Monday, 22 April 2013

Salute 2013: A remarkable day out


Another year, another Salute over. But somehow, this one was different. The venue at Excel Docklands seemed busier than ever, the games ranged from universally excellent to astonishing and the quality of painting and modelling on display was at times breath-taking. As I walked around, I was rather in awe of the time hobbyists had collectively devoted to their hobby, and to each game, to get them to the standard seen on the day.


But yet, there was something more. For me, and I suspect a lot of people, this was almost certainly one of the most social wargames shows I’d ever been to. Perhaps it’s the fact that I was helping out with the TooFatLardies participation game (more of that in a moment). Or perhaps it was the Bloggers Meet Up on Saturday lunchtime which gave me the chance to meet so many people who, until Saturday, I’d only met online. I think that’s at least part of the answer. 


But I think it’s also in the fact that the internet has been drawing hobbyists, wargamers and the hobby together for years. We chat in forums, through blogs, or online through email with people all over the world, as well as in our local clubs and communities. I think that’s revolutionised the hobby, giving us all the chance to get inspired, try new periods, different paints or new figures and generally swap news, rumours and fanciful, elaborate plans in different periods of history. And a big show like Salute gives people chances to catch up, to talk, to get inspired all over again. It’s a social hobby, and now more than ever. I came away with a terrific feeling on Saturday evening. Exhausted yes, but really proud of my hobby, the people in it, and the place we’d arrived at together.

Anyway, I’m guessing you want to see some pictures!! So….here goes….


As I mentioned, I’d helped out with the TooFatLardies participation game showcasing “Chain of Command”, Rich and Nick’s new World War II skirmish rules. You can hear all about them here, on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast. I’ve mentioned before that I think they’re going to be a great set of rules. OK, OK, I’m biased. And yet, looking at the crowds around the game during the day, I may not be the only potential convert. 








Nick ran a podcast recording session throughout the day, talking to players, friends and people dropping by. Players, visitors and friends, old and new, dropped by during the day and it was a great place to catch up with people I’ve not seen for too long. Too many to mention, but among them Mike Brian, Phil Robinson, Mike Whitaker, Steve, Steve, James Morris, Ashley, Mike, Kev LowthRob Avery and one of America’s Finest, my very good friend Joe Legan


Socialising around the TFL game set the tone, leading to more socialising at the Bloogers Meet Up at lunchtime. This was a cracking idea of Ray, Fran and Postie from the Rejects. I’d not made it over last year, having spent far too long in The Fox public house. Ah what a difference a year makes – there was no way I wanted to miss this year’s gathering. 




So, here’s my photos of a couple of the best hours ever in my wargaming hobby. Meeting in person the people I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from over the years, and who’ve supported me, was a great experience. Old friends online, but such a privilege to meet in person. Thank you all! 


I mentioned above that the games at the show were stunning. Every single game I saw was a great presentation, with fine terrain modelling. Some were incredible to see, stretching for metres and including thousands of figures. And others were at first smaller, but the more one took in, the more remarkable the experience was. 












































































 
It’s hard to have a favourite horse in that stable. And in the end, I couldn’t choose. So here’s a couple of things which caught my eye and I thought were very special indeed.

I love seeing well painted miniatures being used in a game. It’s a brave thing to do. For a figure painter, labouring quietly at the brushes, there’s almost a reticence to bring them out and play with them. But a foam tray in a silent dark box is no place for any well painted figure! The dark age Dux Bellorum games being staged by the Peterborough Wargames Club were a brilliant example of how wonderfully painted figures should be used – on the table, and on the brightest of stages. It was such a pleasure to meet Mike and Andy from Peterborough on Saturday, talk about their club and visit their games. The standard of painting Andy achieved in his Roman-British was astonishing. And there they were – on the table, moving, fighting, displayed. Bravo Gentlemen! A very fine game and some painting which would be hard to see bettered anywhere. 












I love creating a theme in wargames, setting a context and a place. For me, of all the games at Salute, one of them possibly did this slightly better than any others. The Very British Civil War display was unique in having a great game complemented by a truly remarkable display. There were some terrific posters (original and photo-shopped), weapons, memorabilia and books. Catching my eye were a series of original pamphlets from the 1920s and 1930s concerning British infantry tactics, and a collection of photographs from the 1930s. The chaps running the game were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about the game, and the “Dark Valley” of the 1930s. 















I could have spent hours at the presentation alone, not least the guide on mixing 1930s cocktails …. a fatal weakness of mine, I confess!


I did have to agree with the poster below. As a guide to sartorial elegance, it’s message cannot be improved upon! 

So, that was Salute. Final impressions were of a frantic, remarkable day. On the way home, Nick did more podcast interviews while we sat in traffic on the M25.  Would the show be better over two days? Personally, I doubt it. The energy and the rush of packing everything into one day for Salute is partly what makes it such an experience. I’m already looking forward to next year.

52 comments:

  1. Thanks Sidney! Almost felt like being there. Awesome photos of some outstanding looking games!

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    1. My pleasure, Rodger. There were indeed some cracking games on display.

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  2. Fantastic post Sudney, some really great photos and it was a pleasure to meet you!

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    1. Thanks Ray - a real pleasure to meet you also after all this time!

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  3. Greate pictures !

    Thanks you very much !

    Best regards Michael

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  4. Great collection of pics Sidney and it was great to meet up, even if we didn't get to chat for long.

    Taqmsin

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    1. Thanks Tamsin. It was brilliant to meet you. It was a too-brief chat, but I'll be sure to catch up properly next time!

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  5. For those of us unlikely to ever see a convention of this magnitude - Thank you.

    Frank
    http://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. Thanks Furt. Hopefully you can get over one day as you'd love it!

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  6. Mortified that I shook your hand but didn't know whose hand it was, apologies sir and really great pictures.

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    1. No need to apologise Fran! (I knew I should have replaced my profile picture a long time back!) There's always next time! Great meeting you, all the same!

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  7. Lovely pictures, and I'm glad to hear you had such a good time.

    FMB

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  8. Smashing collection of pics and a very good pic of that damn fine gent in the pink t-shirt ;-) !!

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    1. Aha!!! Spotted!! Hope we have longer to catch up next time, Carl!

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  9. Fantastic set of pics Sidney and I really need to make it there someday!

    Christopher

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    1. It would be great to see you there one day, Christopher!

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  10. Thanks Sidney, I spent the whole day working on the Warbases stand and could not get to the meet, but your pictures have enabled me to see exactly what I missed. Hopefully I can get to meet fellow bloggers next year!

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    1. Ah, so that's where you were! I was asked by one person where you were I all I could say was "Well, I think he's going to be here any minute!". Next year, Sir, next year!

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  11. Thanks for this Sidney, a great post and specially the photos... I've been all the weekend in bad temper remembering the great time that I had last year.... let's see if 2014...

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    1. Thanks Benito! What can I say, other than you were very greatly missed by all your friends in the UK. Next year, fingers crossed, you can be there!

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  12. And a pleasure, likewise, to meet you.

    While I and the club would /love/ to take credit for the Dux Bellorum games, I personally had nowt to do with it, and the Andy's (Hawes and MacTaggart) were masquerading as members of the Newark Irregulars (whose games they were) for the day! They did, well deserved, earn themselves a Best Painted Game award though!

    Come visit us sometime, though :D

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    1. Thanks Mike. So what you're saying is that the Dux Bellorum games were a trans-national, best-of-the-best, award-winning spectacular. Well, that's certainly what it looked like to me. Well done Newark Irregulars (Mr J. Morris et al.), Meesrs Hawes and MacTaggart - it was spectacular in anyone's book!

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    2. P.S. And yes, Mike - I'd love to come and visit for a game!

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  13. Well I glad someone got some decent pictures, well done Sidney. It was an absolute delight to meet you in person; I actually popped by the Too Fat Lardies game to say goodbye, but you must have been off taking more photographs. Already looking forward to next year.

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    1. Likewise, Michael. It was a real pleasure meeting you and the Provost Marshal. I'm sorry I missed you when you dropped by, but like you I'm already looking forward to next year. Thanks again, and catch up soon.

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  14. Thank you for your very kind words about the Dux Bellorum games. As Mike says, it was actually staged by Newark Irregulars & Friends, me being one of 'the friends' and that all terrain on our table was provided by the Newark boys, Steve Jones being responsible for the stunning hill fort and water mill on the smaller of our two games.

    It was a pleasure to meet you - just a shame that we didn't get more time to chat. Do try to get over for a game sometime if you can...

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    1. Andy, thanks for the correction. Huge kudos to Steve, James and the Newark Irregulars for the fantastic work they did on those games. I had a great chat with James later in the day and he was full of ideas for a game based in 1941 with some spectacular terrain. You're in very good hands there, Andy!

      It was a real pleasure to meet you also. I'd love to drop by for a game sometime. And as my cousins live in Wisbech, there really isn't any excuse!

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  15. Hello Sidney,
    Lovely photos that really capture the atmosphere of the day. The show was great, but my word, was it hectic! It was great as well to finally meet up for a chat; a real pleasure. All the best.

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    1. Hello! It was great to meet you also, Wilde Goose! It was a frantic day, but I really enjoyed talking about your South American project and seeing the wonderful figure range you're putting together. Oh yes, and be sure to let us all know about the plans for the game at Austerlitz - that sounds truly spectacular! All the best and a safe flight back.

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  16. An excellent account and some truly stunning photos. I'd forgotten about the bonkers idea of a 40mm Alamo game!

    I even found a glimpse of myself in picture no 12 speaking to Big Red Bat behind the four principal subjects!

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    1. Ah...I wish I'd caught you. I've long been an admirer of you excellent Great War blog! Next time, Sir, next time..... Hope to catch up sometime soon properly!

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  17. Excellent coverage, Old Boy. Brilliant pictures and very nice description of the day. Wish I could have been there, perhaps next year.

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    1. Thank you , Curt! Hope you can make it next year - you'd be very welcome!

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  18. Thanks for sharing your impressions of the show. And I'm relieved to finally see the Lardies game pictured. Here's hope that CoC was such a blast that Richard and Nick will hasten to get it finished soon. I'm already painting up some Desert Rats to go with this…

    On second note, it's making me sad that I won't be able to attend Salute for the foreseeable future. When I had a job there's never been time to make the trip, and now being made redundant I'm short of disposable income. The more I'm thankful for people like you taking the time to write up reports.

    Cheers for that, SG
    www.mountainsoflead.com

    PS: Here's hope that one day you and the Lardies might pay a visit to the Tactica show in Hamburg. I'm pretty sure you'd love it – and it would be a great chance to meet you guys in person.

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    1. Sire Godfrey, you are very welcome.

      I took a load of photos mainly because I know not everyone can make the show. I should have done a better job of tying the photos to the names of the clubs presenting - but I am afraid in my haste to try and get round I photographed a lot without thinking about checking whose games there were! DOH!! So, many apologies for that, everyone.

      On "Chain of Command", Rich and Nick are working hard to finish it off. I'm sure you will be seeing it before very long.

      It's a shame you can't see yourself getting over to Salute soon. Fingers crossed that changes and you can be with us in the very near future. We would love to come to Tactica in Hamburg - its a show which always produces simply tremendous games. Hopefully we can make the trip one day soon!

      Very best regards

      Sidney

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  19. Great coverage of the show, thanks for posting the pictures.

    All the best

    Airhead

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  20. It was a pleasure to meet up and and have a chat at last. Some great pics there too, a good reminder of a great day out.

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    1. It was great, wasn't it? I could have talked for hours - and I probably came close. Looking forward to catching up again soon, Phil.

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  21. Thank your for this Sidney. An incredibly rich feast of photos in this post - the next best thing to being there, and I do wish to attend Salute some year. It's clear that without all the wonderful folk in your photos, the games would be so much less interesting. I did especially enjoy the VBCW display - brilliant presentation, I'm glad they got an award.

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    1. You've love Salute, Mike. You'd be most welcome here, there is no doubt of that. The VBCW display was really first class, complemented by some really helpful chaps there who completely knew their stuff and were very happy to chat. Their award - "Best Presentation" - was very well deserved.

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  22. Fantastic post mate. Salute is really a time of year when I tend to feel a little left out, what with being on the other side of the globe and all. This post, and the fantastic photos, made me feel like I was there. One year i'll make the trip! In the meantime, thanks for the update!

    Glad to see that the TFL stand went well, across several forums I frequent people have been referring to the Chain of Command playtest as one of the highlights.
    Chat soon,

    Ben

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    1. Thanks Ben. Good to hear from you mate! I didn't realise that you missed Salute when you were in the UK last year. You'd have loved it - an exhausting but really excellent day. I'm glad you liked the photos!

      "Chain of Command" is going to be a very good set of rules. I think there's a good chance you'll really like it!!

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  23. Fantastic coverage of the show. As if I relive it. It was good talking to you again, think I could spend the day just chatting to everyone instead of visiting traders...CU in Antwerp

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    1. Thanks Mike! It was terrific to see you again, especially as I missed Antwerp last November. I very much hope to see you all at Crisis this coming November!

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  24. You were busy at the show. I blagged the picture of me and Tamsin for my blog and will do a link back to you as a thank you. If that is not okay, just let me know and I'll delete it.

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    1. Ashley, thanks so much for dropping by! Of course, that's absolutely fine. It was a real pleasure to meet you again - I really enjoyed it, especially after missing you at Dragonmeet! I liked the photo of you and Tamsin, and it was terrific to meet you both. Hope to catch up again with you soon! Very best wishes.

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  25. It was a real pleasure to meet you in person Sidney! And a very nice collection of pictures you have of the show.

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