Sunday, April 25, 2010

Salute 2010..

As promised a fairly big review of Salute, which DG and I attended yesterday...

This is one HUGE show - the Excel Exhibition Centre is not small by any stretch of the imagination, but the Salute show only occupies one of several exhibition halls (one of which this year was taken for the Virgin London Marathon Exhibition & Registration which takes place today - two more diverse crowds it's difficult to contemplate given the size of you average wargamer, and average long distance runner! sad smileys). The hall I would say must be the size of a couple of football pitches if not larger - truly monstrous....

So what were my impressions of the show? All in all, and on balance, I'd say that I enjoyed the day immensely.. meeting some people I knew was nice (good to see the irrepressible Henry Hyde), the number of traders was immense, plenty of room to move about, some good demonstration and participation games (of which more later), got a bargain or two, bought some of the things on my shopping list - yes, it was a good'un..

..and the downside?? London basically... very, very busy, and a right royal pain of a location to get to as it's in the east end of London... (worth it when you get there though). As to the show? Some thoughts...

  • there seemed to me to be a lot of fantasy traders at the show...all flavours of Warhammer fantasy, and about a million other genre's as well - far more than I remember previously
  • There didn't seem to be so many traders, on the plus side those there were were nicely spaced out
  • The re-enactment numpty's were there - Alan from Tunbridge dressed in his finest dark ages finery .. and trainers.... waving his rubber sword at Jeremy from Penge dressed similarly..... why oh, why...! sad smileys Each to his own I suppose..

So purchases??? Everything I wanted...!

Things started off well at the Caliver stand where I grabbed the "Annexation of Chiraz" - my initial thoughts are that this book has the production values that I think the "Raid on St Michel" should have had - at least 25 extra pages, all in colour, loads of pictures, thicker card stock for the covers, but only £1.50 more - I look forward to playing it immensely! While browsing I also spotted two of the Troiani books on the American Civil War troops at just £7.50 a piece - I had to have the one on the Zouaves!

Zouaves then seemed to become the flavour of the day as when I hot footed over to the Newline Designs stand, to my great good fortune I managed to get two unit packs of Zouaves for my ACW project. I rounded them off with a pack of dismounted cavalry (shades of the Sudan Camel Corps here, as I 'll need to paint mounted, dismounted, and a selection of horse holders for each regiment).

I finished off with four packs of bases suitable for either the ACW or WSS project, and that was me spent up!

To finish off, I had a half hour walk around taking some photo's - trust these are of interest... any mistakes in description by the way are mine - please advise and I'll correct...

OK - here we go - and just to keep you on your toes the first one is of a fantasy game - not my usual haunt but I was much taken by the giants, the blue was very effective (ice or water elementals??) By the way - click on any of the following for a bigger view...

So... in time honoured fashion, in reverse order...

This game was called "Meuse or Bust!", set in the Ardennes during the
Battle of the Bulge - 20mm of course, but what attracted me to it was the rocket firing aircraft - seen it before in games but rarely as effectively...

Next an Ancients game put on by Muswell Militia Wargames club representing the battle of Zama - loads more pictures at

Next up, some more Ancients action - this time in the Dark Ages, and sponsored by Gripping Beast & Grand Manner and demonstrating the new Gripping Beast dark Ages Rules "Beast Wars" - beautiful game - would have been higher only if the period had been more to my liking sad smileys:

...this is more like it though!! A demonstration game to show off the new Napoleonic rules by the League of Augsburg, guys - lovely stuff - and only pushed down the hit list by the hideous counters they were using!

Beautifully painted Scot's Greys:

Now that's a grand battery!

See what I mean about the counters?

Next - forward in history a 150 years or so - D-Day and the Orne River Canal - endlessly popular with war-gamers but this was a very nice, very clean, very neat depiction by Honnington Wargames group - especially interesting to me as I only visited it last summer [click here] and it's still fresh in my mind...

Next up - and unusually for me - I found this participation game absolutely fascinating. "Ride the Divine Wind" was put on by Whitstable and Herne Bay Wargames group.

Usually these games are built to handle large numbers of visitors so are a little basic, but this was absolutely beautifully made... all those flak bursts are individual balls of teased out wire wool... was talking to one of the chaps on the stand and he said the blisters had only just healed!

Basically, the aim of the game is to pilot your torpedo bomber through the flak towards the carrier and sink it... simple, but good terrain, colourful setup and playable simple rules made this a winner...

