Friday 24 December 2010

Barking Irons - the future?

It is with some sadness that I recently read that Barking Irons from Alternative Armies will no longer be produced as a paper product and that the Barking Irons Blog will be closing down. The publication was launched by AA earlier this year and the BI Blog was to support it, but Gavin at AA has decided that the BI format will continue as a Web based Magazine or set of updates.

I was lucky enough to have two articles published in BI, one in each of the issues and was looking forward to seeing more in the future. Hopefully these articles will not be lost but published either in the electronic version of BI or elsewhere, I'm thinking Orcs in the Webbe which is also an electronic resource for Flintloque/Slaughterloo.

Regular followers will know that in 2010 I wrote two articles for the Modelling Magazine The Ancible which has also converted from a printed format to an electronic one. In addition I was a keen follower of the gaming miniatures magazine Harbinger, which also went the same way. Is this the way that this type of publication is going? Recent experience says YES.

I am not sure that I am OK with this development, being of a generation where magazines were always printed and in my case stored as reference material, hence my huge collection of White Dwarf, Finescale Modeller and (lots of) others that are currently insulating the attic!

I would be interested to hear other views on the direction that modelling or hobby magazines are going.

For now - I am staying warm reading and checking the Internet, with no real hope of visiting my shed-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden for some time. We still have about 6inches of lying snow around and I would have thought that the paintbrush cleaning water is frozen solid in my glass jars!



Steve said...

I am similarly a paper dinosaur but am trying to evolve and have bought all the issues of Battlegames on PDF. There is a benefit to this in storage and ease of reference but you need a decent e-reader and portrait magazines on a landscape computer screen isn't ideal. Not sure if investing in an iPad to just read e-magazines is a good idea.

Leutenant Brittan said...


I still prefer a paper hard copy as I find reading on a computer hurts my eyes!

Saying that I am not too surprised that AA decided against print as they did the same with the old Orcs in the Hills magazine which was a fantastic resource in its own right but it costs quite a bit to produce!

All the best!

Ludo Weyden said...

Hey Tony, a merry christmas. Hope it gets warmer soon so you can resume your work in the shed-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden again. And if you really can't wait, how about some miniature ice sculpting. Cheers.

Rob Alderman said...

You must also consider space issues.
Orcs in the Hills is *still* overpublished, there are still copies of it sitting around in Girvan...

Gavin did the right thing doing a small print run, but even then people expect this stuff on the highstreet or for free! It's a massive shame, because it was a nice little publication that I was looking forward to following, but I will follow the online version just as much.

I commend Gavin for making one more attempt at it, very brave of him and I think the solution will be great.


Tony said...

Hi Rob,

I've no problem with Gavin making the decision to stop publishing as a paper based product - after all he (and AA) are the only ones who can truly assess the value and commercial success of such a venture.

I'm just disappointed, as like you I enjoyed the magazine. I also know that I have written a number of articles - that I would hope to see at some stage - either Orcs in the Webbe or the NEW Barking Irons electronic magazine.

In fact thinking about it BI was (as far as Flintloque and Slaughterloo are concerned) repeating the information or a similar publication route for similar themed material. Could it be that OITW is the natural place for such Flintloque related updates rather than BI?

Interesting, I'll have to give it some thought!


I would suggest that the Orcs in the Hills 'overstocks' could be sold, but I have a full collection and some spares, so maybe there is only a limited market for such paper based and specialised magazines?

Andyroo said...

Strange news this - just looking at the Interview it states:

Q: On a slightly different topic. Quite a few game publishers are now offering watermarked PDF versions of their games. Is this something you're going to do at Alternative Armies and ?

This is something that is a modern phenomena among wargame and roleplay companies and it makes sense with the lowering cost and increasing ability of technology and the speed of internet connections now. Even five years ago it would have been impossible to do a lot that is now becoming the normal course for some companies. Will we do doing it too...

In reference to the answer on the last question I would have to say no. We are not getting into ‘pay to download’ PDF’s at this time. For us it will be either a printed book or free content online. This is a good business model and avoids many of the potential pitfalls that have occurred to other companies who sell downloads. But as usual with us we will keep the technology and market under review.

Any thoughts?

Tony said...


I am not sure about ALL the facts. But do feel that Alternative Armies have at least tried with Barking Irons, both the magazine and the Blog, and now realise that this style of printed format is not for them.

Gavin has said that BI might continue either as an electronic magazine or as downloads (I think this is right), but my own view is that this function is already performed by Orcs in the Webbe.

Don't get me wrong, I would love AA to continue with the paper BI, but as stated earlier the decision is theirs and really theirs alone. As far as Water-Marked PDF's Gavin has also stated that this is not the route that they want to pursue (at the moment).

Therefore my comment about the best place for such content, if not printed paper - must be OITW!

Given that Craig is also a busy man and the recent bereavement, I am also not sure that this job can be placed on one man's shoulders as I have first-hand experience of the amount of work that Craig does in editing the comment on OITW.

The question I believe is where do WE (The Notables) go from here?

And I am not sure that I have the answer. At least not now. I do know that The Notables are one of the most active Yahoo Groups I know of and they are loyal supporters of AA. I for one love the comradeship that the Notables have, after all Flintloque/Slaughterloo players (or figure collectors) are not exactly numerous - therefore we should all do our bit.

The second question is "What is our bit?"

Sorry a bit long-winded.