Aerial Traders

This week we have a couple of new sets of merchant vessels for Imperial Skies. Although an unarmed cargo carrier may not seem the most exciting of models, they open up more possibilities for game scenarios. These can range from a simple attack/defend a convoy game, to fleets getting caught napping while replenishing (maybe all of your battleships start the game with no heavy gun ammo and have to spend two turns stationary next to a freighter to reload ?).

We have two US vessels and two Scandinavians – a small freighter and a coaler each. Both have the same basic hull styling of their respective nation’s military vessels so will fit in as fleet auxiliaries. There is also a small Scandinavian Federation crane lighter to aid with loading and unloading, but which could be useful for any nation.

Finally, we have a replacement for the old Amazone patrol vessel. Vessels like this are seen at many civilian air stations, patrolling the skies while keeping an eye out for pirates, anarchists or enemy ships. They are very lightly armed and fairly fragile, being built to civilian rather than military standards.

VAN-5004 – Amazone Patrol Cutter – £0.50
VAN-5014 – Cactus class Light Freighter – £2.00
VAN-5015 – Hudson class Coal Tender – £2.00
VAN-5016 – Visborg class Freighter – £2.00
VAN-5017 – Svalbard class Coaler – £2.00
VAN-5018 – Q-7 class Crane Lighter – £0.75

Filling the Gap

One of the best selling fleets in our range of spaceships isn’t a military force – it’s actually our range of merchant ships. The selection is getting even bigger this week with a selection of five new medium-sized vessels. These conveniently fill the size gap between our existing small and large merchant types, and are all roughly equivalent in size to a destroyer.

SFS-5022 – Coreopsis Grain Transporter – £2.00
SFS-5023 – Free Drogher Freighter – £2.00
SFS-5024 – Trefoiler Light Tanker – £2.00
SFS-5025 – Sidereal Wanderer Cargo Ferry – £2.00
SFS-5026 – Nova Arrow Passenger Liner – £2.00

Somebody’s Watching Me

Slightly later than normal (I had a day off sightseeing in London yesterday), today sees the addition of these imposing Guard Towers to our 6mm Town Walls range. Unlike the open topped Watchtowers, these are taller and are fully enclosed so the guards can keep an eye out in air-conditioned comfort. They add an even higher level of security to your desert townships, or can be used to create a secure military base. You could even make a prison – they have windows all of the way round so the guards can look in as well as out.

B300-188 – Guard Towers (x2) – £4.00
B300-188a – Corner Guard Towers (x2) – £4.50

Sadly, our summer holidays are at an end for now so it’ll be back to work full steam on Monday, ploughing through the order backlog.

Upholding the Constitucion

So the South American thing we mentioned earlier in the week… it starts here. We’re getting off the ground gently with a new battlecruiser for the Chilean fleet, the Constitucion class.

You may remember that the Chilean fleet has already been updated with a number of new vessels, but the Constitucion gives it a second capital ship to go with the existing Santiago.

The Constitucion has a pair of new triple-barrelled heavy turrets based on the French style – these are also available in a separate accessory pack.

VAN-1608 – Constitucion class Battlecruiser – £8.00
VAN-7049 – French Triple Heavy Turret (x10) – £1.50

Welcome to the New World

A major change has happened to our website this week – our range of Victorian sci-fi flying craft has moved under the banner of Imperial Skies, to more closely tie them to the rules. All the product codes remain the same, but web addresses have changed – we’ve set up a series of redirects so that hopefully anyone who clicks on an old link should be redirected to the new location. Click on the logo below to go to the new Imperial Skies section of the website.

This is probably also a good time to set out our plans for the range over the remainder of this year (and almost certainly stretching into 2022). When we finished our redesign and remoulding of all of the major powers at the end of 2020, Phil and I discussed two options going ahead. The first was to move onto the remaining European nations that still needed resculpts, such as Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Turks and Belgium. This would also involve some new fleets such as the Greeks, Portuguese and the Balkan countries. Option two was to concentrate on the South American continent instead, resculpting the existing models and adding some smaller nations.

In the end we went for plan B and set course for the New World. This will involve redesigning the Brazilian, Argentinian and Peruvian fleets, who along with the Chileans are the major players in the region. The other six countries – Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguary, Uruguay and Venezuela – will all get fleets of varying size. And during the timeline of Imperial Skies, Britain, France and Holland all still have substantial colonies on the continent (British Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname respectively) so that seems like a good excuse to add some specific new vessels to those fleets.

We’ve divided the nations into three tiers by looking at their relative sizes, populations and GDP at the end of the C.19th, along with their real-life military strength at the time, particularly their wet navies. The most powerful nations will get a couple of capital ships plus cruisers and escorts, the second rank ones will get a battlecruiser or maybe a small or obsolete battleship while the lowliest fleets have nothing larger than a cruiser.

One design decision we made early was exclude fighter carriers. Flying fighter carriers are expensive to build and maintain in the world of Imperial Skies, and we decided that they would be beyond the means of the nations involved here. They will still have fixed-wing aircraft, often sourced from abroad, but they will mainly operate from surface airfields or in some cases water (I have great plans for the Lake Titicaca Seaplane Squadron !).

