The Table with my goods upon it
As I noted in my Salute 2013 posting last week upon my return to Girvan I managed to buy some furniture which I had been after for some time. While none of you will be interested in the three piece suite or such you might well be keen on the above. A lovely and believe me bloody strong and heavy table. Its not quite six feet by four but it is ideal for office work and for wargaming too. Sitting atop its four solid wood legs is a solid wood top, weighing in at over 75kgs for the whole piece.
I know its a little egotistical to have put all of my own writing and published titles on the table along with my Flintloque miniatures but hey, its my table after all. It will see a lot of use in times to come and it has a lot of potential for underside storage too which I think is vital for wargaming terrain and all the other needed materials therein. The room I work in is nearing its capacity for storage of books and other materials. ’Table of Babel’ well a play on words but also with a more serious intent…who knows just what gaming will be created or taking place on its solid surface. The peoples of a thousands worlds and dimensions many, creatures and robots, Dragons and Orcs.
Also before I am asked, and I will be asked, what price such a table fit for the gods of gaming? Well….let’s say a copy of Slaughterloo is the same price. Bargain!
Security Force Alpha sculpted by Elton Waters
Last week I released a whole miniature sub-range into the HOF 15mm Science Fiction miniatures line. This was the eight packs and about thirty poses in the ‘Security Force Alpha’ or SFA set. Due to technical problems caused by an internet war (of which the company was not a part but we did lose our websites for twelve hours or so) I did not post about this here at the time. I was going to let it pass, after all there is a lot going on, but the response to the release has been frankly huge.
Dropship Horizon Blog, the best place online for the latest and greatest in 15mm science fiction wargaming announced the release and this sparked off a lot of views and then comments. I added my own comments and then watched as email messages began to arrive at 15mm.co.uk congratulating us upon releasing, at last, a generic human force that is not another cookie cutter power armoured ‘not marines’ at a good price. Other emails asked, some even pleaded (steady on!) that we release SFA as single miniatures as well as packs. I had intended to do this, after all it has been getting done now for the majority of the range over the last year plus, but typically it would be a gap of several weeks or a month before it happened. The reason for this is simple. News is constant and the effort that went into the SFA frankly deserves a second bit at the news cherry.
After thinking it over, with Salute 2013 so near, I decided to give the wargamers what they wanted. As of Thursday this week the whole SFA range will be out as singles. Personally I think this is in the main for wargamers to get bundles of the two prone casualty poses in the SFA Command Pack as well as the kneeling Laser pose in the SFA Support Pack.
So pressure on 15mm.co.uk does pay off for wargamers. Makes me do more work, but it pays!
p.s. Big Thanks to Chris at Dropship for his assist on this release.
This posting is a little late as it had been planned for last Friday but if you look at the post previous to this one you will see that South West Scotland, where I live, was battered by one of the worst blizzards in living memory and that I was also affected by it. Though the snows are currently gone, they may return, it has meant I am playing catch up now. So…on with the show eh!
The ‘SupaBases’ logo designed by Sam Croes
Last week Alternative Armies and 15mm.co.uk both released the ‘SupaBases’ range of MDF Wooden wargaming bases into the hobby market. This was the culmination of several months of effort on my own part and others as although there are a few other makers of these kinds of bases in 2mm and 3mm thickness’s none of them were suitable as suppliers to the company. So we decided to create our own and we were determined to source the wood and get the job done in Scotland. The bases are precision cut with a tool, not a laser, and this gives a lovely finish to what is currently fourteen different sizes of square, rectangular and circular. You can see them below in the picture.
I personally think that although the company offers white metal and plastic bases these wooden bases have a lovely feel and especially for 15mm scale miniatures as singles and elements in wargames they give an impressive finish. From this point on I will be using them for all of our own new releases and so on.
Its not always all about new miniatures and the excitement of new game systems sometimes its the tasks without the glamour which give a lot of satisfaction. Hundreds of customers had asked if we would make these bases, so we did. Not a lot more I can say except that if you want to you should give them a try especially the larger ones like the 75mm and 100mm circles as these are not practical in other materials and allow for some great set pieces or dioramas or vehicle mounts. Thanks for reading and if you want to see the SupaBases then click on your choice of link below:
15mm.co.uk Alternative Armies
SHM54-SHM57 Vergan Free Traders
SHM54-SHM55 Rear View
These are due to release this week but I wanted to give a little post about them here before that as I have to say that I just love the alien species of Vergan created by Eli Arndt for the SHM line on 15mm.co.uk. Eli has created and is creating a number of alien species and these are one of my favourites. Why do I like them so much?
Well its partly style and its partly ethos. You can use them in any game system and they are of Human height with greater bulk so they match in with ease. Their style is pure space opera of the kind that Star Wars promotes where alien races are welcomed and not automatically targeted as ‘Xenos’ to be exterminated just for the sin of existing like in some other settings. They remind me of aliens produced in 25mm scale in the 1980′s back when larger scales were as open to experimentation as the smaller 15mm scale is now. Its a shame that the seeming increased ‘need for polish for its own sake’ in the wargaming industry, sometimes without any visible increase in quality or value for money, has meant that only 15mm scale now see’s such bold and different designs in the 21st century. Ethos wise its just that. Fun and good value combined with not taking themselves too seriously. Perfect for me and for 15mm.co.uk.
