Tuesday, April 15

Salute 2014

It's a shame I didn't enhance the picture as the
software has automatically brightened the Stygian gloom!
I'm a little late posting (we had visitors) but SALUTE was last Saturday and as my feet have just about recovered now - three days later - I thought it high time I posted some pictures and thoughts.... 

The shows itself was probably the busiest I've ever seen it (the Excel definitely was  - it was the London Marathon check in venue again, and there was also a property show on) and I think I must have been going every year since  about 1998 - I certainly had one, and I think two, trips to the Kensington Town Hall venue, and then Olympia (which I liked very much) - I've been going to the Excel ever since they decided that Olympia was not big enough, but in my heart of hearts I still preferred the show when it was at Olympia...

The Excel seems to tick many boxes whilst not actually fulfilling any of them - it's a bit of a smoke and mirrors location....  "customer built exhibition space", "purpose built", "on site parking", "easy access by car"... it seems to have a lot going for it but on behalf of the prosecution I would say...
  • the hall is a bit lifeless, it is a concrete box - a very big concrete box but nonetheless that's all it is
  • the lighting is utterly execrable - I thought it was worse this year than last year - you spend the entire day in a slightly stygian gloom - I told my trusty wargaming buddy DG that I was bringing a head torch next year!
  • car parking has gone up to a flat rate £15 irrespective of how long you stay
  • easy car access to the Excel is only via Junction 2 of the orbital - great for Kent and Essex, not so good for everyone else...  it's a round trip of about 200 miles for me so that's another £30
  • two tickets - that's £20
....so basically before we even go through the door DG and I have spent £30 each (and if I was going on my own..  I wouldn't go by car..  but public transport is not much better) ....  plus lunch and drinks which we take with us....  is it worth it??  I would say a qualified "yes"...  put it this way, we aren't planning not to go next year!

So how about the show content?? Increasingly fantasy orientated - but I mentioned that last year - and while that is clearly where the money appears to be, there is still a huge historical presence, and anyway I quite like to see the fantasy stuff as it is invariably very well painted!

It is also (of course) a massive market place, and by the quantities of £20 notes I saw being waved about I would assume it was a very profitable one for some of the traders. Purchases?? I surpassed even my last show and bought absolutely nothing at this one... No point - I have plenty of lead to paint, and no time to do it, so fairly pointless buying more!

I enjoyed myself thoroughly checking out the various stands to see what was new, enjoying the buzz, and then I spent a fair amount of time viewing the various demo and presentation games - so without further ado - here are my favourites...

Note...  I can honestly say that all the following were games - they were all being played - none of them were 'static demonstrations' or "diorama's"...  I don't like hexes, so while there were some nice looking games they won't feature here, you'll also see no Fantasy, and no walkers, robots, zombies, spiders, aerial flyers, science fiction, or anything not purely historical... sorry...  my blog my rules... 

So in the traditional way, and in ascending order, in last place - this game was using the "Crush the Kaiser" rules [clicky] and was titled "August, 1914" and is based on part of the Battle of Tannenberg from 26th-30th August 1914 - it was put on to demonstrate their new "Over by Christmas" add on covering the early battles on the Western Front from 1914 to 1916...

A fairly small game, but what attracted my eye was this long column of horse drawn artillery

Very nice...

I've mentioned before but I am enamoured of the Japanese scenery made by by Oshiro Model Terrain [clicky] and their game this year was up to the usual high standards..  this was called "Attack on a Jo Ka Machi (coastal town)"...

Lots and lots of little features...  love the cherry trees in blossom...

It was these that got my attention - how ungainly are they!

Next - and scoring this low purely because the period is not a great favourite of mine - we have this Roman invasion of Britain game "C Day" - this was a participation game put on by fellow blogger Simon of the Big Red Bat Cave [clicky]

It was the galley's that caught my eye.... two of them...  I love the Romans wading ashore in the background...

...and this one painted by fellow blogger Legatus [clicky]

..and the towed elephant!

They played this game 3 times on the day using a combined version of Black Powder/Hail Caesar - well done!

OK - three games to go....  so in 3rd this simply humungous Sword Beach game - in the far distance you can see the other end of the game....

...simply beautiful terrain and scenery...

Just look at these!

...and the beach...  they were using Flames of War I think...

Like the pipe cleaner burst marks...

..and in second place this early WWII game based on the Battle of Keren [clicky] (to be precise - the second battle since there were actually three over a period of two or three months)

I was blown away by the terrain - face of the hill is in two parts, and made of vacuum formed plastic

Note the propaganda unit on the right - superb...

