Monday, 18 April 2011

Salute 2011

I've been to a few shows over the years but never Salute, so '2011' was my first and here are a few pics of the day. But first I must say that the lighting at Excel is far from ideal for taking photos and thus the little compact camera I took along seemed to struggle so a few may be a little blurry. But that minor grumble aside, I think the show was well organised by South London Warlords - so a big 'well done' to them!

After asking for tips on the WAB forum I decided to plan my purchases and my route around the show - and that's a tip well worth taking!

First on my list was the Gripping Beast stand to collect my pre-orders, buy some extras and check out their forthcoming Viking skirmish game. I managed a quick chat with Alex Buchel (the author) to find out more about the game. Basically it's a small scale (20-40ish figures) raid/skirmish game that can be played in 1-2 hours on a fairly small table, e.g. 3' x 4', with a campaign element, allowing you to build your Saxon/Viking warband as you play more games. Sounds excellent!

Here's some pics from the Gripping Beast cabinets - much of it painted by the superbly talented Darren at GB Towers.

Gripping Beast (Musketeer) Early Saxons
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GB Plastic Thegns
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GB Plastic Vikings
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Note the larger three-ups in the background. S-o-o-o nicely painted.

GB Vikings for Skirmish
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The GB stand was huge and we (my wife came along too) simply couldn't help but purchase a few extra items. Quite a few actually... Andy rang up the total and it came to a whopping £150. Not bad for our first stop of the day. I'll post another time with a list of the goodies we bought.

Next on the list was James Morris' splendid Ethiopian game set in the 1930's. This has been described in luxurious detail (with much better pics) on the WAB forum so I'd suggest heading there too.

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I really liked the planes on flying stands. They gave the game a real '3D' aspect.

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These pics do not show the table in all it's warm glory. The base colour for the terrain was yellow-ochre from an arts supplier and it works so well.

My wife gave this game (and it's host) her very own "Best in Show" award! (However, I think that this was due to James saying that she looked too young to have children of the age they are!) Oh ... and James has told me that I'm not allowed to mention the Spanish Inquisition ;o)

Gripping Beast again, but this time they had a brilliant Battle of Maldon table starring several large units of the their new plastics. It was L-shaped with the shorter part of the 'L' being a small island. Alas only one of the pics I took wasn't blurred, but I would like to say that their plastic figures ranked up very nicely with their metal ranges. The game was a demo of GB's forthcoming dark ages mass battle rules.

Looking across the island (the Viking camp) to the battle in the distance.
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I'm pleased to say that gaming of The Great War is going from strength to strength, with new ranges from GB's TWDC and Scarab, plus the existing GWM ranges (there are others too, I know). So where better than Salute to display a truly amazing Galipolli game?

The Shoreline
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The cliffs - under bombardment by the looks of things.
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The Turkish trench lines. (with removeable roofs for ease of play)
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Behind the Turkish lines.
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This table drew a lot of attention and comment. All figures (Turks and ANZACs) from GB's TWDC ranges.

After that we toured quite a few trand stands, keeping up a steady stream of (planned) purchases, arriving at Rob Broom's impressive War and Conquest table where his Persians and Phil's Greeks were re-enacting the battle of Platea. I'd love to show you some pics but ... you guessed it ... they didn't come out well. Luckily Rob's posted some on the WAB forum. He kindly spent some time outlining the mechanics of W&C and they sound first class. I'll not go in to detail here as the rules are still being developed but I can say that the basic mechanisms are elegant, yet Generals will have to think very carefully about they commit their resources during a battle if they are to achieve victory. I'll definitely be ordering a copy of this!

Front Rank produce some very fine figures for Napoleonics and now it seems they doing the same for the wars of the 18th century. Not quite my thing, but lovely figures all the same. Here are a couple of units of ... err ... chaps in red ... and blue.

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The people from Crewe & Nantwich Wargames Club are very keen on ECW, so keen in fact that they've produced a demo game based on the idea that by 1651 the Royalists were about to win the war! This table is a clear demonstration of what a small group of talented (and committed) gamers can achieve. This is their first show game - and what a belter! I sincerely hope they won a prize. The standard of figure painting and terrain building was excellent.

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The game included many detailed and characterful vignettes, such as these commanders.
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Here is part of the army camp, complete with busty wenches and a chap having a bath!
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Discworld figures! Can't quite recall the name of the company selling them (Micro Arts Studio?) but they were superbly sculpted and painted. However, the prices nearly made me faint! No, we didn't buy any!?
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Almost all of the traders and demo-gamers we spoke to were cheerful, friendly, enthusiastic and very helpful. OK - I know they are there to sell stuff to gamers, or to demo games, but truly good service should be rewarded! Particular mention must go to
  • Gripping Beast - top chaps all round really
  • Scarab - for Rob's time to explain the rules whilst still running a game - and for bringing some Germans for me
  • West Wind - I forget the chaps name, but he has a very big beard, for taking the time to try to find the figures I wanted in amongst some multi-packs, as the blisters had all sold out.
  • Redoubt - for sending my stuff on to me post-free as they'd run out at the show.
  • Flag Dude - very polite and friendly indeed - plus he came all the way from Alabama
  • Magnetic Displays - for dimantling part of his stand to find the plasticard I wanted.
It was good to see a few of the gaming world's leading figures and have a natter to them. It was also good to meet up with a few friends, plus put some faces to names on forums. An excellent show that really is well worth attending.

4 comments:

Ray Rousell said...

Great post, with some great photos too, the show was great with some very nice display games!

Stempe said...

Awesome shots! Thanks for uploading these photos and sharing your impressions with us. I get more and more interested in these historical tabletops.

The Young Wargamer said...

Salute was yet again another amazing event..

Leaves one to wonder what next years theme shall be !

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