Next up, and in second place, this was a winner at the show for best terrain - not surprising as that was one of the reasons it caught my eye - this represents the Battle of Bussaco in the Napoleonic wars - the whole game comprised a battle on a modelled slope - beautiful figures - standing on the upslope edge of the table really gave you an impression of being high up!

...and in my first place, yet again, Matt Slade and Martin Holme's depiction of the Battle of Blenheim in 25mm - they painted everything themselves over a period of 5 years. This was the game I first saw at the Warfare show, they didn't win there and yet again they went away without a prize!!! smiley emoticons I'm sorry - I'm just speechless... makes you wonder what you do have to do to win a prize!

...and that's it for Salute 2010 - roll on 2011!


  1. Thanks for the Salute tour.nice to see Whitstable & Herne Bays game mentioned if I ever get any time I will join them. Must agree about the Blenheim game saw the earlier reports & coverage & thought it would win loads at shows. anyway will endevour to attend Warfare etc ie the Autumn shows this year...the drag to London puts me off!!

  2. Steve - your comments and thoughts are almost the same as mine, so my own post my be redundant! Great photos of a good selection of games.

    Best wishes


  3. Thanks again, Steve, from those of us too far from the UK to even dream of visiting . . . blogs like yours are the only way that we can get a taste of the British shows.

    -- Jeff

  4. Steve

    very interesting comments and a timely reminder to get my copy of the Chiraz before it sells out.

  5. There is something slightly odd or off about the ground color in the Blenheim game. Maybe it's just the lighting in the photograph. The Busaco terrain looks a little more realistic. that said, they all look like good games and the quality of the terrain is definitely several steps higher than what I saw at the Little Wars convention in the USA this weekend.

  6. Good report there Steve.

    Having run demo games in the past my experience has been that it is not enough to have masses of good looking troops to win a prize. what you need is well modelled terrain, lots of small diaramas modelled into the game, things to attract eye away from the main combat and, action or atrtaction across the entire table and not just in the main theatre.

  7. Thanks chaps, much appreciated...

    Grimsby - I think you may be right. Very disappointing though as in the flesh this is a truly jaw dropping game... the problem it has is not lack of diorama's but the size of them - the attack on Blenheim is a hugely detailed diorama in its own right, but large!

    Here's a contentious thought though, in the same way as Marlborough is hardly ever mentioned when learned folks discuss military history/genius's (genii??), and the war he fought in is little known (Osprey on Ramillies/Oudenarde/Malplaquet anyone??? No! Though we get books on Pirates, and Cowboys, and the transport section of the Imperial Guard.... grrrr....), did they lose because no-one really knows enough about the battle to understand the bigger picture???

    Der Alte - the lighting in Salute is truly atrocious, and I dislike using flash, so the colours may be a bit washed out - I took some other pictures of the game the last time I saw it:

    ..which may give a better representation. I don't remember thinking it looked "wrong" but we're a broad church... :o)

  8. Thanks for sharing photos of your walk-around. Everything looks brilliant (except for those strange blue counters!)

  9. Hi there great site lots of awesome pics and information, I've just become a follower and put a link on my blog to yours, come on over for a visit some time

  10. Hi thanks very much for the kind comments about our game (Ride the Divine Wind). It took many hours to make (I lost Easter making those *** aircraft on the carrier) but it was great fun to play. We really enjoyed putting it on for everyone - Salute is our "fun" game and we try to make it as much fun for the players as it is for us! That's me in the photo by the way! Paul B

  11. Paul - no problem - the comments were well deserved!

  12. Hi Steve-sorry we missed each other this year. Roll on 2011!

    My only observation as to why Blenheim lost out is could it be too big? Walking up to most games, everything could be taken in at once, Blenheim was about 3 average tables rolled into one. It was truly fantastic, but perhaps the judges could not see the wood for the trees?


  13. Dear all,

    I am one of the two lunatics responsible for the monster that is the Blenheim demo. Thanks for all the comments. We deliberately went for a very basic terrain design as for us this was all about the figures which the two of us have been painting for the last 5 years or so. I certainly did not enter into this to win prizes (just as well!!). I would agree with most of your comments. I think the sheer size (28ft by 6ft) makes it difficult to take in. There were lots of little details which probably get lost amongst the hordes. What always makes this worthwhile is the reaction of visitors which was extremely positive. Many said they had seen nothing like it before. As I approach 40 I remember the big John Tuckey display games and similar which always seemed to be the ultimate when I was first getting started in my teens. This was our attempt to resurrect the monster size demo and it is a great chance to show off what you can do if sell off all your Warhammer armies!!