Although not one of the conventional major powers, the Netherlands nevertheless has significant colonial assets at the end of the 19th Century, both in Central/South America and the Far East. The Royal Netherlands Air Fleet watches over the skies and seas of these far-flung territories with its force of unique twin-hulled Catamaran craft.
We’ve had a pair of Dutch models made by Phil in the range for some time. As part of our ongoing programme to replace or update worn or inadequate moulds, it’s become the turn of the Netherlands to get an upgrade. As well as taking Phil’s two existing Nef and remaking those, I’ve created three new designs to round out the classes. The de Ruyter class heavy cruisers remains the largest vessels in the fleet, but they’ve been joined by new light cruiser, frigate and torpedo boat designs.
The Dutch feature in a Benelux fleet pack, and this won’t change; however, in recognition of their increased range of vessels, they now get their own dedicated fleet pack with two of each of the largest four models, and a torpedo flotilla with five torpedo craft and a frigate as leader.
All of the models, apart from the torpedo Nef, feature separate turrets – the smaller ones are the existing secondary turrets from the Gaulois, while the larger ones are a new design. These are available separately in accessory packs of 12 along with all of our other turret models.
VAN-1001 – de Ruyter class Heavy Cruiser – £5.50 VAN-1002 – Zeeslang class Destroyer – £2.00 VAN-1003 – Tromp class Light Cruiser -£3.00 VAN-1004 – van Speijk class Frigate – £1.50 VAN-1005 – Flores class Torpedo Catamaran – £0.50
VAN-7047 – French Single Medium Turret (x12) – £1.50 VAN-7048 – French Twin Medium Turret (x12) – £1.50
Yesterday the power went out at the workshop, mid-casting session, and didn’t come back for the rest of the day. Unfortunately this plunged me into pitch darkness and meant I wasn’t able to finish all the outstanding orders, which is a pain. Everything placed up to last Friday (Feb 3rd) has been packed and sent, but after that you’re now in the queue. With a bit of luck it will have been fixed today and I should be able to get back to casting tomorrow.
Sunday sees us (well, me) attending a new show – Red On Blue In Nottingham, or ROBIN for short. Given Nottingham’s position as the centre of UK wargaming’s Lead Belt, being the home of an awful lot of the major players (us excepted, of course) it’s surprising that there hasn’t mean a show held there in recent years. I’m heading up Saturday afternoon ready to set up Sunday morning first thing. I should have a decent stock of all of our new releases (assuming of course that I get power back tomorrow !). Because this is a solo show, I’ll have a full quota of army packs, starter packs, rulebooks etc, but no individual stock of 6mm, spaceships, Squadron Commander or Aeronef (although we have started carrying a selection of Aeronef capital ships) – I just don’t have the space or the will power to lift and shift that much stock. I will have individual 15mm vehicles and figure packs, Celtos and Magpie figures, Great War Belgians and the full 2mm range.
As today’s new release we have a pack of extremely useful new 15mm figures – a set of uniformed starship crew. The set of four includes two armed figures, one with a datapad and a senior officer – the perfect landing party.
I’ve painted up two sets, one in primary coloured tops indicating different crew functions, and a second set in more utilitarian blue-grey uniforms – there are more photos on the product page.
So whether you’re planning to Boldly Go and split infinitives, or are looking for the Last, Best Hope, these could well be handy figures.
As a follow on to our recently released Hadrian’s Wall set, this week we’re adding a Roman Wall Fort to the range. This metal 20-piece set has four gates, eight wall pieces and four corners with turrets plus extra plain wall sections including two T-pieces that connect with our Hadrian’s Wall sections. Each piece is 40mm long (the corners are 20x20mm) so the whole fort can be up to 200mm square (over 600 feet at 2mm scale). It can also be used as a standalone fort anywhere from 80mmx80mm upwards. The walls match the Hadrian’s Wall sections so these can be used to extend the area of the fort, extending it to become a walled town if desired.
Although we’ve had a bit of a cold snap lately, during the day yesterday it was warm enough in the sunshine to work outside. I took advantage by firing up the airbrush and putting some paint on our new 6mm PacFed models. I have a game or two of Horizon Wars lined up at Maidstone Wargames Society this weekend, so I thought I’d put together a new force for the occasion. I haven’t worked out a proper force composition yet, so I’ve just painted up 2-3 of each new model and can work out exactly what to use later.
The paint scheme is really simple, echoing my 15mm TAS force. Over a grey primer, I airbrushed Vallejo French Blue followed by camouflage stripes of Light Sea Blue. Everything was drybrushed with Citadel Etherium Blue, and then washed with Drakenhof Nightshade. Where possible I like using a wash that matches the main colour of a model, it avoids the dark or muddy effect that can come from using a black or brown wash colour. And apart from needing to add a few small spot details, that’s it.
We’re really pleased with the way that the new PacFed models have come out compared to the originals. Phil is still working away at production moulds for the last ones, although we won’t be making them available until we’ve completed our share of the Polyversal pledges.
A recent release from Osprey Games is the Rogue Stars rulebook. Rather than attempt my own description of how they work, here’s a quote directly from the Osprey website:
Rogue Stars is a character-based science fiction skirmish wargame, where players command crews of bounty hunters, space pirates, merchants, prospectors, smugglers, mercenary outfits, planetary police and other such shady factions from the fringes of galactic civilisation. Crews can vary in size, typically from four to six, and the character and crew creation systems allow for practically any concept to be built. Detailed environmental rules that include options for flora, fauna, gravity, dangerous terrain and atmosphere, and scenario design rules that ensure that missions are varied and demand adaptation and cunning on the parts of the combatants, make practically any encounter possible. Run contraband tech to rebel fighters on an ocean world while hunted by an alien kill-team or hunt down a research vessel and fight zero-gravity boarding actions in the cold depths of space – whatever you can imagine, you can do.
The rules are mainly intended for 28mm figures, but there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t be played with 15mm ones, which is what I intend to do. Some of our figure packs, such as the Human Mercenaries or Alien Bounty Hunters, are perfectly suited to creating a Rogue Stars force, or you can go special forces with our SAS, Spetsnaz or Royal Marine packs. Just about any of our normal infantry figures would make a planetary militia group, or create a team of escaped convicts using our Penal Troopers.
After a minor hiccup with our order, we finally have stocks of the rulebook which we’re selling at slightly less than the RRP.
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
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 !
Hadrian’s Wall marks what was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, spanning England from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth. It runs for 73 miles and was built to keep the Picts in check. Much of the base of the wall is still in existence, although in the Middle Ages it was used as an easy source of building materials so none of the upperworks remains.
Today’s new release in our Small Scale Scenery range is a pack containing a roughly half-mile section of the wall. It consists of 15 50mm-long sections, which works out at 750m in total at 1/1000th scale (so only 146 packs would be needed to model the entire wall…). One of the sections has a gated mile-castle while two others have watchtowers built in. The wall had 80 milecastles, roughly one Roman mile apart as the name suggests, with two watchtowers in between each one.
Since none of the remaining wall above 10 feet remains, the exact design of the upper wall and towers isn’t known. I’ve looked at several different reconstructions and have gone with a simple pitched roof design. Every five miles were a series of larger forts, which will form part of a later release.
Of course, at such a small scale this model would have potentially many other uses, such as creating the perimeter of a walled town.
I feel like we’re fighting a constant stream of niggling problems at the moment. PayPal are rolling out updates to their shopping cart software which keep breaking (if only temporarily) our website in minor but irritating ways – firstly there was the issue with shipping costs, which was then followed by the (fortunately brief) problem with VAT calculations. Touching as much wood as I can find, I think I’ve solved (or worked around) both of these.
The Brigade printer (barely two years old) has been playing up and the black heads are constantly clogging, which is costing a fortune in ink for head cleaning – to the extent that a new printer might be cheaper than the ink cartridges I keep buying. The last gasp is a third-party head cleaning kit, so wish me luck with that …
The latest one ? Back in early November I noticed we were getting low on flying stands and put in an order to get us through the sale. We received a partial order before Christmas (most of the black stands but no clear) and we’ve now been told that the manufacturer’s injection moulding machine is out of action and it could be weeks or even months before we get any more of either type. This is a pretty critical item to run out of, since they are supplied in all Aeronef fleet, flotilla and starter packs.
So at the moment we’re limited to just black bases. However, as an alternative they’re offered us white flying stands so we’ve ordered a big batch of those and will be using them as replacements in Aeronef fleet packs as soon as they arrive.
On the plus side, yesterday I cleared the order backlog and everything up until the end of this weekend has been cast up, packed and will be sent later today (woo-hoo !). And Phil has been churning out moulds like there’s no tomorrow, so the new release list is looking good 🙂