Friday, September 16, 2011

Colours 2011

Last weekend was one of the highlights of the wargaming year for me, as it was "Colours" at Newbury race course..  bright and sunny day, but blustery, with occasional sharp showers - all in all a perfect show day (any hotter and some of my wargaming brethren can become slightly...... errrmmm.... "aromatic" Free Happy Smileys)

Somewhat worryingly I had nothing of any note on my shopping list this year (and neither did DG), an unusual state of affairs. Why worryingly you may ask?? That's because I find I always come back with more than when I do have a list!

A good show (again) though I thought much quieter than last year - overhearing some of the trader conversations they seemed quite happy, one of them even reporting queues to hand over money.. amen to that, but nonetheless I do wonder how long Colours can last as a 2 day show. I'm not sure but my perception is that it is very much a shadow of it's former Hexagon days on the trader front at least, the competition side of the show is much greater (there was a huge Flames of War competition going on )...

The usual trader "culprits" were there however, although I had to hunt down Caliver (the book people). I walked straight past them first time, as they were directly opposite where you paid your entrance money so I had my back to them - it was only as I was going out I spotted them; not a good location, and a much smaller stand than usual.

Newline were also a noticeable absence (I had a yen to restock my ACW "to paint" piles - ah well, I note that they will be at Warfare in November)...

A most pleasant day - a good natter with DG there and on the way back (we had our traditional pre show game on the Friday evening, so we 're-fought' most of that on the way to the show!), and a few moderate purchases whilst there...

... so what did I buy???
  • Smallest purchase was a pot of brown ink/stain from Vallejo (looking for something with a bit more pigment than the Windsor & Newton Chestnut ink I use). 
  • I also got a brand new copy of Stuart Reid's "All the Kings Armies" (pictured) for only £4 (!) probably my bargain of the day - I've been after a copy of this (and also Peter Young's history of the same war) for ages.. supposedly second hand but it looks pristine to me. 
  • I got 6 copies of the out of print (regrettably) "Practical Wargamer" for 50p a throw (bargain!) - I always try to get old issues when I see them, in my view, with the exceptions of "Wargamers Newsletter" and "Battlegames" it was one of the finest wargaming magazines about (as opposed to those publications we get these days that are basically just extended advertorials, full of regurgitated gobbets of history with pictures of models and miniatures, sold by the publisher, and painted to a level that no run of the mill wargamer with average skills will ever be able to know who you are... Free Happy Smileys)  What I liked about PW was that it was always full of scenario's, rules idea's, hints and tips, practical stuff.. either way, recommended if you see some for sale... 
  • Last of all was an impulse buy...  top secret for the moment but DG knows what they are! I'll post separately once I've had time to work on the aforesaid items - suffice to say I'm quite excited about them, and they are already on the painting table....
...and that was largely it on the buying front...   so what about the games??  A quiet'ish year I think would be my summation - Colours has always been more of a competition weekend than a display weekend, but usually they have a few good games scattered about the place to wet the appetite - this year there were fewer that wetted than normal but from amongst the many many games (...and DG's choices were different to mine, as he has a distressing inclination towards hex based games of which there were some examples..  Free Happy Smileys) I did find three that I particularly liked....    so in the time honoured way, in reverse order, we have:


Isandlwana in 1:1 scale...  this seemed to be some kind of a commercial tie in with Ian Knight in support of this book [click here] and was an absolutely massive game dominated by the bluff/cliff at the end... click on any of the following pictures to get a bigger view...

I love this next picture that shows the Zulu attacking in a curved formation..

Information boards..

Natal Native Contingent..

"Zulus....thasands of them......."...  British colonial contingent scarpers

So why only third??  Just a couple of things, one it was purely a presentation game rather than an actual game which was a shame as it cried out to be played... second, the figures, although very nice en masse were not so good close up - never been a fan of bits of cotton wool stuck permanently to the end of muskets/rifles..  a trifling thing, but enough to knock the game down a position...


