Sunday, June 20, 2010


Not exactly ExCel

Valhalla, run by the Farnborough Wargames Society, is one of those smaller shows that fill the calendar between the behemoths of the likes of Salute and Colours. I've not been before but today I was at something of a loose end. Having spent the last however many Sundays revising English and History with Guy I found that this Sunday, Father's Day, I was on my own. My wife was at work, Charlotte was doing her Duke of Edinburgh hike and Guy is in the French Alps mountain biking with the school. I could have spent the day painting but I did quite a bit yesterday (more of which later) and didn't feel like doing a whole day's worth. I was supposed to go and collect a bike at some point from my sister in law down in the Meon Valley and realised that if I took the A31 route I wouldn't be very far from Farnborough. Decision made.
This is not a part of Surrey I am familiar with. It is very much Army country although I also drove past the famous Farnborough airfield which reminded me of a funny story my sister told me about the air show which I can't repeat as it is contrary to the Official Secrets Act!

The show was held in Elles Hall, which is now part of a large sports and community complex. The hall was named in honour of Brigadier General Sir Hugh Elles, the first commander of the Tank Corps. It was a rambling old building and I'm glad they provided a map as games and trade stands were tucked away in all sorts of odd corners. It was a very small show with 20 or so traders and a dozen or so games. It reminded me of the only other small show I sometimes go to; To the Redoubt in Eastbourne. I had a chat with Mike, at Black Hat Miniatures, and vowed to get down to the club and play a game as he was the person that recruited me. Maybe another Sudan game with Keith would be an idea.

Speaking of which, I had a look at the Redoubt stand and they had a painted model of their Sudan camel borne artillery piece and I have to say it looked pretty good. Having seen their ECW stuff I am always under the impression that their figures are huge (their ECW figures dwarf Renegade's) but most of them looked OK. I thought that their French Indian War figures would go with Galloping Major's ones and their Trojans looked a reasonable size too.

My first Mexican (actually, her name was Alicia but that is another story)

I also got some more of the Boothill Miniatures Mexicans. Whilst the Alamo would be a silly project I have really enjoyed painting the one Mexican which I did yesterday and have already got a few more well on the way. This time I got some Presidial troopers, foot and mounted, because I read a book about mountain men last summer and there seemed to be quite a few cases of mountain men coming down from the mountains (naturally!) into California and having run ins with the local troops. These presidial troops would have been just the sort in the local garrisons that would have been in California at the time.

I also picked up some more of the Newline Designs Mycenaean figures for my Trojan project. Also on the Newline stand were a bunch of packs from a firm I hadn't heard of called Pontoonier Miniatures, who are based in the Eastern US. Looking them up, they have a rather elusive reeputation (no website, for example). Their figures were lovely, however, British colonial infantry and Burmese from what turned out to be the 3rd Anglo-Burmese War of 1885-1887.

The figures turned out to have been sculpted by Paul Hicks and there are a few (not very good) photos of the range here:
They look like they may be easier to get from now on through Newline, however.

A multi use building from Frontline

Finally, I found myself at the stand of another firm I didn't know, Frontline Wargaming, who had some lovely buildings and other resin scenic pieces. I picked up a thatched bungalow which would work for Darkest Africa and India and an adobe type flat roofed building which would work, at a pinch, for Mexican Texas or California, the Pirate Caribbean, the Sudan, Arab Africa and maybe India also. In addition, I got a couple of explorers tents and baggage. I recently rewatched Mountains of the Moon and they would be perfect for the attack on Burton and Speke's camp by Somali tribesmen. Maybe I should do a scenic piece of the month as well as an artillery piece!
So I bought more than I intended but hopefully I will have a bit more time at the weekends going forward.

1 comment:

  1. It may have been a small show but my perception is you bought more than you did at Salute!

    B.t.w - the "Bengal Lancer" is absolutely sublime - far and away the finest beer (with the possible exception of the "1845") that Fullers have produced in I don't know how long...