Sunday, 21 March 2010

I have been to ... Skirmish 2010

I only found out that this show was on very recently, and as it was taking place at a venue that is less than fifteen minutes drive from my home, I felt that I had to go ... and I am very pleased that I did!

SKIRMISH actually takes place twice each year (in March and September), and it is described in the handout that I was given when I arrived as covering wargames, toy soldiers, Warhammer, and military modelling. The first three of these were particularly evident, and there were more than 50 traders selling a vast range of items from 54mm plastic toy soldiers to 6mm scale microarmour. The venue was a local grammar school in Sidcup, Kent, and the show was spread around the foyer area and two halls, one of which contained the demonstration and participation wargames and the 'bring and buy' stall.

Not knowing quite what to expect, I went with no preconceived ideas about what I might buy. In the end I bought a couple of DVDs and a model kit.

The first DVD that I bought was OMAR MUKHTAR: LION OF THE DESERT.

This film is set in 1929, when the Italians were trying to crush the remnants of the Libyan resistance to Italian colonial rule. The films stars Anthony Quinn as Omar Mukhtar, Oliver Reed as General Rodolfo Graziani, and Rod Steiger as Mussolini.

I saw this film when it first came out in 1981, and never realised that it had been released as a DVD. As it covers two of my areas of interest – colonial warfare and the interwar era – it was a 'must buy' when I saw it today.

The second DVD was a boxed set that contained GODS AND GENERALS and GETTYSBURG.

Whilst I have seen GETTYSBURG (it is jokingly referred to by several of my friends a 'Men in Beards'), I have yet to see GODS AND GENERALS. With a bit of luck I might be able to watch both films 'back-to-back' during my forthcoming Easter holiday ... if circumstances allow it!

My final purchase was made purely by chance. I happened to meet an old friend who was also visiting the show, and during our conversation I saw that one of the traders was selling some model tanks made by Pegasus Hobbies.

I have recently bought quite a few models of the 'Jaguarundi' tank with an eye to using them as the basis for several projects (the turrets for use on ironclads, the tracks for 1930s/40s tanks for my imagi-nations etc.), and thought that they were very good wargames models for the price. This time I bought the kits of the KV-1 (M1940) and KV-2 Soviet Heavy Tanks.

I was very pleased with this purchase because I discovered – when got home and opened the box – that both models could be made up as either the KV-1 or KV-2; in other words, I got four turrets for the price of two!

These 'spare' turrets have already made me think about the possibility of using them to arm armoured gunboats or armoured trains. In particular, the KV-2 turret, with its 152mm gun, would make quite a potent armament for a 15mm scale coastal defence ship as the gun would scale out as having a calibre of 211mm (or 8.3 inches).


  1. Hi Bob,

    I was scheduled to go to this but missed out due to domestic stuff. It looks like you managed to get some bargains (the DVD boxed set I have and you will really enjoy it!)and I must confess that this is one of my favourite shows as it has a very 'relaxed' feel about it.

    A couple of years ago - when the show was still held at Dartford - there was a really inspiring 18th century 'imagi-nation' game using 30mm Spencer Smith plastic figures. It looked really nice and they also had some clever ideas for buildings using model railway brick and slate paper.

    As it is mainly a plastic soldier show it is also a great place to pick up odds and ends in 20mm plastic.

    I will certainly hit the September show!

    All the best,


  2. gosh missed this show & sort of 'kentish'.I have the Gettysberg/generals set...good ACW stuff...& yes lots of beards feature! was not aware of the Omar film or that Pegasus did that mixed KV1/2 set!
    Contemplating starting a wargames show in Canterbury to support a local threatened community venue any good contacts who can give good advice on such an undertaking welcome

  3. Ogrefencer,

    I went to one of the Dartford shows years ago, and actually ran a stand where I sold off a lot of surplus lead and kits.

    There was a lot there that was inspiring, including a 54mm game that used Heroscape terrain with one figure per hex. Very simple, very neat, and very quick.

    One thing that I did see on sale and seriously thought about buying were some 1970s German rubber moulds for casting your own WWI and FPW figures. What stopped me was that they were for 54mm figures ... but they were a very neat idea nonetheless. Had they been 20mm or even 30mm I would have bought them, no question!

    All the best,


  4. Fraxinus,

    I have never run a wargames show ... just a wargames conference, so I cannot be of much help to you. I could always write a blog entry mentioning a potential show in the Canterbury area if you would like me to. Just let me know when and where, and I will do my best.

    As Canterbury is not too far from where my father-in-law lives, I can always swing a visit there on a weekend as long as I combine it with a visit to see him. I would certainly give a show in that part of Kent my support by attending.

    Good luck,


  5. I missed this show, although I did attend the later one last year. A small friendly event with lots of interesting stuff to look at.

  6. BigLee,

    It is very similar to the very early wargames shows I went to; small, friendly, interesting, and local. It is a pity that so many similar shows have died out as the hobby has grown.

    All the best,


  7. Man, I wish I could have been there for the 54mm Franco-Prussian War molds. As it is I'm using plastic, but home-made lead figures are much more appealing. Oh well.

    As for the ACW movies, you've already seen Gettysburg so you are aware of its excellence. I'm afraid you may be rather disappointed in Gods and Generals. It had its moments, but it is vastly inferior to the first movie, unless of course you belong to the "Saint Stonewall" society. I definiely don't, but I'll leave it at that, so as not to start some kind of flame war. What's really too bad is that because it did not do well commercially, there was no interest in filming the third book (The Last Full Measure), which was an excellent work, almost as good as Killer Angels.

    Best Regards,


  8. Chris J,

    I am sorry to say that I cannot remember the name of the trader who was selling the moulds, otherwise I could have put you in touch.

    I had heard that GODS AND GENERALS was not as good as GETTYSBURG, but any film that deals with the ACW in even a half decent way must be worth watching. As to the how good a general Stonewall Jackson was, well that is a matter for debate ... and it is one that I will not encourage to take place here!

    All the best,


  9. Actually I thought Gods & Generals was pretty good and there are still plenty of decent beards included in the film. The battle scenes of Fredericksburg are superb!


  10. Stryker,

    I am actually looking forward to seeing the film, hopefully some time over the Easter holidays. I will reserve judgement until them.

    All the best,


    PS. It is nice to hear that there are plenty of beards featured in the film!