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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................  

Monday, 22 April 2013

Salute.... the conclusion.

I can only apologise for running into four! posts, giving my account of Salute.
 Salute is just so damn big, its like being given a glass of really fine wine and then having to swig it off. There is just too much to take in,  in the short time you are there.

 It was noticeable  that there was a wargamers 'drift about 1.30pm, which I found amazing, I dont think Salute is like any normal wargames show, but I suppose if you lived locally in London.............

 Well whats my overall view. Salute can only be described as like no other British show simply because of its size. Only a wargames club based in London could pull it off successfully, simply from the number of members you would need to run it. South London Warlords have been doing this show for a lot of years now and they are getting very good at it. I was very impressed with the organisation, and how they coped with the sheer number of people. They are obviously a very rich club, and there is nothing wrong with that, the club deserves to flourish.

Catering was fine, although bringing ones own sandwiches is probably better, just to save time queuing.
 The guide was good, although I struggled with the size of the text, but that's just a very minor quibble.
The bring and buy, like so many others was just mobbed, and I gave up on the morning even just trying to look. By early afternoon it was no problem. That's a problem at most big shows.

Do I have any criticisms. Well only very minor ones, and not really under the control of the SELWG group. The toilets were pretty bad, but hey ho, we are used to that.
 The personal hygiene of a lot of wargamers is really a worry, especially on a hot show day. Soap is cheap you know, get a bath.
 The sheer size of the show is clearly becoming a problem, as one attempts to take it all in.
In some ways it just shows how healthy the hobby is. There were lots of family groups which was great, and also a lot of teenagers, which is even better. I also noticed some very fine looking women circulating in the crowds giving out freebies, are you reading this Durham, and chance of Cheryl Cole?

My only real gripe was the painting competition.
Either make it a showcase event or scrap it. Make the prizes be for the first three competitors and push the importance of winning it a given.
Games Workshop have this as their big finale and winning is a prestigious thing.  Salute should go the same way.
 I would also publicise who the judges are, because I do wonder who does judge the event.
 I understand there were a few grumbles of the judging being a fix, after I had gone, but I cant really comment on that. So name the judges.
 Having now seen the standard of painting, I am glad I didnt embarrass myself by entering, plus my style of painting would now be viewed as old fashioned, but hey ho.

 The final test is, would I go again? Yes I would, but the logistics and cost would make it difficult.
 I would recommend that every wargamer goes at least once, and when they return to their groups, bring back some ideas to use at their respective shows.

Salute Part Three....

 Having now been back to Salute after God knows how many years, I realise that you cant really record all the games you see there. There are just too many. I dont understand the attraction, but this game looked really well presented, the ships? were very well painted, a Dystopian Wars game I believe.

World War Two was well represented at Salute, and there were some very fine games on show.

 These three photographs were from a D Day event, that really captured the terrain.

How good are those buildings, especially the windmill.


 This game used 54mm figures, and was set in England. The base boards used the hanging basket liner to great effect.Again it looked fun to play. A great effort.

And now onto Stalingrad, which looked terrific, I couldn't get that many photographs as the game was surrounded most of the time. I particularly liked the train, at the edge of the board. You cant beat the appearance of a train to get men interested.

One of the few Dark age games was the one below, which was really well executed.

 I especially felt envious of the christian water mill, I think the group were using the Saga rules. A great effort.

And finally, Jim Sweeney, getting to grips with a storm trooper.
Thanks for those free figures, although 'beware Greeks bearing gifts' does spring to mind.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Salute Part Two.......

One of my earliest memories as a wargamer,were the photographs in the Military Modelling of Peter Gilder's Waterloo. Couple this with photographs of a Waterloo display staged in London in the 1960's it has always stayed with me and inspired me.
 The re enactment at Salute 2013 was no different. The game was by Ron Ringrose and his group, and it was very impressive. I loved the presentation idea, of having a 'Napoleon' talk of the battle, it was a really effective way to get people interested. Are you reading this John, we could do The Battle of Issus, and you could dress up as Alexander!
 I especially loved the battle around Palcenoit with the Young Garde.
 I think the only petty observation I had was the battlefield appeared a bit small! and because of the figures a bit cramped, but I think that would be a bit churlish of me. A really well done game.

 Below is my favourite game of the show. Again it is a subjective thing, but this was a 54mm Napoleonic game with lovely Victrix figures painted to a lovely standard.

 What I particulary liked was the number of teenagers having a go,I am sorry I never recorded who presented the game, but they really engaged with the customers. The terrain was excellent, the scenario easy to follow, and it looked FUN.

 My favourite unit on the board, Mamelukes,doing what they do best, just  sitting on their bottoms looking pretty.
 I also loved these Italians, God I sound like a child. Anyway well done.

 This game also caught my eye. I think initially it was the large information boards, but I liked the way the terrain was done. It was noticeable on a lot of games, how much flock was in evidence, linked to hanging basket liner. I had a talk to one exponent, who showed me how to use the stuff, it is very effective and also very practical.

The game below was a small AWI game, which I have photographed, as the people who put it on were a French group. They seemed very friendly, although my schoolboy french was S###e. Still it was good to see them.
 In my concluding post I will show some more photographs and try to finish with an honest summary of my impressions.

Salute part one.

