David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday 14 April 2014

SALUTE 2014...

...THE LOOT and other area of interest to me, if no one else.
For the first time in a number of visits we decided to drive down on the day, rather than find a hotel for the Friday night. The reason behind this relates almost exclusively to the appalling queue situation in earlier years. Putting it bluntly, if I buy a Q Buster badge in advance then I do not expect to queue to get into the event! We set off at 8.45 and arrived without incident at 11.15, a very good journey from our neck of the woods. As we parked the car a chap leaving kindly gave us his day ticket, £15 saved. £15! To park a car? That has to be one on London's more absurd prices! Up to the exhibition hall: no queue, so straight in! As a result of all these jolly things falling nicely into place, I was predisposed to view the show kindly...
Then I took a look around. Well, not really a look, more a peer into the gloom. What has happened to the lighting since last year? Dim hardly begins to describe it. Then there was the gauntlet to be run at trade stands to collect preorders. Where do all these folk come from? Three and four deep around the stands was not uncommon. And some very intimate pushing and shoving I felt on occasions! What happened to the second coffee outlet by the way? And were there fewer seats than last year? It certainly felt like it and it was very crowded all day out in the concourse. (By the by, you get better dressed folk to cake shows by the looks of it, and no doubt better laundered too!)
I do however enjoy meeting folk at Salute, one of the main reasons for still bothering to go. I got to spend the day with my son, Matt, who lives down south now, so that's always a big plus for attending! I enjoyed seeing what he's working on and being introduced the wonderfully friendly chaps Terry and Tony from Renedra. I chatted with Dan from WI, Duncan, Ally, Nick and James, Trevor, and Dave, exchanging news and doings and generally putting things to right, as we 'geriatrics in waiting' chaps like to do!
I enjoyed looking at some of the games, although they did not shine in the poor lighting. My favourite, again from last year, was the Victorian Mars game. Now, it may be an advertorial game for Oshira, but its still splendidly presented, marvellously modelled and entertainingly presented. All that a game should be in my humble opinion. I also liked the Trent Miniatures Irish Rebellion game, very good to look at I thought. I was sadly disappointed though by the VBCW game, not the spectacle of previous years but very enthusiastically presented none the less! But, well done to all the chaps putting on games, your efforts are genuinely appreciated I know.
 Have you noticed the resemblance between Medieval Markets and wargaming shows? They move around the country and calendar like their earlier predecessors. Instead of merchants and peddlers you get traders, large and small; you see the same faces in your part of the country from show to show; and perhaps (joke mode on) amongst the fringe elements of the unwashed you could say you even have the lepers and plague victims! (joke mode off)
Turning then,finally, to the 'Loot'. My purchases ~

From the top then it comprises:-
Oshiro Victorian buildings to complete the layout for our Great Detective game: yards, outhouses, a chimney, pavements and a new industrial building's ground floor.
Mininatur spring tufts from Mutineer Miniatures.
Two 00 brushes from Coritani. Great service from charming folk!
Great War Miniatures British artillery for our 1914 game, together with a machine gun & crew and some dismounted cavalry for the same game genre.
Warbases movement trays and 40 x 50 MDF bases, for the 1914 additions. Oh, and their free movment counter, my third or fourth. Always great service and products here!
The Salute free figure ~ I shall use it to guard the Empress in our Blandings 1940 games I hope.
The Khan of all the Bhurpas, kindly removed from a pack by the jolly jocks of Mutineer. Great products and service there! We'll miss you when you've gone...
The Empress Miniatures/ Hicks "Flashman's Grandson" figure.
Finally, from Colonel Bill's, five packs of 1914 British Infantry by Great War Miniatures.
Well, thats it for another year. Did I enjoy my day despite my gripes and reservations? Of course: so many folk to meet, so many great games to look over, so many things to buy. What more could a show of its magnitude realistically deliver? (I'd pass on the reenactors though if I'm honest!) Just a shame its in London with all the attendant hassle and expense...


  1. Excellent posting, and its interesting to see a different perspective from my 'quietly queue up for ages despite having a Qbuster ticket' approach I annually employ. This year's queue was certainly the most bemusing yet... as we were herded into a huge unoccupied hangar bay, and encouraged to stand like lemons 4-5 abreast against a walk (to be shot?), only to suddenly be brought to a slow trickle as we were let out and entered the show (and had to show our tickets again!?!). Definitely the busiest show yet, and as you say, collecting pre-orders was a nightmare as most stalls were 8-9 person thick all day with each jostling to reach the front... the Forgeworld store being the worse of all with people just barging to the front with backpacks and body odour being their primary weapons. I actually feel its too big nowadays for a one day event. Thoughts?

    1. Not only too big but believes its own hype. Its really a combi show, as half at least, if not more, is geared at non-historical gaming: fantasy, sci-fi and the like. So its really the equivalent of two shows I feel with two often distinct clientelle.
      As a comparison, I was at three National Trust Houses on Sunday and they too suffer from the 'volunteering amateur' who likes to throw their weight around, so Salute queue 'management' is sadly not unique. Easy answer to queuing: more points of entry, more workers ~ why volunteers? Employ a few checkout workers who know how its done.

  2. A fair write up old chap, I thought that it was just us with the view of the lighting situation, but I have seen the same comment on various forums. To be honest it ruined an otherwise great day for me, I will really consider long and hard about going next year as I could not really appreciate a lot of games because of it.

    1. First Vapnartak, now Salute on the endangered list! We'll end up only going to WMMS at this rate Phil!

    2. I should note that I have no issue with Vapnartak it is a splendid show, only that Dick Turpin is alive well and now goes under the name of York council who prey on tourists lost because of their dreadful ring road and
      desire to rid the city of cars.

  3. Great haul, sounds like a blast!