This Saturday it was off to Salute 2019 at the Excel centre in Docklands.
Salute is one of the cornerstone shows in the UK wargames calendar, and it’s easy to see why.
Firstly, the Excel centre is a great venue: easy access by car, parking right underneath (even if it is £20 for the day), huge amounts of space, and plentiful food and drink outlets. My only complaint would be that sometimes I find the lighting in the hall a bit dim, but that might just be my fading eyesight!
The queue to get in used to be an extreme annoyance - one could wait an hour - but for the last few years its been so under control that, for example, this year I arrived at Excel at 9.50, had a baguette and coffee for breakfast, and then walked straight in to the show without queuing at all. Amazing! The only question is why couldn’t they have organised it like this before!
The show itself was full of traders and demo games. There are loads of blogs carrying loads of reports on the show, so suffice to say that it took me all morning and some of the afternoon to get round everything.
The Lardies were running a stunning game of Chain of Command set in Malaya in 1942, a period near and dear to my heart (Fall of the Liongate and all that). I didn’t play, but enjoyed watching the action.
Also Larding away was Mike Whitaker with his Bloody Omaha game. Now I played this game a few years ago at one of the Evesham games days…and its a cracker. Mike had 486 figures on 144 bases on an 8x6 table on display and managed two complete play-throughs of the scenario. And people say my games are big!
Click on the picture below to see all the photos:
As per usual, I did spend a bit too much money, but it was all on absolute bargains, honest! I bought a bag of fifty brushes for £20, which should keep even an established ‘brushbane’ like me going for a bit; and then I also bought one of the “all you can see for £100” mdf sci-fi industrial set-ups from Troll Trader that I just cannot wait to get built and painted up.
The show was nicely crowded all through the day, except perhaps at lunchtime. I hear a lot of people saying that their mates didn’t go because they couldn’t be bothered, or it wasn’t their thing any more or something rubbish like that. All I can say is that they are wrong: Salute is still a cornerstone show and a must-visit for any wargamer in reach in the UK.
Matthew Matic and friends ran a game of IABSM at Cold Wars this year. Click on the pic below to see a few photos, including one that shows just how much kit goes into to putting on a demonstration game of this quality…
I’m happy to add any other pictures or info people have about the game: usual address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
I only had time for a quick visit to Colours this year: a couple of hours first thing on Saturday morning.
Travel to and from Newbury was enlivened by the traffic caused by the Newbury Show, but I still made the trip in under an hour. The work on the racecourse/flats on the racecourse must be just about finished by now, as getting to the carpark was much easier than last year: no problems in parking and only five minutes walk from the stand where the show was based.
I got there at about 9.45am for the ten o’clock start and joined the back of what looked like a sizeable queue, but once it started moving, just before ten, it moved very quickly, so no complaints there. The price was only £6 to get in, so very reasonable.
As I was in nice and early, I had time for a look around before the crowds. The show followed the usual format of, broadly speaking, trade stands on the ground floor; food/drink and more tradestands on the first floor; and then competition games, demonstration games and the bring and buy on the second floor.
There were three Lardy games that I could see. The first was a What a Tanker! game set in the Western Desert:
This looked very well attended for all the time I was there, so kudos to the chaps putting that on.
The second was a large General d’Armee Napoleonics game recreating Plancenoit. There’s a full report on the game available here.
Finally, there was a very nice looking Sharp Practice game set in 19th Century Japan (the Boshin War):
There were also two other non-Lardy games that caught my eye:
Lots of beautifully painted tanks
Cold War turned hot!
The trade stands were, as always at Colours, excellent. I wasn’t buying anything this year (too much to paint as it is) but would like to mention one trader who did get some of my money: ABCbrushes.
This was a small stand selling…brushes…but selling them at excellent prices. I picked up a mixed pack of ten brushes (all usefully labelled “medium dry brush”, “stippling brush” etc) for only £12.50. No idea of the quality, but as I go through brushes really quickly, this seemed like a very good buy. Their website is here.
So all in all an enjoyable visit. I could have done with an extra hour or so, but other appointments called. A good show that I look forward to again next year.
I'm back from Salute now...and I must say that it was rather a good one.
First, the logistics.
No queue at all. Arrived at Excel at about five to ten. Had a quick coffee and a croissant right outside the door, then walked straight in. Was happily shopping by 10:10. Amazing performance compared to what has been the case in previous years.
Next, the venue.
The show had a much better feel this year. Okay, it was still dark, perhaps darker than I remember, and it did take half an hour or so for my eyes to adjust, but it seemed more open than in previous years. Plenty of room around stands, no backpacks in the face, and it was till bustling and crowded as ever. Very good.
Nice variety of trade stands. A few special offers: Troll Trader especially, who took money off me for a cut price Battlefront, Battlefield-in-a-Box Bastogne Church and several very cheap Army painter spray cans.
Then, the games. Some nice looking, big games, two of which are pictured below:
I particularly covet that 15mm E-boat. It would look very nice on my table!
As for the Lardies, they ran two games: a General de Brigade game and a participation game featuring the newly published What A Tanker! rules (WaT).
I actually played in one of the WaT games, commanding a Sherman Firefly in the face of the some very formidable opposition:
How did I do? Well I think the answer is best summed up with another photo:
But then I did enjoy myself enough to buy a copy of the rules!
Anyway, in summary I thought it was a great Salute this year. Those who weren't there should feel sorry they missed out, and that's not something I say every year.
