Monday, 18 April 2011

Salute 2011

Salute 2011 was held on Saturday 16th April at Excel in London. Along with my chum Richard Clarke and the other TooFatLardies I helped put on an ACW participation game of “Jebediah in the Valley” using Richard's “Terrible Sharpe Sword” rules for ACW large skirmishes.
I had a fantastic time, meeting some old hands (Rob, Dom, Graham from Brussels, Egg, Stephen) and some new faces (Ashley, Matt, Jim and too many to remember the names of – apologies one and all!). We ran three games, with Rich umpiring two and Daz one, with me helping out chatting or on the rebel side with Ashley from Paint it Pink for the last game. Thank you to everyone who stopped by – I hope you all enjoyed the Lard experience.
Turning to Salute 2011 in general, I thought this years, to use a bit of a cliché, was probably the best yet – and certainly the best at Excel. There were a very varied selection of games, very with stunning figures and terrain, and there seemed to be a more varied selection of traders in the hall this year. There was a very accessible theme, American Civil War, and this was really noticeable in the number of land and naval ACW games around the show, along with a decent number of re-enactors. Over the years the Salute re-enactors have taken a bit of a pasting from certain quarters. The low point was Battlegroup South’s appearance in 2007, of which less said the better. However, that was a blip in my view. This year was, again in my view, one of the highpoints of Salute re-enactment. The ACW folk produced a interesting display, perfectly complimenting the theme, and there were a few other people dressed in costume throughout the show.

My personal favourites were Dr. Howard Fuller in a, frankly, remarkable stove-pipe hat at the wonderful “Clad in Iron” game of ACW Ironclads, and the gentleman at the VBCW game who took great pains to go through his kit and finally solve the mystery in my own mind of where the entrenching tool was kept (leather pouch below the rucksack...I’m sorry, I should have guessed). Turning to the games, there were too many great games to cover all in detail here. I’ll be loading all the pictures onto my Flickr page over the next few days, and I’m sure you will find many others on the internet forums. So what follows is not necessarily the best nor the prize winners, but just the ones which caught my eye and where I had a warm welcome from the players. “Clad in Iron” was, I’m told, based on a book about the interaction between British naval power and the impact of America on the mid-ninteenth century naval arms’ race. I know that because the author, Dr. Howard Fuller, was one of the players who, in addition to telling me how to re-create period photos using coffee grains and extolling the pleasures of ironclad warfare, also managed to persuade me to buy his book entitled "Clad in Iron". Dr.Fuller also suggested that I start collecting ACW ironclads. And pointed me in the direction of the Tumbling Dice stall selling said ACW ironclads. And smiled when I returned and mentioned that I’d bought some. Thanks Howard! Crush the Kaiser” was a brigade level 15 mm Great War game set in 1918 with marvellous terrain and a very knowledgeable team of players. I particularly liked the planes flying over the table, the shell craters filled with a mix of cold tea and hard resin (making a very authentic muddy water), wire-wool explosions and some lovely 15mm London Omnibuses. Inspiration! Expect to see that idea stolen and copied soon at Roundwood Towers during the summer! Lone Pine: Gallipoli” was the heavily trailed and stunning game being displayed on the Battlefront stand. I’m told this will feature in this month’s Wargames Illustrated, so any further comment by me is a bit superfluous. However, it was truly a magnificent looking piece of terrain featuring, amongst others, sunken boats, boxing rings, graveyards, grenade factories and casualty stations. It probably doesn’t get better than this! The Alternative Battle of Worcester, 1651” was another wonderful game, this time with the Scots Covenanters taking refuge in the town from rampaging Royalists. The chaps at the table told me it had taken two years to finish the preparation of the game, and it was easy to see why. I really loved the abundant vignettes and the rich artistry of the painted figures. "Operation Barras” was a smaller game of the action with British Forces and the West Side Boys in Sierra Leone in 2001. I well remembered my visit to the game not just because of the very West African evocative terrain, but because of possibly the most enthusiastic team of demonstrators of any game on the day. It was wonderful to talk to the team who brought this game along and a pleasure to chat with them. And finally, the Salute 2011 painting competition. Readers of this blog might be interested to know how I got on as I popped my painting competition "cherry". Well, as soon as my entry was put in the cases, and I looked around at the other entries, I realised that I was out of my depth!!

The standard of painting this year was quite literally breathtaking. I’ve posted a few of the entries here, and I’m sure the South London Warlords will have others on their site soon. It was great fun to take part, and the winner were very worthy of their prizes. As for me, well, there is always next year! All in all, a great show and a fantastic day out.


  1. Fantastic photo's! I'm really gutted because I missed this years show. I've got real withdrawl symptoms, especially when I see great pictures like these.

  2. Sidney, thanks for the photos. Both WWI tables look amazing and, I agree, very inspirational. I hope to see your work on the London buses in this blog soon

  3. Great report and pictures! I really must make the trip South next year and see Salute for myself

  4. I'll say it too: great report and pics. I think one of the best things about an event like this is really not being able to see everything. Just too much excellence and fun.

  5. Great looking show and pics. I'd love to get over to the UK for Salute or SELWG at some point.
    In the top figure, who's who in those handsome TFL shirts?

  6. Great photos and report, somehow I missed the Gallipoli game, so thanks for the photos!

  7. Thanks for the comments chaps. It was a very good day, so much so that we're already getting excited about a trip to Colours in Reading with another participation game later in the year.

    @Mad Padre - you'd be very welcome at any UK show, I am sure! The handsome devils on the first photo are (left to right) Big Al (BA), Rich Clarke and Daz. Noddy's visible in the third photo with hands on hips at the start of his famous "I'm a little teapot" routine.

  8. I have listed listed you for the viral "Stylish Blogger Award", details here:

    For all the work etc...


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