Fallen Giants

I recently made some wreck markers for a game of Imperial Skies; they don’t serve any game purpose, but they look good 🙂

I was fielding a small but powerful French fleet, so I modelled my two capital ships (a Gaulois dreadnought and a Massena battleship), and while I was at it I added a Loire and one of the new la Verde class Italian battlecruisers.

The resin hulls were cut off at odd angles and the Gaulois was cut completely in half. They were then severely distressed with knives, clippers, files and a Dremel fitted with a grinding head. Some of the turret mountings were drilled out and gun barrels removed. The metal turrets, funnels and other bits were similarly attacked, gun barrels and masts bent before sticking them to the hulls.

They were based on textured plastic Land Ironclads bases, and the Massena’s tail was cut off and stuck at an odd angle.

Everything was sprayed black before they were given the roughest of rough paint jobs – just two additional colours, deck and superstructure. I didn’t bother painting details such as windows that I’d normally spend time over. I gave them a similarly quick drybrush rather than the usual edge highlighting, then lots of dark washes hid the rough edges.

The bases were painted in sea colours and a wash of GW Coelian Greenshade gave a suitably oily-looking surface to the water. The final touch was some fibre stuffing which was lightly sprayed black then superglued to represent smoke billowing out of various orifices.

Although they were just for aesthetic purposes in our game, they could be useful as objective markers in a game – retrieving vital papers or a VIP from a downed ship.

Croiseurs Français

This week we’re updating all of the cruiser classes in our French Aeronef fleet. This includes the cruisers Jeanne la Pucelle and Formidabile, and the commerce raider classes L’Epee and Fléche. Whenever we release one of these updates we always try to add something new as well as replacing the older models; the British got the Minotaur Armoured Cruiser earlier this year and the Germans the Lützow Fleet Cruiser and Hansa Torpedo Cruiser. The French are no exception – they get the brand new 6-turret Jules Ferry Armoured Cruiser class.

French heavy cruisers patrol off a Mediterranean coastal town, watched over by a floating battery
Commerce raiders move to intercept two German merchant vessels under escort.

We’ve followed the layout of the older models for the designs but in detail they’ve all changed considerably (for the better !). All of the models feature one-piece metal hulls and separate turrets. Our existing French fleet packs will have the new designs instead of the old ones.

VAN-403 – L’Epee class Commerce Raider – £4.00
VAN-404 – Jeanne la Pucelle class Cruiser – £3.50
VAN-406 – Formidabile class Light Cruiser – £2.50
VAN-416 – Fléche class Light Raider – £2.50
VAN-421 – Jules Ferry class Armoured Cruiser – £4.00

Flying Batteries

During the Crimean War, the French used a number of Floating Batteries – ironclad hulls with a complement of heavy guns, but no means of propulsion. They were towed into position by smaller vessels – mostly paddle-steamer frigates – and used to bombard Russian coastal forts with some success. They were also deployed to the Adriatic during the 1859 Franco-Austrian War.

They struck me as a great idea for some new Aeronef vessels. Using the same idea of battleship-sized but unpowered vessels with lots of guns, this time flying rather than floating, I’ve come up with two different variants.

The first model is the Redoutable, the early version of the flying battery idea. This has 18 heavy guns in open mounts on the deck and a small deckhouse for the gun crews to shelter in.

The second model is what I imagine to be an updated version of the design – maybe a few years later, the original vessels were upgraded. These vessels, known as the Solférino class, retain ten of their original gun mounts but with the end ones replaced by two heavy battleship turrets and, in recognition of the increasing threat posed by fixed-wing aircraft, two turrets each mounting three rapid-firing small calibre AA guns. The vessels also have a small steam-powered engine to provide power to operate the heavy gun turrets, and a mast with spotters to provide centralised fire control.

VAN-420 – Redoubtable Flying Battery – £7.50
VAN-420a – Solférino Flying Battery – £7.50

Luft Kreuzers

Our Aeronef update programme continues today with the release of five new German cruisers. Three replace the existing models, while the Hansa and Lützow are new designs.

The Köln is one of the oldest German models in the range and both it and the Emden had small cast-on turrets. The new versions have separate turrets and much more detail. The Prinz Heinrich model has a twin heavy turret up front along with a smaller one aft.

The Hansa is a variant of the Emden hull, but with two larger turrets in place of the latter’s battery of small turrets, plus torpedo tubes along the flanks.

The Lützow is a heavy Flottenkrüzer with five larger turrets.

VAN-303 – Köln class Heavy Cruiser – £3.50
VAN-306 – Emden class Light Cruiser – £2.50
VAN-314 – Prinz Heinrich class Heavy Cruiser – £3.00
VAN-325 – Hansa class Torpedo Cruiser – £2.50
VAN-326 – Lützow class Fleet Cruiser – £4.00

British Escort Update

The last batch of Aeronef release from Salute are the redesigned British cruisers and escorts. The British get eight new models, replacing the Exeter heavy cruiser, all frigate and destroyer models plus as a bonus there is the the brand new Medusa class Armoured Cruiser. The cruisers and the Arethusa destroyer have separate turrets (including new twin and single gun small turrets), and there is a new AA version of the Arethusa called the Bulldog class with three triple-AA turrets.

VAN-102 – Exeter class Heavy Cruiser – £3.50
VAN-103 – Osprey class Patrol Ship – £1.00
VAN-105 – Cygnet class Torpedo Ship – £1.00
VAN-107 – Cossack class Corvette – £1.00
VAN-108 – Steadfast class Frigate – £1.25
VAN-112 – Arethusa class Fleet Destroyer – £2.00
VAN-112a – Bulldog class AA Destroyer – £2.00
VAN-128 – Medusa class Armoured Cruiser – £4.00
VAN-7018 – British Small Twin Turrets (x15) – £1.50
VAN-7019 – British Small Single Turrets (x15) – £1.50

There are also a couple of other new models that didn’t quite make this release (they had rather thin tails that refuse to cast reliably so they’re off being remade) – they should appear sometime in May.

Fighting Falcons

Our final release for this week is another pair of Aeronef, the Spanish Príncipe de Asturias class carrier and Halcón class fighter. The carrier is a multi-part resin and metal kit, while the fighters come in packs of six. There is also a new Spanish carrier packs with a carrier, fifteen Halcón and six escort vessels.

VAN-1710 – Príncipe de Asturias class Carrier – £9.00
VAN-1711 – Halcón class Fighter (x6) – £1.25
VANFP-1703 – Spanish Carrier Pack – £22.00

Italian Stallion

Today we switch from spaceships to Aeronef, as the new Italian battlecruiser Grande Ammiraglio Silvio la Verde steams onto the website. The sleek lines of the vessel mask a powerful armament and ships of the class often form the core of an Italian battle squadron.

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

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