Its fair to say the show was the most expensive wargames show that I have ever attended, not even counting the train fare.
I will attempt to give a fair and detailed, well for me account of the show to all that may be interested.I will also attempt to provide as much information that I can so that you can make up your minds as to whether you would want to make a trip to the show.
Salute invariably is staged the same weekend as the London Marathon, and all the runners have to register at the Excel on the Saturday morning. It makes for a very interesting contrast as one brushes past thousands of gym bunnies. This year was even more interesting as the Excel also staged Sherlocked, a convention for fans of Sherlock Holmes the television and literary hero.
Well I thought some wargamers were strange, but these people brought a whole new meaning to the term. I somehow feel that the Sherlock fans were rejects from the old Dungeons and Dragons groups of the 1970's and 80's. Still they were pretty harmless and somehow added some respectability to the Salute crowd. The Sherlock fans definitely won the hygiene stakes, as the afternoon was very warm in Salute, and the niff factor did rise somewhat.
Why is that so?
Anyway I digress....
Although I was up early on the morning of the show, and got to the Excel for just after 09.00, the queue buster queue was already quite long. [ There's an irony there, one of several during the day]
I reckon there was about 200 in front of me, including the North Yorkshire posse led by Jim Sweeney.
Still I was actually in the show just a couple of minutes after 10.00 so really that was pretty good.
The Warlords have changed the entrances around and the queue busters get in away from the other queues, so it does pay to buy one of their tickets.
To give you an idea of the vastness of the Arena, I took this photograph from the seating area at about 11.00. I dont think it does justice to the size of the place.
Because Wargames Illustrated were doing a couple of special figures if you subscribed to the magazine, I went straight to their stand and signed up for a years worth of magazines. Not only did that entitle me to 14 months worth of their magazines, it also got me a Simon de Montfort figure, and a mounted Edward first figure, both are beautiful one offs. I also got a box of Warlord plastics thrown in. So that must have been worth about £30.00, a good start.
From there I went to the Ken Trotman stand, where I bought the new Dr Summerfield release, The Hanoverian Army, and the new Charles Grant wargames book.
Dr Summerfield was at the stand and kindly signed my book. We also had a chat about his next book.
You can sense why I managed to spend a lot of cash by now cant you.
Anyway determined to do most of my shopping quickly so I could then enjoy the show, it was off to the Crann Tara stand to collect my order of their new officers coach, some of their light infantry and some French cavalry. I know Graham had a very busy and profitable day, because when I went back later to buy a Cumberland figure he was sold out. I should have stuck to my plan.
Bicorne Miniatures exhibited this year at Salute, so my next port of call was to check out the old Connoisseur range. The lady who was running the stall had cast up some of the Italian Wars Spanish for me, and I thought it would be very rude not to buy all the castings she had made. So 60 plus figures later my shopping was getting a tad heavy. The time was just short of 11.00am.
I was determined to savour this years Salute, last year I really wasn't very well and didn't enjoy the show. The year before the show just overwhelmed me. So on to the Perry's stand, where I collected some of their new plastic light cavalry. These are first rate utility figures.
The twins had some new 3 ups to show, I think they were colonial British but I couldn't get near them for the crush.
The company, Wayland Games have a very large stall, well actually its like a large shop, but there are some good bargains to be had there, and this year they had brought their excellent P3 paint range. This is first rate acrylic paint, and whilst usually you have to buy a set of 3 colours a la Foundry, Wayland had separate colours. They also had a buy 7 get them a tenner deal. Paint is not cheap, and as I traveled around other stalls some new ranges were £2.75 and above for one small tube.
Normally I dont use Front Rank figures, its purely a subjective thing, but I had been given a number of Willie horses, and I knew Front Rank cavalry figures would fit these horses.
So I bought a unit of their French SYW Gendarmes of the Guard, their ranges are very popular, but in this case it was needs must for me.
By 12.00 I needed to pause for breath, and let my wallet cool down somewhat. I had managed to buy a number of new brushes, and for luck Id also raided the discount paint on sale from Gateshead Gaming, who were offering another decent paint deal.
After a quick sandwich I was determined to enjoy the show and walk amongst the trade taking in what was of interest.
What struck me was the large number of Sci Fi, Fantasy Steam Punk type of trade stands. All were busy all the time I was there. The stand out trade stand for this was Forgeworld. A queue of a minimum of 20 was stood waiting to buy from their stall all day, it never got any shorter and was normally much longer. I've never witnessed this before and I've been to dozens of shows.
Forgeworld were part of Games Workshop until that company went a new road. I think Forgeworld may have become their natural successor and I think its another nail in the Games Workshop coffin.
Forgeworld produce some amazing figures and characters, at very amazing prices.
In fact most of these stall had some amazing models for sale, the standard of sculpting is top draw, but the prices are also excessive. Well at least in my cheapskate eyes. Still an interesting observation, well at least I thought it was.
Another thing that was noticeable was the large number of attendees younger that 40, and also a lot more women, who were clearly there to buy and play games. No doubt the majority were there for Steam Punk etc, but still a good sight.
So after raiding Warbases, buying a new set of brushes, and a new set of dice I thought I should wander around the show seeing what was what.
For some reason the Warlords opted to celebrate the anniversary of Agincourt as opposed to Waterloo. I cant decide if this was to emphasize the difference between the Warlords and other wargames clubs, somehow I would rather have seen a large game of Waterloo but hell what do I know.I counted four Agincourt refights, all had something to say abount the battle, my favourite was Simon Chicks representation.
I wish I had taken more photographs of the game, but it was hard to get around the table. The painting of the figures was first rate, I particularly loved the tower at the edge of table.
I will deal with the games in part two of my post.
Salute wouldnt be Salute without Star Wars being on show somewhere at the event. I assume this game was put on by the Warlords, but I could be wrong. It was very popular with a lot of the public who could take part, and although its difficult to see from my photograph, there was some great modelling of the base under attack, led lights and all. One thing I noticed was that snow was popular with various games throughout the hall, some were done better than others.
This year there were about six entries in the historical unit section, Perhaps wargamers have been put off by successive years of entries by professional painters?
Certainly the two stand out entries were from Bill Gaskin and I think Saxon Dog.
Its difficult to match this standard of work. I never stayed to find out who won, but I assume because both these enteries were being photographed prior to judging that one of them would have won.
In the fantasy, sci fi sections there was no shortage of entries, and all appeared of a very high standard but due to the dreadful lighting I didnt even try to photograph them. I did however take some of this wonderful building that was an entry? Sorry about the poor quality photographs.
In part two of my post I will talk about the games and such like and basically what I thought of Salute 2015.