Galactic Knights..what will be chosen?

Over on the blog today I put up a short post about the possible expansion of the popular HOF105 Galactic Knights pack of miniatures along with the top suggestions for what the extensions might be.  The extension depends on reaching the magic number of 500 packs sold.  I am sure this will happen.  We were thirty off when I put the post up and as of right now we are twenty one packs short.  So with that settled what will the expansion be?  Read the link before continuing.

While it will depend on feedback in total I have my own guess.  My own guess is that everything and more than was suggested will be asked for but the majority will ask for support weapons and also a female pack of Galactic Knights with a possible bare headed or command type bolt on.  Will I be correct?  We will see end of this month or so when the numbers are tallied.  Sam Croes is keen to make more of these unique humans in 15mm scale but he has totally deferred to public input on this.

I would like to thank everyone of the hundreds who email us and comment and react every month about our products.  Your energy keeps me smiling.


Blasted out of Blast-Tastic 2014

This Saturday the long anticipated wargame show Blast-Tastic is happening in Bristol in the UK. The show is a new venture specialising in science fiction wargaming mainly in the 15mm scale. I had long planned to attend the show (one of the first to sign up to it!) but due to circumstances beyond my control (other meetings scheduled on the near thousand mile round trip pulled out on us!) it had to be cancelled.  This is actually rather upsetting as I had been really looking forward to going and had already got the stock ready and the demo game of Patrol Angis too!  The game is near completion and this would have been its only gaming public appearance before publication.

But all I can do is put a link to the details of the show and ask if you are near Bristol to consider attending on Saturday.

Seems a weekend in the rain of Ayrshire is now mine.  🙁


Paper Plissken is Mine!


Its been a long search and at times a painful one but at last I own a paperback copy of the Escape from New York novel by Mike McQuay.   A close run thing (much like the Escape story itself!) with many bidders and a final price that might make you sweat but which is still less than buying a copy through a book dealer it has just arrived in the mail.  I will do a review of the book once I read it but you might ask for now..why are you interested in a novel about a film that is thirty years old?

The answer is Snake Plissken (played by Kurt Russell) the character has had a big impact on me for as long as I can remember.  Sure the film is a little ropey and in places it drags but it and its characters have real presence that many newer movies do not.   Snake is an anti-hero living in a nightmare police state future America with a military past hinted at and a fame that he does not want.  The book is meant to expand on Snake’s background and give weight to tag lines in the film.  I sure hope it does.  The novel is significant because it includes scenes that were cut out of the film, such as the Federal Reserve Depository robbery that results in Snake’s incarceration. The novel provides motivation and backstory to Snake and Hauk — both disillusioned war veterans — deepening their relationship that was only hinted at it in the film. The novel explains how Snake lost his eye during the Battle for Leningrad in World War III, how Hauk became warden of New York, and Hauk’s quest to find his crazy son who lives somewhere in the prison. The novel fleshes out the world that these characters exist in, at times presenting a future even bleaker than the one depicted in the film. The book explains that the West Coast is a no-man’s land, and the country’s population is gradually being driven crazy by nerve gas as a result of World War III.  Awesome!

I actually do have a plan beyond the obtaining and reading of the book and that plan is to try and get to back my idea of more HOF codes that are suitable for the EFNY setting.  We already have the SFA which will stand in for the thuggish guards and we have HOF55 (pictured above) which will, with more packs coming this season, stand in for gangers in the prison city.  But we don’t have what I yearn for….a Snake for the nest.  A miniature like that could be put into many projects and wargaming settings.  Perhaps a Maggie and a Cabbie along with a Duke and a Hauk too.  Sometimes I get my way but with’s customer base wanting it too…well perhaps this post will assist in that.  Email me on if you are as keen as I am.  Eye Patches are cool!


Dropship Horizon Blog holds a 15mm Painting Contest

Its painting competition time over on the great Dropship Horizon blog, focal point of all 15mm science fiction wargamers. Open to all comers there is a list of suggested entries and there will be prizes too for the winners. This is an excellent idea to keep away the blues of the deep freeze period of the year.  Check it Out!  The painting competition runs from 15th January 2014 to 15th February 2014. You can enter a squad or a single vehicle or a piece of terrain or structure. Full details on the post.

I have put two posting on the relevant blogs which you can read. and The Ion Age are supporting this competition with prizes.  Also as a wee bit of additional incentive I have mentioned that if any of the products I am involved with win the event then I will reward the winner with a little something extra.  Read about it on the blogs.

Dropship Horizon blog is trying hard to maintain its premier position of world’s best 15mm Science Fiction wargaming news, reviews and resources site and events like this do help.  Its only a shame that I have nether the time or the talent to enter anything that might stand a chance of winning.  They are carrying on as a group the excellent resource that my friend Mark Hannam kicked off many years ago.


