Wednesday 26 April 2017

Salute Loot 2017

I posted a picture of my Salute purchases with my report on Saturday but I thought it worth looking in detail at my very nice haul. I bought quite a lot this year but I also picked up quite a few freebies as well. 

AW Magazine: I had a quick chat with Jasper Oorthuys the magazine editor about their magazines. I already subscribe to Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy and have also been enjoying Ancient Warfare. In particular I enjoy their YouTube videos for the wide ranging content and discussion in them. I thought I had better put my money where my mouth was so I picked up a couple of back issues of AW on the Punic Wars and another on Pyrrhus of Epirus.

Blitzkrieg commander III: I'm always saying that I'm not very good at reading rulebooks but I keep collecting them non-the-less. The third edition of Blitzkrieg Commander was being launched at Salute and I had already decided to pick up a copy. On first inspection I like what I see and hopefully I can have a proper read through the rules this coming weekend. I'm not necessarily going to switch from FOW but its always useful to read other rules and see how they interpret the same period.  

Frostgrave: I can hear Ray screaming already but it had to be done. The young Padawan has been hinting heavily about finding a Fantasy rule set to play and so I thought I would pick this up and give it a look over. I have a load of DandD/Roleplaying models and terrain from years ago that can come out again. Some cosmetic conversions and new bases will make many of the models suitable and get us started.

Wild West Exodus: My third rulebook from Salute, although this time it was a freebie. The company behind this product were giving away 1st Edition copies with a promise to give out the 2nd edition rules for free when they are released. I'm not sure its a system I want to play but I've handed the book to the Padawan to see if she's interested. At the moment her focus is a bit all over the place and if she could just settle down on a rule set and a collection of models I think it would solidify her interest in gaming. 

Vallejo Textured Paint: I've seen this product reviewed and it looks potentially very useful. The paint is thick and grainy and sets with minimal shrinkage so can be used to replicate muddy ground or mud splatters on the side of a tank. At £4.50 for a small pot its not cheap so I only picked up two posts to try out. One is called European Mud which is a dark brown and the other is similar but with fibres in it so it looks like churned up grass and leaves. Check out this YouTube video here to see it being used in a tutorial. 

Modeling Supplies: I wasn't planning on buying lots of modeling supplies but I found a few items relatively cheap and decided to get them while I saw them. I picked up some superglue and three packs of Silfor Tufts (Late Fall, Short) that I use a lot. I also treated myself to a new Winsor and Newton 000 Series 7 Brush. My existing brush took a battering during the Painting Challenge and no amount of cleaning and TLC was going to bring it back from the dead so it needed replacing, 

A Wargamer's Guide to The Anglo-Zulu War: I already had this book by Daniel Mersey on my hit list. I'm interested in the period and always enjoy these games when Posties gets his massive 6mm collection out on the table. This doesn't mean I'm going to start collecting these myself...but I am thinking about it!

3 Fantasy figures from Midlam Miniatures: Completely random purchases bought simply because I like the models and because they were just a couple of quid each. These will go in my model box to restock the lead mountain in readiness for future painting challenges.

Tabletop Wargames: A Designers' and Writers' Handbook:  Another book on my must buy list that I managed to find at the show. I like the idea of peeking beneath the veil of the wargames designer to understand the problems and challenges of designing a set of rules. I'm not about to write rules myself but it will be an interesting read on a lazy Sunday afternoon (if there is such a thing). 

Freebies:  As well as the Wild West Exodus rulebook there were plenty of other freebies being given out. Ticket holders were given a mag as they went in and this contained from models for the aforementioned rules set and well as a dice and of course the Salute figure. I quite like the model although I cant see a use for it right now. I'll add it to my model box and I expect it'll see the light of day in the next Painting Challenge.

I also treated myself to a Salute T Shirt. In fact it was the first thing I bought. In previous years I have left it a bit late in the day before heading to the Warlords stand and consequently missed out on a shirt in my size ('Marquee Size').

UPDATE: Completely forgot to mention my Snow Troll that I bought from Heresy. I love their models and nearly always pick something up from them. This model looked just so awesome it just had to be mine! Its a multi part resin figure but is so full of detail and expression I know it'll look fantastic when painted. Another one for the 'lead' mountain in anticipation of next years Painting Challenge. 

Saturday 22 April 2017

Salute 2017 - A Photo Review

Salute is over for another year and every bone and muscle in my body hurts....but it was great non-the-less! Despite the cost both to my wallet and my body I still think Salute is the highlight of my wargaming year. I get to see a lot of traders and demo games that I wouldn't otherwise encounter and many companies use Salute to launch new products and miniatures. Like many wargamers I spend most of my gaming expenditure online these days, but I still love the chance to 'browse' and lay hands on products, rules and miniatures.

Salute seems especially busy this year. The queuing system prior to the show was strained to the uttermost and the queue hall was filled almost completely before the doors opened. My daughter, the Young Padawan joined me again this year and she seemed to enjoy the size and spectacle of the show as much as I did. She couldn't quite match my spending but if she could she would have. I treated her to several models and some paint and hopefully this year I can ignite her enthusiasm for painting as well as gaming. Postie also treated her to some models as well (nice move sir!) so she had a very good day.

As well as spending a shed load of cash (gotta rebuild that Lead Mountain!) I always enjoy Salute for the chance to meet and chat with a wide range of people. For several years now there has also been a regular 'Bloggers Meet Up' somewhere in the centre of the show. Not as many bloggers got together this year as last (possibly dues to conflicting event at the same time on a trade stand) but everyone who did arrive exchanged our yearly handshakes, pleasantries and in some cases gifts! As well as the pre-arranged meeting I often get stopped as I walk around by readers of BLMA and its always great to put faces to names.

I was massively impressed by the standard of the demo games this year. Salute always hosts the best demo's and participation games and every year I think the standard couldn't get any better only for it to do just that the following year. Most of the figures on display are well beyond what most of us would call 'tabletop quality' with many examples of miniatures that wouldn't have looked out of place in the painting competition. I only briefly managed to look at the competition with crowds three or four deep in front of the display cabinets. I took a few photo's but to be honest the best pictures of the winners will be published in Miniature Wargames soon enough.

One of the disappointments for me this year was the apparent lack of 6mm demo games on display. I only counted two games this year (correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s all I remember seeing). Now I would always expect  to see lots of 15/28mm games being played but just two 6mm games out of nearly 100 demo tables is only about 2%. Some recent polls I have read say that as many as 30% of wargamers play 6mm regularly if not exclusively so this scale is being massively underrepresented at Salute. To be fair the reason for this is probably simple economics. 15/28mm rules systems and miniatures dominate the marketplace and therefore the demo tables of our shows. Another reason is that it is much harder to achieve that ‘Wow’ effect with a 6mm table, its takes a lot more models and a lot more terrain to have a real impact. That's a worrying conclusion because it suggests that shows like Salute are more about the visuals than the content or the playability of rules systems and it leaves a lot of small scale wargamers out in the cold.

Anyway, that's enough chat from me, here are a selection of my photo's from the show. As usual I shot far too many pictures but I have tried to distil this down to just the best ones to give you a flavour of the show. I hope you enjoy them.

Chelmsford Bunker

Friday Night in Crawley - Palestro 1859 - Franco Prussian War
Witch Racing

Wyvern Wargamers - Cambrai 1917

Oshiro Terrain - Shiro O Kogeki

Gravesend Gamers - Star Wars Epic

Ard Hamma - Pin-Hai, Battle for the 18th Green

Ironfist Publishing -Battlegroup Tobruk

Henfield RAF Fighter Command  - Battle of Britain (with Henry Hyde!)

Chesterfield Open Gaming Society - Frostgrave


Osprey Games - Dragon Rampant in Frostgrave

Afterlife...being played in the back of a converted Landrover! 

Jersey Privateers - Operation Sutton - Falklands 1982

Grenzer GamesBattle of Antietam

Scimitar Games Club - Muskets and Tomahawks

Bexley Wargames - Cretaceous Camp

Pedion Modular Terrain - Operation Uranus

Blood in the Snow

Simon Miller - Raphia 217BC

League of Gentlemen Anti-Alchemists - Carry on up the Volga

Battle for Neustadt 6mm

Ilford Wargames Group - X-Wing Mega Battle

Wyre Forest Wargames Club - Battle of Kalisz 1706

Crewe and Nantwich Wargames - Japanese Invasion of the Philipines 1942 (4)

Crewe and Nantwich Wargames - Japanese Invasion of the Philipines 1942

Scarab Pals - Zero Hour Italy 1917

Scarab Pals - Zero Hour Italy 1917

The Padawan Meets her heroes!

Imperial Entanglements! 

Warhammer 40k Game

Harts Volunteers - Sword Beach 1944

The Old Guard - Command and Colours

Essex Warriors - Battle of Prague 1757

Hornchurch Wargames - Wars of the Roses

Gatehouse Gamers - Pearsons Farm

Dalauppror - FortMosquito 1654

Warlord Games -  Inverlochy 1645
And finally... my Loot from the show. I bought the new Blitzkrieg Commander rules that came out today, and I have at last succumbed and bought Frostgrave. I also picked up several books including Tabletop Wargames which I have wanted to buy for a while now. I restocked some modelling material and picked up a couple of pots of Vallejo 'mud' which I want to give a try. I also bought an assortment of models for various types, just to paint (some for next years Painting Challenge).

My Loot from Salute

That's it, I'm done in. Time to slump on the sofa and watch some TV. See ya'll next year!

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Blogger Meet Up at Salute

Salute 2017 is just a few days away and the excitement is building at BLMA HQ. My shopping list is slowly being drawn up and I already have a 'plan of attack' with key traders highlighted that I must visit. I will also be taking a shed load of photo's of the demo/participation games on display and will attempt to get them online as soon as I can. The door's open at 10am and the show closes at 5pm and let me tell you I need every one of those seven hours to see everything. My poor legs are already aching in anticipation! 

In between spending money and photographing everything in sight I'll be stopping by the annual Blogger Meet Up (indicated by the Big Red Spot on the map below). The gathering takes place at 1pm but normally breaks up after 20-30 minutes with obligatory photo's, shaking of hands and swapping of war stories.  Its always a good gathering with anything up to 30 or 40 bloggers gathering every time we do this. 

If you are at Salute it would be great to put faces to names so please pop along at 1pm and say hi.

Monday 17 April 2017

Portsmouth Dockyard - A Birthday Treat

It was my Birthday yesterday and as a treat I had the whole day in Portsmouth Historic Docks. For those that are not familiar this is the home of the British Navy and one the best military museums in the country. This is the home of HMS Victory, the Mary Rose and HMS Warrior as well as several other vessels. The last time I was here was in 2007 and quite a lot has changed since then. 

HMS Victory sporting a new (and historically accurate) colour scheme. 

Recent renovation work discovered over 70 layers of paint backwards through the vessels history. Combined with documentary evidence the new colours match the colour Victory was at Trafalgar. 

One of Victory's gundecks

Another Gundeck. My pictures make this look brighter than it actually was. Even with the hatches open its a dark and gloomy place...filled with smoke and the screams of wounded men it must have been a vision of hell.

The place where Nelson died is marked by a simple lamp and wreath
carved into the woodwork. 

The Audio Tour of Victory has been greatly improved and is probably one of the best examples I have come across.  

I was very impressed with the Audio Tour of Victory. Its been updated and improved considerably since my last visit and I think the new version is one of the best I have come across. Step by step the tour walks visitors through the weeks and days leading up to the battle. The tension builds as the fleets approach each other and battle commences. The action is graphically narrated but is clear enough for visitors to visualise the action and understand the key moments in the battle. 

After the Victory we crossed over to the Mary Rose exhibition. This Tudor warship sank in 1545 and was raised in 1982 along with thousands of unique and well preserved artefacts. 

One of the Breech Loading guns (minus the breech bit) found on the wreck. 

A Muzzle Loaded gun also from the Mary Rose

HMS M33 - A Monitor Class ship and a rare survivor of the Galipoli campaign. 

HMS Warrior the first Iron Hulled warship.

One of the Gun Decks

HSL 102, is the only surviving example of the 100 class high speed launch and was stationed at RAF Calshot during the Battle of Britain.

Part of the Battle of Jutland exhibition

Our entry tickets last for a year so we will definitely be coming back sometime later this year. There is plenty more we didn't have time to see so a second visit is an absolute must...