The Final Frontier

Almost a year ago (the first models appeared at Salute 2017) we started on the redesign and relaunch of our European Federation spaceship fleet. Today, that task is finally complete as we release the last of the new designs.

First up are two rather unusual fighter carrier types, the Revanche and the Vaban. What makes them different is that both are parasite carriers, with their fighters carried in external racks on the underside of each vessel. The Revanche carries six of the new Moustique strikeboats, while the much smaller Vaban carries six Comete light interceptors. The Revanche is a resin casting with metal parts, while the Vaban is metal.

Which leads straight onto the new Moustique strikeboat – this is effectively a large fighter design (I haven’t quite worked out whether it should be depicted as a large fighter or a very small ship in Starmada).

For system defence we have the Montcalm monitor, a destroyer sized vessel without an FTL drive, which utilises the extra space to carry a heavy-than-normal armament. And to keep tabs on the enemy at long range is the Surveillante Early-Warning craft, reminiscent of a modern-day AWACS.

And finally, … something brand new, the Cormoran shuttle craft. Used for both courier and assault lander duties, the Cormoran is a common sight around EuroFed fleets.

SFS-412 – Revanche Strikeboat Carrier – £5.00
SFS-413 – Vaban Patrol Carrier – £1.75
SFS-462 – Moustique Strikeboat (x12) – £2.00
SFS-490 – Montcalm System Monitor – £1.50
SFS-492 – Surveillante AWACS – £0.75
SFS-493 – Cormoran Shuttle (x2) – £0.75

SFSP-403 – EuroFed Patrol Fleet – £22.00

Down on the Farm

We have something else new in the Small Scale Scenery range today. This is a set of six Walled Farms, cast in metal as single pieces on a base. I did try casting them in resin, which worked OK initially, but the pieces were so small and brittle they had a tendency to snap when getting them out of the moulds !

They’re listed under English buildings, but are equally suitable for any European setting

SSS-8106 – Walled Farms (x6) – £4.00

I think I deserve a pat on the back for getting these out today, since the mould only arrived at the workshop yesterday at 3pm…

Cavalier 2018

Following on from ROBIN in Nottingham this last weekend, our next show is less than two weeks away – Cavalier in the Angel Centre, Tonbridge, is on Sunday 25th of February.

As always, we are taking pre-orders for any of our ranges – you can either place an order and pay in advance using the collect in person option on the website, or just drop us an email with a list and pay on the day. Pre-orders need to be with us by Tuesday next week at the latest (Feb 20th) in order for us to have a chance of getting them ready. We have a smaller stand at Cavalier, so can’t display everything although we still take as much stock as possible (it gets cramped behind the stand !). However, if there’s something you really, really want from us, it’s best to get it reserved in advance.

Giant of the Tundra

Today sees the release of another new addition to the Neo-Soviet arsenal, the Mammont heavy tank. This is an unusually configured vehicle with two independent track units on each side and twin main guns in a huge main turret. A secondary turret is fitted next to the commander’s hatch, usually mounting a tribarrel gatling but with other options available.

The kit consists of six resin and seven metal pieces, and is available with three different types of main gun plus three options for the secondary turret.

The Mammont features in the recently updated detachment lists for the Zaporoskiye Regiment which can be found on the Hammer’s Slammers website, along with a detailed modelling and painting guide and picture gallery.

SF15-1202 – Mammont Super-heavy Tank – £10.00
SF15-1202a – Mammont with Gatlings – £10.00
SF15-1202b – Mammont with Particle Cannon – £10.00

PP15-1202 – Mammont Platoon Pack – £29.00

Stats Update

We’ve released a fair number of new spaceships and Aeronef in recent months, so last week I sat down and updated our gaming support pages with stats for Aeronef and Starmada X. This includes all the new Nef released since the Imperial Skies kickstarter, and the latest British and Neo-Soviet spaceships.

Aeronef stats can be found here, while the spaceships are here.

The Grand Fleet Arrives

Following on from the arrival of the new Victoria and Albert class battleships, the rest of the British capital ships get a similar makeover this week. The Agincourt and Benbow battleships plus the Audacious and Britannia battlecruisers have all been replaced by new resin-hulled models with separate turrets and metal parts.

The Benbow, the original of which was the first Aeronef model we ever made, has three twin turrets of a new design and carries several scout fighters launched from a catapult amidships.

The Agincourt is the heaviest of this batch, does away with the aircraft and instead has four main turrets and a heavier secondary battery.

The Britannia battlecruiser has two main turrets, one triple and one twin, again of a new design.

The Audacious is similar to the Britannia but with two twin turrets and a four torpedo tubes.

We’ve revamped the existing British fleet packs with the new models, including the British Grand Fleet pack. The two new turret types are also available in separate accessory packs.

VAN-101 – Benbow class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-109 – Agincourt class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-111 – Britannia class Battlecruiser – £7.00
VAN-114 – Audacious class Battlecruiser – £7.00

VAN-7016 – British Battleship Turrets (x10) – £1.50
VAN-7017 – British Battlecruiser Turrets (x10) – £1.50

ROBIN of Nottingham

Our first show of the year is coming up fast – ROBIN, held at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, is on Sunday 11th of February.

