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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Afterthoughts About Salute 2013, and a bit of a rant.

I've probably done this show to death now, but I've been giving a lot of thought to my impressions of Salute and in particular the painting competition, and in particular the wargames unit part of the competition.
 Firstly I was wrong in my original post about who actually won the best wargames unit. The trouble is the Warlords don't seem to post the winners straight away on their site
I now understand that it wasn't the Teutonic Knights last seen in the Fire Forge advert that won.

It was actually the Perry Wars of the Roses unit that won. The figures that one of the organisers told me would win, as they placed them in the display unit. Long before the judging was done.
  Again I may be wrong, but I also understand that the WoR entry was from Darren Linnington, who I understand paints full time for Warlord Games. So I think that means two full time painters entering the competition. Both working for large wargames companies.

I think you can see where I am going with this post. Having checked, Darren, a very talented painter has now won Salute three years in a row, 2011, 2012, 2013. Nothing wrong with that one could say, but being the awkward sod I can be, I disagree. I was very disappointed when I saw the painting competition at Salute as to how few entries there were for the wargaming section. I now think its obvious as to why that is.
I have entered many painting competitions over the years. I have actually won a fair few as well, Northern  Militaire, Claymore, Stockton, etc, etc. Before a lot of shows stopped holding this event, I thought they were pretty well attended, with quite a number of entries.

I always got the impression that Salute was the premier painting competition, almost on a par with the White Dwarf competition, but not as good. Clearly this is not the case. Lets be right there is no way, any wargamer no matter how talented is going to cart their figures down to Salute, knowing that they will be up against a full time professional painter, who has won the show three years on the trot, and paints for one of the major wargaming companies. It would perhaps make more sense to have a separate section for people who could be termed 'professional', and then whoever wins that would have at least the kudos of beating their fellow professionals, leaving us mere mortals to slug it out on our standards. The whole idea of a painting competition originally was to encourage wargamers to give it their best shot, and be inspired to improve their painting techniques. Not now I fear.

So there we have it, a total professionalisation of the hobby. [If there is such a word] 
Very professionally produced magazines, [ nothing wrong with that], 
              showing very professionally made terrain with professionally painted figures on them, which then turn up at the big shows,ie Salute, showcasing the very professional but expensive rule books. All in all a very professional hobby one would think if seeing it for the first time. Perhaps that is good, but somehow I get the nagging feeling that it sort of missed the point of the wargaming hobby, or am I just being a bit paranoid. Check out the latest Wargames Illustrated to see what I am burbling about. Anyway I will not pick over Salute again. Sorry for the rant, Robbie................  














18 comments:

  1. I think you make a fair point Rob... Well said that man!

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    1. Very kind of you Steve, I hope you think the same after Sunderland play you in that six pointer.

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  2. Professionally argued point Rob!

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    1. Thanks Colin, I may have done the 'professional' word.

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  3. No Robbie, you're not being paranoid. Personally, I feel that once you've won a competition 3 times its time to give someone else a shot, especially if it's your job. Like you say, I always thought painting competitions at wargames shows were supposed to encourage amateur painters to show off their best work.

    Time to get professionals their own competitions.

    Professionalisation of the hobby? Nah. You mean the corporatisation of the hobby. Now I bet THAT'S not a word.

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  4. Fair comment. I think it's fair to say that there's a virtual glass ceiling in the hobby above which a sort of professional elite roam. There are 'hobby' oriented shows like, say, Partizan(s) and the 'professional' show, i.e Salute. Not a surprise either that the usual suspects appear in the magazines. (You have to accept that not everyone wants to or is able to be a contributor, put on demo/participation games or even enter a painting competition.) So, as in most walks of life, there's a ruling elite - that's humanity for you. Bit drastic, but there you go: discuss.

    BTW, off topic, but I rarely get WI, however I did get the latest Miniature Wargames (now with added Battlegames) yesterday and I thought I'd picked up the wrong mag. I can tell Stork from butter, but I can't tell the difference in this mag; it's Battlegames with a different cover. The effects of 'professionalisation' or plain commercialism?

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    1. Afternoon 'Joe'
      I buy all the magazines, and was a bit disconcerted when they joined Battlegames with Miniature Wargames. I did think Battlegames had lost its way, and was looking a bit 'thin' but I thought Andrew Hubbeck had done a really good job of turning MW around. Clearly something happened to oust him from his role.
      Usually the larger mag takes over and dominates the smaller one, but not in this case.

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  5. Well argued Robbie... having said that I have little or no interest in the painting competitions at the shows I go to - I may have look at the entries once in a while... seems a simple fix to me, just give the professional guys their own class to compete in??

