The online residence of wargame creator and writer Gavin Syme
Category Archives: Admiring Others
I have the great fortune to be part of a web of people who are in possession of great talent. These talents can be in the written word or the drawing of pictures among a great many other things. In these posts I pay due respect and let you all know about the excellence that exists out there.
Its been a hectic week for it was time for the ‘creative staff meet’ hosted this time by me here in Girvan in Scotland. As you can see from the picture above myself (centre…ain’t I pretty!), Sam Croes on the right and the crypt keeper himself Eve Hallow on the left (yes, he does manage speak with that on!) had a jolly time of it. Being face to face allows for a lot of conversation and ideas to flow quickly and they did. It did mean that I have been out of the office all week but I do promise to catch up on, what I am told, is all of the fifty plus emails for me that are awaiting answers.
As well as work we did do some sight seeing too as it was Sam’s first time here in Ayrshire so I took him to see Alloway and the land of Burns along with some scenic sights. This was made easier by four dry and sunny days in a row which for Scotland is a rare thing. Eve did not come along…sunlight does not agree with him strangely…
Sam was kind enough to give me some pressies from his homeland of Belgium and I gave him some goodies from here as did Eve Hallow. I have not pictured all of the presents as I drank some of them and ate others but I will review the excellent looking comic books and the music too. Time should not be so pressed now for me.
Gifts from the lands of Ghent!
Its rare to have so much talent in one room and it was a blast and I can’t wait until we all meet up again in London at Salute 2013 in April. In a time of instant communication and ever faster computers sometimes you just can’t beat working shoulder to shoulder on exciting things for the future of miniature wargaming. Eve say’s he might even turn up to Salute without the mask or his shovel for digging up corpses!
The day is here (well it was yesterday but I do have to sleep) Slaughterloo Redux is in print, in boxes and being sent out to all those who ordered it from Alternative Armies. You can find out all about the book on the website and I will not repeat it here (there is also a folder of free files you can download too) as this is my personal blog and I just want to talk a little about the process of the book and the joy of its publication.
Back in the autumn of 2012 when it became clear that the original print run of Slaughterloo 2nd edition was going to run out the decision was made to update it and put it into one book instead of a boxed set. The process of making one book out of three was larger than I originally though as not only had it to be combined but it had to be updated. The rules mechanics did not change but the army lists and statistics tables had to be expanded and tidied up along with more new material added. On top of this there was a new scenario to write and a new way of writing it (based on the Flintloque 3rd edition model) required. Page after page all the way up to one hundred and sixty eight pages. The biggest book I have ever worked on. The authorship is of course split between myself and Alex Draper but I oversaw the digital layouts and artwork editing myself. Over a hundred and fifty of Edward Jackson’s great ‘world of valon’ images are in the book and each of them had to be sized and rendered. Topping out at 175,000 words the editing and proofing took three weeks to complete. Hundreds of work hours but it was more than worth it as the book is a beautiful object in its own right.
You can see from the pictures in this posting, I wanted to show an actual copy instead of digital copy as normal, the quality of the print work and of the paper stock. The book has a great weight and is a joy to flick through and read at leisure and that is before you get to the actual game (Alex’s rules are superb!). You can read it as a reference book too. In a time when prices go ever up for wargaming material and the content gets ever slimmer and font sizes ever bigger this bad boy gives you the works for just twenty pounds. I believe in giving people a damn good read as well as a good game to play.
Unfortunately the weather in the UK did delay release and shipping by two weeks and by consequence this posting too. Obviously I did not see this coming but the company has not had a single grumble never mind complaint about the delay. Alternative Armies has many loyal gentlemen for customers, let me tell you. Snow and wind did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm though. Slaughterloo woohoo!
p.s. you might now ask how I am going to top this book…well 2013 is a long year and there is plenty of time. Just you all wait and see.
The Latest on BIO as of the weekend…its updated already since then!
Back in December I took part in the now annual Alternative Armies interview for the Orcs in the Webbe advent calendar. In that interview I was told that Craig Andrews, owner of Orcs in the Webbe and editor of Barking Irons Online, would be making a planned effort to kick the volume of content on Barking Irons up a notch. Well its now late January and Craig has certainly met his goal!