Why call them ‘Free Traders’ and not ‘Soldiers’? Eli said to me when he sent me the designs that he thought of the Vergans as merchants not mercenaries. After a bit of thought I came to agree with him. Some of the other races in SHM like the Prang are blatantly militaristic but the Vergans seem to carry weapons mainly for self defence. Part of a starship crew or in a spaceport these blob shaped and many tentacled fellows might just heft an energy rifle only when the traitorous Human they are dealing with tries to double cross them. The aliens are not always the bad guys…humm…I can feel a USEME scenario brewing now.
The Vergans join the first of their kind (SHM20) as single miniatures but also as a value pack. I do hope that Eli makes more of them in the future (perhaps a Vergan child or female) but he is a busy guy with LNG and other projects so time will tell.
Eve, GBS and Sam
Its been a hectic week for it was time for the ‘creative staff meet’ hosted this time by me here in Girvan in Scotland. As you can see from the picture above myself (centre…ain’t I pretty!), Sam Croes on the right and the crypt keeper himself Eve Hallow on the left (yes, he does manage speak with that on!) had a jolly time of it. Being face to face allows for a lot of conversation and ideas to flow quickly and they did. It did mean that I have been out of the office all week but I do promise to catch up on, what I am told, is all of the fifty plus emails for me that are awaiting answers.
As well as work we did do some sight seeing too as it was Sam’s first time here in Ayrshire so I took him to see Alloway and the land of Burns along with some scenic sights. This was made easier by four dry and sunny days in a row which for Scotland is a rare thing. Eve did not come along…sunlight does not agree with him strangely…
Sam was kind enough to give me some pressies from his homeland of Belgium and I gave him some goodies from here as did Eve Hallow. I have not pictured all of the presents as I drank some of them and ate others but I will review the excellent looking comic books and the music too. Time should not be so pressed now for me.
Gifts from the lands of Ghent!
Its rare to have so much talent in one room and it was a blast and I can’t wait until we all meet up again in London at Salute 2013 in April. In a time of instant communication and ever faster computers sometimes you just can’t beat working shoulder to shoulder on exciting things for the future of miniature wargaming. Eve say’s he might even turn up to Salute without the mask or his shovel for digging up corpses!
Its not often that I spend an entire day on one central task but today was such a day. Today, with the assistance of my good lady, I photographed all of the professionally painted releases for the next three months for 15mm.co.uk. This came to more than three hundred images of roughly seventy unreleased miniatures from the HOF, HOT, SHM ranges crafted by six different designers. We take photographs very seriously with the aim of showing the actual miniature in the best light and with no software trickery involved. So many hours of thousands of watts of light and positioning figures resulted in some great shots but left me with eyes like a Blood Hound!
The vast majority of the new miniatures are in the HOF 15mm Science Fiction range and all but a handful were painted over several weeks by Eve Hallow. He is an excellent miniature painter with an eye for colour. Its also his birthday this weekend so I will be standing him a Lady Juniper or two at the local hostelry and giving him a wee gift but for the moment I will tell you of his first gift. He is not only a miniature painter but an aspiring sculptor too and his first miniature will be hitting the SHM range this week… coincidence or what…on his birthday weekend.
I am not allowed to show you all the images I took (don’t even ask…you would burst with the thrill of it!) but I will sneak out a few in the coming weeks and for now I give you what is coming out this week. The Jelly Cube by Eve Hallow, the Criat Mercenary by Will Grundy (another first!) and the icky Biomorph by the excellent Eli Arndt. Enjoy!
The Jelly Cube
For Scale. He’s Jellified!
For Scale with Human Cultist
Eli’s Biomorph from the front
And the Rear…urgh!
My own copy of Slaughterloo
Look at the thickness of that spine!
Having a flick through the pages.
The day is here (well it was yesterday but I do have to sleep) Slaughterloo Redux is in print, in boxes and being sent out to all those who ordered it from Alternative Armies. You can find out all about the book on the website and I will not repeat it here (there is also a folder of free files you can download too) as this is my personal blog and I just want to talk a little about the process of the book and the joy of its publication.
Back in the autumn of 2012 when it became clear that the original print run of Slaughterloo 2nd edition was going to run out the decision was made to update it and put it into one book instead of a boxed set. The process of making one book out of three was larger than I originally though as not only had it to be combined but it had to be updated. The rules mechanics did not change but the army lists and statistics tables had to be expanded and tidied up along with more new material added. On top of this there was a new scenario to write and a new way of writing it (based on the Flintloque 3rd edition model) required. Page after page all the way up to one hundred and sixty eight pages. The biggest book I have ever worked on. The authorship is of course split between myself and Alex Draper but I oversaw the digital layouts and artwork editing myself. Over a hundred and fifty of Edward Jackson’s great ‘world of valon’ images are in the book and each of them had to be sized and rendered. Topping out at 175,000 words the editing and proofing took three weeks to complete. Hundreds of work hours but it was more than worth it as the book is a beautiful object in its own right.