Really not my period (I'll admit to playing a bit of DBA, but it's been 30+ years since I played WRG 3rd Edition Ancients) but this game really caught my eye...   a simple but effective terrain, shed loads of well painted figures...

...and elephants...  I'm a sucker for elephants!

The game was 28mm, and used "Hail Caeser" rules...

This game was called "Elephanti Habent!" ("They have elephants" if my Google translator isn't lying) put on by Uxbridge Wargamers...

..and depicting a fictional engagement between the Roman army under fictional general Tempus and a Persian army under fictional general Tamsaport near the town of Dara in Northern Mesopotamia in 349AD.

A lovely game, and the guys playing it were clearly enjoying themselves...


Roll of drums etc.First an apology - I have no idea who was presenting this game, and despite stopping and talking to them for a while I neglected to ask!

Suffice to say that what caught my eye first was this scene - I'm a sucker for large model flying boats!

Just fantastic modelling - the observer int he back had a map on his knee's...

...and what period you ask...  this is set during the inter-war years as this was an "A Very British Civil War" scenario...  quite stunning looking game - so much going on! The planes are "Customs and Excise"...   and then there were very early British tanks supported by a platoon of Lee Enfield armed schoolboys in caps....

...the guys running the game said that there were some representatives of the local girl school on the table as well elsewhere! They were accompanied by regulars, Dad's Army types, British Union of Fascists members, Italian biplanes, French tanks (Somua's as I recall) and all sorts - a totally glorious medley....

..beautiful terrain and scenery...

A very nice bunch of blokes who were more than happy to have a chat - they were as mad as a bucket of frogs but were clearly enjoying the game... !

...and that was largely it except for one thing....   have a look at these which are painted examples of a new line of miniatures being sold by Front Rank - American War of Independence in 40mm - just stunning....

Hessian musketeer regiment (von Trumbach) and a battalion of converged grenadiers - what paint work....

Sebastian - hope you are reading this - check the flag... 2nd New York

Royal Welch Fusiliers - accoutred rather more historically correctly than my unit who have the bearskin..

..another regiment of Continentals...

How good are they....???!


  1. Great report Steve. The Front Rank troops are just amazing even at 40mm. Really like the terrain in the AVBCW. The Zulu game looks very nice to me.

  2. Thanks Steve - just found your blog and appreciated the Salute report and great pics you've posted. Blimey that Zulu game - lotta work in that one! I agree cotton wool stuck onto guns looks naff - but great scenery etc in the VECW one.


  3. Beautiful pictures and displays, we don't go here anymore as we attend SELWG next month as it's nearer but maybe next year?

  4. AL - of the two Reading shows this is the bigger glossier one, but I prefer Warfare... smaller, grittier, friendlier, still a good trader prresence...

  5. Awe-inspiring games. The Islawanda terrain is truly something to behold - even in photographs. Truly amazing the attention to detail that was put into it. Best, Dean

  6. I wonder what the reference was for the 2nd New York flag?

    Seems to have been a good day out


  7. Seaplanes are it!

    I agree with all your comments on Isandlwanwa layout but it really makde you think about scale!

  8. Great looking battlefields. Huge!... compared to my small skirmish area of conflicts.

  9. Will - I asked especially.. :o))

    "Standards and Colors of the American Revolution" (ISBN: 0812278399 / 0-8122-7839-9)
    Richardson, Edward W.

    All: many thanks for the comments much appreciated... there are a few more photo's of the VBCW game here courtesy of fellow gamer Squizby:

  10. Now I know I make terrain for a living, but I never like to see a bed sheet and some scatter used as a layout.

    It just looks naff and spoils what could be a great layout.

    I've yet to come across a flat battlefield and Isandlwana is a case in point

  11. Lovely pics - some good eye candy there!

    And I agree- PW was a great magazine.