Well I'm back from Salute and all is well in my little world, weary, bleary and a lot lighter in the wallet.
 First impressions? Very impressive, just from an organisational point of view.
 Second impressions, god its big, and very hard to take everything in.
I would recommend anyone wanting to go for the first time, is buy a queue buster ticket, and get there early. I was lucky, and even the queue for the early entry was long.
 I was about number 30, and got in just before 10.00am.
I know a person would just had an ordinary ticket didn't get in until 11.30am, that's how long the queue was.
 The next thing I would advise is, go straight to the trader you need to buy from, before the rush starts and buy what you need straight away. I headed straight for Dave Thomas to buy the new renaissance Italian releases, Peter Pig for a rule book and a set of some other rules for Neil, and quickly bought what I needed. An hour later, all three were sold out of these items. I unfortunately forgot to buy some Perry plastic figures and when I went back at 2.00pm Dave Thomas told me he was also sold out of them. He had had a very good day.
Everything after that just seemed a blur. I bumped into Duncan Macfarlane at a trade stall which was nice to see,and we had a bit talk about things.

I cant remember who provided the majority of the games that I photographed, as I am not that organised, and no doubt other bloggers were better organised than me, I was too busy darting round like a kid in a sweet shop, enjoying my bit self. I do know that at 11.00am I had to sit down for a cup of tea and attempt to show restraint from buying things.
 I was particularly impressed with the Victorian Military Society who put on a static display. I loved these figures.

 The photograph below is of a display of Peter Laing figures, very early ones. They were very good, and looked great painted.

I took this photograph of the new Perry 3 up's, as impressive as ever.

One of the things I was particularly interested in was the painting competition,especially as our friend Dave Jarvis was again attempting to win the best historical entry. Now the first thing that struck me was how few entries were in the historical category. That didn't detract from the quality of the painting, but I view the Salute show as a pretty prestigious event. I only wish other wargames shows would bring this back. Below are the entries for the historical category.

1] Teutonic Knights. Now I am pretty certain these figures are actually from the Deus Vult advertisement which would be disconcerting if I had entered.  But that is just my personal view, and I do seem to be out of step with most others, so nothing wrong with that I suppose.

2] Dave Jarvis entry. I can only apologise for showing favoritism, by having two photographs of them.

 3] A small group of Pro Gloria landsnects. Very well done, but I think would have looked better as a larger unit. I still would have been very pleased if I had painted them.

4] A display of every French Napoleonic hussar unit, from Perry plastics. Well presented and a bit reminiscent of a Northern Militaire type of display. Again very well done, and nice to have in a display cabinet.

5] And finally a unit of Perry plastic War of the Roses figures. I can only apologise for the poor photograph, but by this time it was getting a tad busy. I was told by an attendant that he expected these to win, they were by last years winner. These were very well done as is to be expected.
And have you picked a winner yet?
I know its a subjective thing, and we all have different ideas about what looks great. 
The winner was.... the Teutonic Knights!
Now I will admit that I am biased, but I am also very fair, but I spent a fair time around the entries gauging peoples comments. I also spoke to the great Bill Gaskin who picked the same winner as me, so that must mean something. I thought Dave had won it by a country mile. But what do I know.
 I just thought that Dave's entry were not only beautifully painted but also told a story. I like the knights, but I thought the white wasn't well executed, it is a very hard colour to do. They just looked a bit too brash.  It was also a shame that there was no second place.

I didnt really examine the sci fi entries  but these two figures did catch my eye. They were really well executed.

I will discuss the remainder of SALUTE in part two of my account.................

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Salute 2013.

I'm all excited about attending Salute this weekend. It has been some years since I went to Salute. I think I was a tad naive then, as I entered the painting competition expecting to win!
 I came a healthy second,but for the life of me I can't remember my entry, I think it was either a unit of Foundry Scots from the English Civil war or it was a unit of Citidal War's of the Roses long bowmen.
 I will not be embarrassing myself this time in the painting competition  as the standard is way too high, and is of course full of professional painters. All of whom are top notch.
  This time I am really keen to see the games, and get a good look at what is on show, and how I can pinch a few ideas from the games.
  I hope I don't get too side tracked at the trade stands and end up buying some figures that have nothing to do with my two current projects.

 Clearly I am not as excited as Paolo at the top of the page, but I am more excited than the two chumps below..........

 These photographs are purely for the benefit of all football loving northerners, especially John and Neil, after the weekends wonderful result in the Toon..........
 Anyone in the know, will realise that my affiliations lie with the red and white's.

 I had to mention the match and apologise to all non loving football [ soccer] fans.
 Still you could always refight the battle that took place in the historic streets around the central station in Newcastle, where infantry attempted to attack cavalry, and still came off second best.
Clearly heavy infantry are no match for a horse.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A Blatant Advert for Aut Cesar Aut Nihil.

I sometimes think I can use a computer and the internet, only to get a kick in the soft tissues, which reminds me I know nothing about the 21st Century. I set up a sister blog, for my renaissance project linked to my main blog. It seemed easy, it seemed simple. Well I was wrong.
For some reason I have a very poor following on my other blog, and I cannot understand why.
So in a blatant attempt to drum up a bit of interest, I have added some photographs from my other blog, showing my inaugural renaissance battle. 

 I wont add a witty text. That is on my other blog, button to the right of this page. [ Hint]
 I will say that it was a colourful and interesting battle with a lot of eye candy.
 So give it a try, and jump across to the time of Cesare Borgia.

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