Spanish Flat-top

Our Spanish Aeronef models, released two Salutes ago in 2017, have been very popular so far. Although a fairly well-rounded fleet, they’ve been missing one class of ship, namely an aircraft carrier. I previewed a CGI design a little while back and at Salute this year the physical model will make its appearance.

The Príncipe de Asturias class are large vessels with a main deck that flares out beyond the main hull. At each corner is an AA turret, with maintenance hangars at each end of the deck and twin funnels either side. The narrow flight deck arcs over the top, with the tiny main bridge at flight deck level on the port side.

VAN-1910 – Príncipe de Asturias class Carrier – £9.00

Looking Grande

Salute 2019 is approaching quickly – it’s earlier than usual, April 6th, so is just over three weeks away. As always we’ll have a raft of new releases, and today is the day we start previewing them.

First on the list is this splendid example of Italianate aerial architecture – its full title is the battlecruiser Grande Ammiraglio dei cieli Silvio la Verde, although we’ll shorten that down to the la Verde class so it fits in the catalogue. It’s the largest vessel in the Italian Aeronef fleet and is often used as a fleet flagship. The la Verde class are sleek, speedy and manoeuvrable with heavy hitting power, although let down by weak armour in some areas.

VAN-1809 – Ammiraglio la Verde class Battlecruiser – £8.00

Victory or Death

It’s been a busy week … the slight downside of going away for a few days is that there tends to be a bit of a backlog of orders when I return, so I’ve been ploughing through those this week – hence the lack of posts on here. I’ve pretty much caught up and everything should be back to normal by the end of this week.

We also missed out on a release last week – we were all primed and ready to go when a flaw was spotted in one of the new moulds at the last minute, so we held off until it could be remade. All is good to go now, so if you’d like to settle down, we’d like to present the latest new releases in the Aeronef range…

Years ago, Phil came up with a single Aeronef model for the Chilean aerial fleet – the Santiago, a battleship with two massive quadruple turrets and not a lot else. This was later joined by a single small escort vessel, and that has been the extent of it for the Chileans.

Today the Chilean fleet gets a boost to become one of the better equipped South American aero-navies. The Santiago has been replaced by a new resin-hulled design with separate turrets and metal fittings, and there are several new cruiser and escort designs.

The Santiago’s all-big-gun layout gives it massive firepower to take on enemy capital ships but, apart from two small support turrets, it’s pretty much unprotected against smaller vessels and aircraft. For this reason, the Chilean fleet features a lot of escort vessels equipped with small rapid-fire guns and AA turrets. There are also torpedo and patrol boats to complete the mix.

VANFP-1601 – Chilean Fleet Pack – £22.00
VANFP-1611 – Chilean Torpedo Flotilla – £4.00

VAN-1601 – Santiago class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-1602 – Encalada class Escort Cruiser – £3.50
VAN-1603 – Chacabuco class Light Cruiser – £3.00
VAN-1603a – Pinto class Light AA Cruiser – £3.00
VAN-1604 – Esmerelda class Torpedo Frigate – £1.00
VAN-1605 – Serrano class Frigate – £1.00
VAN-1605a – Condell class AA Frigate – £1.00
VAN-1606 – Anchova class Patrol Boat – £0.50
VAN-1607 – Riveros class Torpedo Boat – £0.50

Pacific Thunder

Today sees the final part of stage #1 of our programme to update all of our older Aeronef models. The final one of the big six major powers, the USA, has at last received the planned overhaul of their three older capital ships. The Texas, Maine and Lincoln battleships have all been replaced by new resin and metal designs, joining their counterparts in the other aero-navies of the world.

The Texas is the oldest of the three (the original Texas sculpt was the oldest original Aeronef battleship model remaining in production) and the design reflects a vessel of an earlier era, with a secondary broadside battery in casemates in the superstructure. We’ve also taken a cue from early US naval battleships with the superimposed main turrets – these aren’t able to rotate independently, the upper turret is fixed to the lower one.

The Maine follows a similar deck layout to the Texas but with updated turrets and superstructure. It also has a more conventional superstructure and like the Texas it has a fire control and steering bridge at the top of its bipod masts.

