke Rochford Hall in Lincolnshire. The theme this time is a refight of Jutland using Aeronef – we’re hoping to have all of the capital ships that were present at the real action present on the table, although not necessarily all of the cruisers and escorts !

SRP-2

We two Brigadiers are both contributing to the fleets – Phil is painting up four Victoria-class battleships which will play the part of the four heavy Queen Elizabeth-class vessels of the 5th Battle Squadron. For my part, I’ll be taking on the role of Rear Admiral Behncke, commanding the four Koenig-class battleships of the 5th Division, 3rd Battle Squadron.

SRP-3

To this end I’ve been super-detailing and painting my four ships plus some escorts. I’m going to write up a full account of the process later, but this week I’m too busy finishing them off ! In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos of the almost complete ships. They’re based on our Prussian Koenigsberg and Manteuffel class models, two of each, and the escorts are also Prussian. I’ve replaced all of the turrets and the larger funnels with bespoke 3D-printed pieces, and added fighting masts, searchlights and ship’s boats. There is some tidying-up work to be done with the painting and they still need decals. I’m also hoping to rig them although this depends on how long I have – there is still normal day-to-day Brigade work to be done as well this week.

SRP-1

Islands in the Sky

I’ve always wanted to make some flying islands for Aeronef games, but never quite seem to be able to get around to it. But the other day I happened to watch Avatar again, and the sequence amongst the Hallelujah Mountains got me thinking again, and spurred me into action.

The basis of the islands was lava rock, sold for barbecues – I’d used it in the past to make perfect asteroids for spaceship games, so I had half a box left from that project. You can get in DiY stores or supermarkets in the UK, or if you live on Hawaii, just pop up the nearest volcano… I selected half-a-dozen pieces which had a flat side which could be used to site buildings on, and drilled a hole to fit a steel screw in the base in each. This screw would then fix the islands to magnetic stands.

The top was smoothed off with ready-mixed wall filler (Polyfilla, Tetrion or similar), which was painted green when dry. This made a flat(ish) base for the buildings.

The pre-painted buildings were attached with clear glue (Uhu, Bostick etc) and the remainder of the green areas flocked. The final touch was to use a hot glue gun to stick on some trees and bushes.

Although there were points during the process when I wondered how well they were going to turn out (but then I get that in every project), on the whole I’m pretty pleased with them. I didn’t make too many this time, I wanted to have six finished ones rather than twelve which I ran out of time on. So I’ll probably make some more later – ideally I’d like to find some larger pieces of lava rock for bigger layouts.

Flying Airfield

Today we’re unveiling a new Aeronef model, and our largest to date in this range. The Langley is an American carrier which supports up to 18 fighters in its capacious hangars. It’s well equipped with anti-fighter batteries for self-defence, although with nothing in the way of offensive armament.

VAN-215

The model has been computer designed and 3D printed, but styled to fit in with the existing models in the US fleet.

VAN-215-2

The Langley is available on its own, or in a pack complete with escorts, fighters and bases. The new anti-fighter turrets are also available in a pack of 12, along with a second circular AA turret – ideal for conversions or upgrades to your existing models.

VAN-7003

VAN-215 – Langley Fighter Carrier – £9.00
VANFP-204 – US Carrier Pack – £22.00
VAN-7003 – Rectangular AA Turret (x12) – £1.50
VAN-7004 – Round AA Turret (x12) – £1.50

Imperial Skies

Amongst the games on show at Broadside last weekend was the debut of a new ruleset going by the name of Imperial Skies. They are being developed by our friend Robin Fitton, author of Gruntz, the popular 15mm set. Robin said that they seemed to go down well with players who joined in the game, and he’s making progress with a view to a release later this year.

I’ve nicked a few pictures from Robin of the game on Sunday (I’m sure he won’t mind) – you might recognise the scenery, as we lent him the terrain we made last year for the Stoke Rochford weekend.

ImperialSkies

Robin’s coming down to Maidstone next month for some playtesting, so we’ll probably have more pictures then – I’m planning to paint up some new ships and terrain in time for that.

Jutland at Stoke Rochford, take 2

Unfortunately for various reasons the last Stoke Rochford gaming weekend had to be cancelled, which meant that the planned Aeronef Jutland refight never happened. However, not to be daunted, the event has been rescheduled for October, with an expansion in scope.

