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London, United Kingdom
A mythical beast - a female wargamer! I got back into wargaming in the summer of 2011 after a very, very long break. My current interests are Ancients, ACW, 30YW and SciFi gaming.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Back from Salute

I've actually been back for a few hours, having left the ExCel centre a little after 2pm. I got there quite early and despite stopping for a coffee and to go to the toilet, I found myself about halfway along the first section of the (wide) queue and was sort-of able to watch how the queuing hall filled up. Some photos of the queue at different time points:

0933 ahead of me

0933 behind me

0943 ahead

0953 ahead

I did go with a plan - this year I'd start off by taking photos of all the games, going round the tables in order (to help keep the photos in order to ease identification later on), then doing the bloggers meetup at 12.30 before doing my shopping.

It started out well, but then I noticed that my battery seemed to be running low. I had put it on to recharge last night and it appeared to have done so. Maybe it is on it's last legs and it's time to buy a new one? By the time I'd got about halfway up the "C" column of games it was definitely at the point of running out and I had to hastily amend my plans. As I didn't take pics of many games, I probably won't do a post of the games.

I think annoyance at the battery running low might have resulted in me not really looking at any of the games tables beyond the ones I'd already photographed, so I ended up missing some very nice looking ones (from pics I've seen on other blogs).

12.30pm saw the xth annual bloggers' meetup. Numbers were low again - I blame Ray for leaving the publicity so late. However, a lot of the usual suspects were there and a couple of others: Ray & Postie, Legatus, Eric the Shed (with a big bag of plastic Normans from Conquest Games), Bob Cordery, Alastair, David Crook, Michael Awdry, Blax, Sidney Roundwood, Al, Big Lee, Simon Miller, Mike Whittaker, Carl. If I missed anyone, let me know in the comments.

Postie did take some pics with my camera, but they were all either fuzzy, had the bins in the way or only showed a small part of the group (admittedly that was because someone had already taken pics). I'm sure Ray someone will have the pics up on their blog before too long.

Before and after the bloggers' meetup I did do a fair bit of shopping. Perhaps not as much as I'd expected (and budgeted for) but more than I'd realised. All those small purchases soon add up. I also spent a bit of time chatting to various people I bumped into on the way round.

Well, what was my haul? Time for the loot pics!

All the swag:

Bases, bridges, casualty counters and bits

Pretty obvious what these are:

More SYW Russians (minus 4 packs of infantry that they are sending on next week).

Stuff for Gaslands:
MDF gates and hazard tokens (Products for Wargamers); dice from Magister Militum; templates and skid dice from the rules' author:
The MDF gates/hazard token kits are their original version - they've produced a newer kit but couldn't find them so I got the two kits (2 gates each) for £2 a pop.
Correction - the kits only do one gate each on closer inspection. Drat - I'll need to get another two at some point!But I will have more hazard tokens than even the most psychotic bunch of drivers could ever need (38 on each sheet)

Stuff for my WW2 New Guinea project:
Buildings from Sarissa Precision; Indepent Company Section, 3" mortar team and PIAT/Boyes teams from Warlord; box from Eureka (see below)

Top row - Aussies in slouch hats; middle row - Papuan troops (including stretcher team); bottom row - 15mm Ming arquebusiers and rocketeers plus some free chickens

Bits and bobs:
Dice bag, dice cup and Mongol yurts from Magister Militum; paints from Pendraken/Minibits; steel bases from Products for Wargamers; Kra'Vak grav bikes with dual riders from GZG.

Salute goodies:

Some light reading:

The book was a freebie from Bob Cordery - the first print run had a number of printing errors (blank pages in the wrong places) so he had a small stock with him to give away.

All in all, not a bad loot haul. There were a few things on my shopping list which I didn't buy either because the traders hadn't brought them to the show or because I forgot to visit the trader!

It also means that I've got plenty of lead to prep over the next few weeks, plus MDF kits to prime, paint and assemble (or prime, assemble and paint).

Thoughts on the show:

Lighting - it seemed a bit worse this year in most parts of the hall. I'm beginning to wonder if that might have been the cause of my camera battery running low so quickly?

Noise - the general buzz/hum seemed louder than normal. There were a few occasions when I couldn't quite catch what someone close by had said to me.

Flooring - the hard concrete floor was noticeable for me this year and my dodgy left hip was starting to ache by about 1pm (even with having taken painkillers).

Crowds - it seemed as busy as always, but the increased space in the aisles made it easier to get around. Sadly, that seems to be at the expense of space for some traders who ended up with very cramped stalls.

Traders - a lot of the regulars seem to have stopped attending (Leisure Games, Dave Thomas and S&A Scenics spring to mind). I suspect that they have found that they can't justify the costs for the amount of business they do on the day.

Games - the overall quality of the games that I did see this year seemed to be higher than the last couple of years, particularly with regard to signage and the terrain. There did appear to be a somewhat higher proportion of games being demoed by companies (rather than put on by clubs) than last year - that is a trend that is ongoing.

Will I go in future? - of course, so long as I'm still living in London and my dodgy hip holds up.


  1. looks fun and frantic. I should go one day

  2. Great to see you again, Tamsin; albeit briefly. Always good to meet up with fellow bloggers like yourself, Ray and Michael (Awdry) :-)

  3. I think a couple of hours is all I can manage now at my advanced age and general decrepitude! I have had that exact battery charging problem at Salute before too. It does make you grumpy!

