Monday, 23 April 2007
Attached are some photos of the Waterloo game. It did look pretty good and I'm pleased to say the game won the award for "most impressive troops" (Loughton Strike Force won the same prize last year, again for a Waterloo game but in 15mm). All of the figures had been painted to a high standard, as you can see from the photos. I think the work of about half a dozen different brushmen was on display. The terrain was handcrafted by Doug Bernie and was amazing - it really did convey a sense of the undulating terrain that the French cavalry charged over (apparently Doug had recently gone over to the battlefield specifically in order to check a few points of detail). There wasn't room in the end for my Napoleon and staff sets to remain together, so the two smaller ones were detached to command the French Grand Battery. The main Napoleon stand can be seen in some of the wider shots at the upper right edge of the table. My Dutch-Belgian light cavalry brigade did finally make contact with some cuirassiers, after sitting on the edge of the table for most of the day. In one of the close-up pictures below you can see the Dutch-Belgian heavy brigade, very nicely painted by Richard Jackson. The other figures in the photos were largely painted by Doug and Andy Thomlinson. There was a good mix of figures by Foundry, Perry, Elite, Bicorne and Front Rank, and I was surprised at how well they all gelled together on the tabletop.
My thoughts on the show generally? I thought there were more display games with the "wow" factor than last year; the way the show had been arranged was a great improvement, with much easier access and the traders had made better use of the vertical space with banners and taller signs; there seemed to be more families, children and women, which was very encouraging; and the traders all seemed to be doing very well. I succumbed to far more products than I had intended to buy. I picked up 4 packs of the new 18th century civilians from Foundry (despite my vow never to buy from Foundry again in response to their high charges); a rather nice "duellists" vignette is already on the painting table. I also bought some F&IW civilians and rangers from Conquest, was inspired by Touching History's Sudan game to buy a couple of packs of Perry mahdists and finally realised a long-standing wish to pick up some Bicorne Miniatures ECW packs so I can finish off Newcastle's Whitecoats, a regiment that I have been working at on and off for a year or so (the ECW is a period high on my "to do" list). Throwing in some magazine back issues, a load of Perry AWI stuff from Dave Thomas, an orchard and other trees from Realistic Modelling, Dave Brown's new ACW rules "Guns at Gettysburg" and a renewal of my Wargames Illustrated sub, I did pretty well. I also rather cheekily entered the painting competition (for the first time), but the less said about that the better......I still don't know who won Category 1, "25mm to 40mm wargames unit", but I'd be surprised if it wasn't David Imrie with his jaw-dropping Polish winged hussars. It was also very good to put some faces to names, not least fellow 18th century blogger Martin Kelly and Peter Fitzgerald.
I have already added my thoughts on the Waffen-SS re-enactors on other fora and so won't do so at length again here. Suffice to say I think there is a difference between wargaming/ modelling WW2 and dressing up as Nazis. That's not an attack on the re-enactors themselves, as what people find interesting and get up to in their spare time is their own business. It's simply a view that there is no place for such activity at a wargames convention held in a very busy and public conference centre. For me, the inclusion of children dressed as the Hitler Youth and the selling of Hitler mugs and other "souvenirs" took the display beyond mere "re-enactment" and far closer to "glorification"; and that's my issue with it.