Salute – in review
So this Saturday was the annual Salute Wargaming Convention, conveniently located at the Excel Centre in London’s docklands.
Salute is basically a huge exhibition hall filled with traders and demonstration/participation tables for miniature wargames of all kinds – fantasy, sci-fi and historical. I guess it’s the biggest show of its kind here in the UK.
And it was very cool. Well by my definition of cool anyway.
I decided to get there moderately early as I was entering my Canoness into the painting competition – in the sci-fi single figure category – which closed at noon. I’d got my pre-ordered ticket in hand so there was no queueing to get in and I headed straight over to drop off my contest entry.
After that I got to head off and methodically browse all the stands, watch some demo games and soak up the atmosphere.
What was on show?
One thing I love about this show, and the hobby in general, is seeing beautifully crafted display boards, and nicely painted miniatures. And this year’s Salute didn’t disappoint. I can’t begin to list all the stuff I ogled but there were some that stood out or caught my attention.
I was blown away by the paintjobs on the Alkemy miniatures. I chatted to the designers of the interesting Twilight miniatures game for some time – it’s kind of like a Dark Crystal style fairytale world and also has some interesting random order mechanics coupled with a d2-based system using cast metal runes. I also liked the look of the Freebooter’s Fate pirate game (back away Jon, you already have too many games).
Flames of War and Privateer Press had some large areas with plenty of demo games going on which was nice to see. And another nice thing about the show is that there is also representation of many small independent miniature manufacturers such as Studio McVey, Smart Max (though somehow I missed their stand), Kingdom Death and the aforementioned Alkemy miniatures.
Ooh, look at the shiny shinies
I didn’t really have too many planned purchases beyond my first stop at the Forge World stand to pick up some blood talon arms for my Blood Angels Dreadnought. It wasn’t actually the crazy scrum I was expecting at their stand so it was a quick in and out. After that I was free to browse at a leisurely pace and was rather restrained in my purchses. In fact I think my bag was lighter on the way home – having consumed the food I brought with me.
The only other things I picked up were some nice resin bases from Kerr & King for my Malifaux minis, and a one-off resin miniature from Kingdom Death. I’ve definitely reached the point where I have so much stuff to be getting on with that the urge to buy more is suppressed somewhat. Gigi will approve.
A shared experience
Last year I attended the show on my own and had a great day meandering around at my own leisurely pace.
This year though I knew a fair few people in attendance. James came up from Reading for the day and we got to hang out a fair bit. I bumped into some 40K players I also know from the clubbing scene which was cool, also some folks from the Charing Cross Gaming were there and it was good to meet up with them.
I had also planned to meet up with some of the friendly folks from the Platoon Britannica painting forums who were there for the competition. It was nice to put faces to (user)names and say “hi” in person.
Possibly the highlight of the show for me happened toward the end of the day when Ish and the guys from the Charing Cross club pointed out that the Corvus Belli studio painter – Angel Giraldez was sat at the Sphere Wars stand and we got to ask him loads of questions about his (awesome) painting technique.
All of our questions and answers were being translated to/from Spanish by another friendly Corvus Belli rep. It was fantastic to see the Infinity miniatures so close and to get great tips from such a well respected painter. He even gave some personal critique on my own competition entry!
Awaiting the results
If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’d been preparing my Sisters of Battle Canoness for entry into the painting competition at this year’s show. I’d just managed to finish her in time, despite a despairing start to the week in which I had pretty much decided I wouldn’t get her done in time.
I was ready to despondently pull out of the competition but some encouragement from Gigi got me back on track. I pulled out all the stops, painted like a man possessed, and managed to get the Canoness done to a standard I was pretty happy with.
I proudly entered her into the competition as my first real showcase/competition standard miniature.
It was a strangely nerve-wracking experience and when I first handed her in I didn’t really want to see the other models she was up against. This backfired though as when I came back to have a good look at the full cabinets they had removed half the models for judging and never put them back. Turned out it was a good indication though as mine was on the judging table, meaning it had made it through to the final round. Oh yes.
Finally around 3:30pm they called out the results. There was some confusion as they were awarding 1st and 2nd places in each category but only announcing the first place winners. So when my category – single sci-fi – was called I still didn’t know if I’d won anything. I assumed not as there were plenty of better minis to my eye but you never know exactly what the judges are looking for.
Turns out all the prize-winners were showcased on a central table and mine was not present there. But still I was extremely proud to have made it through to the final round of judging and collected my mini and the little finalist card with real satisfaction.
What a great day.