  4. Really good report Tamsin, interested in the WW2 New Guinea project and a nice spectrum of purchases. Will be doing Broadside this year at Sittingbourne and perhaps another show outside the fine County of Kent, just not attracted to poor lighting and a show in a 'big shed'. I've never met up with other bloggers but seems there may be a few in Sittingbourne so perhaps time to break my duck now I'm giving blogging another go!

  5. Nice to see you today Tamsin. It was definitely quite noisy today and the lighting was terrible. Someone (Legatus I think) had found out they have to pay more to have brighter lighting in the hall.

  6. Sounds like the impressive show it always is. I 've only been to salute 4 times since 2005 when I moved out of London - a bit on the expensive side with parking etc.
    Great haul

  7. Thanks for posting this, I always am amazed at the patience of people waiting to get into shows!
    Looks like you got lots of good stuff there!
    I hope the hip improves, or can get fixed easily!!!

  8. Always good to catch up Tamsin, no matter how briefly.

  9. Glad it wasn't only me who thought the lighting was terrible. My poor eyes were really struggling and took a while to adjust...

  10. I gave up on Salute years ago, even when I was living in London. The Excel is so soulless. They had the Nazi re-enacters the last time I went. It’s was bad enough with adults dressed as SS, but children as Hitler Youth etc! They were also selling Adolf Hitler mugs and speeches. Big lack of judgement by the Warlords.
    It all sounds a bit of a nightmare now.

  11. Nice to catch up again this year. Approve of the chain of Command purchases, great game. The hall floor is atrocious, even I suffered this year with multiple aches and I think we discussed the lighting yesterday as well. Overall though I enjoy Salute and the minor issues are wiped away with meeting up and getting to chat with friends new and old.

  12. Wow looks like a fantastic day.
    Will try to come to Salute next year

  13. Thanks for the update on the show, sounds like it was a busy but fun day all round. I always like your show reviews as they are always nicely written and enlightening. Feels like being there for those who miss these events.

    I was looking carefully at all your photos of the crowds, but nope... not a single coloured skinned person in sight. I always find it amazing how much of a white persons hobby this truly is.

  14. Great post Tamsin. Shame about the camera though. Lesson learnt.....never give Posties a camera!!!

  15. Nice photos, I will look forward to seeing your CoC project.

  16. I concur with Ray, handing Postie and technology is a recipe for disaster. You lucky he don't take pictures of his feet.... Lol. Good to see you as always Tamsin. Feel free to use the blogger group photo on my blog.

  17. Your battery problem could be with the Excel facility itself, your phone having to work harder to maintain connection with your carrier. I had the same problem with the dealer hall (in a tennis barn) at Historicon. I had to turn my phone off while I was in there. Course, that makes taking photos much harder. Option 2 is to buy a portable backup battery.

  18. It was a good show, those are Gasland Gates I designed for P4W!

  19. @ Martin - it was and you should! :)

    @ Blax - it was good to see you too. Sorry we didn't really get to chat :)

    @ Legatus - I'm thinking that a shorter trip and arriving a bit later might be the best option for me too :)

    @ Fraxinus - it may be a while before the New Guinea project reaches the table - too many other projects in the queue at the moment. I think I've got most of the Aussie figures I'll need; the Japanese will have to be procured at some point. And then there's the jungle terrain to build (I have plenty of gubbins for that).

    @ Alastair - good to see you too. I think the noisiness may have been because there was a bit more open space this year. It doesn't surprise me about it costing more to increase the lighting.

    @ Dannoc - if I do move from London the costs may stop me attending every year but for now the travel is effectively free as I have an annual travelcard for getting to work :)

    @ Herkybird - the queuing isn't too bad to be honest, unless you get there close to opening time. As for my hip, I'm still not sure what is actually wrong with it - nothing showed up on the Xray I had last year.

    @ Michael A - lovely to see you again as well :)

    @ Lee Brady - given the number of people complaining about the light this year it must have been worse than normal. Hopefully the Warlords will take that feedback into account for next year.

    @ Simon Jones - that incident was before I got back into wargaming so before my first Salute. It was definitely appalling judgement on the Warlords' part to have had them there.

    @ Carl - it was definitely good to catch up again yesterday. I hope you eventually managed to play some of the demo games you were interested in :)

    @ Markus - it was a good day, despite the issues. It would be great to see you at Salute again some time :)

    @ Hils - thanks! There were a few BAME attendees but it does seem to be an overwhelmingly white hobby, in the UK at any rate.

    @ Ray - cheers! Yup, lesson learned! :)

    @ John -thanks! The CoC project will be a while coming I'm afraid - hope you can hold on that long! :)

    @ Big Lee - good to see you too! He did take some quite good photos of the tops of the bins! ;)

    @ Schogun - it was a camera rather than a phone, so that's not the reason. It has done something similar before so I suspect the battery may be on its way out.

    @ Coronasan - you did? They look pretty good when assembled :)

  20. Nice loot haul. I will make it there one year.

  21. Wow, those line-up pictures look mental. I think I would have lost it penned in with that crowd. Nonetheless, I would have loved to been at the bloggers meetup. New Guinea project? Fun!