The SFA Interview on Dropship Horizon blog
Chris K over on Dropship Horizon blog has posted up an interview carried out with me about the recently released Security Force Alpha (SFA) miniatures from 15mm.co.uk. Its a good and honest read. I like to think that I am approachable and give answers and opinions without any ‘fluff’ or ‘padding’ which is so sadly common in the wargame industry. It was nice to be asked by DSH blog to do an interview and if they would like to speak to me again they are most welcome. So head on over and have a read.
At the point of publishing this post the SFA codes have sold out their pins on the HOF rack to be taken to Salute three times over. Thanks for your support guys!
This Years Salute Badge
It is seven days now until the biggest wargame show in the world takes place down at Excel in London. Salute 2013 is a lot of fun for me on the day. A chance to meet and greet, chat and play a game or two as well. But it is a ruddy lot of work before hand as well. Those who work in the wargame industry will this week be spending their time making stock, filling orders, packing racks, painting miniatures, counting books and more besides. I often think that some wargamers do not realise that in our time of automation this industry needs a person to create every miniature and fill every blister pack too. The materials in the massive hall at Salute will most likely represent a million hours of effort on the part of the traders.
How will I and the company do on the day? Who knows! It is all part of the excitement for me and every year is different as the ranges and products we offer evolve and change. This will be my twelfth Salute in a row and maybe the fifteenth I have attended.
I will say it a lot on the day but I want to say it here as well to all the customers of Alternative Armies and 15mm.co.uk : “Thank you all for keeping me in the best job in the world!”
GBS, Bob, Eve Hallow and wee Bob too!
It has taken me a wee while to get to this posting here due to work commitments (I am only one Man damn it!) but I wanted to tell you all about a visit of several days that I had been looking forward to from my good friend in America Bob McAlister and his family. During a visit to Scotland last week the jolly three came by and spent a few days here in Girvan. A good time was had by all and several field trips undertaken as well. Bob had sent me a package last year which I posted about and I took the chance to repay him by a filling with beer at the Roxy Pub here in Girvan and getting him hooked on Irn-Bru.
While he was here Bob and I played out the Typhon demo scenario for Salute 2013 on a cut down sized playing area and yes I won but only just. It was a close call. Below you can see Bob and I talking shop before play commenced. Typhon is a super game for a visual experience and my Droves of Shades gave a powerful account of themselves against Tyro and her Cyclopes too.
Getting ready to Play Typhon. Bob is the handsome fellow on the right!
During our excursion to Glasgow we visited Static Games and I picked up a stack of second hand books and magazines including some very early White Dwarf issues. If time allows I will post on these later in the month.
Bob and his family were delightful company and we all missed them when they left. The world can seem a large place but really in these days of jet travel, skype, email, facebook and more its not so big after all.
A Golden Ticket with my name on it!
Its a rainy dreary day here in Scotland…well at least in the South West where I am. But that did not put the wee three off a trip to the Chocolate Factory today. A trip which had been planned since the Warrior’s fourth birthday. At the themed party that day he had gotten a ‘golden ticket’ and duly a visit to the excellent Chocolate Factory about an hour or so away was arranged. It has taken a few months for the golden ticket promise to be honoured but today was the day. I unfortunately was too busy to go along but the tale was told upon their return.
The Thinker and the Warrior learn the ways of Choc!
The CocoaBean Company runs the premises and you can see from their website just what they offer. Above you can see a photo of a children’s chocolate workshop which all three of my lads enjoyed a lot. After this and a spot of lunch (and chocolate..duh!) a large indoor play area offered fun and then an even bigger play area outside had a giant slide; see below.
The Poet on the loooong slide down!
All in all based on what I seen and been told I would recommend this experience to anyone with children who is in this part of Scotland or North England. Good show!
At the age of eighty seven Britain’s longest serving and only female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died peacefully after a stroke this morning. While I do not discuss politics typically I could not allow the death of the ‘Iron Lady’ pass without comment here.
As a baby born in 1979 I lived my first eleven years with Margaret Thatcher as the leader of the nation and even now I remember being very confused when she stepped down as I could not imagine her not being in charge! If you agree with her political choices or you don’t it cannot be denied that she had a bigger impact on Britain than almost anyone else in the 20th century. She was involved closely with the end of the Cold War and oversaw the re-taking of the illegally seized Falkland Islands too. She broke the power of the Trade Unions and resisted the increase in UK integration with Europe too. It is fair to say that although I admire her I am in a minority in Scotland where she is disliked or more by many even to this day.
