Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Skies of Fire: Model Review

Skies of Fire

Skies of Fire is the latest Aeronautica Imperialis 'game in a box' supplement, based on an air war between The Imperium of Man and the Tau Empire. The idea of a game in a box is that everything one needs to play is, well, in the box: a hexgrid map - small, paper but usable, models for two sides, counters and dice, and a core rulebook with datasheets for the new Tau and Imperial planes.

I suspect most people will buy it for the models: three Lighting , two Valkyrie assault carriers, three Tau Barracuda, and two Tau Tiger Sharks.

Let's start with the Lightnings.

Lightning Air Superiority Fighter

The Lightning Fighter comes in two forms. The first is the standard air superiority model, an elegant design with forward swept wings and a fearsome battery of lascannon and autocannon.

Lightning 'Voss Pattern' Strike Plane

The second is the Voss pattern version which loses some of the firepower in exchange for more ground attack hardpoints under the wings turning it into a multi-role strike plane.

Given that the game already has heavy Thunderbolt multi-role fighters that are used for both air superiority and ground support, obviously it was a no-brainer which of the two Games workshop would choose to model - especially as the Voss pattern is pig-ugly......

Very Frightening

Yup, they gave us the Voss pattern - the ill-graced multirole strike fighter.

You can swap use lascannon or multilasers on the nose and skystrike or hellstrike misssiles under the wings to optimise the model for its different functions.

But, God-Emperor, it's ugly!

Avenger Tank Buster

Still, could be worse chaps. They might have given us Avengers.

Valkyrie Assault Carriers

Valkyrie are the helicopters of the Imperium and, like helicopters, can be configured for ground support, anti-tank, troop transport or even point air-defence.

This is a really nice model and it comes with all sorts of weapon choices for the four mission types listed above (Valkyries or Vendettas in 40K lingo)

One point is that although the weapon choices on the model are a nice touch, one can’t really see them while playing because the distinctions are too small or hidden under the wings. This does mean that players can field their Valkyries with different weapon loadouts without needing alternate models. WYSIWIG, for once, isn't an issue.

Tau Barracuda

I really like the Tau Barracuda flying wing air-superiority model. Again different weapon loadouts are offered - ion cannon, burst cannon or railguns with seeker air-to-air missile as an optional extra. And once again, the actual weapons modelled is not critical when playing as they are not very noticeable.

Tau  Tiger Shark

The Tiger Shark bomber is also a great model and quite big. Here it is alongside a Marauder for scale. It just screams Tau to me: high tech, sleek and deadly.

You get the usual weapon choices but, of course, more of them.

Tau Flight

So first impression, the models fit together well and are easy to make. The instructions are basic and could be more helpful, especially over which weapon loadouts are on offer. Deep indentation should make inking easy and, I suspect they will paint well with a single coat of Contrast.

Only one I don't like is the unlovable Voss. I really, really, wanted a proper fighter for the Empire instead of a poor man's Thunderbolt.

Well you cant have everything.

At £55 this box is good value just for the ten plane models and stands.


  1. Great review John, I don't mind the Voss but I know I'm one of few ! LOL the Tau are great representations of the Forgeworld 40K size models, shame the didn't have a manta in the set, maybe a later set will include them

    1. I suspect the Manta will come eventually. I know, I am biased against the Voss 😀

  2. I picked it up because the models were so nice. The rules are a bit dated but ...

    1. My thoughts exactly. The rules are a mild rework of a knock-off of a popular WWI air game.