What next for Aeronautica Imperialis?

Aeronautica Imperialis Logo

I’ve enjoyed painting my Aeronautica Imperialis models and even I am impressed that I have managed to build, undercoat and paint them in a relatively short timeframe. I did my Valkyrie Assault Carrier in a week! I would usually take a few years to paint them (if at all….).

I started to think about which models I would get next, and that got me thinking what we have seen that still needs to be released and also what could be released in the future and what I would like to see in the future as well.

Some of these are obviously core Games Workshop releases, some could be plastic kits and I think others might be Forge World models or upgrades to plastic kits.

Forge World have released some kits for Adeptus Titanicus, such as weapon upgrades, new titans and scenery. I would like to think that they would do something similar for Aeronautica Imperialis.

What I might get next?

So, there are now quite a few released models for Aeronautica Imperialis, Ork, Imperial and now T’au aircraft. I bought Wings of Vengeance, so I already have Ork Dakkajets, Fighta Bommerz as well as Imperial Thunderbolts and Marauders. I also bought a box of Valkyrie Assault Carriers.  I was lucky enough to find a box of Ground Assets recently, so I have those as well.

The obvious answer for me is a pair of Grot Bommerz. I do like the concept of these, though I am not a big fan of the actual models, but Orks is Orks, so they are next on my shopping list.

Aeronautica Imperialis Ork flyers from Warhammer World

If I get those then I might get the Heavy Ork Bommerz as well.

I have been thinking about getting some more Fighta Bommerz, these were the first models I made and painted and I liked the end result. I was thinking of getting some more, partly as you can make alternate versions from the core release, but I was thinking of getting the craft knife out and doing some conversions as well. Nothing too drastic but enough to make them look different to the “standard” models.

What still needs to be released?

Over on the Warhammer Community we have seen a few unreleased models for Aeronautica Imperialis. 

These include the Vulture Gunship, which we first saw back in February.

The Vulture is a gunship of the Imperial Navy’s Aeronautica Imperialis that is capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). It is used to provide heavy air support for Astra Militarum ground units and the Valkyrie transport. The Vulture is very similar in appearance to the Valkyrie, but with a drastically different role on the battlefield. 

What is interesting about these models is that they will be resin.

Their distinctive profile stands out in the smaller scale, and rendering them in resin (the first ones we’ve seen so far for this game) allows for the faithful reproduction of the finest details. 

What this tells us is that resin models will be the medium uses for some of the future Aeronautica Imperialis releases. This means that we could see a wide range of releases for the game. What is not quite clear if these will be standard GW releases or Forge World models. I would think that the covid-19 pandemic has pushed back that release schedule by quite a few months. 

I suspect that the Arvus Lighter will also be resin.

We saw the Arvus Lighter in a Flight Plan post back in March, just before lock down. No release date was mentioned, but suspect that it has been delayed.

The Arvus Lighter is a small, general purpose cargo shuttle that is widely used by the Imperium of Man for many tasks, both in space and on the surface of planets. The Arvus is commonly used by both Imperial Navy warships and Imperial merchant vessels, including Rogue Traders. 

Plastic Avenger Strike Fighters were announced and revealed at the 2020 New York Toy Fair.

Avenger Strike Fighters have long been beloved by generals in both Warhammer 40,000 and the Age of Darkness for their ability to deploy armour-busting firepower at ridiculous speeds. This new, plastic kit will allow you to reinforce your Imperial Navy squadrons with four of the blighters!

I did think at the time that these would be part of the next release, so for Skies of Fire, but in the end we got the Lightning fighter.

We know that Games Workshop have released other Aeronautica Imperialis models outside the big releases, Wings of Vengeance and Skies of Fire, so could appear anytime, hopefully sooner rather than later.

What could be released in the future?

This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list, as there are past models we have seen, or read about that could be released.

We have seen Eldar in some of the publicity artwork for Aeronautica Imperialis and as a result they are probably on the release schedule.

The Crimson Hunter and Hemlock Wraithfighter will probably be there somewhere. Then we have the Phoenix and the Nightwing which are Forge World models as well for some other Eldar flyers.

There relatively flat designs should make them quite simple to design as plastic models.

With the T’au fighters and bombers already released in Skies of Fire, there are some other planes that could make a future release.

