...and Wargames Shows in general. Well, I've had a decent night's sleep and feel more like my (very) old self so I thought that I'd post a few thoughts on Carronade and on Wargames Shows in general. I can also use the opportunity to say how appreciative I am of all the folk involved in staging the show, putting on the games, bringing their goodies as traders, and even the gnome botherers selling their plastic on the Flea Market! I can also show the obligatory pictures of my haul of swag, though I should say much of it was part of a joint Eureka order with Colin Ashton collected for me by him at Salute. Thanks Colin! The swag ~
The Eureka figures comprised: two FRW French four horse limbers and a four horse Wurst wagon and crew for my French Horse Artillery battery (in bags across the centre); a 12 figure Austrian Hussar regiment at the gallop (four miscast horses, which I'm confident will be replaced anon); a wonderful French cantinere wagon set; a French Field Bakery set; a sword sharpening vignette; and finally, a set of carpenters/wheelwrights. From Warbases I got some extra MDF bases of various sizes and a pack of Ravens (I gave Phil the more obviously Dark Age pair). From Coritani I got the Gamers' Grass tufts and some new brushes, at a generous discount, thanks! And, not pictured, from Dave at Caliver Books I also got the 2017 Wargamers' Annual and a copy of Kings of War Historical. My other purchase was from Andy, at The Last Valley, who has made me some railway line terrain pieces to my spec. Four at 18", four at 9", and two gentle curves. The spare track he returned and will be mounted on my two railway bridges to match. I'm really chuffed by these and have asked him to make me a canal next. Cost for the railway lines? £40.00 in all, really excellent value for money, so thanks Andy!
Turning now from the swag aspect of my visit to Carronade to more important aspects of that show, and of shows in general. I'd like to start by saying that this event, like most others I attend, is put on by volunteers for our pleasure. They seldom get much in the way of thanks and I think that's a pity really. I know from back in the day, when I was an organiser of WMMS, you always got more in the way of moans than thanks. So thanks to the Falkirk Wargames Club, I had a grand day out on the back of your efforts! I hope you all had a good day too. This sentiment goes, of course, to the organisers of all the other shows I've attended down the years. But it also extends to the folks who bring their games for us to see and even join in with, I've done both in my younger days and know how much work goes on behind the scenes to bring the spectacle to our viewings. They deserve rather more than 'a brief look, a photo, and then move on to the next game' reward. Try to chat if you can with them, you might ignite a new interest in your hobby or even make a new chum!
As my loyal reader knows, for me a wargame is first and foremost a visual spectacle. If its not, then it seldom piques my interest or holds it for long. Its not that I expect folk to build everything from scratch, lord knows that was always beyond me anyway, but I think with careful use of commercially available products a group, club or individual can produce a splendid looking game. Take the picture above, by a group I did n't manage to identify: I would suggest that it features almost exclusively commercially available terrain pieces on a teddy bear fur cloth, yet with careful painting of the castings and models and their arrangement on the table the viewer is drawn into the scene and sees the whole sum of the parts, not the individual castings and models. It becomes in the mind's eye the scene it represents for the viewer and greatly enhances the experience for both the gamers and the viewing public alike. There were many such treats on view at Carronade, as at other shows, and they help make the event more pleasing and rewarding to all concerned I would contend.
Leaving aside Salute, which is really just a shopping jungle with games, most shows really depend for their draw also on the band of traders, large and small companies alike, who bring their wares for us to peruse, handle and perhaps even buy. They usually only ever get moaned about I've found. Either they have n't brought what someone wants to buy ~ must be on a whim, because we can all pre-order over the net or phone, so no excuses for that one ~ or its too expensive, there should be a show deal. Few think that they might have been up in the small hours, driven miles and unloaded their stand and goodies before you've even had your breakfast, perhaps had the expense of a hotel for themselves and their colleagues. They may not even cover the costs at some shows, yet they largely keep coming back to serve the wargaming masses with their new toys. Granted, they may get repeat business after shows when folk have reflected on what they saw and decided they really must have it after all, but there is no guarantee of that really. I think they also deserve our thanks, even those who sometimes come across as less than wonderful human beings.
So, having had a great day out at Carronade thanks to the myriad of folks involved and having acquired heaps of new toys, am I sitting back and reflecting on the day? Well no, I'm cleaning up figures, then I'm painting, then fitting in the writing of this blog entry, but, most importantly, I'm looking forward to Partizan next week, when the whole circus will come to a different town near to you! Oh, and I'm perusing several companies' web pages and planning what I might treat myself too next Sunday, and that means a drawing up the List! See you at Partizan perhaps!