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 The Texas, Maine and Lincoln battleships have all been replaced by new resin and metal designs, joining their counterparts in the other aero-navies of the world.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
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.
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
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…