The first releases were going to be at Salute in April, and then more models were to be pushed out over the rest of the year. But lately we’ve all learnt not to make plans, as any number of things can get in the way ! Salute didn’t happen, and various lockdowns have delayed us a little. We’re a bit behind on our intended timeline, but we’re ready to make a start. We’ve already finished design work and mastering of the Argentinian and Brazilian fleets, and most of the production moulds for those fleets are ready to roll. We’ve also finished the first of the brand new navies, Ecuador. All of these models are just waiting for us to paint up samples for the website, then we’ll be ready to roll. Here’s a look at a new Brazilian battleship, the Rei Andreas:

Ride of the Valkyrie

First up, some service news; it’s holiday time, so turnaround time on orders may be a little longer for the next couple of weeks. We won’t be stopping completely, but it may take a few extra days to get your order out of the door.

Onto the good stuff now – we have a few more new spaceships today. The headline act is the new British Valkyrie multi-role fighter, scaled down from the Squadron Commander version. As with most of our other fighters, these come in packs of 12.

Our Indonesian fleet gets some long-overdue reinforcements too, in the shape of three new escort vessels – the Brantas class Destroyer, Ngurah class Frigate and Diponegoro class Corvette.

We’ve updated our A Billion Suns ship chart to include these new ships – this makes it easy for ABS players who are new to our range to select the right vessels for their fleet.

SFS-162 – Valkyrie Fighter (x12) – £1.50
SFS-1431 – Brantas class Destroyer – £1.25
SFS-1450 – Ngurah class Corvette – £0.75
SFS-1451 – Diponegoro class Scout Corvette – £0.75

Quiet Riot

The peace is shattered, there’s panic on the streets and no-one is safe. A familiar theme from the Hammerverse, where insurrection is just a powergun bolt away…

Of course, one man’s terrorist is another’s Freedom Fighter, so we present a bunch of 6mm ne’er-do-wells that we’ve termed Armed Civilians. There are six different sculpts in each pack of 24 figures with an assortment of small arms.

To support and transport our armed insurgents we have scaled down our Cyclo 3-wheelers to 6mm. There are six different versions from a basic open-backed pickup to a tri-barrel armed police vehicle.

There’s also a Prosperity Rebels detachment pack with a mix of cyclos, stolen military APCs and rebel infantry.

HS6-3860 – Armed Civilians (x24) – £2.75
SF300-9000 – Cyclo Pickup – £0.50
SF300-9000a – Armed Cyclo – £0.50
SF300-9000b – Cyclo Van – £0.50
SF300-9000c – Cyclo Taxi – £0.50
SF300-9000d – Police Cyclo – £0.50
SF300-9000e – Cyclo Tow Truck – £0.50
HSD6-3805 – Prosperity Rebel Infantry Detachment – £16.50

More European Shipping News

As if we hadn’t already had enough, there’s yet another twist coming to the Brexit/VAT/shipping saga for our EU customers. However, for once it’s (mostly) good news – it has a painful initial effect, but in the long run it will make purchasing much easier for our EU customers.

First, the bad news – as of the end of this month (June 2021), the 22€ threshold for import VAT on packages into the EU will be abolished; from July 1st, all packages into the EU from outside will be subject to VAT at the local rate for the destination country, regardless of value, and most if not all postal services also charge a fee for this. Obviously this is not something we have control over, but we thought it fair to warn you – we wouldn’t want anyone to be surprised by this. This is likely to have the effect of making small orders from the UK to the EU uneconomical, since the fee alone can be in the order of 10-15€.

However, a new system called IOSS (Import One-Stop Shop) is coming into operation at the same time. Under this system, the seller (us) will charge the buyer (you) VAT at the time of purchase (just like we used to do, but at your national rate instead of the UK rate). We account for this on the customs label on your parcel, and it should go through your postal service without any further delays, checks or fees. This makes the process easier for you, since you won’t face any surprise fees when the goods are delivered, everything is paid up front. There are a couple of minor wrinkles in this (there’s a maximum order size of 150€) but nothing insurmountable.

Unfortunately, we received rather short notice of this, so we very much doubt that we will be able to get registered and and be in a position to implement these changes before July 1st – for starters the UK registration portal is, according to the government website, unlikely to be ready in time. We will also need to make changes to our shopping cart system and, more importantly, our accounts software to handle the additional taxes. But we will get it in place as soon as we possibly can.

Castillo de San Antón

Phil’s been very busy lately, designing all manner of new forts, castles and other bits for our Small Scale Scenery range. Today’s offering is the Castillo de San Antón, a rather uniquely shaped starfort built in the late C.16th to defend the Bay of Coruña in northern Spain (and not to be confused with our existing Castell de San Antonio). In it’s uncompleted state it helped to dissuade Sir Francis Drake’s Counter Armada in 1589. It became a prison in the C.18th and is now a museum.

SSS-8167 – Castillo de San Antón – £5.00

Alien Support

Today’s release consists of four new support variants of the 6mm Yenpalo Xarledi grav tank. These give the aliens some heavy fire support, air-defence cover and missile capability.

There is also a new Yenpalo Fire Support Group with three of each model.

IC-1103 – Yenpalo Fire Support Group – £13.50
SF300-1101a – Xarledi Heavy Support Tank – £1.25
SF300-1101b – Xarledi Light Support Tank – £1.25
SF300-1101c – Xarledi AA Tank – £1.25
SF300-1101d – Xarledi Missile Tank – £1.25

These vehicles are already available in 15mm, in case you wanted them in the larger scale.