Sunday, April 21, 2013

Salute 2013

Nice scenery for the In Her Majesty;s Name demo game

So, I went along to Salute today but didn't stay too long as I had some stuff to do for work.  Still, I arrived at my usual time of just after eleven and drifted in with no queuing whatsoever.  My first impression was that it was a lot more crowded than last year, which is the opposite of what I would have expected.  In fact, I had to go back to several stands on my target list as I couldn't get near them initially.

The first job was to pick up my In Her Majesty's Name figures and rules.  I had pre-ordered everything and so ended up with 55 figures plus four stretch goal bonus figures.  My initial impression of the figures is that they are excellent although I have to say the casting on many of them is only about 8/10.  Some flash and heavy mould lines caused by slight misalignment on some figures required quite a bit of filing work on the dozen I based this evening.  It's nothing too serious but compared with the immaculate Aventine figures which I have been buying lately it's a bit disappointing.  

There is nothing disappointing about the rule book, however.  I was a bit concerned about the fact that North Star may only produce these five companies for the game as they fell so far short of their pre-order target but the book uses lots of Foundry Darkest Africa figures in their illustrations and some of the other companies such as explorers, cowboys and French will be easy to build with appropriate figures from Foundry and others. They will give me an excuse, for example, to buy some of the new Artizan French Foreign Legion figures without having to commit to a whole army's worth.

They're back!

I've always wanted some cowboys and looked at some of the Foundry ones on their small but busy stand.  It must be some years since Foundry were at Salute and my first thought was how the mighty had fallen, looking at their modest stand compared with the likes of Gripping Beast and Warlord Games. Still, I have a great affection for Foundry and bought a nice giraffe for my Darkest Africa games.

I did end up buying rather more than I intended but was quite good.  I picked up the latest copies of WSS, and Miniature Wargames (both at a discount, although the MW lady just inside the entrance was so pretty I probably would have paid extra just to buy it from her).  I picked up the next two MW DVDs which means I can clear some more space on my shelves. Hooray!

I eventually got to the Crooked Dice stand (they seemed to be two deep in front of it much of the day) and bought their stylish new 7th Voyage rules designed for Ray Harryhausen type adventures.  A quick skim of them indicates that they are everything that the sadly simplistic Tribes of Legend wasn't.  More on these in the future.  While there I bought my first non-planned buy: a Sinbad and sorcerer figure which are made by the Canadian firm Harwood Hobbies.  Hopefully Crooked Dice will carry the rest of the range.  If not I'll have to get Sophie to order them for me and then I'll pick them up from her.  I've always wanted to do an Arabian nights game!

Not only were the Dux Bellorum games attractive but their display material was excellent too

Another unplanned purchase was the Dux Bellorum rules brought on by seeing two very attractive games under way.  I have always been a Dark Ages fan (my first 28mm figures were Gripping Beast Vikings).  The friendly chap at the game pointed out that you could have a reasonable army with not too many figures and showed me some units on 4Ground bases which enable you to use individually based figures.  I bought some of these skirmish bases as an experiment and need to look into this further.  I had held off on DB as it used the dreaded element basing but this may be a way for me to cope with it.

I bought Dux Bellorum on the Osprey stand and also picked up the new Myths and Legends Jason and the Argonauts book.  This is very attractive but a quick flick through it suggests it is quite lightweight, but that is only because I have quite a lot of books on the Argonauts.  Still, any inspiration is good inspiration.

Big skeletons in the South London Warlords game

Incidentally, there were at least three Argonauts games I saw: a Crooked Dice one (nice scenery - or "set" as they would no doubt have it), one with 40mm figures and the Warlords' own one with 1/6 Action Man sized figures.  I couldn't see the point of the latter, really, as the larger scale didn't add much to the game and the scenery was rather basic (if large).

Two more unscheduled plastic purchases included a Renedra barn (which I am thinking of putting in the grounds of my ECW mansion for my first attempt at In Her Majesty's Name) and a set of plastic Velites from a new company called Agema.

