So Salute has come and gone for another year and yet again it was a good show on a massive scale – surely one of the biggest wargame-focused shows in the world. I think it had grown slightly this year and they’d extended the hall a bit to accommodate. It did mean that there felt like a bit more space between stands and, although there were still gaggles around popular exhibitors, it didn’t seem quite the crush this year.
I’d decided not to enter anything in the painting competition this year as I fancied the break and also hadn’t really painted anything to showcase standard.
I was hoping to have a good low stress browse through the cabinets and enjoy the competition as a spectator this year but sadly that didn’t really work out for a number of reasons. Firstly, when I decided to look through the cabinets of entries they were in the midst of judging and had carted loads off to the inspection tables. Then the cabinet lighting and ropes cordoning them off meant that I couldn’t get a decent enough look to make it worthwhile so gave up. Secondly, later in the day at the time I assumed the results were to be announced, I strolled over to discover them all packing away. I hadn’t heard the PA announcements and had missed the whole ceremony! Apparently I wasn’t the only one and a number of winners didn’t even realise it was happening. Poor show there, organisers!
Other than that I had a good show, though, with plenty of socialising, browsing, shopping and marvelling at the wonderful display tables.
I was pleased to get to meet Jeremie Bonamant-Teboul and get him to sign the Figopedia painting book I helped crowdfund on Indiegogo last year. (review of that to follow in a later post). As a bonus, JBT had brought a massive array of his stunningly painted miniatures – most of the ones from the book it seemed – and you could get close and personal with them to see the artistry.
It’s always a pleasure to spot a commission mini I’ve painted appear in one of the cabinets so I was delighted to see my two Bushido temple minis at the GCT stand. I guess I’m conflicted on the commission painting thing – on the one hand I get a thrill seeing them promoting products online and in person at shows, but then on the other hand I’d rather spend my hobby time painting my own stuff for tabletop or display.
My own personal favourite game being Infinity I have to say that it felt a bit under-represented with no official presence other than a couple of small independent demo tables and, now that I come to think of it, a few of the big boys were conspicuous by their absence – ie Privateer Press, Corvus Belli, Wyrd, GW obviously (ignoring the usual massive queues at Forge World). Infinity seems to be really on the rise in popularity with Operation Icestorm and 3rd Edition coming out late last year, so it seems like a bit of a miss not to strike while the iron is hot and really push it at the UK’s biggest show. Seems like the CB boys are pretty busy though and I’m sure they’ve got their sights set on the huge Stateside market.
Last year I was not buying minis or games when Salute came around so this year I was quite happy to pick up things that caught my eye – culminating in an impulse purchase of a Guild Ball starter and rulebook. I’d heard some good things about the skirmish game of fantasy football so decided to take a punt(!). I’ll let you know how I get on with that, but first impressions are that the game seems good (Imagine Malifaux and Warmachine got together to make a soccer baby) although the miniatures from my Morticians Guild starter box have some of the worst mold lines I’ve ever seen.
I guess one trend that I’ve become aware of is toward pre-painted terrain. A few years back lasercut MDF kits exploded onto the scene and you’d get wafts of that burnt wood aroma as you walked about the show, and now I notice that some demo tables have taken to using pre-painted MDF, with one company – Plastcraft – showing their rather nice looking sci-fi printed terrain pieces. As a painter I’d rather do it myself in exactly the style I wanted but if you’re looking to fill up a table quickly at a reasonable standard then the pre-paint stuff seems like it could be a great development.
Anyway, another good show overall, despite the painting competition organisation and a general feeling that there wasn’t a whole lot of new stuff going on.
So I’ll close out this post with a small gallery of my favourite demo tables from around the show. It’s always a highlight for me to see the demo tables large and small, especially those that look like a real world setting rather than a flat board with some boxes or trees on it. As ever there were some lovely layouts at Salute this year.
Here, feast your eyes on a hand-picked few.
I’m a sucker for urban decay, post-apocalyptic reclamation of nature sort of stuff so this table for Across the Dead Earth tickled my fancy bone.
Practical? No. Awesome? Heck yeah, a lovely dam layout by Anvil Industries. You can’t see from this angle that there’s actually water effect the other side of the dam and a rusted car crashed over the edge. Very cool stuff.