Italian Airships

Three new Aeronef are launched over the clear blue Mediterranean skies today, increasing the reach of the Regia Aeronautica. They are all twin-hulled dirigibles in the style of the old Carlo Alberto model*. Leading the way is the Regina Elena class battleship, which carries a twin-turret over each of its hulls. The larger Cigno Nero class fighter carrier has a flight deck slung between the hulls with hangar space beneath and a multitude of defensive gun turrets. The third vessel is the Dardo class destroyer, designed for long range escort missions.

These models are initially discounted by 7.5%, and for each sale we’ll also donate the same amount to HEROES, a fund set up to help frontline NHS staff as they battle the Covid-19 outbreak. This will run until May 22nd.

VAN-1810 – Regina Elena class Battleship – £7.50 £6.94
VAN-1811 – Cigno Nero class Carrier – £10.00 £9.25
VAN-1812 – Dardo class Destroyer – £2.50 £2.31

* – the Dardo was meant to be a redesign of the Carlo Alberto, but due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the master ended up being quite a bit smaller than the original. So instead we’ve made it into a new vessel altogether and a new Carlo will be forthcoming later in the year, along with a new fleet pack made up of the Italian dirigibles. It least it wasn’t swallowed by a small dog…

Still Standing

We’ve had several enquiries about whether or not we’re still open and able to ship orders, given the current COVID-19 situation – the answer to that is an emphatic yes. All the while we have supplies of metal and resin (we’re currently good for a couple of months) we can continue to produce models, and as long as the post offices and postal service are running then we can ship them.

The workshop is isolated and only really accessed by one person (Tony) on a day to day basis, so there is no reason to shut that down for the moment. Obviously the one thing that will bring us to a halt is if he develops any symptoms and needs to stop working – but we’ll update the website in that event.

As things stand, Salute is still going ahead at ExCel in just under five weeks, and we’re continuing to stock up and get lots of new models ready for release at the show. That may change depending on new government advice or instructions – we suggest you keep an eye on the Warlords’ website for updates (and of course we’ll post any relevant news here).

For the moment, it’s business as usual.

One further bright spot – we’ve just received a box of Imperial Skies rulebooks, so that’s available from the website again.

New German Escorts

Today it’s the turn of the Kaiser’s aerial navy to get an upgrade. All of our German Aeronef destroyers, frigates and patrol craft are being replaced, and we’ve taken the opportunity to sneak in a new model as well.

The Seydlitz winged Dig Gunboat has been beefed up with a larger fuselage, while the larger Brandenburg dig destroyer comes in two variants with different gondolas.

The new model is the Frauenlob class AA destroyer, equipped with three triple AA turrets amidships – seen below next to the new Karlsruhe destroyer leader model.

The VA-7 and SA-15 have been reclassified as frigates, and the DA-19 torpedo frigate also gets an upgrade.

At the bottom end of the size scale, the TA-127 torpedo Nef and BA-97 patrol Nef now come in strips of three models (at the same price per model).

There are three flotilla packs available – escort, dig escort and torpedo – all containing the new models.

VANFP-311 – German Escort Flotilla – £9.00
VANFP-312 – German Torpedo Squadron – £4.50
VANFP-313 – German Dig Escort Flotilla – £10.00
VAN-302 – Seydlitz class Dig Gunboat – £1.25
VAN-304 – VA-7 class Frigate – £1.00
VAN-305 – SA-15 class Frigate – £1.00
VAN-308 – TA-127 class Torpedo Nef (x3) – £1.50
VAN-309 – Brandenburg class Dig Destroyer – £2.75
VAN-311 – Karlsruhe class Destroyer – £2.00
VAN-313 – BA-97 Patrol Nef (x3) – £1.50
VAN-315 – DA-19 class Torpedo Frigate – £1.00
VAN-327 – Frauenlob class AA Destroyer – £2.25

And in case anyone missed it yesterday, we’re back up and running after a two day hiatus for machinery repairs.

Pacific Torpedoes

Quite high on our list of ‘Aeronef models we really must remake’ are some of the small torpedo craft – the US and Japanese ones particularly, for which we’ve never had a reliable production mould. They’ve now moved from the must remake list to the finally done list, and at the same time we’ve been able to add a patrol boat to each nation’s fleet. We’ve also gone for the 3-models-on-a-sprue plan that we’ve used with other small boats, which makes handling easier for us and allows us to get moire models in a mould.

The US Great White Fleet get a replacement for the Hunley torpedo boat, which is slightly bigger than the original, along with the River class patrol boat on the same hull.

Japan gets replacements for the K-37 bomber and S-12 Torpedo boat, and gains the C-64 patrol boat, which is built on the K-37 hull.

Both side’s torpedo flotillas have been updated as well – they go up slightly in price, but you now get six torpedo craft per pack instead of five.

VANFP-211 – US Torpedo Squadron – £4.50
VANFP-612 – Japanese Torpedo Squadron – £4.50

VAN-206 – Hunley class Torpedo Boat (x3) – £1.50
VAN-217 – River class Patrol Boat (x3) – £1.50
VAN-608 – Type K-37 Nef Bomber (x3) – £1.50
VAN-609 – Type S-12 Torpedo Nef (x3) – £1.50
VAN-618 – Type C-64 Patrol Boat (x3) – £1.50

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