Fattening Up

The latest Aeronef model to receive a makeover is the French Les Arcs carrier. We’ve kept the basic configuration (dig hull with forward deck) but that’s about it. The new version is much, much bigger, with lots of space inside the resin hull and plenty of metal fittings. It comes with four triple AA turrets and four light gun turrets for self-defence, four funnels and two masts, and a new winged bridge. The deck is also a metal fitting that sits in front of two large hangar doors.

Altogether a mighty vessel around which to base a French carrier force.

VAN-402 – Les Arc Class Dig Fighter Carrier – £9.00

VANFP-402 – French Carrier Pack – £22.00

Upgrading the Les Arcs

The French battleship fleet has recently had an upgrade with the arrival of the new Massena and Loire to go along with the Gloire and Charlemagne. This just left the carrier Les Arcs to be brought up to the new design standards.

And here she is – I am particularly pleased with the way this has come out. This is just the resin hull with metal deck and bridge – I haven’t yet added the array of funnels, masts and gun turrets to the model. To give you an idea of the look of the final assembled model, here’s a CGI image. It’s a lot bigger than the older model, slightly longer and much wider.

The new Les Arcs should be on the website in a week or two – I obviously need to assemble, paint and photograph this one, but the production moulds are all ready to go.

Imperial Article

This month’s issue of Miniature Wargames magazine has a five page Imperial Skies article in the Darker Horizons sci-fi section – it’s also the cover photo of said section. The article is centered around a fleet engagement between Spain and the USA over Cuba which we fought out at a Maidstone Wargames Society meeting earlier this year. As an added bonus, the stats cards for the Spanish fleet are available from the download section of the MW website. So what are you waiting for? Get out and buy a copy!

Vive la France !

The Aeronef revolution continues, as this week we update the French fleet with new battleship models.

The Loire replaces the old model of the same name. In keeping with our other new models, it now has a resin hull with lots of metal fittings – turrets, tail, bridge, masts and funnels. The tail comes in three different variations so, in keeping with French naval practices of the time, no two ships are quite the same.

The new Masséna model represents a family of related but not-quite-the-same battleships. It has a similar (but not identical) tumblehome hull to the Loire, but the top superstructure is a separate metal piece that comes in three different types. The tail comes in the same three variants as the Loire, giving a total of nine combinations on the basic hull. In addition, the main turrets can be single or twin mountings – altogether, we think this gives an impressive total of 48 slightly different variations from a single model.

At the same time we’ve revisited the French fleet packs – the Grand Fleet pack has been reorganised to contain one each of all of the French capital ships (including the existing Charlemagne and Gaulois) plus escorts. The existing Fleet Pack (VANFP-401) now contains a Gaulois and Loire and we’ve created two new packs – Fleet Pack #2 has two different Masséna models, while the Fast Fleet Pack contains two Charlemagne battlecruisers. All packs also include escort cruisers and destroyers.

VAN-410 – Loire class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-419 – Masséna class Battleship – £8.00

VANFP-024 – French Grand Fleet Pack – £48.00
VANFP-401 – French Fleet Pack #1 – £22.00
VANFP-403 – French Fleet Pack #2 – £22.00
VANFP-404 – French Fast Fleet Pack – £22.00

Flags are available separately, and the roundels are from Dom’s Decals aircraft range.

Upgrading the Empire

As the next stage in our gradual resculpting of the Aeronef range, we’re pleased today to be able to release five new capital ships for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Three of the models replace their existing battleship designs (the Erzherzog Ferdinand Max, Budapest and Szent István class battleships) while two are new designs. All have new resin hulls with the customary collection of metal fittings – turrets, masts, funnels and tails.

The Ferdinand Max and Szent István share a similar (but not identical) hull design but differ in important details, with the Austrian-built Ferdinand Max having one main and one secondary turret along with a heavy broadside battery in casemate mounts in the amidships and aft superstructures. The Hungarian built Szent István replaces much of this fixed armament with a heavier turreted layout including moving the secondaries to turrets. The Szent class also has improved steering vanes and a for’d steering house under A turret along with bridge wings, improving on the limited view of the aft bridge on the Ferdinand class.

The Budapest is a lighter vessel, more of a battlecruiser size but without the speed. Armament is concentrated in two single turrets for’d along with a respectable secondary battery and upper deck mounted rocket tubes.