The Lincoln is a much more up-to-date vessel with multi-layered armament in turrets and casemates. Its secondary role as a carrier escort is reflected in the pair of anti-aircraft turrets amidships.

The three new vessels are available individually or in fleet packs – each pack has two battleships plus escorts. The US Grand Fleet pack has also been updated, with one each of the new battleships plus a Lexington battlecruiser and eleven escort vessels. The four new types of turrets on these ships are also available in our Aeronef Accessories range.

VAN-205 – Texas class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-207 – Maine class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-212 – Lincoln class Battleship – £8.50

VAN-7023 – US Twin Square Medium Turrets (x12) – £1.50
VAN-7024 – US Twin Round Medium Turrets (x12) – £1.50
VAN-7025 – US Superimposed Heavy Turrets (x5) – £1.50
VAN-7026 – US Twin Heavy Turrets (x10) – £1.50
VAN-7027 – US Battleship Masts (x6) – £1.50

VANFP-022 – US Grand Fleet Pack – £48.00
VANFP-201 – US Fleet Pack #1 – £22.00
VANFP-202 – US Fleet Pack #2 – £22.00
VANFP-203 – US Fleet Pack #3 – £22.00

Stage #2 of the upgrade programme – replacing all of the smaller vessels – begins soon, with the British fleet the first to get new cruisers and destroyers.

And finally, as always, a shout-out to Dom’s Decals for the tail markings.

Aeronef Previews

First off, the latest sale update … we’ve shipped all but three orders from November, so I’m currently about four days behind – which isn’t too bad, it means I’m at least keeping up and not slipping any further. I’m hoping that we can repeat last year’s achievement of clearing everything before the Christmas holiday starts.

In between stints at the workshop I’ve been doing a little bit of design work. One of our goals for next year is to start replacing all of the cruisers and escorts for the major powers now that we’ve finished the capital ships (well nearly – the USA will get their new models first thing in January). We’ll start with the British, with the aim of having those ready for release at Salute in April. There are seven models to be replaced, and we’re also hoping to squeeze in a couple of new designs as well.

As you can see, I’ve based these new ones on the existing designs but with the addition of separate turrets on the larger vessels (which then gives us the option of offering an AA version of the Arethusa by swapping out the gun turrets for AA ones). And they’ll generally just be slightly better overall with more details and little touches like windows that are inset rather than proud of the surface.

Exeter heavy cruiser
Arethusa destroyer
Frigates (l-r) Steadfast, Cossack, Osprey, Cygnet
Orion Light Cruiser

Painted Japanese

One last post before the weekend – I’ve finished painting the new Japanese Aeronef and these are ready to go at Tabletop Gaming Live.

There are four new models – from left to right these are the new Shinano class dreadnought, and new versions of the Yamashiro and Yashima battleships, and the Ryujo fleet carrier. We have stocks of all of these models and fleet packs (the only thing I didn’t manage was to create a new fleet pack with the Shinano in – that will have to wait until they hit the website next week).

VAN-602 – Yashima class Battleship – £7.50
VAN-603 – Ryujo class Carrier – £9.00
VAN-615 – Yamashiro class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-617 – Shinano class Dreadnought – £8.00

Avanti Italia!

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

Die Luftschiffflotte

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

VANFP-023 – German Grand Fleet Pack – £48.00
VANFP-301 – German Fleet Pack #1 – £22.00
VANFP-302 – German Fleet Pack #2 – £22.00
VANFP-304 – German Fleet Pack #3 – £22.00
VANFP-306 – German Carrier Pack – £22.00

This now just leaves us the two Pacific powers, USA and Japan, to be updated, which will be completed by the end of the year.

Furious Joins the Fleet

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.

VAN-122 – SE-32 Fitton Scout (x6) – £1.25
VAN-123 – Thornton TA-7 2-seat Fighter (x6) – £1.50
VAN-124 – Furious Class Fighter Carrier – £8.50
VAN-125 – Ark Royal class Airship Tender – £8.00
VANFP-105 – British Carrier Pack – £22.00

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.

No, wait – there’s more !

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).