These are more anatomically correct than many plastic wargames figures (I have been very disappointed with the big headed Gripping Beast plastics for example) and they said that this was deliberate.  They are promising legionaries later in the year and then, if they sell well, Liby-Phoenicians.

Victrix had some 3 ups of Punic Wars period Romans on their stand but I think I have seen these somewhere before.

I didn't get any of the new Perry 8th Army plastics (although I was tempted, but reasoned I could get them in Orc's Nest) but they did have the 3 ups of their plastic American Continental Army and ACW artillery.

Finally, I picked up a figure of a Viking carrying off a young lady over his shoulder from Heroes of the Dark Ages.  Not very politically correct but she looked so like one of my ex girlfriends that I had to buy it. I may paint this sooner rather than later!

There were a few things I nearly bought but didn't (mainly because my bag was filling up) such as the Ainsty Castings pirate ships which I hadn't seen "in the resin" before.  These are all lovely.  Secondly, some nice terrain boards from Wargames Terrain Workshop which are similar to the Citadel ones but cheaper and free from horrid skull pits.  I might get some of these.  Also I wished I had bought the Ironclad Miniatures VSF tunneling machine.

Left to right: 4Ground factory, terrace houses and police station for Victorian London

Lastly, were some of the new Victorian buildings from 4Ground. I nearly bought the splendid police station but, oddly, what stopped me was that it had red bricks. Observing what few old buildings are left as I travelled on the DLR through the East End I noticed that nearly all the buildings had yellow bricks.   They'd all need covering in soot though.  I remember how grimy the buildings in London used to be when I was small.  These don't officially come out until next month.

Probably not the laser cut model to begin with

Another thing which caught my eye at the 4Ground stand was there massive "Beowulf" type hall.  This I will have to get eventually once I have a bit of practice at assembling these laser cut buildings.  Where I would store it is a different matter: it was huge!

What's the collective term for a mass of wargames bloggers?  A stand?  A sprue?

Finally, I bravely headed to the "red dot" to find dozens of bloggers, as loosely arranged over the last few days by the likes of Wargaming Girl and various Postie's Rejects (ooh er, social networking).  I did have a chat with Big Red Bat but was a bit intimidated by all the other happy bloggers (maybe its because, deep down, I'm not really a gamer!).  Still, an impressive turn out, although I agree with Mike at Trouble At T'Mill blog that next year maybe everyone should wear badges (we shall refrain from the Alfonso Bedoya quote).

The Plancenoit portion of the Waterloo game

I was slightly disappointed in the quality of the display games this year.  There was a large and impressive Waterloo game but not any real show stoppers I thought.

The nicest terrain was probably the Wargames Illustrated (I think) Gettysburg piece.  A really nice hill effect.

So now I need to get down and paint some more stuff and maybe even play another game or two!


  1. Great looking games and wonderful turn out. Wish I were there. Best, Dean

  2. That was fast. I actually found it a little bit too crowded this year.

  3. Thanks for the pictures, Legatus. There in spirit, if not in flesh.


  4. Very nice pictures, lucky man!

  5. A 'sprue' of wargames bloggers! Love it!
    Good review and I agree it was nice to see Wargames Foundy back.

  6. I'm relieved that the hair on the back of my head seems to be holding up, nicely. ;-)

    Was great to meet. I had an enjoyable day, and even made a small profit, courtesy of the Bring and Buy, despite buying some terrain and 150 minis.

    A list of bloggers?

    Cheers, Simon

  7. Was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home! A very busy show, have to disagree on the standard of games though, there were some real crackers..!

  8. Some great photos and very nice to meet you at the blogger met up!

  9. A good report and I like the name for a group of bloggers, I was thinking of something ruder!

  10. Glad you liked our Dux Bellorum game.
    The 4ground sabots work great I think. There are some explanations of how I did it over on my blog if that helps keep you focused!

  11. Good review, thanks for sharing. You seem to have managed quite a haul of goodies! Wish I had been there...