I contribute content to Barking Irons when I can. A lot of this is done in time time off work or at the weekend (yes, I don’t sleep much!). Now its not as much as I would like but I am only human. Craig has taken my work along with that of a dozen others and planned out news, reviews, articles and scenarios for half a dozen game systems published by Alternative Armies and 15mm.co.uk. My latest was a HOF Fire-Team scenario you can find notes for on TTWG blog but only yesterday an excerpt from The Trolls of Valon from 2012 was put up too. I am very impressed with Craig’s dedication to wargaming and to me as well. Add to this that he holds down as full time job and has just successfully moved from Birmingham to Bristol and you have a chap who can spin a lot of plates while also maintaining a formidable online presence.
There is no doubt that Craig Andrews is the soul behind BIO and that I among the hundreds who regularly look to Barking Irons for their gaming material each week are looking forward to what will happen in the rest of 2013 and beyond with this online magazine.
Craig is going to be looking for voluntary funding for OITW to cover his costs. I have told him privately and will now state it publicly that Alternative Armies will contribute largely to this in supporting OITW. OITW now also covers other game systems in the ‘black powder fantasy’ wargaming genre created by Flintloque so I hope those other brands will also assist Craig and that this will meet his needs.
Today is a little sad for me as a voice I have known for nearly twenty years is retiring from BBC Radio Four. Charlotte Green has been the voice of news reading on that most fine of stations for quarter of a century, longer than I have listen to it. Radio Four, I think, is the finest information based station in the world and while it will continue on and there is a stack of talent still there it will not be the same for me. Early in the morning her voice said ‘wake up and get to working’, in the day it said ‘take a break and have some lunch’, the evening saw ‘press on and get that piece finished’ and the bulletin at ten at night said ‘that’s enough, time to quit’. Last year another loved long term voice, Harriet Casse, also left the station.
Oddly enough Charlotte was and is very camera shy and right up to lunchtime today I had no idea what she looked like! She only appeared on screen for a few seconds but it was nice to put a face to the voice.
Happy Trails Charlotte and if they ask you back please say yes!
Today is Christmas Day and its been a roller coaster already so I have not much time to blog but I wanted to put up a little missive on this day for a few reasons. Firstly to thank all those who have been so kind to me and to my family at this time of year. An embarrassment of riches has come to us from all over the world. It makes me truly grateful and personally, the thought that people have put into getting me gifts is way too much. Japan, America, Australia and elsewhere in little packages. I am loved and love in return. You should not have but I am glad you did. To balance this I have made donations to charities both here in Scotland and further afield too to spread the joy that I have received. My Good Lady, the Poet, the Thinker and the Warrior echo this and have been very thankful for what they have received too.
Secondly yesterday saw the annual Festive Season interview on Orcs in the Webbe between myself and Craig Andrews. He calls it Annual Grilling and it is. I know of no other gaming company which would answer so many questions for its public, but I aim to please at all times. Have a read and then watch me across next year bringing the text into a living form of wargaming.
Lastly I wish you all a warm and cosy festive season and thank you too for reading and commenting on this blog. It means a lot to me. If you have the chance to be good to another person then do it, the cost is little and the darkness so often apparent in the world is kept at bay by the simple acts of man’s kindness to others.
When you have a spare ten minutes head on over to Youtube or click above and check out Rob Alderman’s video on his Undead Todoroni of the 777th Croaked Line. The video is a mix of product review and painting example and also character essay. A good watch. Rob is getting really good at his videos and it shows. He is a little hard on himself though when he should not be. I have had a lot of feedback from regular players of Flintloque and Slaughterloo who love these unique and fun miniatures.
You might remember my short series of postings about this set of miniatures. If you want a recap and to read them again then go here for the final one and follow the links backwards from there.
Below you can see an image taken from an as yet to be published Flintloque scenario with these miniatures in prime place. Enjoy!
Its nearly Christmas (or on my fantasy world of Valon it is known as Cryptmass, but more on that elsewhere) and that means my annual entries to the excellent Orcs in the Webbe advent calendar are now appearing online. Every year Craig over at ‘OITW’ collects material from fans and writers and artist who love the medium of Black Power Fantasy and lines them up for a month of free content which is read by thousands of wargamers and others.
This year Craig asked me for two pieces in our customary way for his birthday (Happy Birthday Craig!) to do with his favourite Valon fantasy race, the Dracci, Children of the Dragons. I was happy to agree to this and penned a short story called The Mirror of Zyrgone which features not only the Dracci but another perennial favourite Captain Sharke of the 105th Rifles. Following this (for the 19th of December) a Flintloque scenario called ‘Sharkes Mirror’ which lets wargamers play out the events of the tale. I followed the tradition begun by Cornwell himself in naming the scenario ‘Sharkes ????‘ and ‘mirror’ had not been used so there you go!
Its a great little action packed tale so please do go along and have a read at it. Craig is a great chap who takes on a lot in working up not only Orcs in the Webbe but also is editor of Barking Irons Online so it was the least I could do.
Sorry for the bad pun title but I could not resist it. I came home this week to find a wee package waiting for me from Amazon (too lazy or busy to get to the bookshop, you decide which) containing two titles from my ‘wanna read’ list. I treated myself for the extra hours I had put in on Slaughterloo Redux over the last month and am now faced with the choice of which to read first. I actually want to read both so I might try and read them at the same time, having done this already with a novel and a history book over a couple of days. So what are they?
Times Arrow by Jonathan Green.
Times Arrow is the elventh novel in the Pax Brittania series by Abbadon. Set in an alternate universe it is fantasy fun adventure in a British Empire which steam dominates the globe. This is the eight book (yes I own all of them) with the hero Ulysses Quicksilver who could quite easily have been a member of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen taking on the hun, the foe, the alien and the monstrous for Queen and Empire. The plot of this one concerns Paris, murder and a trip to the Moon. Streampunk adventure of the highest order. While the plot alone makes me want to read it, as a writer, what also interests me is that this tale was actually penned in three separate parts and published on Kindle before this paperback edition was collected. I would recommend starting with Unnatural History though as its the first one.
Ironclad Prophecy by Pat Kelleher.
This is the second book in what is now three for Pat Kelleher placed in the ‘No Mans World’ setting. I have the first one and Ironclad Prophecy has been out for a while but I wanted to read them in order so I got this one when I saw an advert for The Alleyman which follows it in the series. Essentially the plot concerns the infamous 13th Battalion of the Pennine Fusiliers who simply vanished leaving a huge crater while fighting on the western front in WW1. A mine you suppose…nope, they have been transported to an alien world where all manner of creepies wait for them. The premise interested me as original and entertaining plus the author puts it across as a true tale by way of ‘letters and accounts’ from the period and a hush up by the British top brass. Again begin with the first one Blackhand Gang, otherwise it will make no sense!
I might not get around to posting reviews of these titles due to time constraints but I should be able to put a micro review in the comments below…perhaps that will work. Anyhoo…if this catches your interest go out and get reading with total abbadon!
Back in October I posted about a brand new blog called ‘The Zone’ run my Math one of the fellows behind Dropship Horizon blog. Since then I have reading its postings with excitement and a good laugh too. Each posting is an adventure with a lot of back story and characters. I have also spoken to Math by email and assisted him with an order to 15mm.co.uk to get some pro-painted Law Officers from the Laserburn range. To that end he has sent me images of conversions of some Laserburn miniatures for The Zone. Pictures below.
Col and Rayy – Laserburn 15mm conversions
Converted Laserburn flt car with crew
These images in this posting are from the most recent piece on The Zone, an adventure known as The Trojan Hovercar. Check it out.
I recommend this blog to any wargamer who loves the 2000AD comic, classic or retro 1970’s sci-fi and a spun yarn to read too. Keep up the good work Math!
A while back I posted that I was going to get involved with the setting up of a new 15mm scale wargaming blog. This blog would be about a post apocalypse setting called ‘Terra Burning’ and I would be contributing posts and news and so forth from the point of view of USEME (the blog’s preferred rules system for play) and miniatures from 15mm.co.uk. Well the blog went live today and I have just put my first posting on it talking about wargaming on Terra Burning.