More Salute previews today – and the first confirmed releases (that is, nailed down with product codes, prices ‘n’ all). This is a series of small merchant starships – probably privately owned vessels, running errands and cargoes (and possibly fugitives) for anyone who stumps up the price of a full load of fuel. Think Traveller Free Traders or, most famously from large and small screen, the Millennium Falcon or the Serenity. There are five designs in all, each around 1″ long, or roughly 75 metres at the 1/3000th scale that we state for our spaceships range.
A new merchant convoy pack contains one each of the previous release of larger merchants (SFS-5010 to -5014) and two each of the new smaller vessels, plus bases.
Our corner of the UK has been hit a couple of times by what for us is quite heavy falls of snow (5″-6″ or so). In comparison to (say) North America or Scandinavia it’s probably only a piddling amount, but here it’s a once-in-a-decade event and so has brought travel to a halt because we’re just not equipped for it. I was able to get to the workshop on Monday to cast and fill orders, and yesterday walked them to the post office (although they told me that there would be no more collections until today at the earliest, so as far as I know they’re still sitting in the corner of the depot). The cold snap is due to last until the end of the week, with more snow forecast, so I’ll have to see how the weather unfolds over the next few days. The Brigade workshop is on a farm in the middle of the Kent countryside and my journey is via minor country roads, some of which aren’t even wide enough for two cars to pass, so can easily be made impassable by a bit of snow. If there are any delays in shipping orders then obviously we’ll post news on the blog and our various social media accounts. It’s also likely to delay our next planned release – there’s no point putting new items on the website if I can’t get to the workshop to produce them !
On another topic, one oversight from last Friday’s EuroFed spaceship release was not to take photos of the underside of the two carriers, showing the position of the fighters. The pictures below should hopefully rectify this. I had trouble taking clear photos (the fact that the fighters are the same colour as the carriers doesn’t help !) so I’ve mixed in some CG images of the 3D models to help.
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.
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.
Ages ago we used to have a couple of small satellite models in the spaceships range, but they disappeared due to issues with the production moulds. This week we’re releasing a replacement model, an all new design that will serve as either an orbital communications or surveillance satellite, or something more military. It is also ideal as a Battlesat, a weapon system in Starmada (carried by the German Pommerania class amongst others).
Each pack contains four satellite models with detailed solar panels, 12mm long and 20mm across. Each has a mounting hole in the bottom for a stand, but I wanted mine to be at varying angles. So I clipped the nib off the top of a plastic flying stand and used a round needle file to create a groove in the top of the post. The circular body of the satellite sits neatly in this groove and can be glued at any angle that takes your fancy.
Painting is straightforward – I painted my pale grey, followed by a wash of thinned-down GW Nuln Oil (neat Nuln Oil is too dark). I then drybrushed them white, before giving the solar panels two coats of GW Drakenhof Nightshade (a blue wash). Then they just need a bit of tidying up with white to delineate the edges of the panels, and whatever areas of spot colour you fancy (I went for some red rings around the nose).
The Fearless class of Assault Ship is capable of carrying a full Royal Marine battalion plus supporting vehicles, including a company of tanks, through jumpspace into orbit ready for insertion. This task is accomplished by atmosphere-capable craft including the Heracles shuttle and Athena VTOL/dropship. The 750-foot long Fearless has considerable offensive and defensive weaponry including a heavy railgun turret, anti-fighter defences and a battery of orbit-to-surface Kinetic Energy bombardment missiles.
The Heracles shuttle is large enough to carry two tanks or APCs plus their infantry, or as many as two platoons of infantry on foot. The Heracles is fully equipped for orbital or atmosphere operations, and is also used to recover Athena dropships after operations.
The Athena is a drop-capable craft which can be deployed from orbit and then can be used as a conventional VTOL once in the atmosphere. It is capable of carrying two sections of fully-equipped infantry (16 men), a light vehicle or a towed gun. One downside of the Athena’s design is that it lacks the necessary engine power to reach escape velocity, except on low gravity worlds, and has to be shuttled back to orbit by larger vessels.
SFS-171 – Fearless class Assault Ship – £7.50 SFS-172 – Heracles class Assault Shuttle (x3) – £1.25 SFS-173 – Athena class VTOL (x6) – £1.00
It’s time for the next batch of new models for our EuroFed spaceships range. We brought out the first wave in time for Salute, but this only replaced a small part of the existing fleet. Today we have a pair of capital ships, new versions of the Liberté battleship and Cerbere light carrier. These two have changed in design more than some of the other new models, being based on a similar hull that has the same design styling as the Milano and Umberto. At the other end of the scale we also have the diminutive Comète starfighter, tiny but with an amazing amount of detail for something so small.
The release also includes a fleet pack containing a Liberté and a Cerbere along with escorts, fighters and bases. Fleet pack #2 also has a slight change in contents, with the new Comète class replacing the Meteore in that pack.
SFS-400 – Liberté class Battleship – £6.00 SFS-411 – Cerbere class Light Carrier – £6.00 SFS-460 – Comète class Interceptor (pack of 12) – £1.50
The latest version of Majestic 12 Game’s excellent Starmada ruleset is the Unity edition. We’ve just taken delivery of stock of the rulebook and very good it looks too.
Starmada has always been a game with simple mechanisms that layer together to produce a detailed game that nevertheless doesn’t get bogged down – to quote the website ‘Simple, but not simplistic, is the guiding principle’.
This week’s main attraction is the website release of the new EuroFed spaceship models. There are seven all-new digitally-sculpted ships along with two fighter types. Most of the models retain a similar outline to their predecessors, but are much changed in detail. The two largest vessels, the Milano and Umberto, have resin hulls while the rest are metal castings.
The remainder of the ships will be replaced with new versions in one or two further waves later this year, when we also hope to add one or two new classes as well. The other two fleet packs (401 and 403) will return when we have the ships to fill them again.
As mentioned just before Salute, Phil has remoulded his Kerberos spacestation model which has been out of production for a while. I’ve painted one of the new castings and it’s finally made it way back onto the website again.
The Kerberos model is a one-piece resin model of a three-spoked ring station. In its basic form it is unarmed, but there are plenty of places to position turrets from one of our accessory packs should you wish to give it a defence capability.