Tuesday 31 March 2009

Review of Salute 09 – Pt 1: Arrival

I picked up my Brother-in-law and we set off about 8:45 which was a little later than planned but still early enough based on past experience… then the schedule started to go to hell. We had a relatively short journey down the A13 towards London, turning off towards the Royal Docks and Excel. The journey should take no more than 15 minutes from Dagenham but heavy traffic turned this into 30 minutes.

Then we had to negotiate the parking attendants! Last year we were able to park where we liked in the underground car park but this year we were directed to a parking space that was at the opposite end of Excel to where the show was. It then took another 15 minutes to get a ticket so by the time we got up into excel it was already 9:45. None of this was the fault of the Warlords of course, but Excels staff leave a lot to be desired! I suspect that part of the problem is the immanent arrival of the G20 next week. There were lots more police and staff around than I have seen in previous years and this didn't automatically translate into smoother handling.

When we got into the concourse of Excel we were a bit disoriented and briefly joined the wrong queue (for the International Diving Exhibition!). Eventually we found the queues for salute which were HUGE. It certainly felt busier than normal this year but maybe arriving later than normal just distorted my perspective. None the less we were able to join the Q-Buster queue and pretty soon were moving towards the entrance.

Arriving latter than planned didn't delay our entry to the exhibition by more than 5 or ten minutes but I still felt it was a pity we were not in the queue earlier. I enjoy the excitement and camaraderie that seems to build in the queue before the doors open. Rest assured, I'll be leaving earlier next year!

With our hands stamped and clutching goodie bags we entered the exhibition hall. Despite having been to previous Salutes at Excel I still gasp at the size of the space. I liked the character of Olympia but it had definitely outlived its usefulness. Excel (for all its faults) can continue to accommodate Salute for many years to come.

My first priority on entering was to book my competition model in. Not having any previous experience of this I fully expected a big queue and a long wait. But I was pleasantly surprised by the speed of the Warlords staff and had my model booked in and was away hitting the stands within ten minutes.
Unlike previous years the main focus of my time at Salute this year was on the display and demo tables rather than the trade stands. I had a modest shopping list of items (and still managed to spend as much as last year) but I was more interested in getting some good photos of the tables. And I was not to be disappointed in that respect as the standard of the display tables was as high as ever. I’ll come back to my highlights later. I spent the first hour and a half touring the tables and then met up with one of my friends and his young son. We had a quick look at the painting competition entries together and they then went off for a wander on their own for a while.

I had a brief look at the Bring & Buy stand at this point. It had been four deep when I passed it earlier and had decided to return when the scrum had dissipated! I didn't buy anything this year (I usually get something). After lunch I resumed my tour of the tables until the announcements of the painting competition entries were made (I didn't win anything but enjoyed entering non the less). There just remained enough time for a last minute tour of traders I had missed or wanted to revisit before collecting my model and staggering to the exit and my car about 5 to 5.

Tomorrow - My Favorite Display Tables

Reviews to the south-east. Thousands of them.

Well maybe not thousands but a few certainly. Over the next few days I will post my impressions of this years Salute show and focus on some of the highlights in words and pictures. I'm trying to do it justice by writing a detailed review so this is taking a while to put together. In the meantime here are a few pictures to look at. Alternatively you can view all the photos in my Picasa Album.

Sunday 29 March 2009

Salute 2009 Pictures

I have now uploaded my pictures of the Salute 2009 wargames show at Excel London. You can view the slide show above or go direct to the album in Picasa using this link.

Over the coming week I will also feature some of my favorite pictures in more detailed posts and will try to provide a little background and explanation to go with the pictures.

My Competition Project

I've been talking about it for months and now its time to reveal my entry to the Salute Painting Competition. I painted last years Salute Model, the Goblin Chieftain on Enormous Wolf.

And here are some photo's from the development stages showing some of the prep work that went into the model. Click on the thumbnail to embiggen.

Saturday 28 March 2009

Salute 09 - Guess where I am?

I'm off to Salute today and much fun will be had! Keep checking back here over the next few days to see my pictures of the show.

Friday 27 March 2009

Tomorrow will come

One more day to go... I started going to Salute in 2004 when it was still at Olympia. This was a great venue and the show eventually encompassed all four floors. But it had grown to the limits of the site and in 2006 moved to Excel in Docklands. I prefer this venue but then I live just 15 minutes drive away.

Salute 05 - The Main Hall - Olympia

Salute 06 - The massive exhibition space of Excel made the show feel a little 'empty' at first.
Salute 08 - By 2008 the show had grown again and the exhibition space (especialy its height) was being used more effectively. Salute 08 - The organisers had even managed to arrange a special bag handler for the entrance

Thursday 26 March 2009

Two short days

Two days to go... Ooo the anticipation! I could tell you about my shopping list (planned over a 3 month period) for Saturday but that would just make me look sad. Instead here are a few more pictures from previous shows.

Its been many years since I played a wargame but I still love the sight of a well executed tabletop game. For me there is something just so impressive about a fully painted and detailed army on a table. Of course no matter how nice my forces looked I could never win a game... curse those pesky dice!

Salute 08 - I don't know exactly what period of Japans history this was set in but it was colourful and very impressive. Salute 07 - Aztec City being attacked by conquistadors.

Salute 07 - Aztec City... the view from the other end.

Salute 07 - Aztec City - The table was impressive and a feast for the eyes but it was little details like this that made this display so enjoyable to look at.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Three is a perfect number

Three days to go... This is starting to sound like the countdown from Thunderbirds. Today I have posted a few pictures from last years show. It seems that every year the standard of display games gets better and better and I expect this year will be no different.

Salute 08 - Operation Market garden

Salute 08 - I don't know what the scenario was suposed to be but every time I look at this I'm reminded of the movie Ice Station Zebra.
Salute 08 - This was the Fords of Isen battle run by the Warlords. Visually very impressive.
Salute 08 - Buccaneer... this guy looks familiar!

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Four days of Anticipation

Four days to go... My competition model is finished, labeled and boxed ready for the show. I'm happy with it and will post some photo's of it after the show. I hasten to add at this point that my effort can't begin to compare to the standard of entry's I have seen in previous shows and I don't expect to win anything. As they say 'its the taking part that counts' and I think I agree. I wanted to use the competition as a catalyst to improve my painting and I think it worked.

Salute 07 - A Zulu War battle. This one was massive and must have featured over 500 models.
Salute 07 - Stormtroopers guard the entrance to the show.

Monday 23 March 2009

Five of Seven

Five days to go.... This years show is now tantalisingly close and my wallet is starting to vibrate with anticipation!

Salute 06 - The Battle of Rourke's Drift
Salute 06 - Cloudships of Mars

Sunday 22 March 2009

Six days and counting

Six days till Salute 09... More pictures from Salute shows of years gone by. Today are a handful of pictures from the 2005 show at Olympia.

Salute 05 - Trafalga - I revisited this table several times as the game progressed through the day.
Saltue 05 - Pearl Harbour - This was another visually dynamic table that drew a large croud throughout the day.
Salute 05 - Korea was another table that was impressive in design and scope.