Salute 2017

I was picked up by Daren at 7 a.m. yesterday and I wasn’t feeling too great to be honest as my blood condition had chosen the past few days to be a complete bastard and make me feel shite so I was hoping that I would be able to last the day. A quick and easy drive across the water into Docklands saw us parked up right near an entrance to the Excel centre in about 20 minutes and so we were at our assigned table before 8 which was good. Dan arrived shortly after us and between the three of us we pretty soon had the game set up and we were munching on much needed Bacon baps and wondering where on earth the 4th member of the team, Tommo, was!

Tommo arrived at about 9 and after some much deserved ribbing he took over command of the NATO forces ready to cover the evacuation of the supplies at the Neustadt rail depot and to defend the river crossings from the Soviet breakthrough force collectively led by myself and Dan. I won’t go into the details of the game itself as it is still too painful! Suffice to say that the addition of 2 FV438 Swingfires, Warren’s brutal use of concentrated artillery and aggressive use of the Jagdpanzer Kannone’s ensured that what was seriously looking like a NATO defeat at one point ended in a defeat for the glorious Red Army.

It was really cool engaging with the people in the show who stopped by for a butchers or a chat about what we were doing. I didn’t hear a negative comment all day and there were some really nice things being said about the game with a lot of justifiable praise going to the excellent terrain made by Daren. Thanks to everyone that stopped by, we hope that you enjoyed it. One person said it was ‘elegant’ which I thought was really nice and completely understood where he was coming from and some lads from Germany took one look and said ‘is this game set in Germany’ which has got to be good! I did end up drawing people’s attention to the river though, I don’t think people realised that it was set between two tables which was a shame as I think it really is quite ingenious.

There was one interesting theme I noticed whilst talking to people, the younger punters were the ones that asked ‘is this Team Yankee’ whilst the older ones were happy that it wasn’t. There were a few people that mentioned that they might get their old collections out again which was nice and we also converted at least one chap to 6mm Cold War gaming, he re-appeared at the table with a great big smile on his face blaming us for the fact that he’d just spent £40 at H and R!

I got to meet a couple of people who said that they’d stop by which was cool too, really good to put faces to names and I got a chance to pop over to Baccus to talk about the Joy of 6 and grab some fliers but we didn’t get a chance to have a good look around the show ,which was a bit of a shame, as we were too busy running the game and chatting to people but from what I saw it looked like it was a good one. I did get to stop Richard from Too Fat Lardies as he walked past before the doors opened to say thanks for ‘Chain of Command’ and to have a quick chat about what is planned for it in the future, which was nice. Loot wise I just picked up some kit from a very busy Andy at Heroics and Ros and got a chance to have a look at their new Cold War infantry figures – I’ll definitely be putting in an order for some Brits and East Germans very soon. The day went very, very quickly and it was a great blast, apart from feeling knackered I even managed to head out for a beer and a curry with some of the other Warlords so my worries about staying the course earlier on were unfounded.

One last thing: I have to say many, many thanks to the three other chaps involved. Warren played a blinder and was a pleasure to play against as usual although he did pick on my lads quite unfairly! Dan was great to have as a teammate, apart from the many laughs our collectivism was unflinching even in defeat. Last but not least, Daren, who not only worked really hard making the game possible by his great terrain building skills but umpired the game too, we even forgave him for saying ‘we’ when referring to the Brits!

Gents it was a pleasure and a privilege, bags of fun was had and I am already looking forward to June and the Joy of 6.

Here’s some pics…

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Salute Game run through.

Yesterday saw myself, Dan and Daren meet up bright and early at the home of the South London Warlords to have a run through of the game that we are putting on at Salute this weekend. The game is set during the Cold War and sees an outnumbered British force holding a collection of river crossings in the face of a Soviet tank heavy force.

The rules we will be using are GHQ’s Micro Armour ones so the scale is 1:1, all the vehicles are GHQ and, bar most of the buildings, the terrain is hand made by Daren and it is quite something!

I won’t go into detail about the game as it was just a practice to see if everything was working ok and if the force balance was right but Comrade Noakesavitch and myself succeeded in breaking through to bring peace, prosperity and freedom to the poor oppressed workers of some more of Germany by the use of overwhelming numbers and firepower!

We have decided to add a randomly arriving force of FDR Leopard 1’s that have escaped fighting to the flank to bolster the NATO defences (there are already a platoon of JagdPanzerKannone available to the Brits) as well as a couple of FV438’s that I found in my leadpile as the 5 Chieftain’s currently assigned just weren’t enough! We have also decided that the point of the scenario should be the evacuation of the supplies from the rail depot by a convoy, hence why the crossings haven’t been blown yet.

It should be a cracking game so please stop by at table GG05 and have a look and a chat.

Any way here’s a lot of pics to give you an idea of what is in store, I might not get to take many on the day so there’s quite a few. First up some of the action then a slideshow of the terrain (you can click on the pics to see them bigger).

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Getting ready for Salute

It is a week until Salute and I won’t be working there this time or visiting as a punter because I am helping put a game on. It will be a 6mm Cold War affair with a Soviet force trying to bounce a crossing over a river line that is defended by a joint British and West German Territorial force. To say I am excited about it is a bit of an understatement, I can’t wait!

We are due to have a full run through of the game on Monday down at the Warlords and I will post some ‘taster’ snaps afterwards as it does promise to be a belter! This is due to the fantastic efforts of the good Bombardier, Daren, who has turned his considerable talents to making some truly fantastic terrain (some of which can be seen elsewhere on this blog) and it will include his terribly ingenious ‘sunken’ river.

For my part I’ve only had to paint 25 T-62’s and 5 JagdpanzerKanones plus knock up a few log bunkers and dug-in bases and write up the background which doesn’t feel like much compared to what Daren has turned out! We will be using the MicroArmour rules by GHQ, to which Daren and Dan have added some great touches (for example the Soviets have to write a Fire Plan that will be hard to adjust once battle is joined) and all the vehicles will be GHQ. You can find us on table GG05 so stop by and have a chat if you are passing.

Colours, 2016

First of all, apologies for not getting on the blog for a while. I’ve been having a bit of a rough time lately a combination of some weird side affects from my medication and being a bit depressed too which has meant that all painting production stopped for the past few weeks (although some of this was due to it being too hot to paint). Also the Warlords have been on their summer break as the club closes for the month of August hence no games to write up!

Anyway, on Saturday Des, Ian, Daren and I met up early at Paddington and made the trip to Newbury racecourse to attend Colours. We arrived and promptly split up as we started to move around the traders, I immediately stopped at H&R’s stall and had a nice chat with Andy – glad to see and hear that he is very much on the mend – whilst picking up a few bits for my Alt-History Polish chaps. It also was a good to hear what Andy had planned for future releases and what was doable in the way of ordering bits for ‘kit-bashing’ if needed. I also got to see their AIFV/YPR-765’s in the flesh which will be needed for my next force and also a project that Daren and I are talking about for a Salute in the near future.

I didn’t have anything else much to get from my list – some decals for 20mm German armour and some black primer so spent the next hour having a look at what was on offer and convincing myself that I didn’t need any of the goodies that were tempting me! I’m particularly taking to you Pendraken’s 1866 range – next year I think for that project. The only other things that I bought were a couple of books from the bring and buy: Blandford’s ‘World Uniforms and Battles 1815-50’ by Philip Haythornwaite & Michael Chappell and ‘Napoleon’s Campaigns in Miniature’ by Bruce Quarrie for the princely sum of £5 for the pair. This was perhaps the best purchase I’ve made for a while as both books were a very important part of my early wargaming life and it was at least £20 cheaper than what they would have cost downstairs at the 2nd hand book stalls!

Unfortunately I had forgotten to juice up my phone before I left so wasn’t able to take many pictures of the games and the few I did take were not very good so sorry none to post but there are a good many on other blogs out already and they are probably better quality than mine would be anyway.

The ones that did particularly appeal to me were the Winter War game by the Loughton lads, although I had seen it before it was at Salute and I didn’t get to have a proper look or get to talk to the guys responsible so that was nice. It was good to chat with Dave Brown about his new ACW rules and also to ask him about the planned General d’Armee rules in the pipeline – his game looked nice too but I had to turn down his kind offer of having a bash with a command as time was against it. The fantastic WW1 Mesopotamia game and the Crush the Kaiser ‘Viva Zapata’ games were also belters with fantastic figures and awesome terrain pieces, unfortunately I didn’t get to chat with any of the guys putting them on and wish I had as the games were very intriguing. I also liked the ‘Axis and Allies’ inspired Normandy game and would have had a go if I could have got near it which showed what a good game it was as they were busy every time I went past.

We thought that the venue was nice – what is it with wargames shows and racecourses? – and I’d definitely be back again next year. One thing I did realise when we were chatting whilst sampling the top-notch pies on offer was that the old maxim of picking things up at a show ‘saves you on the postage’ is actually a right old bunch of yarbles. Once you factor in cost of travel, entrance, food and drink plus any ‘ooh shiny’ purchases that might be made you definitely don’t make any saving at all! So why bother going? Apart from getting to take part in or see some great games I reckon it is that getting together with your mates and having a good old nerd out can’t be beat can it, can it?

 

Salute again!

So my first Salute as a member of the Warlords is done and it was strangely better as going there last year as a lonely punter – even with the ridiculous early start and working for some of the day.

I got there about 6:45 and the first thing that struck me when entering the main hall was just how big it is – so much easier to tell when there’s hardly anyone around and not all the traders are in yet. I was helping out on the door and it was actually good fun, even schlepping the boxes of goody bags had its good point – when you dropped them on the floor it made a magnificent sound with the amazing echo that the empty queuing hall produced, just like gunfire! As for getting everyone into the event and into the queue I felt that it went very well and it is nice that a lot of posts online have mentioned that this was a big improvement on previous years – hats off to Bernie and Philip who were in charge of that bit of the show.

So after my shift and a quick bite I met up with Des to have a mooch about and to get some bits from the traders plus to have a good butchers at the games. I thought in general the show was good, a bit too much sci-fi and fantasy for my tastes and I could really do without the people doing fancy dress. It seems as if steampunk means wearing goggles on your top hat, if so does that mean Porta from the Sven Hassel books invented it? I did like the two French Napoleonic re-enactors though but a note to the couple walking about in WW2 uniform: if you are going to go through that much trouble, maybe get a proper period pram to but the baby in, it did look even more silly pushing around a brand new Maclaren baby chair!

Anyway, slight rantette over, so what swag did I get?

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How much! GHQ ‘Third World’ infantry and support weapons. Great figures but £8-odd each pack!
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Nice little bundle that Des persuaded me to buy.
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Can’t have a WW2 British platoon without one of these.

The price of the GHQ kit came as a bit of a shock and to be honest I didn’t take that much persuading by Des to go for the halftracks, it is good for the hobby to spread the business around the different manufacturers aint it!

Well onto the games next. On the whole I thought that the standard of  most of the games was really good, especially those at the back of the hall. There were some crackers about though my favourites was the 7YW one put on by Bill Gaskin, a guy taking photos next to me said that he didn’t know what to take a shot of next and he was right. It was perhaps the most stunning game I’ve ever seen, from the animation of the figures to the buildings everything was just beautiful – honestly I wouldn’t go out ever if that’s what I had at home to play with! The following photo’s won’t do it justice at all.

Next in preference was the Winter War game put on by the nice chaps from the Loughton Strike Force, not only was the game a beauty but the info stand was really cool too (pilchard me forgot to snap it though).

Another corking looking game was the Siege of Bristol ECW one put on by the Crewe and Nantwich club – again stunning figures and absolutely marvellous terrain.

I did also really like this – the game it was by wasn’t that impressive to be honest but I thought this was a nice touch and made me laugh – game was Garibaldi’s men taking Palermo from the Bourbons.

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And lastly a collection of photo’s of the other games that caught my eye: Dave Brown having a bash 25mm ACW style, a cracking looking Viking game played by real Scandinavian types and a lovely looking Napoleonic Peninsula one.

 

 

Salute 2016

I’ll be going to Salute tomorrow for only the second time ever. Last year I went and reconnected with the South London Warlords and am mightily pleased I did so as I’ve had a great year really getting back into wargaming properly, I’ve played in some great games, painted quite a bit of stuff and made some good friends along the way too.

This year I am working on the early shift – up at 5 and out the door by 6! – which is good as I can get to have a look around after I finish around 11, and I have arranged to meet up with someone as well. I am also tentatively thinking about popping along to the bloggers meet up but might wait until next year for that.

I have decided that I am going to be good and not get too much stuff, only if it finishes off a couple of projects that need a few bits to finish them. To this end I was hoping to get some bits and pieces from H&R to finish off my alt-history Poles but they won’t be there now which is a bit of a bummer. I do need to get some 20mm WW2 Brits to complete a platoon for Chain of Command so might be paying a visit to Capitan Games or SHQ whilst PSC will definitely be hit for some goodies – got to get a Bren Carrier and a 6pdr at least! One thing I must stay away from is ancients, I have got a real bad urge to get a 15mm Pontic Army which is getting really bad – blame lies firmly with Rome: Total War which I’ve been playing a bit too much of lately!

Games wise I am looking forwards to the ‘Tyros Keller’ Cold War game and will probably find a few others that take my fancy too. One I must mention is the Gun Run (from the Royal Tournament) game being put on by some of the chaps from the club. It will be a great hit I reckon, really ingenious and looks absolutely fantastic to boot.

I just have to remember to charge the phone up for some pics!

Vapnartak ’16

Des and I made the journey up to York last Saturday on the train, the plan being to meet fellow SLW’ers Ian and Martin there. After dumping our bags at the hotel (we couldn’t book in until 3) we repaired to the pub where we had agreed to rendezvous with the others. Unfortunately it was closed due to suffering damage in the floods, however, just across the road was a ‘proper’ model shop – planes and military kits and figures down one side, railway stuff down the other and packed full of goodies. I emerged with an Italeri box of PAK-40’s for my Late War German CoC force and could cross them off my shopping list for the weekend, although Des agreed that by buying them on the Saturday it didn’t affect my budget for the show. After a quick rearrangement of meeting place and a quick bite to eat it was off to the racecourse to set up the table for the next day.

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The set up went very smoothly with just a few minor repairs to the lancers to do, in fact the only trouble we had was getting the sodding banner things to stand upright!, and we were done quite quickly. We then had a quick mooch around the venue which I thought was cracking, nice large windows for light (even though it was a miserable day outside) and the multiple levels actually made it a bit more interesting to go round. We had a look at some of the stalls that had already been set up/were being set up and had a chat with the chaps from Early War Miniatures then went back into town. After settling in at the hotel, Des and Martin watching the rugby, me listening to West Ham getting beaten on the radio (arse!) it was off for a couple of beers in a lovely little pub round the corner.

The Sunday was a cracking day weather wise and after some proper brekkie at the Weatherspoons next door to the TraveLodge – do NOT get their breakfast basket thing, complete waste of money, it was actually cheaper to buy a full English in the pub – we were off to the show. It was busy from the off with lots of people milling about when we arrived and so we quickly had a quick squint round the other games on and got the obligatory team photo out of the way before the rush started!

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Des, happy in his work!
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SLW on tour – left to right: Myself, Des, Ian and Martin. A body of men definitely. Fine, maybe!

The day went really well, there was a lot of interest in the game particularly in the green teddy bear fur that Des used for the mat, which the light coming in from the windows made even more effective, and also the figures too – they are all 20mm plastics with many conversions and some custom made. It was the first time I had taken part in a demo game like this and it was really nice chatting to people about the game and wargaming in general. It was also quite cool seeing young lads asking about the game – some even wondered if it was a Napoleonic battle which was brilliant, good to see that they aren’t all about killer robots/space marines/zombies etc.

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I did get a chance to go round the other games on show but my phone was rapidly running out of battery so I couldn’t take many snaps although my favourites were the Alamo game and the Back of Beyond game which both looked stunning and good fun – every game should have hats for the players I reckon!

I managed to get a few bits and pieces although nothing too exciting: some kit from Warbases to make up some more markers for Chain of Command, some stowage bits and pieces from Early Wars Miniatures, some grey primer and some more Germans from Shell Hole Scenic’s Friend or Foe range – a 50mm Mortar team, a MG42 team and some assault engineers, nice figures which I hadn’t come across before (we were all fans of their Romanians and Hungarians, can see these being bought in the not too distant future). I also managed to pick up the Empire Campaign System in the B&B sale for £4 which was worth it for the map of Saxony alone, however, the bloke selling it to me offered to do a deal on it and I said no as it was a fair price gave him a fiver and he wasn’t going to give me any change – I had to ask him for it! Pilchard.

Overall I had a cracking time, we did get a few surprised comments about us coming up ‘all the way up from London’ for the show but overall we had a good response to the game (one of us did get some stick for being a southerner from a certain trader who shall remain nameless, mind you he was probably trying to divert attention away from where he was from as we were in Yorkshire – hint, hint). It was a really busy show – apparently roughly 1,600 people came through the doors – which was great for the York lads and I’d definitely come again as a punter if possible in the future.

Apart from having the chance to get to the show to ‘get my nerd on’, it was a right pleasure having the chance to  spend a weekend chatting about the joys of the hobby (and footy) with the chaps. Des, Ian and Martin many thanks for a great time and thanks for inviting me along, I’m definitely up for the next trip in 2017!