We seem to be on a roll with our Aeronef updates as we gradually redesign the range. In between the major fleets, we’ve also found time to update some of the other fleets, and this week the Italians get an upgrade with new versions of their two battleships. The Re d’Italia and Guilo Cesare are smaller vessels, not up to the size of some of huge battlewagons of the major powers, but perfectly adequate to face off against the Austro-Hungarians in their seemingly permanent squabble over the Adriatic Sea.
As with all of our updates, the models now get separate turrets of a new design, which are also available as accessory packs. The hulls are resin, with metal funnels, tails, turrets and masts.
I wanted to do something different with the Italian colour scheme, so I took a cue from my friend Silvio, who owns the largest Italian Aeronef fleet in existence. I went for conventional black hulls, but painted the superstructures and turrets in Azzurri blue (the paint I used is Citadel Caledor Sky). They were painted in my usual base/wash/highlight style and finished with tail markings from Dom’s Decals.
The Italian fleet pack has also been updated, and now contains a Re d’Italia, two Cesares and escorts
VANFP-1801 – Italian Fleet Pack – £22.00 VAN-1801 – Giulo Cesare class Light Battleship – £6.00 VAN-1802 – Re d’Italia class Battleship – £7.00 VAN-7181 – Italian Twin Turrets (x10) – £1.50 VAN-7182 – Italian Triple Turrets (x10) – £1.50
The German Aeronef Fleet is the latest one to be updated, with the existing battleship and battlecruiser models replaced with new designs. In addition, there are two new models, the Derfflinger class Battlecruiser and Weser class Carrier.
All of the new models are digital sculpts featuring resin hulls with metal fittings. Turrets are now separate parts along with metal tails, masts and other parts.
The existing fleet packs have been updated with the new models (VANFP-301, 302 and 304, which now contains one Moltke and one Derfflinger) as has the Grand Fleet Pack, and there’s a new carrier pack.
VAN-301 – Blücher class Battleship – £8.00 VAN-307 – Markgraf class Battleship – £8.00 VAN-312 – Moltke class Battlecruiser – £7.00 VAN-323 – Derfflinger class Battlecruiser – £7.00 VAN-324 – Weser class Carrier – £9.00
Having replaced all of the British Aeronef capital ships earlier this year, it’s now time for the carrier aviation side of the fleet to get a makeover. Joining the fleet today is the Furious class aircraft carrier, a long, slender vessel with a full length flight deck. The ends of the hangar deck are open so aircraft can also be flown off the short lower flight deck forward. The Furious is armed with a battery of six anti-aircraft turrets to ward off attackers.
The Furious carries eighteen fighters of new design. The usual mix is twelve single-seat scout fighters, and six larger two-seater fighter-bombers. The latest aircraft to enter service, both specifically designed for the Furious, are the Fitton Scout and the Thornton 2-seater.
A rather more unusual vessel is the Ark Royal class airship tender. This has a huge hangar amidships with space for two fully inflated dirigibles, or as many as six gondolas can be carried with their gasbags deflated – the ship also carries enough liquified helium to inflate them. Converted from merchant vessels, they’re heavily armed with two cruiser turrets for’d and anti-aircraft turrets on top of the hangar.
The Furious replaces the older Albion carrier model which is being withdrawn and will also be replaced by a new model later in the year. We’ve updated the contents of the British Carrier Pack with the Furious and new fighters as well.
And you thought we’d finished the Salute releases … actually so did we. I shall be brief here, as I still have a thousand and one jobs to do and writing long blog posts isn’t one of them ! Painting display models is, but I suspect that these will have to remain in their undercoat for Saturday.
The next Aeronef fleet to benefit from an upgrade is the German Luftschiffeflotte. We’ve replaced the three German capital ships (the Blucher and Markgraf battleships and the Moltke battlecruiser) and added a new model, the Derfflinger class battlecruiser for good measure.
And that’s not all – the Germans now have something to fly their Dreidecker fighters from with the arrival of the Weser class carrier.
VAN-301 – Blücher class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-307 – Markgraf class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-312 – Moltke class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-323 – Derfflinger class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-324 – Weser class Carrier – £9.00
VANFP-306 – German Carrier Pack – £22.00
The models in the existing fleet packs will be replaced by new ones (VANFP-301, 302 and 304, which will now contain one Moltke and one Derfflinger) and there’s a new carrier pack. Stocks of these, especially the Weser, will be limited to just a handful – I only started production this week – so you’ll need to be early.
