Sunday, 26 April 2015

Salute 2015

My very first Salute Day started with finishing a night-shift and then only getting two and a half hours sleep before jumping on the train with club members Chris and Rich. Somehow I managed to stay awake for the journey and Chris' navigational skills helped in getting us across London to the Excel Centre fifteen minutes before opening time.

Dan and the guys from Wargames Illustrated had kindly offered to transport all our figures along with their terrain down from Nottingham the day before, so it was nice to see everything waiting for us raring to go on the  "De Montfort Must Die!" board. Ron Ringrose had done a lovely job on it, complete with 'Battle Well' and the incline leading up from Evesham onto the crest where the Royalist Army had been assembled. I won't go too far into the games we had with different people who came over to give it a try, but the highlight that stood out was one small kid (who could hardly see over the table) rolling sixes like a pro and making his Dad proud as his Assassin character cut a fine swathe through the throng. A big thank you has to go out not only to Wargames Illustrated for providing us with figures, food and inspiration but also those who spent time to simply come over and chat.

The one problematic thing about doing a participation game is that you don't have time to leisurely stroll around and see what everyone else has to offer. Nevertheless, we did try and take it in turns going for a wander. Combined here are some photos of those impressive games I managed to come across, and apologies to those I missed out! (it certainly wasn't intentional). I did notice a huge percentage of Fantasy games on display. Although not particularly into that side of things, it was impossible not to be amazed at the detail and dedication people put into some of them.

On the buying front I did go slightly overboard. I'd already pre-ordered a 15mm Sudan 1880's Mahdist Army from Peter Pig, and after collecting those I jumped straight over to the Timecast stand for some Old Glory Punjabi Native Infantry and British Highlanders (well those Mahdists need someone to fight don't they?). Then...surprise. A few stalls along Paul Meekin Books had a copy of The Colonial Wars Source Book for only £10 (RRP £30).

An honourable mention has to be made of "The Continental Wars Society" who had a nice stall with a display of Pickelhaube's and Kepis plus a selection of their home produced handbooks on the wars of 1866 and 1870 which I came away with.

Towards the end of the day we met up with fellow club member Mark then went to join the line outside one of the food stands in the Excel hallway. A long discussion ensued about spending habits (do you focus on one period at a time and work through it to completion? or do you take the scattergun approach, of collecting different periods all at once?). I'm trying to hone my lead addiction to only one or two periods. Primarily so I can put on some larger games at the club and be able to provide most of the figures that others don't have. Then again I do have a magpie tendency where the slightest thing (such as a good book, TV documentary or magazine article) can inspire me into collecting something else at the drop of a hat.

My day finally wound up with me humping a backpack stuffed with purchases over to St Pancras, and then falling asleep on the 19.29 with the new copy of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy on my lap until I woke up just ten minutes from my stop. All in all a great day :)

Monday, 13 April 2015

10mm Pendraken Arab-Israeli

I've just completed a painting commission for my mate Chris, a member of our local club who's been putting on most of our modern games. I was daunted at first because I've never considered my painting abilities sufficient for anyone to actually pay for it. Although my confidence received a boost after Wargames Illustrated asked me to do some of their medieval figures a while back.

For Chris' job he wanted all the Jordanian Infantry painted in British Uniforms (primarily because Britain provided them with much of their kit and vehicles). The armour painting was taken from various Osprey books and also W.I magazine articles covering the Six Day War.

You may also see a line of 10mm WW2 German 105mm and 75mm SPG's in the picture too (and a 15mm Napoleonic Command stand!). These were in amongst the painting pile along with the rest.

Pendraken is always great to paint. Nice detail and doesn't take long to complete. The whole lot here took around 3 and half weeks in total.


Saturday, 11 April 2015

International Living History Fair, Bruntingthorpe 2015

Yesterday, myself and the partner went along to the International Living History Fair at Bruntingthorpe Proving Grounds near Lutterworth, Leicestershire. It's organised by 'Skirmish' Magazine (which is always worth picking up for the excellent articles - even if you're not a re-enactor).

We turned up just after 12 o'clock and it there seemed to be a steady crowd of people already milling about. Unfortunately the re-enactors were due to stage their events on the field over Saturday and Sunday (11th-12th April), so most traders were using Friday to set out their stalls. The advantage for us was that we managed to get first dibs on some absolute bargains, that would've been snapped up had we arrived much later! It also meant that most of the re-enactors present could take their time chatting instead of having to dash off to do the display. One of the highlights was getting to talk at length to a couple of the ACW guys who'd turned up with their artillery.

There were some great book stalls there, and my first purchases were David Chandler's "Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars", The National Army Museum Book "The Road to Waterloo", David Hamilton Williams "Waterloo: New Perspectives" and "A Good Dusting: Sudan Campaigns" by Henry Keown Brown. All for a bargain at just £2.50 each!!!!

It was a real eye-opener wandering around some of the artisan/craft stalls. The effort and research people put into creating their costumes and weapons is fantastic. I had a long discussion with a guy from the Brunswicker group (photo below) about the construction of his uniform. The 'American Civil War Sutler' had a stall there too, and I couldn't help but purchase a confederate cavalryman's kepi with badge (bit of a childhood dream fulfilled there!). Again, the quality was really superb.

On the wargaming front I came across a guy who had a few boxes of 28mm Napoleonics (Foundry) that he was flogging for a friend. £2 and £3 a bag for around 8-12 figures in each. I picked up about 3 regiments and a bag of mounted officers. Lovely!

A special mention has to go to the Derby Wargames Group who had put on a game of Blucher. I was very impressed by their home made terrain mat, which was a rug coloured with watered down acrylics.

If you're in the vicinity this weekend, it's well worth the detour. Only £4.50 entrance. Plus you'll get to see all the re-enactors in their full glory (which we missed). More details here: