Sunday, April 17, 2011

Salute 2011

I'm trying to remember how many Salutes I've been to.  Probably not that many.  The first one I attended (and indeed my first wargames show) was in 1999, the last year that Salute was at Kensington Town Hall.  I remember then going to lunch in Chelsea (where I used to live) to meet up with my ex-girlfriend from my Rome days, I, who was in town.  I was a member (a princess no less!) of a very well known Italian historical family and, unlike most women, found the idea of wargaming intriguing.   

There seemed to be a lot of ECW this year but this alternative siege of Worcester 1651 was the most impressive

I have been to most Salutes since then, although have missed a few, usually due to being abroad.  I created a bit of a stir on TMP a few years ago by making negative comments about a group of what I saw as Nazi (rather than German) WW2 re-enactors when I felt that the South London Warlords should have had a word with them about some of the material they were selling but didn't.  The ensuing debate got quite heated.

Guy enjoyed this recreation of one of his xbox games, Battlefield Bad Company.  He said it looked just like the game setting!


Anyway, nothing so controversial this year as the re-enactors were for the American Civil War; this year's theme.  I have mixed views about re-enactors.  Some of them have done useful research which has thrown light onto some military puzzles from the past.  But I find it rather odd that people in the UK want to be American Civil War re-enactors.  Fair enough in the US but for some not really explainable reason I think that re-enactors for, say, the English Civil War are more understandable for people from Britain.  Maybe it's a throwback to seeing a TV piece years ago about people from Essex who dressed up like cowboys, looked totally authentic and then ruined the effect by speaking in Essex (or such like) accents.  Better than bad American accents anyway.

I had a list of stands I wanted to look at and things to buy (not much, really) and did quite well although, as usual I forgot some things (like getting some fully armoured pikemen from Warlord Games).

The biggest disaster was that I carefully charged up my camera battery and then forgot to put it back into the camera so I had to rely on my son Guy's Blackberry camera!  This was a shame as I was particularly impressed by the standard of the scenery on many of the games this year.  Guy and I thought it had the highest number of games with really good scenery we had ever seen.  All I have are a few very blurry pictures, therefore!

A slightly blurred Gallipoli!

Dave Bodley's Gallipoli board for Gripping Beast and Wargames Illustrated was indeed magnificent.  However, I think that it might have been a bit of a double edged sword given that part of the intention must have been to shift more Woodbine WW1 figures.  The problem was that the layout just demonstrated what a difficult battlefield Gallipoli is to recreate on the table top.  The cliffs, the steep hill and the trenches are really beyond the ability of most of us.  I just looked at it and thought: forget Gallipoli I will stick to the Arab revolt for the Turkish front: lots of nice flat sand.

Matt's Schleswig game.  No teddy bears were harmed in the making of this picture!


It was good to see Matt's Schleswig game.  His figures are really nice and I must paint up some more although I have to say I think I prefer the red coated Danes!

Purchasing wise I was pretty good.  I got a few packs of Foundry's new Normans to add variety to my Norman knights and that was it for the Dave Thomas stand.  Must be a record mimimun buy!  I got some more magnetic paper for my file boxes to stop my figures falling over on the way to Guildford Wargames Club.  I went a bit mad at Mutineer Miniatures and bought a unit of Gurkhas, some Sikh cavalry and some more mutineers.  About nine packs overall.  They'd sold out of GNW Swedish cavalry at Gripping Beast (if they were there in the first place) but I did get a pack of the brand new Russian Horse Grenadiers so that will be enough to be going on with. 

I bought the new pirate rules from Black Scorpion along with the limited edition resin figure of the impressively constructed young lady on the cover of the rules. 

Black Scorpion Alexis figure

It must be strange for the model for the painting, the splendidly named Alexis Eickelsbacher, to be reproduced as a small miniature.  I will try to paint her up this week.

The impressive figure of Alexis Eichelsbacher in real life

Finally, the one thing I did buy this year which I really wasn't intending to was four of Gringo 40's new 40mm Mexicans from the Mexican-American war.  I've always wanted to get some figures for this ever since I saw the bodice ripping American TV miniseries North And South some years ago.  Subsequent visits to Mexico City have had me looking, in vain, for a modern range of 28mm figures.  I bought 4 Mexican marines standing at attention which is not ideal for what must be a skirmish range but they looked so splendid!  Now I have had to spend £30 on reference books to find out what their uniforms were like.  I've already cleaned them up and based them so I might just get started on their faces anyway!  I've never had any 40mm figures before, they look huge, but I suspect these will not be a quick painting job!

So, I thought it was a good Salute this year and it seemed crowded despite the recession but maybe others were like me and spent less.  Best thing I am looking forward to are the Perry plastic Wars of the Roses men at arms.  My WotR army doesn't have any cavalry yet and these will fill a gaping hole.  The next best thing was the preview of the Immortal plastic Persians.  Can't wait for those ,although dreading painting them!


  1. We should have arranged to meet up! I thought it looked less crowded than usual, but that may have been because there was more free space than there was last year. There were some cracking games and I also couldn't resist Mutineer Miniatures - I bought a pack of sailors to go with the Maori Wars figures I bought from Empress. I find the most difficult part of Salute is always the decision of what new buys to paint first afterwards...

    Best wishes


  2. I couldn't agree more.. definitely a good Salute but very little their that tempted me to part with my hard earned £'s...

  3. I'm not sure I see your point about re-enactors choices. As L.P. Hartley said "The past is a foreign country". Whatever one is re-enacting has no real connection to oneself.

    And as for accents, given the levels of emigration to the US in the 19th century I would have thought it likely that a significant proportion of both cowboys and civil war troops had European rather than American accents.

  4. Good point about the accents but I still feel that I would rather re-enact something from my own history than someone else's!