Well yesterday was the ‘Steampunk’ themed SALUTE 2016, and I have to say that ‘South London Warlords’ did an excellent job as usual. (Although I still believe that it is a massive shame that the ‘Bring & Buy sale’ is absent from the event).
My good friend Nik Green came over from Austria, and after an early start courtesy of my little girl, we got ready for the big day. I wanted to get the ‘London Excel’ relatively early, so you get an okay place in the queue and there is that build-up of anticipation whilst you wait to be let through into the main hanger. We got there in good time and were in the middle of the second line of convention attendees.
Once the theoretical starting pistol went off, I made a brisk walk to the main stand in the centre to add my paint contest entries. Nik made a bee line straight to ‘Ainsty castings’ as he had his eye on some treasure tiles they’ve produced that would be perfect in ‘Frostgrave’. We met up at the main stand and after Nik added his entries at the competition desk, we headed for the ‘Perry miniatures’, stall. Nik is a good friend of the Perry brothers from his re-enactment days, so always like to have as much of a chat and catch up as he can, not always easy as give the brother’s sculpting talents, it is a very popular place. They kindly allowed up to stow our lunch bag behind their counter, and then Nik and I went out separated ways, me to check out the ‘Frostgrave’, demo table, and Nik for a meetup with the ‘Oldhammer’ crowd.
The scenery on the ‘Frostgrave’ table was phenomenal, snow covered ruins built into a mountain with bridges and other obstacles that could obscure line of sight, and therefore spell casting. At the back of the raised corner they had built a cavern with glowing crystal. Sadly I was too late to get into the first game, and after missing two other starts I decided to focus at looking at the other games taking place. There was a good mix of fantasy and sci-fi games going on as well as historical re-enactments, and games based on other genres. There was a rather impressive board based on ‘Mad Max’ and a really good siege of a medieval castle.
You may recall that some point last year I backed a kick starter that was run by Carl Brown through ‘Second thunder’, which was to fund a skirmish combat game with rules that had some flexibility such as stat creation for you war band, the game is call ‘Open Combat’, and Carl was present at SALUTE with Gav Thorpe passing out copies to those who had funded the campaign and to sell to those less fortunate. I have had a chance now to flick through the pages and I am really excited about getting to grips with this game.
I did another circuit of the main hanger and found the ‘Bad Squiddo Games’ stand which was being run by the dice bag lady herself ‘Annie’, her ever present mascot ‘Baggie’ was also present, and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity for a photo. I have visited ‘Annie’s’ site a few time, there is a wide range of realistic female figures for gaming purposes be it fantasy, modern war or Sci-fi. Recently ‘Annie’, commissioned a range of sculpt that celebrate the sacrifice made by many women in the Russian army of the 1st world war, and they are really beautiful. If I played that genre I would certainly have picked up a pack, not that I could totally pass on the goodies on offer. I picked up a metallic ‘Mog’ a female orc warrior, a note book with a picture of a Russian sniper on the cover a badge of ‘Baggie’ and some crystals for scenery construction.
My aim this SALUTE was to stock up on paints and brushes, whilst sticking within a budget I had set by putting money aside every month since January, this gave me a healthy £80 to spend. However I was not counting on how costly good paints and brushes can be. I also forgot how many stall had new shiny looking goodies on sale. I stuck to my guns and after a couple of circuits I found a bargain, £1 for a tube of Vallejo paints I grabbed a handful which included a pot of metal medium, and gave the vendor a crisp £10. I followed that with the purchase of 4 ‘Army painter’ brushes, and a pot of ‘Army painter’, strong tone wash. £25 spent on my hobby needs; I had money to spend on some of my hobby wants. This started with a trip to Alex Huntley’s ‘Arcworlde’, stall to obtain some halflings, here I bought a trio of town guard who will make superb Sergeant figures in my League of Rhordia army.
Halfway through the day I checked the display cases for the painting competition entries, as usual there were so many great submissions, I felt less confident about my own contribution. Later this feeling was proven correct, as my entries did not make it into the final judging round. I was disappointed of course, but with all the entries left in the case with mine, fine examples of the hobby, I did not feel down hearted for long.
As usual with SALUTE the day flew past, and I was absolutely exhausted, my legs were grateful for the seat I got on the DLR home. I left ‘London Excel’ with good memories and a back pack full of goodies. The anticipation has already sparked for next year.