That really is pretty much it for Salute, barring any more last-minute additions (which could still happen, you never know…). The Salute 2018 page has a list of all of our new releases (or will do when I add the last bits and pieces to it).
So, with exactly two weeks to go until the doors to Salute are thrown open, it’s high time we set up our Salute releases page for this year. This page is where you’ll find the definitive list of confirmed releases at the show, including prices and codes. Nothing gets added to this page unless we’re certain that we’ll have on the day. The page will sit at the top of the blog until the 14th so it’s easily accessible. Some of the photos will be of unpainted or undercoated models, but as they get painted I’ll do my best to update them. This year we are a little behind with this page, so expect new items to be added at quite a rate.
Although we’ll have everything here available at the show, we’ll stagger the addition of the releases onto the website – that is simply to avoid us being flooded with a huge pile of orders for the new items. We’d rather regulate the flow of new stuff – that way we avoid getting behind on orders, which no-one wants. As we did last year, we’ve put the intended website release date to each range.
We’re happy to take advance orders if you’d like to reserve any items, new or existing. You can either e-mail us and send a list to be paid for on the day (cash or card), or you can use the ‘Collect in Person’ shipping option on the website to place an order without paying any postage charges. Please place any orders by Sunday 8th April to give us a chance of processing them.
Hammer’s Slammers – 15mm Website release dates: Monday 7th May – Friday 11th May
The final phase of our British Aeronef replacement programme is a new fighter carrier model. This is the Furious, a two-deck vessel which carries up to 18 fighters. The model is resin hulled with a separate full-length metal flight deck and other bits. The main hangar deck is visible from the end and sides, so we’re looking forward to seeing lots of aerial mini-dioramas of the interior.
The Furious carries two new types of fighter aircraft – the Fitton SE-32 Scout biplane fighter, and Thornton Aviation’s TA-7 2-seat pusher heavy fighter. Both new models will also be available at Salute.
The fourth new British Aeronef is the Ark Royal, an Airship tender. Based on a commercial merchant hull, this has a massive blimp hangar amidships and a decent light cruiser armament in two forward turrets.
The weather is still pretty grim here – we’ve had more snow with another bout forecast for this afternoon. I haven’t ventured to the workshop at all since Monday, although main roads are clear the back routes are still tricky to negotiate. So, if you have an outstanding order with us (anything placed since last Sunday) then there will be a bit of a delay. The forecast is for a bit of a thaw from Sunday – the temperatures should at least climb above freezing – so I’ll get back to the workshop on Monday and should have the backlog cleared in a couple of days.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to postpone this week’s new release until I’ve cleared the order queue. Phil has also been off work for part of this week as his office was closed, so he’s taken the chance to get ahead with mould production so we have more new stuff ready to release.
I haven’t been idle – apart from walking the dog in the snow (which she loved, as you can see) I’ve been painting some new bits – I’ve now finished all of our new releases for the next four weeks. And looking further ahead, Salute is now just six weeks away. As regular readers of our blog will know, we like to have lots of shiny new releases to tempt you with at the show (and to make our overseas customers envious). This year’s focus is firmly on 15mm Sci-Fi and in particular Hammer’s Slammers – if all goes well we could have as many as a dozen new vehicles in lots of variants. We’re working on some important vehicle types that feature in a number of the detachment lists with the aim of making it possible to create those detachments again. The design work for these is mostly done, and we already have the masters for many of them cleaned up and prepped for moulding (a couple have already been moulded in fact). And the hope is that we’ll get as many of these vehicles as possible available in 6mm as well.
It won’t be all Slammers though – there are half-a-dozen spaceship masters on my workbench, some Aeronef in the works and today I’m working on new 2mm scale buildings. Oh, and we’ve commissioned some new (and unusual) 28mm Great War figures – Dib Dib Dib!
Having waffled on about all the new stuff, it wouldn’t be fair to leave you without at least one or two pictures – so here we are…
Following on from the arrival of the new Victoria and Albert class battleships, the rest of the British capital ships get a similar makeover this week. The Agincourt and Benbow battleships plus the Audacious and Britannia battlecruisers have all been replaced by new resin-hulled models with separate turrets and metal parts.
The Benbow, the original of which was the first Aeronef model we ever made, has three twin turrets of a new design and carries several scout fighters launched from a catapult amidships.
The Agincourt is the heaviest of this batch, does away with the aircraft and instead has four main turrets and a heavier secondary battery.
The Britannia battlecruiser has two main turrets, one triple and one twin, again of a new design.
The Audacious is similar to the Britannia but with two twin turrets and a four torpedo tubes.
We’ve revamped the existing British fleet packs with the new models, including the British Grand Fleet pack. The two new turret types are also available in separate accessory packs.
VAN-101 – Benbow class Battleship – £8.00 VAN-109 – Agincourt class Battleship – £8.00 VAN-111 – Britannia class Battlecruiser – £7.00 VAN-114 – Audacious class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-7016 – British Battleship Turrets (x10) – £1.50 VAN-7017 – British Battlecruiser Turrets (x10) – £1.50
When we recently released the new counter sets for Imperial Skies, I mentioned that I’d post about a simple method for colouring in the etched markings on those and the turn rulers. This technique was passed on to me by James at Beadspoke Designs, who do the acrylic cutting for us – I take no credit for it.
What I’ll do is take you through the marking of a turn ruler step-by-step. You’ll need the following items: your turn ruler, a POSCA acrylic paint pen (or similar) and (wait for it) a wooden clothes peg. POSCA pens can be bought in the UK in hobbycraft and other art shops, although mine came from eBay (I bought several sizes as I wasn’t sure what I would need). They aren’t expensive – I bought four for a tenner or so. You can choose your colour – I went for white on an orange set of rulers, but yellow would work just as well. Make sure you have a work surface that doesn’t matter if you get some paint on it – the pens can spatter splightly.
Peel off the backing sheet from the turn ruler (if it’s still on there) and then make sure it has no traces of finger grease or other contaminants. I gave it a quick clean with a kitchen wet-wipe, then dried it on kitchen roll.
Once it’s dry, give the pen a thorough shake, then test it on some scrap paper or card to make sure the paint is flowing. Then carefully ink in the ruler ID letter, the numbers and the lines that mark each point of movement. The lines may take a bit more effort to fill in as they’re etched a bit deeper. You should find that the paint adheres well to the rougher surface of the etched areas. You don’t need to be super-neat, but ensure that the etched areas are fully covered in paint, even if you go over the edges a bit – we’ll tidy this up later.
Now leave this for a few minutes until the paint is touch dry. In the meantime, dismantle your clothes peg – a quick twist will separate the two halves, and the spring can go in the recycling.
Once the paint is dry, we get on to the clever bit. Using the end of one half of the clothes peg, carefully rub away any paint that has gone over the edges of the etched areas. The soft wood won’t mark the shiny surface of the plastic but will remove any overspill, and the paint should stay in the recessed areas. If you get this right, you should be left with a neat set of etched markings on your turn ruler. If it isn’t quite perfect, just repaint and repeat.
It’s not a long process – I did a full set of five turn rulers in an hour, which included taking the photos and writing this up !
So here we are, starting as we mean to go on with the first releases of 2018.
As promised, the British are the latest Aeronef fleet to start receiving upgrades (this was supposed to happen last year but the arrival of the Slammers Regiment delayed things a little). The first of the old models to be replaced is the Victoria class Heavy Battleship with its three large triple gun turrets and pair of carried E-8 torpedo boats. In keeping with our other new Aeronef, the new model has a resin hull and separate metal fittings including turrets, masts and funnels.
Accompanying the Victoria is the all-new Albert class Battleship, which shares a basic hull plan but exchanges the torpedo boats for an extra main turret. Phil had always planned to make this model when we released the original Victoria, and his grand design is now finally a reality.
The Victoria’s E-8 torpedo boats are now available separately in sets of three for £1.50. They have also been redesigned to the same standard as their parent craft.
And while we were at it, it made sense to redesign the other two British small craft since they can all share a mould. So the Stingray torpedo nef and Abingdon patrol nef have had a makeover too – both are also now sold in threes, although the price per model (£0.50) remains the same as before.
We’ve created a new fleet pack, the imaginatively-named British Fleet Pack #4 which contains a Victoria, an Albert and six escort vessels. And finally for this week, the British Torpedo Flotilla has been slightly changed – it now contains three Stingrays, three E-8s and a Cossack frigate as flotilla leader plus bases.
VAN-110 – Stingray class Torpedo Nef (x3) – £1.50 VAN-113 – Abingdon class Patrol Nef (x3) – £1.50 VAN-117 – Victoria class Heavy Battleship – £9.00 VAN-120 – Albert class Dreadnought – £9.00 VAN-121 – E-8 class Torpedo Nef (x3) – £1.50
This is only the start of the British Grand Fleet’s revamp – the other battleship and battlecruiser models are in the pipeline for the next couple of months, as is the Albion carrier, and there’s another brand new model to go along with them. Once they’re all been upgraded then we’ll move on to reorganising the contents of the various fleet packs.