Fjodin adds some cracking miniatures to the SHM Range

Creatures and Nightmares!

Today I added four more new 15mm scale miniatures to the SHM Range on  All of them created by the talented Fjodin who resides in Australia.  Its true that Fjodin has other miniatures in the range but these ones, as you can see above, are excellent and to me his best yet.  Three sort of ancient creatures and a nightmare horror to go with them.  Useful for all sorts of things I am sure.

Only a Pistol? You are in trouble my friend!

I have included another image of the new miniatures above, a scaling shot with a standard sized Human for comparison.  The point of this posting aside from virtually patting Fjodin on the back is to once more make the point that I am justly proud of the whole concept of SHM.  While I do not know if these miniatures will sell well enough to cover the costs of molding and so on that is not the point with SHM.  Yes, money is not the point.  The point is that above you can see four miniatures (five if you include the Human Commander) which most likely would NOT EXIST without SHM.   The talent that Fjodin has developed and the exposure he has had to gain more work would have been MUCH more difficult for him to achieve.  So the wargamer benefits and the designer benefits too.  To my knowledge I am the only person offering the chance for novice designers to get virtually any concept into production if they have the talent.

SHM gives the wargamer awesome and odd miniatures and the designer the confidence to grow.  Sometimes all you need is a chance.

Well done Fjodin!


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!


Eli’s Vergan’s are my kinda Miniatures!


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  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

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.


Terra Burning burns out…

Sadly the joint post-apocalypse wargaming blog begun between myself and Maj Diz Aster called Terra Burning is no more.  In effect it was a still birth of a project for no sooner had the details been agreed and the blog begun the poor Maj had a series of incidents that led to him telling me he was quitting wargaming.  While I am happy to say that Maj has returned to wargaming now fired with new enthusiasm for different scales and genres other than 15mm science fiction the TB blog was doomed.  Without his assistance I was unwilling to take it on alone.  Indeed I seldom agree to joint projects like this one as my time is limited and I get rather a large number of offers each year.  I had hoped Terra Burning would be a hit but alas…twas’ not to be.  The blog has been removed from the sphere.

I may post some of the article I had spent hours drafting for Terra Burning over on my own TTWG blog if the mood takes me but for now it seems the rad ruins and the wasteland scarred precincts have fallen silent.  Sorry.


A Day of Photography…painful on the eyes!

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  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

Jellies Cubed!

Jellies Cubed!


For Scale. He’s Jellified!


Criat Mercenary…gurr!


For Scale with Human Cultist


Eli’s Biomorph from the front


And the Rear…urgh!


The Razak by Eli Arndt – Out Today!

The Razak painted by Eve Hallow

Today sees the release of another miniature in my very successful SHM miniature line on  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!


Fleet Scale Success from Eli Arndt!

Since August I have been watching the progress of Eli Arndt’s tiny Fleet Scale Mecha designs and I am pleased to be able to say that Eli giving me the chance to get them into production has turned out brilliantly.  This month will see them released in their own part of the website along with a special Barking Irons Online article for them all about their presence in USEME and how to make best use of them overall in gaming.

FS01 Sprue

FS01 Fleet Scale Mecha or 6mm Power Armour

FS06 Sprue

FS06 Fleet Scale Mecha or 6mm Power Armour

These are some of the smallest wargaming pieces I have ever dealt with and on average each of them is 6mm or less in size.  That said some clever mold making and production sees them in white metal which was then painted by Eve Hallow. They will be released as single miniatures and as value sprues which are a little cheaper.  There are nine different, and they are different, mecha and from the paint schemes I asked Eli for Eve has done a super job (I heard him gibber when he handed them over that never again…too small!).

O.G.Joel has a draft of a 6mm rules set for USEME and these will fit in lovely.

Well done Eli!


Alien Squad Leader 2.0 – Out of Print

No books left…..

