Sunday 23 April 2023

Salute 2023

 This blog has had more false starts than the Grand National, but this time it really is returning.  I was going to post some stuff this week, but thought it would be better to wait until after Salute, because that always begets a long post that will bury anything posted earlier.  A few things have happened which have re-focused me on the historical hobby, although recently I've also been having a lot of fun painting figures for the 7-TV game systems.  Painting some AWI for a friend before Christmas helped the historical bug return, and also there's now a chance of some regular gaming.    

Anyway, Salute.  It was good to be back, and I had no idea that Salute and I have something in common - we both turned 50 in April this year.  I arrived at 10.20am and made the mistake of alighting the DLR at the stop after Custom House - yes, that next stop was closer to the show entrance, but it wasn't closer to the end of the queue, which I reached by walking almost the entire length of the Excel Centre.  That said, whilst the queue did look horrific (and I heard an Excel steward express concern to the Warlords on that point), it moved reasonably quickly.

Immediate thoughts:

- the crowds were back after a quiet 2021 (and a non-existent 2022), as were the overseas attendees.
- Salute remains a showcase for the miniatures hobby at its widest - I reckon the split between fantasy/sci-fi and historicals must be almost 40:60 now; personally, I don't mind - the former games usually have spectacular terrain and must pull in a younger crowd.   
- as seems usual now, there were lots of smaller 3x3 or 4x4 games; these used to be largely fantasy/sci-fi but now include a lot of historical games as well.
- some of the games are repeats of "advert games" - very nice looking, but they seem to appear every year and don't change.  
- it seems that the days of loads of "wow" large historical games have gone, with the focus often on smaller, more concentrated games;
- the WW2 games are now where a lot of the "wow" factor is, particularly in terms of terrain.
- each year there are more families and children; this year there was even a drawing area with tables where the really young kids could do colouring etc.
- maybe I missed them, but there seemed to be fewer traders selling historical terrain this year, for some reason; on the plus side, however, there were traders selling decent brushes (which doesn't always happen). 
- the Warlords have sorted out previous issues with lighting and ensuring enough space to move around the show; of course bottlenecks around favourite traders remain an issue (and gentle note to others: please don't block the entrance to a trader in order to have a chat with the mate you haven't seen for ages). 

Purchases included a load of stuff from Caliver (Ottomans book, Sudan painting guide, Jon Sutherland's colonial Indian rules and scenario books), some fantastic brushes from Artmaster and a collection of random Perry metals.  I also met up with Rob and Stefan from the Writtle Independent Gamers, which is the club that's nearest to me in Chelmsford and which I'm intending to join.  

So, to the games....As always, apologies to those I missed; I went around the show twice and thought I'd seen everything, but looking back through the list of games it's clear there were a few I overlooked.  I should also apologise for the relative lack of close-ups.  This is because when I sifted through the photos at home it became clear that a lot of the close-ups were out of focus - lesson to self: bring your glasses next year.

Hornchurch Wargames Club's "Ntombi River" - 28mm Zulu Wars.  I liked how the colours of the terrain immediately created a sense of place:

Wargames Illustrated's Italian Wars game:

Rubicon Models had a brace of terrific-looking Vietnam games:

London Wargames Guild had a "Cold Doings in London" 28mm skirmish game.  I wasn't quite sure what was going on here, to be honest; neither did the players, from the sound of it!  Magnificent terrain, though. 

The Lardies had a number of games, including a trio of WW2 stunners (one of which was the Arnhem game they recently took to Holland):

Also in the "Lard Zone" was Dave Brown with a 15mm Napoleonic game using his "General d'Armee" rules:

Crooked Dice has a couple of participation games of 7-TV going, including this one with some marvellous terrain:

Jon and Diane Sutherland's Battle of Leuctra:

15mm WW2 action - Carentan from Retired Wargamers Reloaded:

The Indian Mutiny in 28mm from Hailsham Wargames Club had some excellent trees:

Wyre Forest Wargames had an "imaginations" game in 6mm, featuring figures painting by a number of people during Lockdown.  The game set up and figures are being sold for charity:

Warlord Games had their new ECW "epic" scale figures on the table:

Hugo's Heroes had a number of games.  The first was Swedes and Finns v Russians in the Battle of Oravais in 1808.  It was presented in two scales, with the 28mm game using the lovely Perry range:

Secondly, they had a couple of WW2 games based around old Airfix models such as the gun emplacement and pontoon bridge:

Nigel Emsen had a 1/72 scale ACW game using the "Muskets & Springfields" rules:

Caseshot Publishing had the Battle of Castiglione, 1796, in 15mm:

I wasn't sure who was responsible for this impressive ACW ironclads game:

An amazing "Battle of Fallujah" from Maidstone Wargames Society:

This looked like Republican Romans v Carthaginians, but I didn't catch whose game it was:

Two of the many small-scale fantasy skirmish games:

Peterborough Wargames Group's Dambusters Challenge:

The Battle of Ferozaphur by Crawley Wargames Club, First Sikh War action in 15mm:

A SYW games from Ardhammer Group, using 30mm "flats":

1/72 Wargames' "Kaiserschlacht 1918" game:

All Hell Let Loose had "The Glosters Last Stand" in 6mm.  The figures were quite difficult to spot:

Cornwall Wargames Association had this game using the Mark Copplestone "Little Soldiers" range:

The guys from Cornwall also had a large "Blood and Plunder" game:  

Another good-looking WW2 game, but I didn't catch who was doing it.  Maybe the Anschluss Publishing Eastern Front game?:

The Continental Wars Society had a Franco-Prussian War games using the latest Perry figures:

Newbury and Reading Wargames Society had a "Banzai - Seventeen Thousand Samurai" game:

An impressive "Antigonus at Bay, Ipsus 301 BC" game was courtesy of To the Strongest:

The Old Guard had Austerlitz in 25mm, with stunningly-painted figures:

Last, but not least...Warhammer 40K: