Sunday, 13 April 2014

Salute 2014 & Paint Table Saturday

I went along to Salute 2014 yesterday and took a few snaps. Unlike most visitors yesterday, I didn't travel directly to Salute, but took a small detour via the Oval - I'd signed up to do a zip-line from one side to the other in aid of the Stroke Association:

For those of you familiar with the Oval I travelled in a downwards direction from the Corinthian Bar (people in my office will be commenting that this is the first time I've left a bar sober) to the pavilion. It doesn't look very high from ground level but I'm sure the regulars up there will confirm you are high enough to get a good view of London. I did note that the track of the cable didn't cross the wicket - presumably the groundsman had insisted he didn't want to fill in any Malcolm sized dents in the turf.

All the paperwork and kitting out was done in the Long Room - this is me post-plunge with the mother and daughter team who came down right after me. I did try to suggest "ladies first" but they were having none of it. Still, so far, I've raised just over £940 (including cheques and Gift Aid) for the Stroke Association. If any kind souls would like to help me breach the £1000 mark then you can contribute here: Malcolm's Big Plunge Page

And then it was on to Salute - I arrived at just gone 11.00 and my first impression was that there were more gamers there than usual, and that the venue was darker than usual. My first task was to collect my pre-ordered purchases (some more AB Spanish infantry and cavalry, and some bases) and then wander a bit until Giles (of Tarleton's Quarter fame) arrived.

This was the Barbastro 1837 game by South London Warlords using mostly Perry figures, with some conversions (I of course fell for the little details, while Giles got excited by the whole thing).

Giles and I had gone to Salute a year or two ago and been generally unimpressed at the standard of presentation of games - nothing had floated our respective boats. This year was rather different - there were lots of games of all sizes that had knockout scenery and nice troops.

These three pics are from the Gripping Beast demo game publicising their new "Crescent and the Cross" Saga supplement. Not co-incidently they had their new box of plastic generic North African / Berber archers and Spearmen on sale - the Little Big Man shield transfers to go with them looked lovely.

I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't make a note of the name of the game or the guys that put this WWI game on (and, worse, I only seem to have taken one picture) - I think it belongs to the South East Essex Military Society and depicts the "Race to the Sea" in 1914. Not too many troops on the table (overcrowded tables are a pet peeve of mine - I'm just as anti "wall to wall" Napoleonic infantry battalions as I am wall to wall WWII tanks), absolutely gorgeous terrain that perfectly evoked the location, time and period - with lots of lovely details like a dog peeing up against the foot of a statue). And friendly guys on hand to chat about the table, figures and game. I think I'd have probably given this game "Best In Show".

Close behind would be this game from 1953 Vietnam, "The Weapons Cache" by Chemins de Feu (a small Belian club Chemins de Feu) who were pitting French troops against Vietminh insurgents. A beautiful board that really evoked the damp and difficult conditions, beautifully painted 28mm figures (the camouflage on the French guys was absolutely excellent) and there were lots of lovely details.

This game, was (I think) Sword Beach D Day 1944 and was clearly a case of not "less is more" but of "more is more" - beautiful models on a grand scale (lets put all we've got on the table until it groans under the weight), and very good scenery. But it didn't light my fire much - I'd be surprised if it wasn't up there in the show awards though, because this is exactly the kind of the thing the organisers seem to like.

Dave Brown (author of General de Brigade and Battle Group Panzer Grenadier) pontificating, sandwich in hand, to a fellow Loughton gamer (I cut off the top of his head on purpose - I don't want to embarrass Dave by revealing the poor guy was nodding off with boredom!). In front of them, of course, is a 15mm "Attack on Ponyri" during the battle of Kursk in 1943, and this game was a high standard as we've come to expect from the talented chaps from Essex.

For those of you who like pike blocks, something a little different - Arklow 1798 - there was a distinct dearth of Napoleonic games at Salute 2014 (despite a range of 1814 battles hitting their 200th anniversary this year) and I guess 1798 is "almost" Napoleonic. It looked wonderful - but I can't help feeling that there is a distinct lack of utility with these figures (substituting French in bicornes for French in shakoes is one thing but there isn't much else you can do with these bad boys). this was put on by WI and Trent Miniatures (who make the figures).

I commented that there were very Napoleonic games at Salute - there do seem to be an increasing number of fantasy games there - I've no idea which game this was but I thought the terrain was spot on, they did a lot in a small space without overdoing it. 

Every year I look at the wonderful terrain produced by Oshiro Terrain, and think 'I really might try a few Samurai' and every year fight off the urge. You can see the top of Giles' head as he snaps away in the first picture.

Finally, this is the Capitan Games / Warmodelling Battle of Talavera, played in 15mm with Napoleon's Battles rules. As I slate their figures with some frequency in this blog I was a bit embarrassed to hang around too long but I thought the terrain was absolutely superb.

My purchases were modest:

4x32 AB Spanish Infantry Battalions
3x16 AB Spanish Dragoons
2x4 AB Saxon Gun Crew (to stand in as Hesse Darmstadt gun crew for Laval's Division)

Some of the new Xan Miniatures Highlanders and Light Infantry.

Some Warbases "Premier" bases - these have smooth sides and that slightly barbecued smell from the laser cutting, and are very nice.

The Gripping Beast Arab Spearmen and Archers set - I'm collecting the figures (and bases, see above) for a late Reconquista project.  

And I suppose (like a Government PR Officer slipping out the bad news on a busy day) I should announce that this week I completed no figures at all - I have a lot of half painted figures but nothing completed. So as of Week 14 (140 figure target) I have slipped back to 99 figures behind schedule. I'm thinking I should be able to catch up in Week 15 when a good number of the Hesse Darmstadt infantry should be complete - those AB Jena Prussians do look the business.


  1. That's a great report Malc, glad youlanded safely! Salute looks good fun. We plan to make it down 1 day!

  2. Mother and daughter zip-line team? They look like sisters!

    I agree about the lighting; it was awful. Worse than Colours last year!

  3. Thanks for that excellent photo of my receding hairline!

    Great to catch up, Malc - and thanks so much for the freebie figure!


  4. What a great bunch of photos. Looks like you had a great day.

  5. The fantasy game with the swamp was ours, thanks for taking some pics (didn't get chance to see it in action myself as we were too busy on the tradestand all day!)

    1. Hi Geronimo - it looked great. I've always rather envied fantasy gamers their freedom to just do whatever they please with their terrain - I thought your awamp looked the business!