Hopefully this year will be a little warmer, as the heating failed last time ! As always, we are taking pre-orders for any of our ranges – you can either place an order and pay in advance using the collect in person option on the website, or just drop us an email with a list and pay on the day. Pre-orders need to be with us by Tuesday next week at the latest (Feb 6th) in order for us to have a chance of getting them ready.

Building a Harbour

Two new Small Scale Scenery items have arrived on the website allowing you to make a more extensive harbour layout. The first is a pack of four resin Jetties, two plain and two with buildings moulded on. The pieces are 5mm thick and have detailing all the way round so that they can be used as jetties or piers projecting from land or as stand-alone islands.

The second item is aimed at scratchbuilders and is a set of metal harbour front pieces that match the detailing and height around the edge of the jetties. The height of 5mm means that you can use standard thickness foam card to make the body of the dock and then edge it with the metal harbour front pieces.

SSS-8104 – Jetties (x4) – £8.00
SSS-8105 – Harbour Fronts – £4.00

Architectural Assortment

We’re moving down the scales from 15mm to 6mm SF for this week’s new release. We have a real assortment of 6mm buildings, one in each of four of the different styles that we currently make.

In the Desert Buildings range we have a medium-sized tower with three segments and roof-top aerials.

The Advanced Buildings range gets a new Industrial/Commercial unit, which is the first new model in this range since their initial release almost four years ago.

The Research Base gets the Large Garage unit that came out in 15mm last year.

And finally, the Moonbase gets a second structure, a landing pad.

We’ve had a bit of a reorganisation of the contents of our range of 6mm building packs to take account of these and other recent releases, and also try to normalise the prices of the packs which makes life easier at shows. There are one or two new packs as well – we’ve listed all of these below. You’ll also find that we’ve changed the prices of some existing buildings – down as well as up – although I haven’t attempted to list all of the changes here.

B300-110 – Medium Tower – £3.00
B300-210 – Industrial Unit – £3.00
B300-506 – Large Garage – £1.75
B300-602 – Landing Pad – £2.50

BP300-101 – Desert Dwellings Pack – £15.00
BP300-102 – Desert Town Buildings Pack – £15.00
BP300-103 – VTOL Airfield – £15.00
BP300-104 – Large Desert Dwellings – £15.00
BP300-105 – Desert Towers Pack – £17.50
BP300-106 – Desert Industrial Zone – £15.00
BP300-107 – Desert Walled Compounds – £15.00

BP300-201 – Advanced Buildings- £15.00
BP300-301 – Colony Bases- £5.00
BP300-401 – Desert Domes Pack #1 – £15.00
BP300-402 – Desert Domes Pack #2 – £15.00
BP300-501 – Research Base Set – £15.00
BP300-601 – Moonbase Set – £17.50

Getting Inked

When we recently released the new counter sets for Imperial Skies, I mentioned that I’d post about a simple method for colouring in the etched markings on those and the turn rulers. This technique was passed on to me by James at Beadspoke Designs, who do the acrylic cutting for us – I take no credit for it.

What I’ll do is take you through the marking of a turn ruler step-by-step. You’ll need the following items: your turn ruler, a POSCA acrylic paint pen (or similar) and (wait for it) a wooden clothes peg. POSCA pens can be bought in the UK in hobbycraft and other art shops, although mine came from eBay (I bought several sizes as I wasn’t sure what I would need). They aren’t expensive – I bought four for a tenner or so. You can choose your colour – I went for white on an orange set of rulers, but yellow would work just as well. Make sure you have a work surface that doesn’t matter if you get some paint on it – the pens can spatter splightly.

Peel off the backing sheet from the turn ruler (if it’s still on there) and then make sure it has no traces of finger grease or other contaminants. I gave it a quick clean with a kitchen wet-wipe, then dried it on kitchen roll.

Once it’s dry, give the pen a thorough shake, then test it on some scrap paper or card to make sure the paint is flowing. Then carefully ink in the ruler ID letter, the numbers and the lines that mark each point of movement. The lines may take a bit more effort to fill in as they’re etched a bit deeper. You should find that the paint adheres well to the rougher surface of the etched areas. You don’t need to be super-neat, but ensure that the etched areas are fully covered in paint, even if you go over the edges a bit – we’ll tidy this up later.

Now leave this for a few minutes until the paint is touch dry. In the meantime, dismantle your clothes peg – a quick twist will separate the two halves, and the spring can go in the recycling.

Once the paint is dry, we get on to the clever bit. Using the end of one half of the clothes peg, carefully rub away any paint that has gone over the edges of the etched areas. The soft wood won’t mark the shiny surface of the plastic but will remove any overspill, and the paint should stay in the recessed areas. If you get this right, you should be left with a neat set of etched markings on your turn ruler. If it isn’t quite perfect, just repaint and repeat.

It’s not a long process – I did a full set of five turn rulers in an hour, which included taking the photos and writing this up !