Back from the Warfare 2017 show, held at the Rivermead sports centre in Caversham near Reading.
I like Warfare. It's a two-day show, and has got plenty of traders, a bring and buy, a fair number of demo games to wonder at, and vast numbers of competition games to raise a quizzical eyebrow at!
I went both days: Saturday in the afternoon and first thing Sunday morning. I'm told Saturday morning was absolutely jam-packed, with the traders doing roaring business, and a three stack high bring-and-buy being emptied almost as soon as the items could be out out., but when I was there on the Saturday, it was just right: enough people for a good buzz, but not enough to have to fight your way through the hazards of backpack hell and wargamer fug. First thing Sunday morning was quite empty, but the halls were filling nicely as I left just after eleven.
The demo game that really caught my eye was a huge 28mm ACW game from Earlswood Wargames Club covering one bit of Gettysburg (Lee's right hook):
There were several other big battles elsewhere in the hall, including a nice ECW game, a couple of big Ancients games, and even Team Yankee played, as far as I could see, in 15mm on Saturday and microarmour on Sunday.
I didn't spend too much money: and that mainly on undercoat and a few bits of scenery. Unusually for me, however, I did buy something from the bring and buy: five 15mm late war Panzer IVs which I got for only £26. They're only averagely painted, and a bit over-washed, but five camo-ed tanks for about what you'd pay in the raw is well worth it...especially as they will serve as a second platoon on the rare occasions that I need more than five Panzer IVs.
All in all, a couple of good visits to a great show.
Another great 6mm IABSM AAR from Mark Luther. This scenario involves the Germans advancing into a hail of fire from Soviet anti-tanks guns...and then there's the JS-IIs to contend with as well. I'll play the Soviets please!
Click on the pic below to see all:
For those who are interested, I will be at Colours tomorrow, Saturday 16th September, probably for most of the morning.
For those wishing to join me, you can find details of the event by clicking here. At only £6 entry, it's got to be worthwhile, either as a shopping trip or a chance to see the demo games. I personally can't stand the venue, but the show is always good.
I went along to Warfare today: usually the last show of the year for me.
Warfare takes place at the Rivermead Leisure Centre in Caversham, Reading, and just about takes over the entire centre for the day. There is a huge trader hall, and then an even bigger hall full of competition and demo games. There's also a smaller hall that houses the Bring & Buy, and the rather noxious squash courts which is where some more competition gamers are caged.
It's one of my favourite shows of the year, mainly because (a) it's close to where I live and (b) it's got a huge trader hall and I can shop to my heart's content. The only downside is that it's usually packed, which means that parking, even in the huge Rivermead car park, can be quite problematic.
So what was this year's show like?
Well my overriding impression was that it was quiet, very quiet. I only got bashed by one backpack (a square FoW carrying case, doubtless holding an SS German army with US Para allies) and hardly saw anyone I knew.
There were also some key traders missing. Peter Pig weren't there, which was annoying as I needed a single pack of figures that I'll now have to mail order; and there wasn't really anywhere to buy Battlefront figures either - just a couple of buckets/racks of old, discount figures.
Chain of Command
As for Lardy games, the guys from Evesham put on an amazing game of Chain of Command based around one of the key battles of the Bulge which, I think, won best demo game.
So a quiet Warfare this year...which meant, at least, that I didn't spend much money!
Last week, I mentioned Dan Wade's superb blog Wade's World of Wargaming. Well, last year, Dan put on a Vietnam demo game at Call to Arms using Charlie Don't Surf! and a mash-up of a couple of scenarios from the CDS scenario pack, Surf's Up!
Dan reported on the demo game, and how he later played it through to a conclusion at home, over a series of blog posts which (and I hope he doesn't mind) that I have combined into one glorious battle report.
Click on the pic below to see his superb terrain and figures:
A most enjoyable couple of days spent at one of my favourite wargaming shows, Warfare, which takes place at about this time every year at the Rivermead Leisure Centre in Caversham, near Reading, Berkshire.
As always, one hall was devoted to a large 'supermarket' of traders selling everything one could ever want. Not too crowded this year, although there were, of course, the usual rucksack bearing numpties who don't seem to realise that being bashed with a sack is not an ideal way of spending one's afternoon. I understand the need for rucksacks, I hasten to add...but for Pete's sake take them off and carry them when manoeuvring narrow aisles between stands.
One trader I must single out for a mention is Commission Figurines, who did me a cracking deal on some mdf ruined buildings for Stalingrad/Berlin. Their website is at www.commission-figurines.co.uk . I also bought a few bits and bobs from GZG, and another box of Battlefront SU-100s so that I can have one box for WW2 Soviets and one box for 6DW Egyptians.
The other hall was devoted to games: about half was the usual competition area, about half was a number of very nice demonstration games. The competition area was packed and busy, but not particularly good watching unless you happen to be taking part; the demo games were good, and there were plenty of them. Much better than Colours!
"Not as boring as I expected it to be"
Unusually for me, I brought a 'date' to the show: my eight-year old daughter. She was quite happy to wander round in my wake looking at everything on offer. Her verdict: "not as boring as I expected it to be", which is high praise from someone whose idea of a good time usually involves either Harry Potter or Minecraft.
So, in all, a good show, even with the usual car-parking nightmare. Good to see, Neil, Tahir, John, Matt and everyone from Huntingdon, including self-appointed Mother Hen, Tina. Recommended as one of the best show's on the circuit.
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a not-for-profit website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.