I walked around the show with my usual gang of mates - Malc "Little Armies" of the Ten Figures a Week blog, Timmo and Ronan the Librarian/Supercilius Maximus, and chatted to Eclaireur, Levied Troop, Martin at Foundry, Martin from the Warlords and the Loughton guys on the way. I finally managed to meet some people I've known "virtually" for some time - Steve Jones, whose outstanding Guilford Courthouse game won an award, and John Fletcher, the guru behind "Liberators!" and wargaming the South American wars of independence (the subject of my very next post - honest!), who gave me good advice on the look of terrain for this period. I thought that while there perhaps not as many "stand out" games as usual the general standard was higher than last year. Certainly the terrain used was generally very good - green baize seems to be history now and most of the games had bespoke terrain to some extent. A lot of the games seemed tied to either a particular set of rules or a range of figures (sometimes both) - nothing wrong with that. I also thought there were more children and families - I'm aware that I always say that and perhaps I notice them more now that I'm beginning to think about when it might be worth bringing Hugo and Monty. My purchases were light - renewing my Wargames Illustrated sub, some Foundry paints, a couple of packs of Perry figures (the Ewart Waterloo vignette and the AWI camp set), another box of Perry plastic 1815 French infantry and a Maori warband from Eureka. Malc kindly gave me two bottles of his company's recently released Fonseca "Waterloo Edition" port (see a glowing review here). YUM.
There were two AWI games this year. The first was Guilford Courthouse, a magnificent effort that I thought looked perfect: just the right number of trees; plenty of space to move around; soggy-looking fields in front of the American first line; beautifully-painted figures. The whole table is shown at the top of this post, and some other shots are below.
The other AWI games was put on by the Essex Gamesters - a typically enormous game featuring Ron Ringrose's 25mm scaled ships. The game was based on the Penobscot Expedition of 1779, dramatised by Bernard Cornwell in his novel "The Fort". I failed to take a grand sweeping photo of the whole thing, but here are some details (not sure why there's a Hessian joining the Continental assault in the 7th photo). I liked seeing pretty much every 25mm 18th century figure that's ever been released in this game, and also some Foundry Wild West "Mountain Men" which looked pretty good as militia types.
Here is the Warlords' "Liberators" game, the battle of Araure 1813, using a variety of 20mm plastic figures with ingenious conversions. This was one of my show highlights, and Martin Gane and the Warlords did a great job on advertising this colourful and exciting period.
Wargames Illustrated had several games. Here are three of them. The first is Beersheba 1917, with the Australian Light Horse charging a Turkish position. Lovely terrain and figures; sadly the only photo I took of the Australian cavalry was badly blurred.
Secondly, here is the Battle of Evesham 1265 in 25mm.
Thirdly, a "Cold War Gone Hot" game.
Scarab Miniatures had a Nagashino 1575 game in 25mm.:
This 1914 game in 10mm by Real Time Wargames had lovely terrain and showed what can be achieved with smaller scales.
This is another small figure WW1 game, I think First Ypres from Wyvern Wargamers.
CTK Wargaming's "Zap the Zepp" WW1 game.
This was Wyre Forest Gamers' beautiful Great Northern War game, Fraustadt 1706, with fantastic snow-effect terrain. Again it demonstrates what 6mm can do that is very difficult to replicate in 25mm.
Dunkirk in (I think) 25mm; unfortunately I didn't catch who from. Again, the terrain and detail were superb. I thought also that this sort of WW2 game, where there are a small number of figures facing armour and superior numbers really bring home the terrifying reality of WW2 battle.
The Royal Air Force Wargaming Association had a brillant game of "Sharpe's Waterloo". This was a game of the making of the television show rather than Waterloo itself, so the table had camera crews, a canteen van and other associated vehicles. There was a card system for random events, such as Sean Bean leaving the "battle" to chat up the female producer.
This Agincourt in 15mm from Ancient & Modern Army Supplies and Donnington Miniatures was superb. I loved the ploughed-up look of the terrain and the space created - the waves of French were clearly delineated.
More stunning terrain from Southend Wargames Club with their 10mm Napoleonic siege of Rosas 1808. Lovely mdf ships and played with Capitan Games rules.
Loughton Strike Force had their usual 25mm Waterloo loveliness. This particularly appealed to me because the final attack of the Guard is the part of the battle's orbat that I've slowly been painting up over the past few years.
Blitzkrieg Miniatures were showcasing their Panzer Battles rules with two WW2 games, including this 25mm desert one. When I first saw the tanks and vehicles I thought they were mdf!
Another wintry scene, WW2 Ardennes action; unfortunately I didn't catch the name of the team responsible for it.
Simon Miller had Cremona AD69 in 25mm. Once again, lovely terrain and you can't beat a bit of Roman civil war.
Last, but very much not least, we have the 25mm Agincourt from the Lance and Longbow Society and Simon Chick. Simon wasn't there when I passed by, but the figures and terrain were, as ever, stunning.
4Ground had various mini-games to showcase their mdf sets. This WW2 one looked very nice.
I'd been tempted by the 4Ground La Haye Sainte mdf set when it was released but Timmo had warned me that it was big. It was out for inspection at the show and it really is massive. In all the rush to release mdf kit buildings, it seems to me that little thought has been given to table footprint and gaming practicalities. The size of this model means it can only really be used for a scenario based purely on the fight for LHS and then at a low figure/man ratio, as even at 1:20 the garrison would be dwarfed by the model. 4Ground's middle eastern buildings looked pretty good, albeit again a bit on the large side.