After a Gap the Ion Age is 28mm once more!

IB52 Muster Female Squad

Quick posting to link over to the Alternative Armies blog.  Its been near twenty years since the last new ‘greens’ were released for The Ion Age, at that time Firefight.  I have reached another milestone today along with Sam Croes in bringing out new 28mm designs.  Four for now but many more to come.  A little pat on the back for me today I think!  Click on the link if you want to learn more.


Duxis be Done!

Work, work, work.  Twelve hour days, long time.  But there are moments of utter joy among the hours of trudge and one of those came around noon today.  Sam Croes design the Duxis Battlesuit went live today on the Ion Age website in the form of two early supporter bundles.  The bundles were my idea, after all, I know how much I love freebies and a saving.  At noon the offers went live and within mere minutes the orders started coming in as I sat and watched.  Lovely comments too, lots of adoration of this latest miniature in all its variants.  Its not about the money in the job I do, it never is, but after a project has been in the works for some time the moment it is public can be nerve racking.

You can read the full blog posting about this over on the Ion Age Blog.

The offers run for two weeks and I have some blog posts planned that will give hints of more new products to come on the heels of the battlesuit and before Salute 2014 in April at Excel in London.  What are these products…I will not say so there!

Now back work.


Bloggy Hiatus – Patrol Angis playtesting

You all know that I work hard.  Some of you might even know that twelve or thirteen hours a day is not that unusual.  A few know that I work weekends too and that sometimes I just can’t get it all done.  Well one of those times has arisen and I have decided to take a ‘Bloggy Hiatus’ on my personal blog.   This means I will not be posting here unless it is urgently awesome to do so.

Why?  Well I am now in the midst of several projects including the public playtesting of Patrol Angis.  Patrol Angis is the main 15mm skirmish system I am writing for The Ion Age.  Its taking up a lot of my time replying to the thousands of words of feedback and I am doing this at home in the evening, prime bloggy time.  There are other things too but that is the main one.

Head on over to the Ion Age Blog for the latest and I will see you all at the end of the month.  I intend to do Movember again this year so pictures and fun will come from that.

Happy Wargaming!


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!


Muskets, Shako’s and Fantasy from the Talented Mr Minadeo

The Injia Game set up for play!

My good friend Bob Minadeo runs a great wargaming blog of which I am a frequent visitor and sometimes blogger about.  He recently put up a posting with a double claim to fame for it was not only in celebration of his latest published rules set (which he let me look at and is excellent) but also the putting into it the awesome fantasy nature of Flintloque.  Using his newly published rules from 2 Hour Wargames and all pro-painted miniatures from his collection by Alternative Armies Bob has put up a posting with plenty of images and its a fine read too.

I like to think I contributed a bit to the process….I helped with the uniform of his Othari Cavalry as Skinners Gnolls and I sometimes assist in choosing miniatures and bits from the massive World of Valon range to suit his latest slightly demented on table scheme.  Such as the miniature below which featured in the ultimate part of the ’98 Campaign.

A Furry Top O’ the morning to ya!

Well done Bob!


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!


Time for a Change….discarding a now useless bit of kit!


I just had to do it.  I was left with no choice, circumstances and conversations led me to the decision to cast off a piece of useless garb and replace it with something new!  An image here of my original Alternative Armies work t-shirt which has, after ten years of excellent service, given up the ghost.  No point holding on to it any more.  Stitching, holding it together and kind words would not be enough.  No point looking back, ah happy memories indeed but when its done it’s done.    Sometimes when you invest time and love into something it works out, other times it just falls apart on you with nothing but fabricky excuses.

Off to the bin now with you me laddo…

Before you ask…yes, the company has furnished me with another at no charge!  I hope it lasts just as well and as long.


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.


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!