It will run over the weekend of 16/17/18th of October, with bed and breakfast for two nights (Friday and Saturday) and dinner Saturday night for the bargain price of £110. Lunch is available from the bistro bar on both days. For the first time it’s also possible to book a day entry for £5 per day if you are local and don’t want to stay at the hall.

The main event will be the Aeronef Jutland refight, with VSF airships battling it out using historical orders of battle. If you would like to join in but don’t have your own models then they can be provided, or if you would like to contribute towards the forces on the table then let us know and we’ll try to fit you in.

However, with plenty of space and tables available in the conference centre, we’re also inviting gamers to come along and host their own games.

For more details or to book, email Robin Fitton – bligepipe@mac.com – who is coordinating the event.

Sr-15

Aeronef in Houston

A visual Aeronef treat for a Sunday – Andy at Houston Beer and Pretzel Wargaming (great name for a club) has sent us a bunch of photos from their annual Aeronef game, “Clash Over The Desert”. Here are a couple of samples, there are far more on their website (click on either photo to go there).

HBPW-2

HBPW-1

Aeronef Stat Update

I’ve just updated the Aeronef Profiles Page on the website with stats for all our our recent Aeronef releases, including the von Perseval and Brazilian models released last week. While I was there I made a few fixes and updates to the profile generator software – all of the stats cards are generated automagically by some code I wrote years ago that takes the profiles of each model and formats a GIF image, but this seems to have suffered from code rot and a few bugs had crept in.

All of the stats cards can be downloaded from the profiles table, and they’re also in an updated Zip file so you can pull them down at one go. They’re designed to be roughly the size of a business card so when printed out can be cut out and laminated or stored in a vinyl pocket (a bit like this – Rexel Nyrex Business Card Pocket A4 Pack of 10 13681).

VAN-513

Oryol Profile

Terror from the Skies

Today sees the release of some more models in the ever popular Aeronef range. This is a game that has been around for over a decade and a half but still has very strong sales every year.

ReleaseFeb2015

The largest model in this release is the Austro-Hungarian von Parseval dig battleship (for those not familiar with the terminology, a ‘dig’ is shorthand for dirigible – a hydrogen-filled airship). Giant airships are used to terrorise opposing populations as they fill the skies and rain bombs down on innocent civilians. The resin-cast gasbag is over 4″ long, making it almost as large as the German Schleswig-Holstein.

The other two models come from the other side of the Atlantic, with the addition of the Tamandare torpedo cruiser and Paraná class frigate to the Brazilian fleet.

VAN-712 – von Parseval class Dig Battleship – £6.00
VAN-807 – Tamandare class Torpedo Frigate – £2.00
VAN-808 – Paraná class Frigate – £0.75

If you haven’t yet been seduced by the delights of Aeronef, we have a number of starter packs available with different fleets as an inexpensive way to introduce yourself to the game.

An Alternative View of History

UPDATE – This edition of the Stoke Rochford weekends has been CANCELLED – the next event will now be in October.

We’ve just had confirmation of the next Stoke Rochford Aeronef weekend, which will be held over the weekend of the 7th/8th of March. If you’re not aware of these events (of which this is – I think – the fourth), it’s a gathering of gamers at the picturesque Stoke Rochford hotel in Lincolnshire for a weekend of good food, drink and Nef gaming. The theme for this particular event is a refight of the Battle of Jutland, but this time in the air, and the main part of the refight will take place on Saturday.

SRH

We’re planning to take the historical OrBats and reproduce them with Aeronef models – all 44 battleships, 6 pre-dreadnoughts and 14 battlecruisers. We probably won’t attempt to represent the 200 or so cruisers and destroyers, but we have to call a halt somewhere! I’ll be generating scenario-specific stats for the occasion, based on the characteristics of the ships in the battle, which I’ll publish afterwards.

The event is open to anyone who’d like to join in, no Nef experience is required and models can be provided. The fleets are large enough to handle 12-15 players with each admiral having a division of 3-4 capital ships plus escorts. this time the cost is £110 for two nights’ bed and breakfast, plus a Saturday night formal dinner. For more details, contact event organiser Dave Frampton at Stoke Rochford, or you can contact us and we’ll put you in touch.

As always, we’ll be bringing along plenty of stock of Aeronef models along with a selection from other ranges. We won’t be bringing the full stand but you can of course get in touch if there’s something specific you’d like us to bring. Even if you aren’t able to stay for the whole event you can pop in to collect some bits, have a gander at the game, a natter and even join in.

Finally, here’s a selection of pics from previous events, just to whet your appetite.