A Sun Shark bomber is a T’au aircraft designed to provide atmospheric air support to ground-based Fire Caste forces. Each Sun Shark incorporates a Pulse Bomb Generator that takes up much of its dorsal fuselage. This advanced microfactory generates, and holds stable, a shimmering orb of lethal energy. The Razorshark variant would likely to be a possible option if we get the Sun Shark. Possibly less likely are the larger T’au aircraft, the Orca, the Moray and the Manta.

It would not be beyond the realms of imagination that Chaos would also be a release. Across Warhammer 40000 ranges we have the Hell Talon, the Hell Blade and the quite interesting looking Heldrake. In addition there are Chaos versions of Imperial flyers as well, those corrupted and tainted by Chaos, as well as the traitor Legions. In addition I think if Chaos was to become a faction in Aeronautica Imperialis then we might see the Harbinger super-heavy bomber. The Harbinger is the largest aircraft ever unleashed by Chaos forces and was first deployed during the 13th Black Crusade against the Imperial positions on Cadia. Forge World did make an Epic version back in the day, so I think this is more likely than those metal aircraft made for Epic Armageddon.

 One faction that has a lot of different flyers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines. Some of these are less ideal for Aeronautica Imperialis and there are a number of Space Marine Flyers that could be seen in future Aeronautica Imperialis games.

They probably would include the ubiquitous Thunderhawk, which is quite a big aircraft compared to the others released in Aeronautica Imperialis. Would they need different rules?

In the Space Marine hangars and airfields you can find many different types of transports and fighters. I think the following could appear in Aeronautica Imperialis.

A formidable gunship, the Storm Eagle mounts fearsome firepower for a vehicle of its size and is capable of transporting twenty Space Marines directly into the thick of an assault. The similar Fire Raptor Gunship, is a specialised variant of the Storm Eagle. The Fire Raptor replaces the storage capacity of the Storm Eagle with greater ammunition stowage in order to feed the voracious appetite of its numerous weapon systems. 

Space Marine Storm Eagle
Space Marine Storm Eagle

The Stormraven gunship is a highly versatile multi-role aircraft found in the Armoury of the Adeptus Astartes. The Stormraven can act simultaneously as an armoured transport, orbital dropship, and strike aircraft.

The Stormtalon gunship is an aerial interceptor and ground-attack aircraft that serves in the armies of the Adeptus Astartes. The Stormtalon possesses Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities which allows it to hover in place while unleashing its potent barrage as well as engaging in more conventional dogfights like a supersonic interceptor. There is also the Stormhawk variant as well.

Finally we have the Overlord, it is an Imperial aircraft that is used as the primary gunship and assault transport by the forces of the Primaris Space Marines. With the focus of the new Warhammer 40000 being on the Primaris Space Marines, it might be something we see in Aeronautica Imperialis.

With the release of the Necrons as a core army for the new 40000, could we see the Doom Scythe and Night Shroud Bomber as releases for Aeronautica Imperialis? I don’t see why not, and could we even see new aircraft (as we did with the Grot Bommerz).

There are a couple of Dark Eldar flyers in the 40K ranges, the Razorwing and the Voidraven, as with the Necrons, a possible easy release, reality though not a fan favourite, so could be low on the list of possible options.

What is less likely….

As we’ve seen the Arvus Lighter, could we also see an Aquila Lander? Well not sure if this is a possibility, as we have the Arvus Lighter already.

Part of me would like to see the DeffKopta in Aeronautica, the reality I think is that we won’t. A Deffkopta is a rotary-wing aircraft that is often employed by the Orks, particularly Orks who are part of an Ork klan’s Kult of Speed. I think that it is too small for the game, yes I know we have Grot Bombs, but unless you had a bundle of Deffkoptaz which could swarm the enemy, then they could be easy shot out of the sky.

Going back to the T’au, as stated The Orca is a dedicated armoured orbital transport shuttle for ferrying Tau troops, equipment and supplies from Tau starships in orbit to a planet’s surface. However it only has self-defence weapons, so is not really an offensive aircraft, more a transport.The other thing is that the Forge World model has been discontinued which may make an Aeronautica Imperialis version less likely. The Moray was from Epic Armageddon, so may not now be canon. The 40K scale Manta is one of the biggest models available from Forge World and back in the day they made an Epic version, however would this work in the mechanics of the current rules?

Manta
Manta at Warhammer World

It is well-armoured for use in frontline combat and can deliver massive amounts of firepower to the battlefield to help support Tau ground forces during a frontal assault against entrenched enemy positions. The Manta also features a large transport capacity that allows it to carry entire Hunter Cadres to and from engagements. However it is a super-heavy Tau spacecraft that is also the Tau Empire’s closest equivalent to the Imperium of Man’s Titans and Ork Gargants, which makes me think that it might appear for Adeptus Titanicus first, which is of course the same scale as Aeronautica Imperialis.