You can see from the pictures in this posting, I wanted to show an actual copy instead of digital copy as normal, the quality of the print work and of the paper stock. The book has a great weight and is a joy to flick through and read at leisure and that is before you get to the actual game (Alex’s rules are superb!). You can read it as a reference book too. In a time when prices go ever up for wargaming material and the content gets ever slimmer and font sizes ever bigger this bad boy gives you the works for just twenty pounds. I believe in giving people a damn good read as well as a good game to play.
Unfortunately the weather in the UK did delay release and shipping by two weeks and by consequence this posting too. Obviously I did not see this coming but the company has not had a single grumble never mind complaint about the delay. Alternative Armies has many loyal gentlemen for customers, let me tell you. Snow and wind did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm though. Slaughterloo woohoo!
p.s. you might now ask how I am going to top this book…well 2013 is a long year and there is plenty of time. Just you all wait and see.
Last summer I wrote a short article for Irregular Magazine for their thirteenth issue. I was happy to be asked by a customer of 15mm.co.uk who is also on the staff of the magazine as they were looking for professional writers to create material for a ‘Mysteries of the East’ focused set of content. My love of all things Japanese combined with giant robots (more on this next month…it will be worth the wait) gave me an idea for a piece all about a sport that replaced war in a ravaged future Japan. Wrestling in the form of two hundred foot tall, two thousand ton machines, which shake a stadium and make a crowd of tens of thousands roar in approval. Robo Basho 2115!
You can view and download the issue on Irregular Magazine website.
The article is part one of two with the first part focusing on the history and background of Japan in 2115 which then leads to the sport of Robo Basho and the customs of the giant machines themselves the ‘Roborikishi’ in their stables. An account of that occurs inside the ring and the weapons allowed along with the Gyoiji or Referee too. The Kuroboshi III type giant mecha is looked over and its super thick armour and massive muscle servo bunches compared to western war machines of similar size. Ending with the roleplaying possibilities for Robo Basho the article explains what would be featured in part two. A good read if I say so myself!
Irregular Magazine 13 was due out last summer and the delay is regrettable. Here is a statement from the editor on this from their website:
First of all, we’d like to start with an apology to all of our readers and contributors. We were not able to publish Irregular Magazine in Summer 2012, which we deeply regret. We believe we’ve got through the problems that made this impossible and are now back on track with regular publications!
I do not want to get into this here but I think that the problems Irregular had are similar to those other online wargame magazines and indeed other printed monthly titles have had too. Finding and obtaining content that interests an ever diverging readership is tough and adding to that the sheer speed of the online community and news feeds means that traditional formats are failing. No point in putting news in a magazine these days. Focusing on deep article content is the way forward, a more journal like approach. This of course is hard to come by from writers and artists as it takes longer to create. For those interested it took me eight hours to pen the article plus an hours proof reading.
Lastly I must give praise to Sam Croes my good friend who created the superb Robo Basho artwork for the article which also features as the cover of the magazine too. His talent always makes me smile and he was very kind in agreeing to craft this piece of art in his limited free time for me. He has also produced a blog post on how he created the superb image for Sumo Basho, check it out.
The Razak painted by Eve Hallow
Today sees the release of another miniature in my very successful SHM miniature line on 15mm.co.uk. Its a milestone as its the fiftieth release in this single figure series and its a special one too as its a miniature that has sat on my desk here for several months patiently waiting its turn for fame. The miniature is by my friend Eli Arndt and its called the Razak Bouncer.
Something about this little chap captivates me like no miniature has since Eli’s Vergan. Heavily muscled, tough looking and patiently waiting for action (like me then!) the Razak oozes character. I think he would be great for a mercenary force, a bodyguard, an enforcer perhaps even a frontier world law man (with a different paint job on his armour). I am thinking of getting one or two for my 15mm sci-fi forces in the next round of buy and paint.
Well done Eli!
Its nearly Christmas (or on my fantasy world of Valon it is known as Cryptmass, but more on that elsewhere) and that means my annual entries to the excellent Orcs in the Webbe advent calendar are now appearing online. Every year Craig over at ‘OITW’ collects material from fans and writers and artist who love the medium of Black Power Fantasy and lines them up for a month of free content which is read by thousands of wargamers and others.
This year Craig asked me for two pieces in our customary way for his birthday (Happy Birthday Craig!) to do with his favourite Valon fantasy race, the Dracci, Children of the Dragons. I was happy to agree to this and penned a short story called The Mirror of Zyrgone which features not only the Dracci but another perennial favourite Captain Sharke of the 105th Rifles. Following this (for the 19th of December) a Flintloque scenario called ‘Sharkes Mirror’ which lets wargamers play out the events of the tale. I followed the tradition begun by Cornwell himself in naming the scenario ‘Sharkes ????‘ and ‘mirror’ had not been used so there you go!
Its a great little action packed tale so please do go along and have a read at it. Craig is a great chap who takes on a lot in working up not only Orcs in the Webbe but also is editor of Barking Irons Online so it was the least I could do.