This morning I gave the nod for to include an update for the Alien Squad Leader 2.0 game system.  This update was to mark the book for the game system as out of stock.  Essentially the last couple of dozen copies were polished off in the free postage offer that has just ended.  So where now for ASQL2.0?  Well the market has changed in the three years since the book was released and even in the last year since a new run was printed.  ASQL has been a success for the company and for Alex Self its creator and it is still a very powerful and unique rules system but more and more wargamers are asking for it as a PDF download paid for title and not in print.

I am speaking to Alex over the next week and a choice will be made.  Print or PDF or both?  We will see.  If you have an opinion then email me on the address to the right or post a comment below.


Fjodin’s SHM Aliens for October 2012 – Naming Ceremony

Fjodin’s new 15mm Miniatures for the SHM Range

I have known Fjodin (I call him Nick) really since the first month after the SHM Range began on  A young and fierce design talent he lives in Australia and though we have never met we speak fairly often by email and I enjoy his blog too.  He has taken a real shine to the creatures of deep space and told me quite a while ago that he intended to sculpt as many of them as he could manage so that his vision of alien life would make it to the wargaming world.  This is what the SHM range is all about.  I doubt any miniature company except (I am very responsive to industry and customer feedback, just read this ) would have looked at what will end up being a dozen unarmed creatures of all types and said ‘we will take a risk on these’.  It is a shame that a lot of existing and new 15mm ranges consist of nothing but more ruddy human soldiers in powered armour.

My plan is to release all of Fjodin’s designs into SHM as single miniatures but also as packs for wargamers and even just painters to pick up and adore because they are quite simply lovely.  Examine the image above, each of these creatures could very well be treading or oozing across the dirt of a world under a different sun right now.  In wargaming terms they will all feature in my next USE ME project ‘Alien Safari’ which is a solo game system seeing a group of hunters or soldiers trying to capture or evade random critters.  Fjodin actually inspired me to want to write this set of rules based on these creatures.

Fjodin left it up to me to name these creatures and so I have done so right here on this blog.  They are, from left to right, as follows:

SHM44 Nessian

SHM45 Slurmite

SHM46 Avarep Cobra

SHM47 Galdor Burrower

The miniatures in the picture were painted by Eve Hallow and he did a great job I think as he had no idea and no instructions from myself or Fjodin on what these critters looked like!

These SHM codes are out at the end of this week on


Danger on Outpost 32!

I really do need to keep track of time.  Really I do, as I seem to have lost a couple of months.  I blame the summer holidays from the schools.  Having the three little demons at home has thrown me for six and no mistake.  My own work output has dropped by about half over the last eight weeks.  Leaving aside the fact that I personally think that eight weeks is WAY too long for children to have off school (poor overworked teachers they say, what about all of us who work on while they relax for twice the time I get off in a whole year!) my reason for this post is to announce a return to normal once more with my next project about to go on general release as of the end of this week.

Danger on Outpost 32

This follows up on the WIP posts from back in May.  Have a read of those for the concepts and so on behind the USE ME Starter Packs and the over all plan.  But DOOP32 (catchy eh!) is all you need to play in a handy box which, trust me on this, is really good for carrying about your current Flintloque project too.  A rulebook, two dice, twenty seven miniatures and twenty seven bases along with a set of sheets with three scenarios and rosters.  The miniatures are from the HOF range and the SHM range and include some crackers such as the Prang that Eli Arndt designed for the range. Packed full of Fun!

You will be able to see more images once it is uploaded to the site along with a link to download a PDF of the included sheets, so you can read them and use them if you already have the rules and miniatures to hand.

DOOP32 was a small project that came about due to some conversations mainly with Chris Knowles (head blogger on Dropship Horizon blog) and a few dozen requests from customers who desired to get a whole game in a box for USE ME.  It was about fifteen hours work all in.  A testament to the rugged simplicity of the rules system and the 15mm scale.   I do not know how well it will sell but time will soon tell and I await wargamer responses with eager nervousness.  One additional point worthy of mention is that many of the requests for a starter pack was that it be affordable as most wargamers are working to a tight budget these days.  Well I took this on board and DOOP32 is very affordable at only twenty pounds which is spot on budget for what you get.

You can see the whole USE ME Series on