    Crazy Joe - with Henry as the new editor I'd be AMAZED if the new magazine didn't have more than a flavour of Battlegames... in fact it's the only reason I subscribed (which I never did to the old magazine).. :o)

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  6. Robbie- Good points all- In the BMSS there were- and for all I kniow still are trophies for professionals so should the Warlords do . Afteer all these pro's are in it for the Brass.- Its one reason I no longer enter- did like you in the old days and won a few myself - Stockton Newcastle and a place at Historicon but all over 20 years ago . Don't think I entered once I was in the biz- didn't seem kosher somehow
    Now however we live in the age of the Corporate Wargame- pretty , glossy , exspensive but of little actual substance- as for the "New" MW - Gawd woy a carve up- backwards we go but more on this travesty in my own blog.

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    1. Afternoon Andy,
      I am gratified that I am not alone in my perhaps dated view. But have you noticed how in supermarkets apples look glossy and wonderful, and then you bite into them they taste of nothing.
      All furcoat and no knickers comes to mind.
      Well somehow, I wonder if we are heading that way, no research and everything handed on a plate.

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  7. Hiya, while I understand the need to rant, you are a little off when it comes to Darren. Darren is a friend of mine who lives close by in Baffins. He is not employed by warlord although he has painted for them in the past.
    Darren is a supremely talented painter and artist. He is a stay at home dad not a corporate pro. He spends nearly a year painting his Salute entry. The Perry figures were also bought by him and not a promo gift.
    Salute is a premier event and its talented amateurs like Darren who raise the standard. There is no 'brass' to be made winning Salute, its a labour of love. Why should Darren stop if he is the best?
    I know that I appreciate just seeing what Darren can do to wargames figures.
    Si Bargery

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    1. Afternoon Si,
      My views were not against Darren, I am certain he's a decent guy, clearly he can paint.
      What I think I was trying to say, albeit badly is that our hobby is currently dominated by a group of firms,individuals and magazines that clearly are attempting to bring the Games Workshop ethos to the hobby. Now I have never held the view about GW being evil etc. Expensive yes. However one can clearly see the influences of GW on the current evolving firms, and magazines.There is nothing wrong with quality games, and well painted figures, it just feels like a fraud when you know the whole set up has been commissioned and then touted around the shows.
      As regards Darren and the chap who painted the Teutonic knights, both will have been paid, and if Darren wasn't, can he do some painting for me please. What concerned was it puts off other entries,as clearly other painters know they haven't a snowball in hell's chance, where once most wargamers would perhaps have entered. The Salute painting competition has been going that way for many years.
      Sorry for going on, thanks for the view.
      Robbie

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  8. Robbie,

    You make some good points that are hard to disagree with. Personally i was disappointed to see two largely 'off the shelf' games win awards (i understand all of the constituent parts of the 28mm WW2 game were commissioned from professionals, as was much of the Waterloo non-game). I would never suggest that every wargamer should follow a largely DIY path, buying in everything is fine (i'd probably do the same if i had the resources) but i don't think you should be able to purchase an award by doing so. That said, i've never been convinced whether awards in general are a good idea or not....

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  9. One of the more interesting and thought provoking Blog entries I've read for a while, and hard to take exception to really. As an 'average painter' I'd never dare enter a competition, but I do enjoy seeing the work of the better painters in our hobby but I can live without the idea of competitive painting.

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    1. Afternoon David,
      I used to enjoy looking at all the entries in the painting competitions, in an effort to learn from the painters techniques. Unfortunately I have realised I could never hope to attain the standard of most professional painters. I think you would need a lot of time to do so. Time is the one thing most wargamers never have enough of, hence the growth in the professional. I suppose if you have the money, why not.
      Me I would employ Doug Mason everytime, that just shows you how old I am.
      Anyway thanks for the kind words.
      Robbie.

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  10. My wife's hobby has majorpainting and carving competitions. Every single one has several levels in which a person might compete from master (a paid professional painter) to novice for people who are just starting out. It would seem to me that people might want to give it a go, if they knew ahead that they would be competing against people of similar experience. A person who won as many as the gentleman you referred to be allowed to show but after a third championship could not compete for an award.

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  11. Hello Rob,

    I'm also member of a modelling club.
    In our competition we judge by a certain list of standards (what you would expect from a master, advanced or beginning modeller). This way -in a certain category- you could have 3 gold, 1 silver and 7 bronze medals. If one won gold in a certain category, next year that person is obliged to compete in at least the next highest category.
    We think this works fine and every individual model is rated for what it's worth. It also motivates people as they discover there model is maybe not better than someone elses, but certainly has all the qualities to be at least as good and to be considered a medal winner in it's category.

    Pjotr
    http://nyudrevchronicles.blogspot.be/

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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating