Salute: after the dust has settled
Posted by Martin on April 26, 2011
Now a week has passed and I feel as though I’ve had sufficient time to digest the big day. So what sticks in my memory? In no particular order I recall:
- The queue: it felt the longest I’ve ever seen it but, as with last year, it seemed to move smoothly under the experienced control of the South London Warloards marshals. The one thing that I did notice was that the advance purchase “queue buster” queue was as long as the pay-on-the-door queue and seemed to progress more slowly. I’ve never been a fan of the “queue buster” approach and I think this year has justified my standpoint.
- David Imrie, Paul Darnell and Andy Taylor’s ECW demo game: a circular set-up which I think worked surprisingly well. It was a great combination of Paul’s excellent terrain making skills and David and Andy’s terrific figure painting. Plus, the bonus for me is that any game these guys put on at a show gives me a handy place to rest my weary feet and have a friendly chat for a while.
- Barry Hilton’s Peninsular War Republic to Empire demo game: yes, I’ve seen this scenery before but it’s great to see the Barry out there promoting his rules and to see the continuing high level of interest in them. We now seem to be past the TMP-style whinging phase and more rational heads are prepared to give the rules a try rather than letting unsubstantiated prejudice gain the upper hand. I had a good chat with Barry and he informs me that he and Clarence have almost completed the new edition of the Beneath the Lily Banners ruleset (for the Grand Alliance period), which means Clarence will soon start work on producing a beautified PDF version of my Prussian guide for Republic to Empire. The plan is for this to be made available as a free download, so watch out for news of that later in the year.
- Gallipoli scenery: easily the best terrain set-up I’ve seen in recent years was this cliff-face and trench combination that appears to have been put together by a combination of different traders and talents. I’m ashamed to admit that I failed to note the names of those who deserve credit for this eye-catcher.
- The painting competition: it sticks in my mind but not for the best of reasons. Sure, the quality of entries seems as good as ever but the excitement of peering into the display cases has waned for me. Partly, it’s the decline of historical entries (and the fact that some of those seem to get relegated to the bottom shelf) but mainly it’s the increasingly unpleasant jostling that goes on – I just couldn’t enjoy a period of detailed study of the entries, despite making several attempts during the course of the day. Perhaps I’m just turning into a curmudgeon or is it too controversial of me to imagine a link between this situation and the increasing amount of fantasy figures in the competition?
- Warlord Prussian Napoleonics: nope, they’re just not for me. That applies the both the metal and the plastic figures and that’s as much as I think I should say on the subject It’s a pity really, because some of the ideas for the metal command packs and casualty figures are clever but the execution simply doesn’t do the concepts justice.
- Victrix Plastic Napoleonics: actually, these are quite good. However, the subjects they’ve chosen (British and now Austrian and Russian) don’t fit my plans. I do like the sculpting work on their French Imperial Guard figures though.
- Perry Miniatures: there’s been a lot of hype about the six new plastic sets for which 3-ups were to be unveiled at Salute. I’ll pass over the medieval, ACW and American War of Independences sets – I’m sure others with specific interest in those will have lots to say (Giles?). The three new Napoleonic sets were Austrian (German) line infantry, Russian line infantry and Prussian reserve infantry. The first two sets are sure to put the cat among the pigeons and demonstrate the Perrys’ long term plans to break out of the 1815 campaign. They’ll come with a range of head options so, with the Russians for example, you’ll be able to do pre-1807 shakos, 1812 kiwer shakos and other options for grenadiers. The Prussian reserve infantry 3-ups seemed a little dull to me and come with only minimal kit options.
- Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy: hmmm, high production values, entirely in English (at least the edition I inspected) but a little thin. Perhaps such leanness is to be expected from a recently ressurected corpse, though. I wish them well!
And to close, a couple of things that passed me by unnoticed: this year’s ACW theme, a really top quality selection of books (none of the traders seemed to have brought their best stock) and somebody (anybody?) stocking Andrea paints. Yes, I know I can order them online but, for a paint addict like me, there’s no substitute for sniffing the acrylic and squeezing the dropper bottles.