The Viribus Unitas dreadnought may be familiar to more venerable Aeronef gamers – long, long ago I wrote an article on our website about converting a Ferdinand Max model to the Viribus Unitas class by extending the hull and adding to the armament. This version of the Viribus is similarly an extended Ferdinand with an extra main turret.

Finally, the Habsburg class utilises the semi-rigid dirigible hull of the Kaiserin class fighter carrier, but replaces the flight deck with a substantial mixed main battery, and the flank anti-fighter turrets are replaced by eight secondary gun turrets. The result is a powerful vessel with very heavy hitting power but less armour than a conventional vessel.

The three existing models are already in fleet packs, and we’ve created an extra fleet pack with a Habsburg and Viribus Unitas in, along with escorts. There’s a new flag sheet too, the older yellow-black Austrian Empire one. And although the older models are technically being retired, they’ll still be available to anyone who already has some and wants compatible models – just go to the page for the new versions and scroll down, then you’ll see a link allowing you to buy the old version.

VAN-704 – Erzherzog Ferdinand Max – £7.00
VAN-706 – Budapest – £6.00
VAN-708 – Szent István – £7.00
VAN-714 – Habsburg – £9.00
VAN-715 – Viribus Unitas – £7.50

VANFP-704 – Austro-Hungarian Fleet Pack #3 – £22.00

VANF-703 – Austrian Empire Flags – £0.50

The 2017 Salute Sticky Page

Welcome to our Salute 2017 Page. Salute is the biggest event on the UK wargaming calendar, around 8000 people and 150 traders gathering at the ExCel centre in London for a day of frenzied shopping and gaming. For those who are new to us, what we tend to do is save up a lot of our new products and release them in one big hit at the show, and here is where you’ll find details of them. This post is made ‘sticky’ until the show arrives, which means it sits at the top of our blog front page. We’ll constantly update it between now and April 22nd with more new items as we get photos, so keep coming back and checking regularly.

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. To help those who aren’t able to make the show, this year we’ve added the intended website release date to each range.

So, without further waffle, here’s the first of our new models – the Spanish Aeronef Fleet.

AERONEF
Website release date: Friday 5th May

We’ve been promising the Spaniards for a while, and we’re rather pleased with them now they are here. The designs are based on a prototype Phil made many years ago, but which was damaged by the vulcaniser when we tried to mould it. These new versions are all digitally designed to the same standards as all our new Aeronef models and feature separate turrets. The two capital ships have resin hulls while the rest of the parts are pewter. The design theme is ships with heavy broadsides but little in the way or forward or aft guns – something that could be thought of as a bit of a design flaw… The battleship and battlecruiser have raised walkways over the gun decks and recessed secondary armament in the fore- and stern castles.

Packs will also be available – Fleet Pack #1 has 2 x 1701, 2 x 1703, 2 x 1706 while pack #2 has 2 x 1702, 2 x 1704, 2 x 1705 and 2 x 1708. The torpedo flotilla has 2 x 1707 and 4 x 1709. All include bases.

VANFP-1701 – Spanish Fleet Pack #1 – £22.00
VANFP-1702 – Spanish Fleet Pack #2 – £22.00
VANFP-1711 – Spanish Torpedo Flotilla – £5.00
VAN-1701 – Espana class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-1702 – Aragon class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-1703 – Pimienta class Heavy Cruiser – £4.50
VAN-1704 – La Coruna class Light Cruiser – £3.00
VAN-1705 – Pluton class Destroyer – £1.75
VAN-1706 – Mao class Frigate – £1.25
VAN-1707 – Numancia class Torpedo FF – £1.25
VAN-1708 – Atalaya class Patrol Nef – £0.50
VAN-1709 – Galerna class Torpedo Nef – £0.50

15mm Sci-Fi
Website release date: Friday 28th April (Yenpalo), Friday 12th May (Terminator), Friday 26th May (building)

SF15-1104 – Yenpalo Railgun Teams (x2) – £3.00
SF15-1106 – Yenpalo Mortar Teams (x2) – £3.00
SF15-1110 – Xarledi Grav Tank – £9.00
SF15-1150 – Yenpalo Combat Group – £36.00

SF15-1211a – Vombat Terminator – £9.00
SF15-1274 – Guards Terminator Platoon – £30.00

B15-506 – Large Garage – £7.00

6mm Sci-Fi
Website release date: Wednesday 3rd May

SF300-1101 – Yenpalo Infantry (x24) – £2.75
SF300-1110 – Yenpalo Grav Tank – £1.25
IC-1101 – Yenpalo Company Pack – £12.00

