Home from Salute 2007
Posted by Martin on April 23, 2007
Well, here I am, safely back from Salute with nothing worse than sore feet and a lighter wallet! Overall, I reckon this year’s Salute has been the most enjoyable that I’ve attended and, given a couple more years at ExCel, I’ll even adjust the the aircraft hangar atmosphere.
It’s hard to know where to start with the highlights this year so, instead, I’m going to get the one disappointment off my chest early. Most years the organizers invite some re-enactors along to liven up things. Now, one of my cousins is an avid member of the Sealed Knot, so I don’t have anything particular against re-enactors. However, this year’s lot were not my cup of tea. It’s not the fact that they were a WW2 German re-enactor group, it’s not even the fact that some of the adults wore SS uniforms. No, what got my goat, was the fact that children accompanying the group were dressed in Hitler Youth uniforms. Frankly, I can’t see any defence for dressing up impressionable young people like this.
My antecedents didn’t fight in a war against fascism to see it glorified like this. Yes, its true that they fought for freedom of speech, and that includes the freedom for people to dress how they like. But with freedom, comes responsibility. And the first responsibility these people have to accept is that, just as they have a right to dress as they please, I have a right to express my opinion of that way of dressing. The second responsibility is more serious: it’s fine for adults to make an informed decision to don an SS uniform and even valid to do so as part of a mature examination of military history. But to put children in these uniforms? Well, that’s just going too far. I hope the organizers take a long hard think about what kind of re-enactors they choose to invite to Salute 2008. Nuff said.
So now on to more enjoyable matters. Firstly, I’d like to offer some congratulations to some people who I have the privilege to know and link to from here. David Imrie’s Polish winged hussars picked up first prize for Historical Wargames Unit in the painting competition. Get over to David’s site for photos of these beauties. Secondly, congraluations to Giles Allison and his colleagues in Loughton Strike Force for winning the Most Impressive Troops in the display games awards. Their 28mm game of the French cavalry charges at Waterloo was stupendous as you can see from this posting on Giles’ blog and from the many photos that are showing up in the pictures section of Steve Dean’s forum and other places.
Wow! Now that’s the sort of thing that really inspires you to lock yourself in a room with the paints until next year’s show. And painting inspiration is exactly what I need given that Peter F. has reminded me of our pact to both enter a unit at the Colours painting competition in September. This is now a matter of honour between us 🙂
My other great pleasure at Salute this time around was to catch up with so many of the new friends I’m making in the hobby. In some cases, it has been a case of putting faces to names for the first time – a example being the aforementioned Giles. Both Peter F. and I admired his horse painting skills on his two units of Dutch-Belgian cavalry. In other cases, it was the happy chance to spend an extended coffee break in the company of the likes of Peter Royle, Bill Gaskin and Rob Baker.
Plus, of course, Peter F. and I toured the stands together. For all you Calpe-ites, I now have in my possession early castings of the new Prussian cavalry and artillery command sets as well as two mounted Feldjaeger figures intended for use as ADCs. Photos to follow later in the week. Peter F is working to complete the Prussian range. Some of this is reworking of older figures to make them consistent with the way his scuplting style and skill has developed; some of it is to fill in the gaps – one notable example will be the infantry of the Prussian guard. Plans for what comes next after the Prussians are definitely firming up and Peter has consulted a lot of friends about the next steps. I, for one, am really excited about what Peter has in mind but he’s not quite ready to make an announcement, so I’ll be like dad and keep mum.