Winter Season hits Scotland hard today!

From BBC early this morning central Scotland

I am typing this post between the roar of the wind and the losses of electricity that have been battering Girvan since late last night.  Although the weather service did warn us all that high wind was to be expected I think the country got more than it was expecting.  Early this morning the power went out but not before the local radio reported that the Scottish Government had upped the yellow weather warning to a full red top level alert.  By that time the whole rail network had closed down, part of Glasgow Central Station’s roof fell in and many roads were shut with fallen trees and tipped over vehicles.  Girvan primary school was closed and going to work impossible due to the debris and high wind.  See the BBC for more.  Look at this video for what is happening in South Ayrshire.

Scotrail Train with a broken window

What does this mean.  Well it means no work today and maybe not on Friday depending on the damage and the roads.  No email from me and while I did manage to get The Ion Age release out for today I did that on battery power on an Ipad! No orders will be leaving Alternative Armies, or The Ion Age until next week (I am told Royal Mail has stopped for the moment too).  Apologies to all but there is not much I can do about this….

Its not been a good week for Central Scotland really.


Sadness and Strangeness Weekend

The news this weekend in Scotland has been all about the terrible helicopter crash in Glasgow in which, it seems now, several (now confirmed nine) people lost their lives.  People in the helicopter died and also in the Clutha Vaults bar that it landed upon. This is very sad and the reasons are not quite clear as yet.  I actually got two emails to Alternative Armies and some to my own email account asking if I or anyone I know had been involved in the accident.  The answer is no. Everyone I know is safe (I checked all my friends who live in the city too).  I used to go into the Clutha when I was a student (scene of many fun evenings but no more about that) but its been years since I have been in that part of Glasgow.  My thoughts are with all involved.  A sad weekend for Scotland.

The one in the middle is the most real

But the other news item this week that caught my attention came from one of my favourite places, the land of the rising sun Japan.  Lady Gaga, there on promotional work, unveiled two singing life sized dolls.  Creepy in the extreme but ultimately disappointing as the early twitter and news posts spoke of them being actual AI (Artifical Intelligence) capable of hugs, kisses and conversation.  Robo Geisha!  But no.  They are impressive constructs certainly, but just a gimmick.  Seems I will have to wait a bit longer for Bladerunner to become real.    Have a look at this video for the build guide.

A weekend of sadness and weirdness.  I am glad to see it over.


50 Years for Who?

Today is the day, across all the multi-verses today is the day.  I have listen to, watched, recorded and sat the dark late at night to see all of the multitude of BBC programmes on TV and Radio to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.  I could dribble on about the programme and about the books, the gifts and gadgets and the other items across the years that have form a part of my life from this mighty science fiction show.  But I won’t.  I will just say that since I was a wee lad its been a part of me.  I have gone to exhibitions, met the cast, got autographs and that is saying something.  I waited with the rest of my generation through the long 1990’s for it to return and it did in time for my own children.

From the brand new (tonight!) to the very oldest in flickering black and white Dr Who is a programme unlike any other on television.  Its fans and devotees among the best of Humanity (those I have met anyway) and its lore so diverse that it has covered more ground than any other science fiction series.  It has tackled issues wide and far.

Best Doctor….

So tune in tonight and if you are not in Great Britain then I feel sorry for you this time.  License Fee is worth it today!

GBS gets a Blog

I have just made live and announced that now has its own blogger blog.  Out of the digital cold and into the hot light of cyber augmented reality the birth of the blog leads with a posting about the latest re-mastering and re-release of a classic Laserburn vehicle.  From white metal to resin and back to life.  Appropriate really for this new forum as well.

The blog is small just now but it will grow fast.  You can visit it on  Its going to be a great read.  Plus you can see our new vision logo.


Bloggy Endus Hiatus!

Hello All!

I have been gone some time.  Well not gone rather sitting here as always working away but rather working solid in my ‘downtime’ on the playtesting of Patrol Angis as per the last post here some six weeks ago.  Six weeks, gone by a flash aside from the warm summer evenings now dark and stormy.

Just a quick post to say I will be getting back to normal now and to thank everyone in the test group for their efforts.  You can see the six weekly blog posts about it by me over on The Ion Age blog.  They make for some fine reading.  I will be redrafting the rules engine based on the results of the playtest over the festive period for release next year.

A lot has happened with me in the last month and a half so perhaps some retrospective posts will feature plus some movie reviews and books reviews too now that I have time to leisure once more. Perhaps even a wargame or two if I can drum up a foe.


Vodophone…a Customer Satisfaction Epic Fail!

Today is a good day.  Why you ask…well its simple.  Today I got back the near two hundred pounds that Vodaphone took from my bank account.  Let me tell you a little story.

On the 28th of August I looked at my current account and discovered that two hundred pounds was missing.  Now that is not small change to anyone.  Asking in the bank I was told it was a charge from Vodaphone against my good lady. Which was odd since she no longer had a phone contract with them having cancelled and paid if off a month plus earlier moving to another provider.  I, being a civilised fellow, thought that a quick call to the company would resolve this and get my money back.  But no….

On the evening of the 28th my wife made half a dozen calls to their call centre and I kid you not the workers there not only did not help her but they all ‘accidentally’ hung up on her during the calls.  Eventually finding a decent chap we were told that they simply did not know why they took the money as we had no account!  Don’t worry we will sort it out they said.  Time passed, time passed.  We phoned back and tried again the next week and were promised a speedy solution and a return of the funds.  Well that was the 31st of August and here we are on the 9th of September.  That is, in the age of Paypal and instant communications, nearly two weeks to get a resolution.  Just not good enough.  Not at all!

I had to cancel plans, cut down my expenditure.  No one suffered but I feel strongly enough about this to say that they just ‘stole’ the money and then sat on it.

Well done Vodaphone you moved me to make a blog post like this something I avoid normally.  You will never get my custom again.


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!


Commonwealth Games – Glasgow 2014 – Irn Bru


Brand New but Vintage Bru!

I have not been posting much here or on other forums and for that and the hundreds of you who read these items every day I am sorry.  But fear not the reason for this will be revealed in all of its awesomeness on Monday 19th August.  Just you wait…fans of 15mm especially.

Moving on from that good luck to Scotland in this evening’s football match against England at Wembley.  Victory will go to the Tartan Army I am sure (errr….maybe not) but its the first time that Scotland have played ‘The Auld Enemy’ since 1999 and I remember that match well.  I also now realise I am since that match a father of three, married, a home owner, a successful author and car driver among other things…it sure does creep up on you eh.  I will post a comment after the match and let you all know what happened.

Lastly the above image is of a brand new design of Irn-Bru can of fizzy drink which has been produced in celebration of Glasgow’s hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  We may not have been big enough to get the Olympics but this is just as good as it is actually near enough to visit.  The can has a vintage design on it and it looks and tastes very nice too.

All in all its a great week…and the kids go back to school on Monday too. 🙂


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!


“The Jaws that Bite, the Claws that Catch”….


A snapshot taken moments before a bloody and savage death for an intrepid explorer of the wild ways and places.   Rumour has it that this fearsome beast is no myth and poetic imagining but is instead a white metal reality coming this week for pre-order at  I could not possibly say at this time but perhaps in a few days time….a more in depth look maybe.

For now gaze and long for it…I know I do.

Now I must go a galumphing back to work.