Stiggers has often waxed lyrical about Salute, the scale and the wonder of it all and how we should go. At his behest I have attended a local show, in Abingdon, can’t remember the name of it which will, doubtless, cause offence. Anyhoo, after more badgering, I decided to go and see what all the fuss was about. Added bonus: Stiggers wouldn’t be there to hold my hand.
Now, at that Abingdon show, sorry, still don’t recall the name, I did have the misfortune to find myself standing, on occasion, beside a couple of fellows who clearly didn’t stand that close to soap. Or pick any of it up. Nasty. And I did think that Salute might bring more of the same close proximity to The Great Unwashed, as I doubtless shuffled and squeezed in the crowd from stall to stall.
No such issues at ExCel. Space there was aplenty, and stalls there were a-many. And pongy folk? There were none. Beardy folk? Oh, stacks of them. Stacks. But personal hygiene amongst wargamers is evidently on a high, even as shaving is hitting an all time low.
That lack of squeeze and ability to freely wander was grand. But such were the proportions of the hall and so low the height of the stands that, initially, I had a fleeting concern that I’d probably whip round it all in a flash and that the trip to t’capitol was a bit of a waste. Again, no such issues. There was stacks ‘n’ stacks to look at. Stacks ‘n’ stacks. Even if I couldn’t actually find any Zezvedezva for sale. Which was the only disappointment of the day, really. Shame that.
There was, however, plenty of dice for sale. Plenty. I expect the boys at my favourite website will be reviewing these very soon. ;o)
The number of gaming tables on display was large, even if the scenery wasn’t all that that lying Stiggers had led me to believe it would be. There were a couple quite inspirational ones, mind. And all the gamers seemed, even late in the afternoon when I arrived and they were surely getting fatigued, they seemed happy to answer a newbie’s idiot questions – “Is this 6mm?”
This was a 6mm one that I delighted in and, as a consequence of one of those conversations, ended up scuttling off to pick up an armies-worth from the nice people at Heroics and Ros. Since I just ‘happened’ to have a Team Yankee list sitting on me phone….
Yet I had rocked up with a wee bit of a shopping list, obvs, and a wee level of appropriate funding in my Paypal hobby account, so, having arrived late, I did make a point of swiftly seeking out The Plastic Soldier Company’s stall lest they sold out of stuff. They had a nice five-for-four deal going and their lovely ‘accounts lady’ was doing her level best to try and increase turnover when I had the presumption to try and buy just three boxes. Bless. I stood firm. I really don’t know what I was thinking picking up the trio I had, anyway – what is this affliction that makes us buy and buy and buy and buy and then moan about how much unfinished crap we have?
I very nearly caved at the Sarissa stall. I say, stall, that’s a bit unfair; they had a very slick display of their wares. All beautifully painted – like I’d never achieve – and all calling to me. That factory building (Why no photo? Fool!) that’s been singing its siren song to me from their website for ages and looked proper gorgeous. If an MDF model of a ruined factory can be described in that way.
And their chateaux? Had my eye on that one for a while. Gee, but I needed some fibre to resist. If they’d had a deal on, I’d have been very weak. Fortunately for my hobby account, they didn’t. Not on European stuff, they didn’t. I just took a price list.
Oh, but that factory….
And if I thought the Sarissa stand was impressive, 4Ground just took the mickey. Double-sided, I reckon they must have had a prong-full of everything they do on display.
All of it, calling to me… I’m proud to say I resisted and didn’t even succumb to a price list.
Although it had a much smaller presence the kit Rubicon was showing was peachy. I don’t do their scale but can’t help appreciating their stuff. This all was, apparently, prototypes of good things to come for those who do. I overheard the guy saying that those sidecars, beautifully painted on the stand, are not far off the shelves.
So, I’m no longer a Salute virgin. Thanks to Warlords for putting it all on and for the, er, ten free beer mats (Beer mats? Really? Meh. Guess they know their audience.) If I’ve a shopping list this time next year, even a small-ish one, I think I’ll make the effort again because it is an inspiring event. Mind, it does take a bit o’ getting to, from Oxford, and there weren’t quite the number of epic tables that I’d imagined from Stigger’s glowing descriptions. And it’s also true, like a tight-wad, I’d expected to see a few more ‘show deals’ but there was more than enough to please.
Except for that absence of Zvezvdada junk. But, oh, that factory….
Here’s a little random dump of some of the other stuff I took snaps of: