Today marked a grand day for me personally. A day I have been working towards since last year. A day that proves if you try hard enough you can actually achieve next to anything. Do not take that as some sort of self improvement propaganda its simply a plan with a lot of hard work. Thousands of hours and admittedly a thousand disappointed people (I do have to sleep and see my children) have taken me to this day. While I will resume my game development and so on soon today is all about the Three Platforms. Alternative Armies on its new website launched Project Darkhelm, 15mm.co.uk on its new website released the second to last re-mastered code for Laserburn and lastly following up on last month’s awesome early supporter deal my baby The Ion Age ramps up for its One Year Anniversary with another great offer on hover vehicles. We are back to the situation of one year ago plus more with weekly releases across three platforms or websites and their connected blogs.
Click on the links for details and forgive me not explaining it all here as I have already typed some six thousand words today plus other tasks.
I would actually be interested to hear if anyone out there manages so many different brands and systems and their support. We could have quite a good conversation I think. I admire other workers in the industry and enjoy the chats I do have with several of them each week. So. A little round of applause for me and a bow, thank you. I would have posed this yesterday in lead in but I was happily attending my old haunt Glasgow University to attend the graduation of my sister in law Kirsten Loy. Congratulations girl and well done. A full post soon on this with my own reflections at returning some 12 years to the day since I myself graduated and not since.
Enjoy the pictures and thanks for all the kind words on Google Plus and other forums too. I adore you all…really 🙂
Here be Dragons!
Salute 2014 is over and I am back in Scotland now. I got back on Sunday afternoon but its taken until now for me to take care of all the email and other matters to have time to make this posting. My own blogging comes last on the list and is mainly for my own amusement here on this domain. That being said I hope the three thousand of you who look at it each week enjoy the read. Anyway with the dust settled and some time to muse on it…just how was Salute this year for me and as an event?
Come and look at the table!
For me this Salute was the most easy going ever with the entire event going off without a hitch and even the traffic in London being remarkably light. I was tired sure but nothing like the mad days of 2004-2010 for this wargames show. I met a lot of nice people and in among the praise of how much they were loving The Ion Age and wishing it good growth I also took some flak from Flintloque fans. Did I not know this was the first Salute since the 1990’s that Flintloque did not dominate the trade stand? Well I did and I did it on purpose; sorry guys! Makes me think though Flintloque has been ‘me’ for so long now that it did feel a bit strange not to have it there. We did fine in terms of our sales and I was happy with that and as always we dropped off a stack of ‘collect on the day’ pre-orders. I want to thank all those who supported us and me and I wish them well.
The Ion Age in the ‘flesh’ got a lot of admiring looks
As an event this Salute was rather more quiet that previous years. Less excitement and buzz in the massive hall at Excel and without the bring and buy the gaps between the rows of stands was very wide indeed. I think attendance was down a bit as well. Certainly I tend to notice things like this and my notes from 2013 said the same thing down on 2012. Not to be pessimistic but it seems possible to me with the changing nature of the hobby that such a big show might not continue as it is. A smaller trade stand suited us and other traders had done the same thing perhaps noticing what I had. I have not seen this opinion online elsewhere but then maybe I am wrong on this…when I look back at this post in a year I will know for sure. Just call me Hari Seldon perhaps!
Perhaps this sign will be gone next year?
Now. On with life and with business. Its Malig Madness release week on The Ion Age and its the Maginot Turret kit on 15mm.co.uk and Slaughterloo is back in stock from the morrow on Alternative Armies. Plus the sun is shining. Life is mighty fine by the sea here in Girvan and there is a LOT coming your way over the coming months.
Snapping at my heels for a over a year is what is new to everyone else in the world but is an old friend to me. The Loud Ninja Games range of Chuhuac or Space Raptors in 15mm and 28mm scale. You can read all about the now full release of these miniatures through 15mm.co.uk on the blog that I run there or you can go right to the website and see them all there. As it is those places will show you the product and tell you about it but it will not tell you my own feelings which I am putting here.
Its been a long and at times a bit sore road across more than a year to get the Space Raptors from concept to green to production and then produced in the very large numbers needed for the fulfilment of the funded Kickstarter that brought them into existence. Every challenge was met by myself and the rest of us at 15mm.co.uk and we overcame them all. I have enjoyed it all though and so far the happy emails and online forum posts have proved that wargames adore them too. I have to praise Eli Arndt though who has remained positive and energized about the Chuhuac right from the start and has put the comments of his customers first all the time. Now that the Space Raptors are on regular retail sale the wider world will get a chance to own them and as of this morning quite a few people have taken up the challenge. Personally I do not care much for space dinosaurs as an idea and I won’t be gaming with them but it does not matter as you would not expect me to adore every release of the hundreds a year I oversee. Would you?
Loud Ninja Games should be set to grow with the support of the wargaming community across the globe and I look forward to seeing what other madness comes out of the mind of the ‘I See Lead People’ blogger. Trying to turn an idea in to reality is a challenge even when you have the experience and skill set to do it. But trying it as a newbie to the industry takes nerves of steel. For many it does not work out and the hurdles along the way can trip them up. But not this time. Oh’ and I made a new friend too.
Well done Eli my friend!
There is a lot going on at work just now. Major product releases one after another. This has meant less time for me to do much in the way of hobby or personal time projects but its well worth a blog post here. So what has the week for me been?
Its all been about buildings, vehicles and aliens in 15mm scale. 15mm scale means that a human being of average height is about a centimetre and a half tall as a miniature. Its a great scale as it means very large objects can be modelled affordable and well without a huge expenditure of energy. The aliens were the brand new Prang, alien raiders and soldiers over on 15mm.co.uk. These chaps made by my friend Eli Arndt over in the USA are great fun and suggestions for their use range from pirates to bodyguards. If you are interested in seeing them pop along to the blog for that website. The vehicles, well that was Sam Croes beautiful Skylark Patrol Flyer a resin kit in 15mm scale for The Ion Age. You can see it on top of the tower in the above image. Terrain came in the shape of the landing pad that tops off the tower in the above image. You can read more on the Ion Age blog.
Typically I do the writing, blogging, web work and photo editing for releases and I am not interrupted much by customers or fans while doing it but in the last seven days its been a total opposite. Many have been praising and asking about these new items. This is the focal point of this posting. It makes me smile. Being asked what something will look and what it will cost and if there is a story to it is very invigorating it makes you realise that people care. Frankly it makes me sure that investing my time and efforts into this universe was the right thing to do.
That said I do hope to read my copy of Escape from New York over the weekend..if I have time.
Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the Solar System… Humanity is on the ropes, and after years of fighting a two-front war with losing odds, so is North American Defense Corps officer Andrew Grayson. He dreams of dropping out of the service one day, alongside his pilot girlfriend, but as warfare consumes entire planets and conditions on Earth deteriorate, he wonders if there will be anywhere left for them to go. After surviving a disastrous space-borne assault, Grayson is reassigned to a ship bound for a distant colony—and packed with malcontents and troublemakers. His most dangerous battle has just begun. In this sequel to the best selling Terms of Enlistment, a weary soldier must fight to prevent the downfall of his species…or bear witness to humanity’s last, fleeting breaths.
Back in late December the first book I read with my new Kindle was Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos. You can read my review of it on this blog here. I enjoyed it so much that I signed up for the pre-order option to get the sequel and it downloaded into my device on cue two weeks ago. Now I have been so busy that I have only just now got around to reading it and I did so in two halves over some three hours. I had been looking forward to learning what had become of the NAC, of Andrew Grayson and the Lankies. Was it worth the wait?
As is normal for me with my lack of free time the short answer is YES. I enjoyed this sequel a lot. I read it fast and with joy. I would say you need to read the first book for it to make total sense, but you could wing it. I will not give the plot away but there is action a plenty and though the plot is not as novel as the first book its tighter and Mr Kloos seems to have more fun with it too. Go and seek it out if you like military sci-fi like what I do (see that professional grammer eh!). It alternates doom laden depression with souring optimism on the part of the characters and this gives them more depth. The Lankies are very scary if impersonal foes. Get it from Amazon here.
I think that the author will craft a third book in the series and after the way ‘Lines of Departure’ ended I have some thoughts as to what will feature in it. A doomed humanity, back against the wall, confined to half a solar system with an unstoppable enemy. Seems to me that a miracle weapon will appear to deal with the seed ships and that freedom will come with a realisation of the nature of man. After all you can’t argue with brute physics. I am loving this hopefully now series of books.
I recently got a new phone. I thought it was time, since my last one was bought before the advent of most social media. While its all business for me I did want to share the little luxury I bought myself to go with the phone. As you can see is a great piece of artwork by Sam Croes on a protective case. Depicting giant robots in a burning cityscape. From a future project, don’t ask, as this image is all you will see of the project for now. Its one for 2015.
Enjoy the picture and thanks to my good lady for taking the shot, as you can imagine its hard to take a picture of your own phone case while your phone is in it!
Today the expansion to the original Hab Dome over The Ion Age was released. Why blog about it here? Well its been a focus for me this week away from a bad week in general and its been awaited by a number of customers since the image of it was first ‘leaked’ (above) a few weeks after the October release of the Hab Dome. There is a detailed post written by me on the Ion Age Blog. Have a look. Its one of the longest posts thus far with fiction, information, pictures and more.
I don’t have a lot of time just now for personal blog posts but this was worth the time and all kudos goes to Sam Croes who spent a lot of time designing the Tower Module so that not only does it look awesome it just ‘snap fits’ into place allowing towers of up to five levels to be made. On The Miniatures Page a thread has gotten some good feedback on this release with suggestions about using the module as ground storage or as an escape pod. That is one of the things I love about the hobby industry, the imagination of the players and model makers.
I am not often overcome with an urge to carry out a silly joke but I did feel the urge to do so upon getting a Kindle for Festivemass. After spotting a reduced price bright white silicon rubber cover for it I decided that if I got the cover it might well make my device look it a Datapad. Daft I know but the children like it and it makes me smile!
You can read my review of my first Kindle read here. I will be reading more on my Datapad soon but first some DVD and print books to look over I think.
It has been a dream of mine for a number of months to get a Kindle and be able to read all of the science fiction tales to be had through that device which are not availiable in paperback form. Self Publishing, once the hated bastard offspring of the ‘proper publishing house’ is now in its own element. It’s a digital age and the world has indeed changed. I wanted to read of that change for myself and see if things ‘rejected’ by some would be good enough to entertain others. I also know there will be a lot of let down and dross to wade through too but we can all enjoy that together. This festive season my good lady surprised me with just such a device and once I had it set up my first port of call was to purchase the ebook Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos. Having had two days off I managed to read the whole novel while attending to all the other madness of the holiday. So aside from being my first non-paper reading experience in hand what was the book actually like? Read on for my own review starting with a short web lifted synopsis.
The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price . . . and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or the gangs that rule the slums.
I began by reading the ‘free sample’ offered on Amazon and this got my attention. A few pages about Andrew Grayson, a street rat, a potential pointless hoodlum in waiting whose life is going nowhere. His only chance to get out of the PRC is the army. The book divides into three main parts and these are firstly the slums and military training, secondly military action on Earth and thirdly adventure among the colonies and a change of pace. I don’t want to spoil the tale so I will keep it short and loose. I thought I was reading one novel when I began and another when I finished and do you know what it was bloody good all the way through. I could complain about typo’s and some editing (the gods know I get them too despite a lot of editing so sod that, it was not enough to spoil the story to any degree) and I could mention the boiler house dialogue in places (some reviewers did but to be honest it made me smile, I like this kind of character speak). I will mention that the whole book is written in first person perspective and this is no mean feat believe me. The author does this well and the character grows throughout the novel and you can tell by his mannerisms. It is military science fiction and the combat scenes work well. The technology is evident but not overpowering. Infodumping is there but this is not a problem especially for first person narration. Characters were well drawn and sparse where needed but rounded where required. It kept me focused on it. In short a novel that deserves success and will impress those who want action with a little social-economic thought too.
My opinions were actually mirrored in several of the reviews I read after typing this blog post and that made me laugh. I will not hide the fact that I should and I could write a novel that would be good for fans of this genre but seriously folks take a dump or get off the can. Snippy comments by those jade green with envy over another’s success (always success not talent remember that) on forums is just sad. I tend to avoid comments and leave it with a blog review.
You can read an interview with Marko Kloos on Writers & Artists. Well worth a read for me as it actually validated my thoughts on self publishing through Amazon to Kindle for the talented writers. Lastly it also informed me of the authors new work Lines of Departure which is due out late January 2014; its been picked up by an Amazon inprint 47North so in a way Mr Kloos is no longer self publishing! Evident to this see below for the new (not designed by the author himself). He has arrived!
If you like Military Science Fiction then give this a volley of shots. Its a tungsten flechette of action packed fun that will lift you out of any crummy government apartment in the NAC for a few hours. I have pre-ordered the sequel this afternoon.
Over the next month or so on The Ion Age blog of which I am the ‘webmaster’ as it were there are going to be posts all about the upcoming first major release for The Ion Age in 2014. As you can see from the picture above the first posting is a bit of a teaser. It concerns our lead designer Sam Croes and his ‘drinking at work’. Following on this will be postings of fiction about the Duxis Battlesuit, of artwork, of concept drawings, of the miniatures and then details of the Early Supporter Offers which will be happening on the Duxis.
While I cannot say more just now you should, if you are keen on 15mm science fiction wargaming or you just love fight mecha, have a look at the blog every now and again. I have the first finished battlesuit miniature on the desk in front of me here and let me just add…its superb!
Dreamed, Designed, Made…in Scotland but not from Girders!