In the Space Marine hangars and airfields you can find many different types of transports and fighters. I think the following probably wouldn’t fly in Aeronautica Imperialis.

The Thunderhawk Transporter is a logistical variant of the standard Thunderhawk gunship used by the Adeptus Astartes to carry Space Marine vehicles into combat zones. Too big and not much firepower.

The Space Marine Landing Craft is a super-heavy landing craft that is used by the Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes. This massive craft is designed to quickly deliver troops, vehicles and supplies to a planet’s surface from orbit, much like its smaller cousins the Thunderhawk gunship and the Thunderhawk Transporter. As with the T’au Moray this was “invented” for Epic Armageddon so may not be canon any more!

Stormbird is a catch-all term that refers to a series of various super-heavy dedicated attack landers that were once used by the Legiones Astartes as their primary means of deploying forces into combat. Stormbirds also served in air support and general planetary transport roles during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. The Sokar Pattern Stormbird was one of the later patterns of Stormbird developed during the Great Crusade and was used as the design precursor to the smaller, more widely produced Thunderhawk gunship. 

Sokar pattern Stormbird.
Sokar pattern Stormbird.

The Xiphon Pattern Interceptor is a void and atmospheric flight-capable fighter craft once used by the Space Marine Legions of old. The Xiphon Interceptor was widely used by the Legiones Astartes during the early days of the Great Crusade. The Xiphon is rarely used by the Space Marine Chapters of the late 41st Millennium, with limited numbers of the fighter craft found within their armouries. 

Xiphon Pattern Interceptor

Though in some ways an obvious choice for Aeronautica Imperialis, the background implies it isn’t really used by the Space Marines much.

Could we see an Ork Landa? This was something that was created for Epic Armageddon and as I have stated many of the models and ideas from these rules have been ignored. Forge World have gone off and built their own new models and we have the ‘Eavy Bommerz in Aeronautica Imperialis which is an Ork big plane.

Really big things…

There are some BIG things that Forge World could make that would be interesting for games, but would require some new rules for larger aircraft or flying platforms.

If there was to be a Tau Manta, then I think we might need to see some new rules to allow for extra large aircraft. However if we did then that opens up possibilities for a wider range of large air borne craft and other stuff.

Taking their inspiration from SHIELD and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, could we see flying aircraft carriers? Or what about orbital airfields (hovering over a gas giant). In a similar vein could we see atmospheric air stations, high above the battlefield, armed with weapons to take out enemy aircraft.

From an Xenos perspective what about a huge Ork Rok? An Ork Rok is the most feared form of Ork spacecraft. A Rok was once an asteroid that has been hollowed out by Ork Mekboyz and then outfitted with Ork-made gunz, plasma engines, targeting systems and whatever other large, powerful weapons the Orks can get their green hands on.

The Ork Minelayer was something that we saw in the original Apocalypse rules. The Ork Mekboys create all kinds of strange vehicles and one of the most bizzare is the fifty tons of floating metal known as Ork Minelayer. This craft is suspended in mid air by powerful repulsor fields and uses its powerful engines to propel itself in clouds of black smoke. It is sometimes armed with a Killkannon or multiple Big Shootas and features a cavernous bomb bays.

Just because we don’t have them now, doesn’t mean such things couldn’t exist in the far future of Warhammer 40000. Likewise, they may make sense to protect mining operations over gas giants (think Star Wars’ Cloud City). 

These flying platforms and stations could make for really interesting scenarios.

What I would like to see in the future?

As a (mainly) Ork player I think there are models that could work in Aeronautica games.

Firstly the Ork Landa, the Landa is a name for large transport aircraft Orks use to land troops and smaller vehicles from orbiting spacecraft to the surface and to quickly move them from one battlefield to another. Landas are a classic example of Ork design, being huge ungainly craft brutally efficient in their task. Ork Landas are slower and more ponderous than any Ork or Imperial Aircraft.

Ork Landa
Ork Landa

I have the Epic version and it was originally designed and released for Epic Armageddon. We never saw a Forge World version of the model, and I suspect that this means like other Epic Armageddon aircraft (and other vehicles) we won’t see them anytime soon.

Maybe not a Landa, but could we see a huge Ork bomber or transport aircraft?

So what do you want to see next for Aeronautica Imperialis?

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