View of the summit...  Italians with askari local troops in support...

More details and pictures here [clicky] - the game was played using Too Fat Lardies "I Ain't Been Shot Mum" rules...

...and in first place - just to show what a stick in the mud, conservative, fellow I am there was this game representing the Battle of Barbastro in 1837 (the Carlist War) - presented by the South London Warlords, and played with figures exclusively from the Perry Carlist War range.. 

Just lovely...  nothing clever, nothing gimmicky, just a very nice table filled with a moderate number of very well painted soldiers, and some exquisite terrain...   it really doesn't have to be complicated....

Loved the Spanish town, and their were little vignettes and features all over the place...

Love the deaths Head pennants

Neglected to find out what rules they were using...  mea culpa

...and that was it - superb day out - but please (please), warlords, do something about the lighting....!


  1. Replies
    1. DeanM - yes - I thought this year was pretty good actually there were some outstanding efforts...

  2. Replies
    1. Ta Ray - missed the meet, but saw both Fran & Legatus in the distance (but not to say hello to)... I am by nature a shy and retiring fellow... :o)

    2. With my size it would not have been too far in the distance!

    3. Fran - nonsense... you (and I) are what my mum calls "big boned".. :o)

  3. Hey Steve! ... long time no chat :) (Paul) .. drop me a line some time ... cpevans1@gmail.com

  4. Excellent pictures! Yes, the Carlist War one was splendid!

    1. Legatus - a worthy winner in my view - I wonder if the organisers thought the same??

  5. Thanks for the mention, Steve! I also loved Keren and the Carlist War; might have put them the other way around. The Sword Beach game was HUGE!

    Cheers, Simon

    1. Hi Simon - no need for thanks - entirely well deserved I'd say...!

  6. You bought nothing? Now that does impress me.

    1. Hi David - not for want of thinking - but I really really don't need anything, and I've never been afflicted with shiny-itis... I have a lead pile to keep me going (about two or three regiments for each of the projects), and I have terrain/paint/brushes.. & books I can get cheaper from Amazon...

  7. Great pictures and the carparking cost amazed me too what a rip-off.

    1. Dannoc - outrageous... but even more outrageously, it's probably fairly typical for London prices! What surprised me was that there wasn't more cooperation on old tickets... would have been nice to see people handing over their tickets when they left to more recent arrivals......

  8. I thought the use of the "spare" hall for the queue was a good idea - impressive to see so many other sad geeks in one (very large) place. Agree about the new flat rate parking but it probably made me stay at the show longer than previously? Have to say I wasn't madly impressed with the games - very few with the "wow" factor (for my strange tastes) - my personal favourite was the WI Battle of Arklow 1798 -unusual subject, nice terrain and lots of well painted figures. Probably my imagination but every second stall seemed be selling terrain - time was when almost the only option was homemade. Perhaps the Warlords should approach the MDF trade for sponsorship next year?

    1. Jeremy - this whole queuing thing confuses me mightily - the show is open all day - why do people feel the need to get there so early??? DG and I usually rock up at bout 11/11:30 and walk straight in, and then we're done by 3 or 4.... loads of time! :o) PS. Arklow almost got in my list...

    2. Oops - I got there at 0845 after a relaxed 2 hour drive from Southampton and still wasn't that near to the front. Despite Flag Dude being 2nd on my list of traders, someone had already bought up almost his entire stock of Napoleonic British flags by 1010!! THAT'S why some of get there stupidly early!

    3. Jeremy - aha..all becomes clear... can you not pre-order, or is it a case of wanting to see what he's chosen? Either way, 2 hours from Southampton is pretty damned good.. which way did you go?

    4. I go straight up the M3 and literally through the centre of the city (Trafalgar Square!) and out to Canary Wharf - very little traffic and no hold-ups at that time of day. Like Legatus, I like to see some things in the flesh before I buy - I find comparative figure sizes quite deceptive on websites.

  9. Did you watch the demostration of Napoleon's Battles? I did read about aTalavera wargame

  10. Sounds like a great day. I've read on other blogs that some thought the standard of games had fallen from previous years, and they all seem to agree with your choices for quality presentations.
    Must get down there one year (and put another tick on the Bucket list).

    1. Hi Paul... definitely worth a trip! I thought the standard of the games were pretty good actually... you'd have liked the Barbastro game!