How will history judge the Iron Lady? Time will tell but I personally think that she will be remembered in the positive overall.
For the full story and links to videos from those who knew or were influenced by her visit the BBC News page.
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.
Last week the print run of 5025 Flintloque 3rd Edition – War in Catalucia ran out for the third time! Yes, that means a forth print run. I have organised this and hopefully it will arrive within a week or so depending on the Easter long weekend holiday here in the UK. Over the last two years Alternative Armies and I have adapted to and taken to short run printing for wargame titles so getting a couple of hundred new books is now a matter of routine.
I could go into the benefits of such business techniques but there is a lot online about POD and Short Run printing which those who are keen can look up on their own. I have other things to be getting on with just now for next week and even for tomorrow in fact for 15mm.co.uk. So at this point I will just give myself another wee pat on the back. Every time a print run sells out on something I wrote it makes me smile. Validating what I do for a living and knowing that another couple of hundred people are enjoying it too.
Often I do not have time to read as much as I would like and indeed late March and April is the crux of this time for me with the build up to and the actual event of Salute in London. Salute is the only wargame show which I attend directly along with the company and its a big task all around. So I often listen to audio books.
I have done this for many years but over time the technology to allow this has changed dramatically. Back in the 1990′s it was a big box of cassette tapes which then gave way to a portable CD walkman and in turn a small MP3 player with ear buds. In the last couple of years it has become a smart phone (which can carry about 50,000 cassettes!) and the source of the audio has changed too. I used to use the local libraries and purchase the odd box set too. Then the same with CD’s. But once everything went digital this all changed too. MP3 files for audio books and now it seems YouTube has literally thousands of audio books on it which are essentially free to listen to. This can be done online by going to Youtube.
I own both of Max Brooks books on the Zombie Wars, the Survival Guide and World War Z. Both are excellent and both are unlike the vast majority of cookie cutter zombie fiction. Where the Zombie Survival Guide is a practical manual much in the same vein as infantry training guides and such (makes you shiver to think that it is actually real and has just been popped into our world from some other dimension) the other book, this one, is a diary account like tale of a war finished already. Its evocative, its brutal and while often deeply personal it is also detached from what it is telling you overall. Brooks does a great job in telling you of the end of the world without actually showing it to you in the ‘big picture’. You get it in little chunks from seemingly random people. It works very well.
The voice acting is great as well. If you are a fan of zombie books but are looking for something more than shuffle and bite check it out and do it in a way that allows you to work on like I did while enjoying it. Go to YouTube.
I had meant to post on this subject a couple of weeks back..but..well you get the point. Being me is not always a linear experience, sometimes I feel like I am suffering something I like to call ‘timeslip’ as time passes like lightening and a day becomes a fortnight with no effort at all on my comprehension!
The Campaign Map
My good friend Bob Minadeo with whom I have worked on Firefight 2.0 and HOF Fire-Team is a skilled wargames rules writer and a long time wargamer too. He is also a big fan of Flintloque, Slaughterloo and the whole World of Valon. To that end he has brewed up and is currently playing out a whole campaign set in that world under the title of ‘The 98 Campaign’. Above you can see the campaign map.
The campaign concerns the Ferach Elf forces of the Tyrant Emperor Mordred and their Bog Orc allies in the ‘BGORA’ and their attempt to ‘liberate’ Guinalea from the yolk of King Gorge III of Greate Britorcn and make the nation part of the Empire and not the Grand Alliance. I am enjoying reading the postings on Bob’s blog and on top of the tale the images showing his terrain set up and the love that he puts into his armed forces on the table top. The vast majority of the excellent and colourful miniatures on the gaming table are pro-painted from Alternative Armies itself and as I often deal with Bob directly (perks of the job eh!) I have watch him amass this collection with interest over the last year while his mighty mind was musing on the campaign now underway.
Albion Dragoons advance!
As to which side will win the conflict…I do not know…perhaps Bob does not know either at this moment and the dice will decide. He is using a concoction of his own for the wargame rules and the campaign system too. Me, well I want the Emperor Mordred to lose as always!
Get on over to the Monkey-Dew blog and follow the campaign if you are a wargamer it is proving to be a riveting ride indeed!
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