Some of our models have been around for a while … well, we are 26 years old as a company. Some of the older moulds are wearing out, and need replacing, so as a slow but ongoing process we’re going to take some of our more venerable models and resculpt them before making new moulds. One of the first of these is the French Charlemagne battlecruiser in the Aeronef range. This has code number VAN-401 – in other words, it was the first French Aeronef ever produced.
I’ve redesigned it with a slight tumblehome hull but it’s still recognisable as the same ship. Through the wonders of digital technology I’ve created three variants of the hull and three different superstructures with varying armaments. In theory all of these should be interchangeable, so it will be possible to create nine slightly different models.
We’re all geared up for SELWG on Sunday – the casting is all done and we’re well stocked.
We do have a few new items for the day, some of which aren’t on the website and won’t be for several weeks yet.
In 15mm we have some pre-release samples of the PacFed Angelshark VTOL and South African Hippo truck. We only have very small numbers, since they aren’t officially released yet we haven’t stocked up (it literally is just 3-4 of each, so get in early if you want to pick up one).
A model we’ve had kicking around for a while but which we haven’t been able to release is our 2mm scale airship hangar (only partly caused by Phil somehow managing to lose the masters for the metal parts…). The design is based on that of one of the sheds at Cardington in Bedfordshire, although somewhat scaled down – these work out at just over 400 feet long, compared to the 700-foot length of the original. It is still large enough to house one of our Schleswig-Holstein digs, or several smaller vessels.
The model consists of a resin main structure with metal doors and struts – the doors can be assembled open or closed. I’m sure that with some clever work with magnets it would be possible to have both options.
We still don’t have a definite release date, although it will definitely be this year. In the meantime you can buy a slightly different version from Shapeways, complete with loads of interior girder detail.
Last weekend I was lucky to get in some gaming time with a couple of good friends, Robin Fitton (the author of Gruntz) and Jon Rogers (creator of the superb Arbuthnot’s League Aeronef game of a few years back). They provided all of the models, Jon with his US Great White Fleet and Rob with his freshly painted British. I commanded the British against Jon, with Rob umpiring. I didn’t take detailed notes of the action, but it’s safe to say that my rookie mistake of splitting my forces allowed Jon to quite decisively win the day 🙁
The two sets of models looked superb and I did spend the day taking plenty of photos (perhaps I should have concentrated more on my tactics!) – here’s a selection below.
Jon’s US fleet is pretty unique in that it doesn’t actually have any American vessels in it – instead he’s just picked his favourite models (mostly Austro-Hungarian, although his flagship is a French Loire) and painted them in suitable colours, after first giving them lots of super-detailing. Rob’s British are more conventional, but they are excellently painted – they are the ones that illustrate our website.
Rob provided the vinyl sea mat, the islands are Jon’s handiwork while my contribution was a few coastal forts and buildings.
Some brand new stuff here, some of which might not have been seen before.
I’ve been running several new moulds (I’d have done more if it hadn’t starting raining – the English weather, as usual, is alternating between rain and stifling hot) and thought I’d show the results.
We have half-a-dozen new resin items in 6mm and 2mm. There’s a 6mm repair station, munitions bunker and primitive dwelling for the Desert Buildings range:
And three French coastal forts for the 2mm range; Fort Louvois (Marennes, about 6 miles from Rochefort), Fort Lupin (on the Charente estuary leading to Rochefort) and Fort Boyard (in the Pertuis d’Antioche straits, once again guarding the approaches to Rochefort, and instantly recognisable to fans of rubbish 90s TV game shows).
Behind that is an Aeronef hangar – this model is already available from our Shapeways site (and it’s worth considering as the interior has loads of great internal girder detail). Obviously this resin version is a bit more solid, but it will have separate metal external doors and struts, and is designed to handle one of our Schleswig-Holstein digs.
As always, bear in mind these are early castings from brand new moulds so there’s the odd air bubble and bit that still needs to be debugged. The 6mm buildings are in the release schedule for the next 3-4 weeks, while the forts need a metal mould for additional parts (turret tops and towers, etc) so will be a week or two longer. The hangar is pretty imminent …
Blast-tastic! is a new show organised by our chum Michael at Angel Barracks. It’s aimed squarely at SF gaming and will take place on October 4th on Filton, Bristol. We will be there along with a number of other SF traders, and there are several games lined up for you to take part in. For more information see the Blast-tastic! page on the Angel Barracks site.
