Saturday, 24 April 2010

Salute 2010

I arrived at ExCel in Docklands by 9.45 a.m. (I travelled by Docklands Light Railway from Woolwich, and was able to use my Freedom Pass for the first time!) and joined the queue to get in. The queue was huge, and stretched right across the concourse and into a vacant exhibition hall ... where it wound backward and forward across the empty hall.

Apparently the Fire Officer was unhappy about some aspects of the arrangements in the venue, and the doors were not opened until just after 10.00 a.m. I finally got in at about 10.10 a.m., and immediately went for a walk round to get my bearings and to gauge what was on offer.

There was quite a lot to see!

Three of the walls of the venue were taken up by traders' stands and the 'bring-and-buy' area (the fourth wall is the one with all the loading and unloading doors taking up most of the wall space). The rest of the venue was filled with 'blocks' of more traders' stands and games.

The following is a brief overview of the games that I saw and thought were worth photographing. You will notice that they fall into one or more of the following categories:
  • They use hexed terrain.
  • They are set in the late 19th or early 20th centuries.
  • They are using some innovative ideas.
  • They were a bit different from other more 'run of the mill' games.
The Great War in Italy (Scarab Miniatures and Kallistra)
This was not featured in the official show guide, and occupied one end of a table that also featured a Sci-Fi game – Projekt X – set in a Weird War II setting.

Siege of Begrade (Eversham Wargames Club)
Although the terrain used was Hexon II, as far as I could tell the rules did not use area movement.

Glider Assault (Honnington Wargame Group)
This was a recreation of the famous glider assault by elements of 6th Airborne Division on the bridge over the River Orne.

This game was of particular interest to me because:
  • My father served with 6th Airborne Division during the Second World War (but not as a member of the force that took part this operation)
  • I was able to visit the bridge (now known as the Pegasus Bridge) last year

The Second Battle of Seroczyn, Poland 1939 (Deal Wargames Society)
This was a very impressive game (as one has come to expect from the Deal group) which dealt with one of the earliest battles of World War II. The following images were taken from opposite ends of the table, and give some idea of the size of the game and the excellence of the scenery used.

'My Feet Hurt Mum!' (South East Essex Military Society)
I know a lot of the members of SEEMS from my days of wargaming in basement of Eric Knowles's shop NEW MODEL ARMY, and I always make a point of having a look at their games. They always put something on that is a bit special, and this game was no different.

Franco-Belgian troops were attempting to stem the advance of a mobile German force but seemed to be in danger of being overwhelmed.

The grassy part of the terrain was made from teddy bear fur that has been over sprayed with varying shades of green and brown, and this was both impressive and effective, as was the use of the small camera tripods that enabled the aircraft to 'fly' over the battlefield.

The Battle of Miloslaw (The Continental Wars Society)
The Continental Wars Society can always be relied upon to stage something a bit different.

In this case they chose the Battle of Miloslaw (April 1848), where an army of Polish patriots fought the troops of their Prussian occupiers.

The figures had been specially commissioned for the game, and were very unusual as they were wearing uniforms from a period when the styles were evolving from those worn in the immediate post-Napoleonic era to those worn during the mid-19th century.

I have been meaning to join the Society for some years, and actually managed it this year, mainly thanks to the very helpful and informative attitude of the members who were running the game and talking to the passing punters. This is something some of the other groups at Salute would be well advised to learn from (No names, no pack-drill).

First Battle of Chaeronea (Society of Ancients)
Although I am not a member of the Society, I know a lot of people who are and I always pay a visit to whatever game they are running because it will always be impressive. This was no exception.

Nice, simple but effective terrain and figures, with Professor Phil Sabin on hand to ensure that the game proceeded smoothly. What more could you ask for?

Battle of Britain Aerial Raid 1940 – Isle of Wight (Wessex Wargamers – Winchester)
This was a game where the hexed terrain was used very effectively. I watched a couple of moves, and the whole thing moved along at a very brisk pace considering that the players had only just begun to learn the rules.

Aquanef (Matthew Hartley and Steve Blease)
In some ways this was the most innovative game that I saw all day as it appears to have 'solved' the problem of fighting naval battles that involve both surface and underwater craft – you put the surface craft on circular bases (made from redundant CDs) and 'fly' them over the bottom of the sea on upturned plastic beer glasses. So simple and so clever ...

Furthermore, the model ironclads were marvellous in their own right, and hopefully they will soon be on sale to those of us who have an interest in that period of naval history and wargaming.

Blood on the sand – and not a Redcoat in sight (Skirmish Wargames)
There is no doubt about it – wargames that use 54mm figures look impressive! If only I had the room and the time ...

Science Fiction games (Various)
There were a lot of science fiction games this year ... which is not surprising as this was the show's theme! The following picture is of 'A Rig Too Far' and gives some idea of the amount of effort that was put into these games.

And finally ...
I did not spend all my time wandering around taking photographs. I also had a lot more time than usual to chat to the many wargamers I know who were at Salute ... and I managed to purchase one or two things that I wanted. These purchases included:

  • Membership of the Continental Wars Society (I was given both the latest issue of the Society's newsletter, 'The Foreign Correspondent' and a monograph about the Gruson 'Fahrpanzer')
  • Three more boxes of KV-1 and KV-2 Soviet Heavy Tanks made by Pegasus Hobbies
  • 1938: A Very British Civil War (The Source Book)
  • 1938: A Very British Civil War (The Gathering Storm Part One – Scotland and the North)
  • 1938: A Very British Civil War (The Gathering Storm Part Two – The Midlands and the South)
The latter three purchases were pure self-indulgence, although I suspect that they will be very useful as I develop the stories of Laurania and Maldacia during the 1920s and 1930s.

12 comments:

  1. Trebian,

    We were not sent an invitation this time around.

    Maybe they just wanted to let some other groups have a chance; one just never knows with the Warlords.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  2. no mention of the massive 28mm Zama game?......its a crime.....

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  3. Dr Simon,

    I had to draw the line somewhere, and when I tried to ask about the game I did not get much in the way of helpful information from the person I spoke to.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Hi Bob,

    Sorry about the lack of information. We are a small club and once play started, pretty well all of us were involved in playing it. We didn't have anyone left to explain to onlookers what was going on in our Zama game. Something to think about if we run something again next year...

    Cheers, Simon

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  5. Bob, glad you liked the surface/subsurface solution for the Aquanef game especially as Matthew wrote the rulesand then was stumped when I said, but exactly how are we going to play this! :-)

    The surface ships are already available from Houston Ships, more details here:

    http://bleaseworld.blogspot.com/2010/04/victorian-ironclads.html

    Except the Cerberus which was a Brigade Models miniature.

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  6. Steve,

    I really like the look of the game. Simple but very effective.

    Thanks for the details about the availability of the ship models; I may well order some soon.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. BigRedBat,

    It is a problem for smaller clubs who run games at large event; I know because I have done it!

    At least the person I spoke to was polite, unlike the response I got from several other demo games. There I was made to feel that my questions were a nuisance that was getting in the way of the players enjoying themselves. Not a good advert for the hobby when that happens.

    Very impressive game, by the way.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Thanks for interesting tour of the show. I know you will enjoy a vbcw stuff you bought- it is very catching...
    Alan

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  9. Tradgardmastare,

    It was a pleasure to share my pictures and impressions of Salute with you!

    You are quite right about the VBCW books ... they are very interesting and have given me a few ideas already.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Bob great report! Living in Texas I don't think I'll ever make it to a Salute, but they are very inspiring
    events to see.You did some excellent photographs also that really helped to round out your fine report. I look forward to following your blog !

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  11. Don M,

    I am glad that you enjoyed my report, and that now you have found my blog, that you will become one of my regular readers.

    All the best,

    Bob

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