Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Salute 2009

It was another brilliant Salute characterised this time by meeting some of my fellow bloggers... nice to meet & have a glass of what passes for beer in the Excel with "Fire at Will", and also nice to have a quick chat with Bob Cordery who was running a "Solferino in 30 minutes" participation game (check his blog for more details on the game)...

Salute never fails to amaze me with the sheer size of the exhibition hall - though it did look this year like there was a lot of empty space... nice to be able to walk around, but there was still the usual 3 deep scrum in front of most stands! Makes you wonder why they don't just give everyone a little extra frontage - there seemed to be plenty of available space..

Lots of money being spent and little evidence to my eye of a crisis of consumer confidence - I certainly spent more this year than I do normally, and I'm a cheapskate!

Purchases went according to plan

- first visit was to the "Figures in Comfort" stand where I picked up one of the specially commissioned miniatures being made in support of the Combat Stress charity...

- a visit to see Mike at "Black Hat" resulted in him handing over a (heavy) cardboard box of his new 15mm cavalry for the Wars of the Spanish Succession that I'd pre-ordered - he was telling me that in addition he also now has command figures, and by request of another customer he also has figures representing the runners that Marlborough used to carry his orders on the battle field... think very fit young men wearing a kind of jockey hat, and carrying a baton with gold ball mounted on the end, as their badge of office - just had to have them, so I took a packet of them as well! C'mon Mike - we now need the general's carriage!

- Caliver were doing lots of business - having a brief chat with one of the guys he said that this is the first year they'd had two tills, and both of them seemed to be going at top speed! I picked up "Trafalgar" and "The Raid on St.Michel" by Charles S. Grant & Phil Olley... Trafalgar I'd seen before, but the graphics and format are still breathtaking... the Raid book is all black and white which was a bit of a shame, but an initial read would indicate that it promises to make up for this sevenfold in terms of campaign interest.... more on this anon...

- Lastly, while browsing the books at the Paul Meekins stand I discovered a copy of Paddy Griffiths's book "Battle Tactics of the Civil War" - given my itch in this particular area it would have been a good buy anyway - but as it happened DG had recently got a copy and recommended it highly so another purchase made...!

...and that was it on the spending front - an excellent clutch - the only disappointment was the almost total lack of Napoleonic ships - you'd have thought that with the buzz surrounding the "Trafalgar" launch the place would have been awash (ouch!) with them but not so.. looks like I shall have to order some samples on line...

So how about the games?? Tough one this year as I thought the games were particulalry good - and what surprised me was how good the participation games were as opposed to the demo games... people had put a lot of work into these participation games and were entirely happy for the hoi-polloi to turn up and make free with them.. a good thing I think..

So - in no particular order here are some of the games that caught my eye..

First up some Wars of the Roses action - not a usual period for me - but my eye was caught by the lovely buildings; nice terrain and very effective. This game represents the first battle of St. Albans which took place on the 22nd May 1455. The game was put on by the GLC Games Club...

Next is a participation game, and I think one of my top three for the show - this was called "Can you do better than Michael Wittman" and was put on by a Belgian club somewhat splendidly called LES CHEMINS DE FEU. The game was in 28mm and was about the engagement around Villiers Bocage when Michael Wittman stalked 7th Armoured Div - participants were tasked with hunting down Wittman... once again the terrain was absolutely terrific - huge table - lots of lovely models... if I wasn't your typical hung up and reserved Englishman I'd have been tempted to play....!

Next up is another one in the top 3 - purely because of the terrain (and the train!)... this game was called "Smolevichi" and was put on by Southend Wargames Club - this was a WWII Russian partisan game - the Germans were trying to get the armoured train through, the partisans were trying to stop them, and the Germans were trying to stop them! Superb scenery - was talking to one of the guys running the game and he said it was amazing how many people who had stopped to look had noticed how cold it suddenly became! There's a lot more pictures here by the wayhttp://gallery.sswg.org/thumbnails.php?album=99

Next up another participation game - this time by the characters at Two Fat Lardies - this was using their latest rules which are for WWI trench warfare - what caught my eye was the amount of fun being had by the participants, but I'm a sucker for those WWI lozenge shaped tanks - the terrain and trenches were also lovely...
Another nice looking game - this time in 54mm - this was put on by the BMSS (British Model Soldier Society) and was set in Sicily in 1943 - have a look at the dust on the windscreen of the British lorry - amazing detail. Interesting to see how the back doors on the hanomags work as well...

Next - this was a very arresting looking Ancients game which caught me eye purely for the number of figures.. very simple cloth cover, scattered with gravel and such, but the big ranks of figures was eye catching.. game was called "Julianus at Ozogardana" and was Late Romans versus Sassanid; all figures were 25mm - the game was put on by the Uxbridge Wargamers.

I think this next game may well have been my favourite of the show - definitely top three, and easily top two. The game was called "La Iglesia de San Cristobal" and was put on by the League of Augsburg in 25mm... my favourite Napoleonic theatre (Iberian Peninsula) and I particulalry liked the backdrop and the effect it gave... the sunken roads were a bit special as well! Add in the figures and this was a very special game... loads more pictures here: http://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/gallery.php?req=gallery&cat=146&subcat=329#

Then just two little snippets to end on... this was from the WWI aerial participation game ("WOT? No Parachute" by SOUTH EAST ESSEX MILITARY SOCIETY) The bombers are WWI era Russian - do you fancy the job of being the tail gunner on one of these beasts???!
....and I do fancy a company of these but I'd need a bigger table.... Some people have a lot of time on their hands... the heads of the crew moved, there was smoke coming from the exhausts, and the m/c guns flashed when fired... not to mention the authentic engine noise when it was on the move!


  1. I hope you enjoy Griffith's book - i certainly found it very interesting (as i have all of his ACW books). For some reason his conclusions never go down very well in the US though...

    In a similar vein is Nosworthy's mammoth 'Bloody Crucible of Courage' - pretty much covers everything the wargamer would want to know about ACW warfare on land and sea. Highly recommended, as they say.. Whilst i'm at it you may also find McWhiney and Jamieson's wonderfully titled 'attack and die' interesting too. Neither book should break the bank.

  2. At least you have wargaming conventions. Theres nothing at all in Denmark.

    Thanks for posting the pictures. I love looking at the display games. So many great games, so much inspiration!

  3. Thanks guys..

    DC - taken a note of the books...

    If you're interested in more, this guys has taken a *humungous* number of pictures...

    SALUTE 2009 – PART ONE

    SALUTE 2009 – PART TWO



  4. Steve,
    Glad you had a good time.
    I did hear that Langton, he of ship model fame, will not be attending any shows this year so all purchases for his products are going to be done on line.
    It's Triples this weekend and I'm looking forward to that too.

  5. Of course in my day we used to choose the beer first and then hold the convention where it was sold.

    I suppose thats what they would call progress.

  6. Steve - I didn't attend the show myself but now feel like I did! Great post.