Well, Mike and Steve, brothers in arms, went to Salute last week, spurred on by their visit last year. Rather than me telling you of their experience and thoughts, I’ll let them fill you in. I hope you understand that this is not a complete review of Salute 2011 in its entirety. There will have been certain areas of the convention that Mike and Steve didn’t visit as they will have focussed on their particular areas of interest.
Here are some of their comments taken from our forum:
Well, that is it for another year. By the time I got home it was 2100 and I was exhausted. We took the time to divy up our purchases and then my brother headed home and I went to my bed. The 0400 start was a killer but apart from being tired and having a very heavy bag to carry everything went smoothly and there sees to be enough money left on the Oyster card for next year. I love those things, they make life very easy. I should also say how impressed I am with the integrated transport system in London - but I suspect it would be hell to drive there.
Preordering worked very well though it did reduce the time for a natter. Hasslefree seemed rather busy all day which must be a good thing. I did not stop to look at the new goodies as by that time I was rather tired and frazzled and I will be ordering again in the not to distant future. The new toys will be a treat for that order.
We are well aware that what you regret is not something you bought but rather what you did not buy, this year it was the siege gun from MaxMini (great name) but that has been rectified and the small boat from Gripping Beast which has not. We had doubts about whether it would survive the journey home and I should have chanced it. I think we will need some odds and sods from them so it can wait. It looks like something that would be fairly easy to make a master of if you had the gift of such things.
I did buy quite a few resin vehicles from Force on Force and they survived nicely in their neat little boxes. It was hilarious watching my brother as I unpacked them and passed them across to him, there were three with the same turret (T-26, BT-5 and BT-6 I think) that puzzled him a bit.
Lessons learned: Staying a night in London, Friday night anyway, is worth considering to save some bother but I am not sure it would help me sleep. I slept very poorly on Friday night, because of the excitement I presume, and as a countryman I am not sure noisy London would help (nearest neighbor c. 1 mile away). A better bag would help me carry the booty more easily.
Preordering worked very well and I should do it as much as possible next time - and as early as possible for everyone’s benefit. We went big on Great War figures and the Spanish Civil War with lesser but still strong showing from fantasy, Gladiators, Normans (now there was a surprise) and modern day British infantry. The Normans were bought mostly as human troops for Song of Blades and Heroes warbands - historical figures being just drab fantasy figures but are a potential future OPFOR for both Vikings and Saxons - among others, they were aggressive, competent and well travelled.
In retrospect we missed a trick. For the Great War, the southern front, Gallipoli and the middle east would have allowed us to use the same arid terrain as the Spanish Civil War though some of the fronts were static enough to evolve some degree of trench warfare I think - I will have to check this. Most of the vehicles we bought were for the SCW but could also be used for other interwar and even Great War games as well as others into early Great Patriotic War or even later. I have been thinking about making some proper trench sections for years and now I think I might need to - which would be a nice way to spend the Easter holidays.
I went over budget of course but still had enough to serve on Sunday, back home, at the Bangor model railway show.
Warlord Games: Warlord had the masters of some forthcoming plastic releases on show. The most interesting were the Roman catapults which had already been seen on the internet and are reportedly due very soon and a ruined building, suitable for the European theatre WW II and many other settings (Great War, post-holocaust, Franco-Prussian war…) that was very reminiscent of the old Airfix ruin – deliberately so I was told. Some people might also like the (inevitable) American troops in plastic.
Empress Miniatures: Jam packed once again. This time I finally bought some – and not having brought a list with me resorted to ‘one each of…’ various factions from their Spanish Civil War range. Also a freebie sniper for buying Force on Force though he looks a bit of a dick.
Osprey: Picked up Force on Force and the supplement and was able to use my discount to do so which was nice. Did not bother buying any of the books to save weight and space – and because I had no list with me of which ones I already own. Pictish Fortifications look surprisingly good and has gone on the shopping list.
MaxMini: Wonderful name. They do a wide range of resin conversion pieces and some miniatures and guns. This was my regret for the show, that I did not buy their siege gun, never mind, that was fixed on Sunday night.
Hasslefree: I preordered and prepaid which was a very good idea. I missed the new stuff but I can get it next time – which, given Steve’s promiscuous use of their Dwarven shields may not be very far away.
Gripping Beast: A huge stand with many, many delights. My second regret of the show, that I did not buy a couple of their small Viking boats.They are starting to repackage their own figures as Saga to match their forthcoming skirmish rules – either that or to appeal to the older (over 50) customer. A clever move.
Force of Arms: Lovely little resin vehicles. Mostly 1/56th scale or so and thus a lot smaller than the 1/48th plastic kits but well priced, clean, nicely made castings that should be very easy to assemble.
Salute was a great success for me as well.
Although we had a brutally early start, the trip ran like clockwork in both directions. Mike had carefully booked and pre-paid for as much as possible, and the various transport changes from car to plane to train were very smooth because of it. The show itself seemed a little bigger than last year, but was very busy and well attended. Everyone there was in good spirits, and there was a generally very good atmosphere with the traders and amongst all of the punters.
I had given a little thought about what I wanted to pick up this year, and I was able to hit all of the important traders very early. I went to an outfit called Tritex where I got some very cheap D&D miniatures last year, and picked up another good selection again - some 30-odd figures this time. I went to the Leisure Games stand where I was able to pick up the new CoC screen and Strange Aeons 2. I also went to the Otherworld miniatures stand, but showed unnaturally good restraint and only bought a single figure - a Fire Giant. It is a very large Fire Giant, though.
I was left with plenty of time then to check out the other traders and pick up some other nice figures, including some dwarves from Titan Wargames and some sort of bird-riding amazon from Maidenhead Miniatures.
There were some fantastic figures and terrain on display, and at the end of the day I was left very tired, but excited and fired with enthusiasm for our great hobby. I can’t wait to get on and get some of my new figures painted now!
Well, thanks to Mike and Steve for their comprehensive report on their Salute 2011 experience. I have a feeling they will turn this into an annual event after having attended for that last two years and enjoying both.
Thanks again for reading.