Well it was a very short visit to Salute for me this year, partly because I have another presentation to do before I leave for Istanbul on Monday and partly because my feet were killing me after only two and a half hours, despite remembering to wear trainers!
Now I was determined not to add to the lead pile too much so how did I do on my list? Firstly I restricted myself to only spending what I have collected in £2 coins during the year. Every time I get one I put it in my "Mind the Gap" London Transport money box and this year I had £116, which is a lot less than I spent last year.
This year the show was in a different (perhaps slightly larger) hall but I thought it was really busy. I arrived at about 11.15 and went straight in, as I had ordered my ticket in advance, but whether you had to queue at all if you hadn't I couldn't tell. Nearly every trade stand I visited had a crowd of people in front of it and in some of the lanes it was quite difficult to move around freely. A good thing, I suppose. I wonder if the cancellation of Colours last year had any effect? It might have been me but I thought the lighting was a bit brighter this year. It was hot inside, however.
I took very few pictures of games this year, mainly because other people take much better ones. Look at Eric the Shed's blog for excellent photos. I liked the Warlord's Stingray game just because I like Terror Fish. I am old enough to remember Stingray when it first came out in 1964 (in black and white of course although it was the very first British TV programme made in colour, for the US market, as we didn't have colour TV in Britain until 1969). When I was small I had a plastic Stingray model with a rubber band powered propellor for my bath.
I had to go and see Big Red Bat's Cremona which was another lovely looking game. He always manages to make his games set in Italy actually look like Italy! He was selling copies of his To the Strongest Rules which are hot of the press. These are beautifully designed by Michael Mills' Cobalt Peak (who also design the layout of Wargames Bloggers Quarterly) and are illustrated with his wonderful collection of troops and scenery. I have played them and they give a really enjoyable game. You can buy them here.
Next I had a quick look at the Black Ops game, previewing the new Osprey modern skirmish rules but there wasn't a mock up on show yet. The board layout and (small) number of troops in play hopefully gives an idea of the sort of game it will be. I can just imagine my Copplestone troopers in action in a game like this. I think one of the main things that has changed about wargames in shows in the last few years are the amount of buildings on tables, with the growth in laser cut kits. Now you have buildings manufacturers sponsoring games. I bought several laser cut buildings last year but as I haven't made any of them yet I resisted buying any more!
I did have a discussion with the lady from Sally 4th (perhaps she was Sally) about their Terra-Blocks system, which will be ideal for Black Ops games. Unfortunately, they were too late to get a trade stand, otherwise I would have succumbed. There were a number of people assembling some of their kits, taking advantage of a free offer to build some "live". Interestingly, when I was there, there were more women than men doing this; gluing on wallpaper to miniature sets. They have big plans for the range including a Casablanca style Rick's cafe. I can see that in a Pulp game!
There was some nice scenery on games there and far fewer green baize cloth ones, although not that many show stoppers. This one, which I think was American War of Independence, had lots of ships scaled to 28mm and a splendid fort. It was my favourite of the show, I think. Lovely sea effect!
There were several Agincourt games, to match the theme of the show, but I can't say I saw any of them. Maybe they were 15mm ones and I don't see 15mm! The Perry twins were showing the three-ups of their next plastic Agincourt to Orleans set, of French foot soldiers. Lovely though these are I have so many unpainted Wars of the Roses troops that I can't justify this period at all! One medieval game I wanted to look at but couldn't find was Dalauppror's Stockholm 1392 game. I went up and down the hall three times but never spotted it. Such is the problem with Salute.
More medieval (sort of) fun around the corner is Frostgrave, which will be released by Osprey in July. Having been rude about the figures in my post yesterday I was much more taken with them when I saw them today. Here we have the 12 factions, with two characters each, released so far. They are by different sculptors but in similar styles. The Norse looking Copplestone ones look tremendous.
They also had painted three-ups (unusually) of the plastic warriors which will form the bulk of the forces. These, I have to say, look tremendous and are almost historical (perhaps too historical). The man at the stand said they were thinking of producing some alternative heads for them in the future, "Robin Hood" heads, for example. It was not clear if the figures will have heads moulded on, which would limit variation or just will have a limited number in the box. We shall see.
Unlike Black Ops the rules seem to be well on the way with finished looking pages on display. There was a game going on and it looks like it might be a good time to dig out my ruins of Osgiliath! Medieval Mordheim? More enthused about this than I was 24 hours ago!
So, what did I end up with? Well the chaps at First Corps had received my pre-order, so I am now the owner of a unit of Mexican-American War Mexican infantry. Considering I need to get on with my Texan War of Independence figures it is a bit crazy to start another period like it but as I am disposing of Napoleonics and Crimean figures then I can sort of justify it. No more until I paint them, though!
Also on my list were more Lucid Eye Savage Core lost World figures. I bought some Jaguar warriors and some Amazons. I'm hoping to do some work on my Neanderthals tomorrow and I have already started the Amazon leader. I could have bought a lot more from this range (well, all of them, basically) but resisted.
What I couldn't resist but was the only thing not on my list was this Dee Zee resin mammoth. I had no luck in finding the Footsore Franco Prussian War figures. There were VBC and Dark Ages figures on the Warlord stand but no FPW. Probably just as well. I also couldn't find any Artizan North West Frontier figures but then I haven't finished the ones I have got yet.
Frostgrave badge. Is this an omen?
I got one free figure with my copy of Wargames Illustrated but he will go on eBay (eventually) but I did buy one pack of Iron Duke's new Indian Mutiny range at the Empress stand. The good news is that they will work perfectly with my existing Mutineer Miniatyres figures. Se my comparison here on my Sub-Continent blog.
Finally, I managed to get to the bloggers meet up and there seemed to be a fair few people there. First up I met Markus from Germany who had travelled overnight by bus to get to Salute, which is dedication! Tamsin, kindly came up and introduced herself as did Ray. There was a slight etiquette issue in that you didn't know whether to introduce yourself by your real name (meaningless to most people) or your blog identity (more familiar but...odd). Eric the Shed solved the introduction problem by wearing an Eric the Shed, Shed Wars tee shirt. He is very famous anyway! I also had a chat with Big Red Bat, taking a break from his Cremona game. It was good to see Alastair, from Guildford Wargames club there too. It was also really nice to meet The Wilde Goose from Orinoco Miniatures for the first time, who had come across from Prague. He has more of his Latin American wars of Liberation figures out soon. Excellent!
So a brief but worthwhile visit this year and only £70 spent but 44 figures added to the lead pile. I need to get more on to eBay this weekend. Now if I can just get an hour or two's painting done tomorrow before my trip to Turkey!