Spaceships
Website release date: Friday 19th May

SFSP-402 – EuroFed Fleet Pack #2 – £22.00
SFS-401 – Milano Dreadnought – £7.00
SFS-414 – Umberto Battle Carrier – £7.00
SFS-421 – Tigre Cruiser – £2.25
SFS-423 – Abruzzi Heavy Cruiser – £3.00
SFS-430 – Surcouf Destroyer – £1.50
SFS-431 – Insidioso Destroyer – £1.50
SFS-440 – Le Malin Escort Frigate – £1.00
SFS-461 – Météore Attack Fighter (x12) – £1.50
SFS-464 – Folgore Fighter (x12) – £1.50

Squadron Commander
Website release date: Tuesday 16th May

SCR-101 – Kestrel Interceptor – £2.50
SCR-102 – Mosquito Fighter/Bomber – £3.00
SCP-101 – Kestrel Flight – £9.00
SCP-102 – Mosquito Flight – £11.00
SCR-1201 – Sokol Interceptor – £2.50
SCR-1202 – Grif Heavy Attack Fighter – £3.00
SCP-1201 – Sokol Flight- £9.00
SCP-1202 – Grif Flight – £11.00

10mm Sci-Fi
Website release date: Tuesday 23rd May

B300-403 – Small Cylindrical Building #1 – £3.50
B300-408 – Small Cylindrical Building #2 – £3.50

SALUTE ORDERS

We’re happy to take advance orders if you’d like to reserve and 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 Friday 14th April to give us a chance of processing them.

Pacific Cruisin’

Back in the days of the Imperial Skies Kickstarter, we decided to remake two Japanese cruiser models, the Akashi and Yakumo, since the original moulds were in need of replacement. For some reason these two models seemed to be cursed – the first designs wouldn’t cast reliably (we managed to get enough out for the Kickstarter pledges but it took an awful lot of miscasts to produce them), then we managed to damage one of the replacement masters before moulding so it had to be reprinted again, and then the second set of designs wouldn’t cast reliably either !

However, after a third (or possibly fourth – I’ve lost count) iteration we finally have a reliable working production mould for the two models and everyone else can at last purchase the two new redesigned versions. The overall layout of the models hasn’t changed, but the detail has been improved and the Yakumo has gained separate turrets rather than the original cast-on ones. The two new designs will also appear in fleet packs from now on.

VAN-604 – Yakumo class Heavy Cruiser – £3.50
VAN-605 – Akashi class Light Cruser – £3.00

All in White

So … I mentioned a few days ago that we weren’t able to get hold of any stocks of clear flying stands for the time being. As an alternative we have brought in some rather spiffing white stands, which are exactly the same as the clear ones, just, well, not clear !

They are available in packs of ten, and will also be supplied in all Aeronef fleet, grand fleet, flotilla, starter and scenario packs until further notice.

ACC-024 – White Flying Stands (x10) – £1.50

Ten Sale Days Remaining

The Christmas sale is merrily sailing along (excuse the pun), and I’m going up to the local post office almost daily with piles of orders to be dispatched. It has ten days to run, so you still have plenty of time to make a saving (although be mindful of the last posting dates if you’re hoping to receive anything before Christmas). As things stand we’re pretty much up to date with orders – I have managed to clear the backlog so orders are being turned round pretty swiftly. We have a couple held up by a failed resin building mould that Phil is rapidly remaking, and we had run out of Imperial Skies turn rulers (again). However, new supplies of those were delivered today so they’ll be out the door in the next day or two, and are also back on the website.

We’ve had a cold spell here in the UK, so the workshop is, to say the least, a little nippy – this was the temperature inside the workshop when I switched on the machines the other day. I have a fan heater that keeps the casting room warm (if I don’t then the oil inside the air compressor motor is too viscous and it won’t run), but the main body of the workshop tends to resemble a walk-in freezer !

cold

We’ve managed to stay on plan this year, so I’ve spent the majority of the last couple of weeks casting, packing and posting orders. I’ve also managed to find time to do some design work on new releases for next year and we have some interesting new bits lined up – there are new releases planned in the spaceships, Aeronef, Small Scale Scenery, 6mm and 15mm SF ranges for the first three months of next year. For now, here’s a preview of the hull of a new 15mm tank I’ve been working on…

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