A while back (a couple of years ago) we were asked by a rules writer if we could produce a base for spaceships that could accommodate two of our small six-sided dice. This we duly did, but unfortunately the set of rules in question didn’t seem to go anywhere.
However, we still have the mould and thought that it sill might be a useful item for other games systems. The base (shown here modelled by a German Dortmund class battlecruiser Scharnhorst) is a solid metal item, 28mm across flats so larger than our normal flying stands, and is supplied with the same type of plastic post. It’s solid enough to provide a very stable base for a large spaceship and has two side-by-side recesses to hold a pair of the small d6 from our Accessories range (dice are not supplied with the base).
This type of base would be useful for marking speed or acceleration, damage or shield values, altitude for aircraft, or anything else you could think of. Or just for keeping bigger ships upright !
Grand Scale Games in Indianapolis specialises in very small scale (2mm) gaming and Nick now stocks many of the items from our Land Ironclads and Aeronef ranges. We often get asked about Aeronef stockists in North America – now we have one again.
One task we’re slowly but steadily working through is to improve the quality of the photos on the website so that all of our models are shown at their best. We have a large and steadily increasing range of 1100+ models so as you can imagine this is a time-consuming exercise. Although we’re doing much of this work ourselves (I like painting, so it’s hardly a chore), some of the painting has been done by various friends who have volunteered their services. One such is Robin Fitton, author of the Gruntz ruleset, talented brush-wielder and all-round good egg. He took on the Herculean task of painting and photographing the whole of our British Aeronef fleet, and has made a cracking job of it.
I’ve already inserted his photographs into the British pages on the website, but we feel that they’re deserving of a wider audience, so here’s a gallery of highlights. Robin has assembled and painted the models ‘as-is’, without any modifications or super-detailing (that will come later) so you can see what can be achieved with them out of the box.
There are 170 models in the Nef range already, with scope to expand, so I’m not sure Robin’s quite grasped the task he’s taken on ! However, he’s already working on the next fleet – we look forward to seeing that one as well.
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you might have seen the odd post from me at Stoke Rochford Hall during the gaming weekend held there. If was a splendid weekend with two excellent dinners, gaming all day Saturday and Sunday morning, held in the superb venue of a country house built in 1840 (imagine Downton Abbey and you’re halfway there).
Both days saw two games being held, a large Aeronef fleet action on one table and games of 15mm Gruntz on the other (Robin Fitton, the author of Gruntz, was one of the attendees). As a further attraction (if you needed one), I took up a small selection of Brigade stock, mostly Aeronef, 2mm Scenery and Land Ironclads, in keeping with the main theme of the event (I would have taken some 15mm stock as well, but the sale has wiped out our stocks of resin items so I didn’t have a great deal to take !). It was a chance for everyone to delve into the drawers of Nef and LI and pick out exactly what they needed, especially with me suffering a chronic inability to add up and continually undercharging.
Friday evening saw everyone arrive for dinner, nominally at eight but it ended up being eight-thirty by the time everyone had arrived. The menu at SRH is superb, as was the wine chosen by our host, Dave Frampton, and I retired well after midnight after an evening spent recounting gaming stories.
On Saturday, very slightly hungover, I played in a titanic Aeronef fleet action with over 150 vessels fighting over the disputed (and little known) Danish Virgin Islands. Forces from Italy, Denmark, the USA and a large bunch of pirates fought themselves to a standstill, with the Italian/Pirate alliance of convenience triumphing.
On another table, Robin’s superb scratchbuilt 15mm scenery played host to a skirmish game which I failed to take any photos of – however, I’m sure Robin will have plenty.
Saturday night’s dinner was fancy dress or dinner jacket, with everyone joining in. Some splendid Admiral’s uniforms appeared, along with Biggles, the Turk and several very smart DJs. It should be noted that the medals on our host Dave’s chest (far left in the first photo) are real, not part of a costume …
On the Sunday I was able to give the Gruntz rules a try – having heard many good things about them I’d never had the chance to play, so was very grateful to be able to join in Trevor Brown’s game. The rules are completely different in flavour to the Hammer’s Slammers Crucible set we played recently, being a more skirmish level set but still capable of handling reasonable numbers of tanks and vehicles.
That concluded the weekend’s action, with a long drive home in prospect I set off just after lunchtime.
We’ve provisionally planned a date for another SRH event next year, slightly earlier at the end of January – and we’re already planning the game (the Aeronef Battle of Jutland !).