Monday, April 18, 2011

Salute 2011...

As you've probably guessed from my fellow Bloggers, this weekend was Salute at the Excel in London's Dockland. What with DG hot footing it down from Wales for the weekend it would have seemed churlish not to attend.. Free Happy Smileys

Once we got there - and it is very easy when you travel up from the South of England - the place was as buzzing as it always is. It's an absolutely huge hall, and a little soul less if the truth be known (I preferred it when it was at Olympia, and before that the old Town Hall venue in Chelsea) but the sheer energy generated by the numbers kind of carries it through...

I thought if anything numbers were up this year, nothing scientific in this but I know that it was more difficult to get to some of the stands, in some cases I left it until later. I also thought that the trend for more fantasy stands was continued - I reckon at least 50% (if not more) of the traders there were fantasy/warhammer based.. I don't have a problem with it, the models and sculpting on some of the figures is absolutely outstanding, but it's not my bag...

Very quiet on the spending front for me this year - my painting mojo is currently in something of a decline at the moment, so I have enough unpainted metal to keep me going for the time being - I've never been one for metal mountains, I always buy what I need to paint, and buy more only when I've finished... though I was tempted for some totally unknown reason, to buy some American Civil War Ironclads when I saw the lovely looking models on the Peter Pig stand. Years and years (and years) ago I actually cast up my own miniature models of the Monitor and the Merrimac (or the CSS Virginia as she was more properly known) from old fishing weights in a Plaster of Paris mould (I blame Don Featherstone, bless him..) and re-fought the battle time and time again using the rules from "Naval War Games" - may be it was that, that almost made me buy... Free Happy Smileys

Same on the terrain front - more than enough, though I was tempted by the 2' ridge pieces they were selling on the TSS stand [click here] I think I still am to be honest, so will probably order some to pick up at Colours in the Autumn..

On the book front I have a pile waiting to read that could comfortably support the roof trusses in at least four places, but I did succumb for my one and only purchase of the day, which was to buy a much anticipated copy of "Go Strong Into the Desert" by Colonel Mike Snook.. doubly good as I arrived at the Perry stand to buy the book just as Colonel Mike himself turned up, and who then signed my copy.. a truly awesome book, jam packed with information, and I can't wait to start it.... been wanting to buy this book since Colours last year, well worth the wait.

..and that was it on the buying front but if anyone knows where to get mini-D10's (7mm size like the tiny D6's) please let me know - despite their being 3 separate companies there , selling only dice and the like, none of them had any.... and those were the only things I had on my shopping list before I went!

...and so on to the judging.... I think it was Legatus who said that he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the demonstration games this year, and I can only agree - I took twice as many photo's this time around as I did last time... I narrowed it down, however, to seven games that really appealed to me..... as is my want the winners are announced in reverse order... as always nothing official or formal, just what I liked and what caught my eye...


A WW2 Desert game put on by the Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society and entitled "A Line in the Sand" - they were using Flames of War with their own modifications, but the game was set in 1942, and featured an attack by a German force on a Commonwealth defence. 20mm figures/vehicles mostly by Battlefront - but beautifully painted...

What got my attention initially was the terrain - these guys use the sand coloured TSS scenic tiles that I do, but they also had a couple of custom tiles that I really liked (sunken area's with a raised edge - very effective), and may consider having to get....

What also got my attention was the quality of the paint jobs, and the exquisite models - very nice...

An enormous game similar in concept to the big game they had last year - all in 54mm or 1/35 (1/32) - I recognised some of the models from my youth (a Tamiya Hanomag kit specifically), but in addition there was also Airfix and a host of other kits...

Table was huge - 20 to 30 feet long I'd guess and U shaped...

The game was called "The Oosterbeek Cauldron" but was basically an Arnhem game and depicted the attempts by 1st Airborne, and the Poles, to break through to their colleagues already on the bridge, in the face of increasing German counter-attacks...

Rules used were "Crossfire"..

..and, just like when we watched Batman as kids, that's it for now - stay tuned for fifth to first later this week... Free Happy Smileys


  1. Grumpy old wargamer here. I went to Salute for the first time for years and must say I was rather disappointed. True many of the games were impressive but I really think that wargaming is not a spectator sport. Perhaps it ws because I was on my own or am I getting jaded. (I was also put off by the notice at the entrance 'Cash Only - No Change Given'). I can understand there would have been reasons for this but at 11.30 there were more staff on the entrance than wanting to go in. To be honest I find the pictures on TMP, and yours, make the trip not worthwhile for me so I won't be going again. As for inspiration, at the risk of sounding sycophantic, your battle reports and table pictures are much more inspiring. Perhaps this will console some of your readers who couldn't go. Sorry if this is out of order Steve but it is just how I feel.
    Best Wishes

  2. Jim - to be honest I felt the same way for about the first hour, but then I started to get into it...

    Agreed re. spectator sport - I don't hang around to watch them make the moves - I tend to focus on the models and the terrain - may thanks for the compliments, but being able to see things up close and personal sure does help when you're trying to figure out how someone has done something - the cold tea tip being a case in point... :o)

    I wish I'd known you were also there - it would have been great to meet up for an (overpriced!) beer and a chat...

  3. I felt overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time - is that possible? For the first hour or two there's always a "headless chicken" feeling when you try to take everything in, followed by resignation that you can't - for example, I'm sure I never saw that WW2 desert game!

    I bought the Sudan book too - it doubled the weight of my backpack!

    Best wishes


  4. Yes it would have been nice to have met up but as I am the last man in England not to have a mobile phone it would have taken a little organising. Actually that reminds me of one of the plus points - plenty of seating/tables for the cheapskates like me who take their own food. Perhaps we can meet at Reading (don't think I will be going to Newbury).

  5. Steve,

    As someone eight time zones away, I really enjoy your posts on the British "Shows".

    I will never be fortunate enough to attend one unless I win the lottery (pretty hard to do when I don't buy tickets) . . . so posts like yours have to do . . . so I thank you for your photos and comments.

    -- Jeff

  6. You Brit's just don't know how lucky you are!

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  8. Should have said hello Steve, or maybe you did and I forgot, as was a bit tired on the day and hopping around on one foot.

    I think the mix of tables is to be commended and the important thing is that people make the effort.

  9. I've looked at a lot of reviews of Salute and can't make my mind up. on the up side there appear to be alot of traders that never come North to the big shows in Sheffield or Derby and I always feel as though we're missing out here (as are the traders?). Add to that the number of noteable gamers that we aren't going to meet either. The down side is that I'm beginning to feel as though "a game is a game is a game" and that there is little new under the sun when it comes to demo games. But I keep promising myself to get to Salute one year - perhaps it's like some religions and you have to make a pilgrimmage at least once in your lifetime?