Sunday, September 14, 2008

Colours 2008

This weekend was the Colours 2008 weekend, always one of my favourite shows, and one that DG and I have been going to for donkeys years...

It didn't disappoint this year, and there were some significant purchases and events, amongst which, and in no order, I offer the following....

Even legends have to get lunch... :o) Don Featherstone was at the show, and later on in the afternoon I got an opportunity to say hello to him (and his mate *). For 90 years plus he's still in fine form, and cuts a very dapper figure, but I was sad to hear that his wife had died last year..

Amongst the purchases I picked up a copy of "Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy" magazine - this was a Spanish magazine that has just recently started an English language edition. I bought it primarily because I'd read on The Miniatures Page that they were giving away a CD with it that contained the first three issues. To my mind that's inspired marketing. What an excellent way to attract a new readership... either way, I've not had time to look at it yet but I'm interested to see how it matches up to "Wargames Illustrated" which increasingly I find a little disappointing....

After having looked around for it at shows for some time I managed to get a bottle of Testors "Dullcote". This was lacquer rather than varnish, but it should still do the job. Whilst not being totally anal about how flat my varnish dries, I've had a few tins of spray varnish (sold as Matt) where the finish can best be described as 'satin'! In most periods I can live with this, but for WWII it just doesn't look right, so by way of an experiment, I thought I'd see what a coat of this looks like over the top of the existing spray job...

While on the Caliver stand I happened to spot that Old School author Stuart Asquith had a new Sudan book out, and at a very reasonable price (£15) I had to have it. The book is titled "WARFARE IN EGYPT AND THE SUDAN 1886 - 1892 : Wargames Scenarios for the Sudan Campaigns", and follows on from his other book for Partizan... lots of hints & tips for playing a variety of scenario's (none of which seem to be repeated from the earlier book I was pleased to see). A more detailed review will follow.. it's so good to see the Old School authors back in print, Stuart, Charles Grant, and re-issued books from Grant Sr., Young & Lawford and Featherstone - is this the "second golden age"?

Next the bargain, which was a new copy of Chandlers "Military Memoirs of Marlborough's Campaigns, 1702-12" featuring the memoirs of Merode-Westerloo & Parker. Merode was the gentlemen who was taking his breakfast chocolate when he saw the Allied army start its advance at Blenheim.... a passage that always stuck with me; it kind of reminds me of that bit in in the film "D-Day The Longest Day" where the commander of the German coastal gun battery can't make the high command believe the allies are landing and ends up holding the telephone up to the open window...! Either way, almost new, and only a fiver - classic reading was never so affordable...

Other than that, it wouldn't be a wargame show without some lead making it's way home with me, and this time enough little metal men landed in Steve-the-Wargamers bag to make up a couple of squadrons of Austrian Cuirassiers for War of the Spanish Succession - these were 15mm figures from the Peter Pig ECW range. I also took delivery of four new terrain tiles from the nice people at TSS (various corner sections of stream and road to add some flexibility)...

At which point the wallet was empty, and I was replete - time to check out the games... there were some good ones this year, with I think, one clear winner... so because I couldn't separate the games that would have been in the lower places, I'm going to start with what I thought was the best game..

This was a simply massive game put on by Bedford Gladiators (click here) and featured "D-Day Breakout Normandy" in 15mm using 'Flames of War' rules - basically the game was a kind of summary of the first few days of the entire battle featuring British Para's at Pegasus Bridge, 7th Armoured against Panzer Lehr & elements of 1st SS Panzer Corps, and also the US 5th Corps making their way through bocage.

It was a stunning looking game with lots of planes, models, and figures all in 15mm... what made it for me was that the space was used well - no tanks track to track, they were spaced, and it looked good. Figures and models were exquisitely painted, and the planes were lovely - Typhoons racing over a target rich environment - what's not to like!

Beautiful - and there's more pictures on their site here and also here

Next my second/third/fourth/fifth equal - and in no particular order we have first a picture of the game that funnily enough was situated right next to the previous game. This game was presented by the South London warlords, but unlike the other game was in 20mm focusing specifically on the action at Pegasus - I thought it went well with the game next door and if anything it would have been better if their game could have featured at the bottom of the big game table rather than to the side - almost like a magnified view of one aspect of the big game.. suffice to say, the bagpiper was represented in Lovatt's relieving force (I looked)!

Next, two shots of a game that I particularly liked but don't have any details for despite a lengthy and informative conversation with the guy running it - it was 15mm English Civil War, using his own rules which were a development of other rules he'd already written. What attracted me was the lovely terrain, well painted and compact units; a real wargame in other words...

Lastly - three shots of a lovely 25mm American Civil War game put on by Thames Valley Wargamers using the "Guns at Gettysburg" rules.
Figures are predominantly Redoubt, but again what attracted my eye was the same as the ECW game - nice figures, fighting over good looking terrain - it's not difficult...! :o))
If you like it, by the way, there are some more pictures here.....and that was it for this years Colours, oh, apart from the *.

If you scroll back up to the game put on by the South London Warlords, you can see a tank burning on the bridge - when I spoke to the Warlords running the game they mentioned that Don and his mate had stopped by for a chat, and it turned out that the guy with Don was the man who'd brewed the tank in the real battle, apparently! It makes you think... with that generation of blokes we can be in the presence of real life heroes and we'd never know it


  1. Steve,

    Once again I want to thank you for the report. Since I will never get to attend any of these UK shows, I truly appreciate seeing them through your eyes.

    -- Jeff

  2. Thanks for the show review. I've never made Colours. Living up north I do the local shows, Edinburgh and occasionally the Worlds in Derby. May try that this year in return for not being allowed to go to my ASL tournament in Bournemouth!

    Agree with your comment re Wargames Illustrated. I generally think if you could combine the content of Miniature Wargames with the photography of Wargames Illustrated you'd have a mag I'd buy every month!



  3. Beautiful pictures....Thanks for the report!
    Incidentally I am subscribed to the spanish version of "Wargames. Soliders and Strategy" and it is a very good magazine with many interesting articles

  4. Steve,

    I will be interested in hearing your thoughts (after you've read it) about the new Asquith book.

    I was thinking of getting his previous one on the Sudan . . . and would like to know how they differ / overlap / compliment each other. Which would you recommend most and why?

    -- Jeff

  5. Great photos! I love Colours as well. I have the Asquith book too and as long as you are a bit wary about his uniform guidance (Some of it is just wrong) it is a great resource.

  6. Great report, and what a great anecdote too. It must be kind of chilling to have some guy come along and say, that was me in real life. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

    Too bad we don't have such wargaming conventions in Denmark. I'd love to see one, but I can't be bothered going all the way to the UK just for that, my health probably won't let me for a start, but there's also the costs. I'd have to do it at the same time as something else, visit family perhaps, or go and see the Grimsby war gamers


  7. Excellent pics, Steve.

  8. Great photos Steve. I've never been to Colours. Love the report.

    Nice that you got to say hello to The Godfather, Don Featherstone.

    Some of our Grimsby Lads were there. Not the ones who mainly play on Mondays. The lads who do the gaming on Tuesdays. They were demoing "Uncharted Seas" and wearing UKCORD tops. Right next to the Stafford Games stall. Heard it went quite well for them.

    Back to shows, I aim to put up my photos from The Other Partizan on my blog this weekend.

    Will check my links and will link back to you as you have linked back to mine. Thanks.

  9. Thanks for the Link back to the Gladiators