15mm Limited Edition Miniatures?


The concept of limited edition miniatures is nothing new.  In fact Alternative Armies has had them for twenty years now in 28mm scale and other brands longer than this (remember those awesome 1980’s Citadel limited runs including Space Marine Santa’s and the like?) but they are seemingly always of the 25mm and 28mm scale of miniatures.  I have had a dig around and found literally nothing limited in 15mm scale.  Why is this?  Is it because there is no interest?  Is it because until recently 15mm did not have the same glamour as a scale as 28mm?  Is it a cost issue with money making not being possible with having a sculptor make a 15mm that sells at a relatively low price only for a few hundred castings or so?  Or is it simply something that no one has thought of yet as the wargaming hobby endlessly repeats itself with the same cookie cutter ideas?

Well in response to these self set questions I can offer some self decided evidence answers.  I think there is interest as many wargamers play 15mm scale, more now than ever before especially in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy and some of those wargamers will want limited’s as they do in the larger scale; stands to reason.  Certainly 15mm had nothing like the presence it has now only seven years ago when I founded and brought Laserburn back to the wargames table so maybe its not come up before.   As for cost and money making this is different for every company but I think, having bashed the calculator keys, that as long as the run was of the five hundred or so mark it would be profitable so no get out clause there.  Has no one thought of it yet?  Well I admire companies like Critical Mass Games, Ground Zero Games and Khurasan Miniatures but they have no limited codes in their 15mm that I could see so perhaps like the rise in popularity of the scale it has not yet evolved as something companies do who produce that scale of miniatures will do.

This is something I have been thinking about for over two years.  In fact it was near the top of my brief while I was musing on what would become the new Ion Age.  Much like my idea to create the SHM Range on which gave aspiring sculptors their chance to get something release when no one would take them seriously (which has been rather successful with more than seventy designs and a dozen designers to its ranks) I decided that I would give it a try.  After all without some fun and a sense of adventure what is the point of this hobby?   The Ion Age would be the perfect testing ground.

What would such a limited miniature probably be and how many would be produced?  Well I knew it would be produced in a run of 500 numbered packs that much was based on the hard numbers.  It would have to be TWO miniatures not one, to make the bulk up for packaging; that was a change over 28mm scale.  As for what it would depict I followed the same outline of rules that I have for Flintloque.  That being interesting characters but nothing unique or vital to a wargame system.  Purchase would be from interest and a sense of collecting NOT out of a resignation to needing the figures to play a certain mission or personality…that is cruel and something other much larger companies do.  So it would be a character officer to lead a lance or more of Retained Knights.  A perfect jumping off point to see if the concept had legs and would run!



The Ion Age will be releasing its first limited edition packs of 15mm characters towards the end of this month.  The pricing will be slightly more than the normal but not much and this is really only to cover the extra packaging and manpower this type of code needs as with all limited codes.  You can see IAFL01 above.  I will tell you no more about these two fine fellows just now though…you will just have to wait!

If you have any thoughts on this idea please do email me or comment against this post.


The Ion Age by Gavin Syme….now live!

Today is the day that the hardest secret I have had to keep in my professional working life becomes common knowledge.  Today I personally told five thousand wargamers and by extension of that over this week maybe two or three hundred thousand more through forums and news portals about the existence of The Ion Age.   A brand new wargaming website, brand new products, brand new approach and all based on my favourite science fiction setting which I first learned about nearly twenty years ago.

Its been a slow build and a lot of work but over the last year the pieces have been put in place and the future literally written as I expanded and hardened the fiction that already existed into a bigger and better format upon which a lot can be hung.   It is one thousand years since the end of the great Khanate War and the betrayal of Prydian space by the fanatical Templars and after an age of darkness and an ongoing bitter civil war between powerful Marcher Barons a great leader has emerged to take command of the Prydian Army and its knights.  Princess Daphne Cyon has her work cut out for her though for as well as the Leagues of Yordan and Canlaster there is the situation in the Camarthen star cluster to now contend with…..

There is a blog for The Ion Age upon which I will be putting the majority of my thoughts on this subject as it grows and encompasses more and more.  Have a look and bookmark it or follow it.  The blog will fill you in on the rest of the details such as the free miniature with every order (changed every month see below), the weekly releases, the loyalty system with earned goodies, new rules sets and more.  Oh and what is coming on Thursday of this week.


That is it for now.  After all I have a universe to build but stick around to see a future filled with hope, bravery, mighty deeds and not the same old hand cranked gaming fodder.  This is the Ion Age and  its going to be a blast!


USEME Zombie Dawn makes a return from the dead…


I wanted to do a quick shout out about one of my own titles from the highly successful USEME series of Wargaming Titles; UM009 USEME Zombie Dawn.  It is now back in print after a gap of a couple of months and I am greatly pleased to be able to say that its second print run is larger than the first.  At the weekend I went to see World War Z at the cinema which was good but the book version (rather different…well actually REALLY different to the film) was what was in my mind while I wrote this title a couple of years ago.  It was actually down right funny to see Glasgow portrayed as Philadelphia in the film.  St Georges Square is very familiar to me and with its, as far as I know, unique bright red tarmac surface it looked sod all like America!  🙂

The 2nd print run features only an update to the listing of top sources for inspiration and an update to the list of available titles on its last page.  When the book went to print originally its ninth position on the list was the end of the list but now it goes up to number fifteen and Zombie Dawn is nearing the middle of the listing of titles.  More on the new titles when the time comes.

Because of the new movie being at cinema’s now I asked for and got permission to put up a special ‘Z Deal’ this week.  So until Monday of next week you can go to and get a print copy of UM009 and a pack of 15mm Zombies (sixteen of them) for just 6.25GBP saving thirty percent off list.  Excellent eh!

Shameless self promotion finished!


Tabletop Wargamer Blog is no more…


Its a sad but valid day today for its time for me to retire the Tabletop Wargamer blog that I had begun in an effort to show everyone my own personal efforts in wargaming at home away from work.  I got a collection of Ion Age and Flintloque miniatures, I got a fine gaming buddy, I got terrain and even a spiffing table upon which to play…but… Time was not on my side.

As it happened the wargamers who provide me with a living were far more keen on me penning and testing rule systems and fiction than they were on reading about me playing!  That is fine as I have to add that I have found it hard to get the time for focusing on my own efforts and I do not want my own efforts to compromise the happiness that my work brings others.  Lastly exciting projects have developed that will need more of my time and involve blogging so you will all see me on another blog soon enough.

So Tabletop Wargamer is no more.  Thanks to all those who contributed comments, emails and more to the fifteen thousand views it built up.  If anyone wants any of the content from the blog, pictures, scenarios and such I have them but most are already on Barking Irons Online for you to read free.  They are in the HOF Fire-Team and Flintloque pages on the whole.

‘I am numbers not a free man!’  To paraphrase ‘The Prisoner’.


Salute 2013 for GBS


The Shirt and the Badge

Well that is Salute by for another year and while others have posted their reviews of the show (very few this year compared to previous years, or perhaps I am missing them) I have just got to it as its a long trek home and the wind down afterwards always takes a day or so.  So how was the show for me and for Alternative Armies?


The front of the mighty Excel Centre home of Salute 2013

Personally for me I thought that Salute 2013 was down on last year in terms of attendance and that the average spend in the trade hall was lower too.  How do I know this, well I don’t for sure but I can guess at it from the following information.  No que at the gents toilets at 1pm, only a minute’s wait for a coffee at 2pm and a virtually empty hall half an hour before the doors closed.  The crowd was never all that dense at any trade stand.  As always the Warlords were polite and helpful and the Excel staff were excellent.  The weather was lovely and the traffic shuffle out of London was easier than normal too.  Oh and I noticed some of the free plastic miniature sprue that was this year’s entry gift left laying once all the stands were broken down so I have a good half dozen of them!

For Alternative Armies it was a good day considering the above and while the total take was down on last year the overall month of promotion (which ends this Friday) was WAY up on the year before mainly due to a great pulse of SHM, Laserburn, Security Force Alpha and HOT orders on  So all in all it was a super top month for the company.

I did not purchase anything this year at Salute which is odd and for once I did not get offered any freebies either (not a lot of give away for me awwww!) but it was kind of my plan as what I did want to do with my wargaming budget this month and what I got for doing Salute was to get a brand new wargaming table.   So no new rulebooks, figures or terrain but I did get the table TODAY and its a beauty but more on that in another posting.


A photo for the Typhon demo game 2013

I have also decided that I will not be doing any more demo games at wargame conventions myself as I did not get to play Typhon myself at all.  My attention was taken up with conversations, hand shaking and other duties.  It seems my infamy is too great just to toss the dice all day anymore.  Thank though to Craig Andrews of Barking Irons and Orcs in the Webbe fame for fielding the Typhon game four times in the afternoon.

Eve Hallow attended Salute for the first time this year and he did an excellent post about it too.  He travelled to London with my good lady wife…but he did make her carry his dirt filled coffin all the way to Excel!

Great to catch up with Edward Jackson, Steve Young, Bob Naismith, Sam Croes, Craig Andrews, Bill Hilton, Sandy B, Rob Alderman, Elton Waters and Russ Grey on the day; you guys make the trip worthwhile alone.  Thanks also to the hundred plus wargamers who spoke with me I can’t name you all but I took all your input and suggestions onboard and thanks for the kind words too.


Feel the Force in one to one scale!

So good result all in all.  I will see you there next year!


Interviewed on Dropship Horizon blog!


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  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!