Tony Harwood publishes and ships his first book!

Book Anyone?

I have known Tony Harwood for more than a decade and he is a great fan of Flintloque so when he mentioned online that he planned to publish a book of his terrain ideas and works I was very interested.  Tony makes wonderful terrain for several different game systems and also for a couple of companies too.  All of this is in his own unique style.  I actually own a piece of his terrain which Tony very kindly gifted to me last year (is it in the book we will see!) for the Sharke’s Gingerbread adventure at Salute.

My House is a very, very fine Gingerbread House

One hundred copies of the book have been printed and it looks like it is selling well.  I have held off ordering just now as I wanted Tony to expand his fan base and I will pick up a copy once the huzzah calms down a bit.  Writing, Editing, Laying Out and Publishing a book is a daunting process (trust me I know!) and all that before you take it to a market and attempt to sell what you have come to love and often loath so much to interested parties.  Tony’s works deserve to be seen by all those who are interested in wargame terrain and how it can be constructed.

You can see some of Tony’s work over on Barking Irons Online and also on his own Blog along with the book itself.

Well done Tony!


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!


Iain (M) Banks dies aged 59

A Great picture of Banks…nicked from Neil Gaiman’s blog!

I only learned of this sad news this morning after a rather dramatic Sunday which saw me having to rush my darling wife to Ayr Hospital’s emergency room after she fell and hit her head.  A mild concussion was the result and she is fine now but it did give me rather a bad fright.  Headlining newspapers here in Scotland today the news that renowned science fiction and other genre author Iain (M) Banks has died at only 59 from cancer of the gall bladder.

This is sad news indeed as it was partially this author and his book Use of Weapons which encouraged a teenage me to aspire to writing fiction in the first place.  Also fifty nine is just too young in this day and age to die I lament all of the lost stories his great mind will now never produce.  I also took great pride in my shared Scottish identity with this author as there are not many writers of Iain Bank’s standing in Scotland these days and I had and do hope to emulate him through my own titles.  I do not have his flair for gothic humour but I we share other traits.

If you have not heard of this author’s work then I do suggest you have a look around (the given link will show you all his work) and try him out.  His novels about ‘the Culture’ especially.

Rest in Peace Iain.


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’.


Long time no Blog, Long time no Break


The Thinker ran the fastest that day!

Its been two weeks since I last made a post on this site.  Have I been away, been abroad, been missing in action?  No.  Not really.  I was here all the while but I was trying out a ‘working break’ that is an effort to cut my workload down while still being at work.  How to do this you ask…well its not complex.

Essentially I wanted time to spend with my children and my wife as the weather here in Scotland finally and I do mean finally began to heat up and it meant time down the beach in Girvan and trips out and about.  I work long hours and answer many hundreds of emails a week along with organising several projects and a dozen other tasks a day.  On top of the wargaming company workload I have this website and a blog and the Notables Yahoo Group too along with other online profiles to update and interact with.  To have a ‘working break’ I organised two weeks where I continued to do the office work but not the additional tasks such as this website.  Call it working to rule instead of working on rules if you like.

In the last two weeks I have attended two large outdoor events, the Mauchline Holy Fair and the Girvan Lowland Gathering.  I have had guests to stay, helped a long term and dear friend and her friend move house, written about ten thousand words of fiction, read four novels, watched half a dozen anime movies and listened to several new and older albums.  I have spent quality time with the greatest lady in the world (my wife!) where she reminded me why she is still my number one after sixteen years together and I had the pleasure of learning that my middle son came third in his sports day at school and my eldest son came first at his (hence the image above).

What has been most interesting though is the concern from several wargamers and others for me.  Why have I been so quiet, am I all right and so on.  Let me say I am fine and what I have been working on will be happening later this summer.  Thank you for your concern one and all!

Lastly I have decided that I can no longer keep up efforts to maintain my tabletop wargamer blog.  So instead of putting it on hiatus I am going to end it totally.  This will be in another post shortly.


Ray Harryhausen dies aged 92

Jason and the Argonauts  Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Clash of the Titans to name a few famous ones.  All films made fantastic by the stop motion work of Ray Harryhausen who died peacefully yesterday.

Harryhausen was a legend among fantasy and science fiction movie fans and I see at least five of his films a year during festive or other holidays.  In fact I know some of them off by heart.  What makes it even more sad is that his good friend Ray Bradbury died not that long ago.  An age really is ending.  Its going to be CGI over substance all the more.  Something akin to parts of the wargaming industry but that is not for now.

You Looking at me!

You can read a full obituary here and check out the clip above.  Its old, its creaky but man it’s still awesome!


Girvan Folk Festival 2013

ohn Watt & Davie Stewart, in the dance hall at the first festival – 1974. © Peter Fairbairn, Kilmaurs

It was the annual Girvan Folk Festival at the weekend and by all accounts a good time was had all around.  While I did not attend any of the two dozen or so events I do live in the very heart of the town of Girvan and this meant I was within earshot of most of the pubs and hotels which hosted the groups and bands playing their music and teaching others the skills of folk.  This was the thirty ninth festival, tinged with a hint of sadness as the instigator of the festivals Bobby Robb died last year.

In the Roxy Beer Garden 2013. © Tog Porter – Wigwam Photography

While it is no secret that Girvan has suffered in the current recession I was proud of the way that the town managed to bring in a couple of thousand visitors over a weekend and take good care of them.  This despite the diminishing in facilities in the town (don’t get me started on politics!) and weather that was thankfully mild but dull and rainy.  Listening to the music gave me free entertainment and some joy too.  It is always good to hear people having fun (my neighbours got married at the weekend too) and while I got little sleep on Saturday night I lay awake with a smile on my face while the guitars played away the wee hours.

I have heard a rumour that some people complained about the charge for a weekend in secure parking and camping in the town.  This charge being to turn away those not interested in the festival and for security, including a police presence, to keep families and others safe.   I personally think that about 35.00GBP for a family of four for a weekend pitch during an event is perfectly fine but some did not.  The security was needed after the activities of some ‘people’ (and I use the term loosely…cretins would be more accurate) last year and some property damage.  There was no trouble this year that I am aware of.

If you have an interest in Folk Music check out the website for the festival and even if you don’t do it anyway as it is worth five minutes to see all the pictures.

Perhaps my schedule will allow me to attend some of the gigs next year for the big fortieth festival in 2014.

Well done Girvan!


May Day Fun!


May Day is one of those days in the year when things seem more possible than not.  What do I mean by this?  Well simply put that on this day depending on what you believe its time to:

  • Smash the Capitalistic System
  • Go on Strike
  • Celebrate a Pagan God or two
  • Dance around a Maypole
  • Lick the dew from the morning grass
  • Run about kissing random people

While I may have done some of these things (not telling you!) it did put all me in the mind to suggest a ‘free postage’ weekend at Alternative Armies and  Its a holiday weekend in the UK so I think across four days, Friday to Monday, it will do a lot of bored and itchy wargamers good to know they can cash in on my ‘urge to splurge’.  It will be interesting to see the results.

As for the image in this posting, that is what will be on the two websites and associated email campaigns too.  I knocked it up…like it?  I am no artist, not like Mr Jackson or Mr Croes but I like it plenty.  Its like me…blunt!  🙂


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!