9th-10th September Colours 2006
by the Newbury and Reading Wargames Society and held in the Grandstand
at Newbury Race Course, Newbury, Berkshire, UK on 9th & 10th
I got a free ride to Colours this year; Paul Darnell of Touching History
fame asked if I wanted a lift. I accepted his kind offer immediately
and thus allowed my wife to escape the horrors (to her) of a wargames
show. The only downside of this was an incredibly early start to the
day, how we must suffer for our hobbies sometimes. We picked up Mark Bush
on the way, returned home for some forgotten scenery and then scooted
down a mostly empty motorway towards Newbury in good spirits.
Part of the Touching History terrain set up.
arrived at Newbury in good time and got stuck right in with the serious
business of attending a wargames show. First we added some ECW figures
to Paulís existing 16ft x 4ft terrain set up so it looked more lived
in. During the course of the day we managed to slaughter most of these
in a fairly random and light-hearted attempt to storm the fortified
manor house that dominated one end of the board. My companions will
claim the game was undecided but secretly they know I was winning.
Darnell showing off issue two of Toching History to an interested
convention goer. Issue two is much more substantial that issue one with
thicker covers and heavier paper and is a very nice publication indeed.
Once everything was set up and ready to go I went for a wander to see what was going on.
days I find that conventions are a lot less stressful than they used to
be. Before the advent of the internet I used a wargames show as a huge
shop. I tried to ensure that I bought all the wargaming products that I
would need for the next twelve months and then tried to gather in every
new shiny thing that attracted my attention at the show in case it
wasnít available next time.
involved rushing to a traderís stand, handing over a prepared list of
code numbers etc. and then waiting for the person manning the stand to
find all your bits in a morass of little drawers behind him or her. All
this was complicated by the horde of people all doing the same around
you. In the midst of this group was always some moron who didnít even
have a list and was insisting on being shown several miniatures picked
at random from an un-illustrated catalogue to see if he liked them.
one purchase was complete it was time to rush to the next trader on
your list and repeat the exercise. This time however, since you werenít
the first to arrive, you had to wait impatiently, facing the shield
wall of rucksacks in front of you, for ages before you wormed your way
to the front. It was at times like these that I learned to hate the
dithering fools that came to these events unprepared. An entirely
unfair judgement of course since I was as guilty as anyone of doing
this when I came across a previously unknown range of figures or
all this is different for me. I order the items I want online
throughout the year, if I see something new at a show I get details and
order later at my leisure. Occasionally I will buy a particularly shiny
trinket or a one-off item that I want but this purchasing is no longer
accompanied by levels of life-threatening stress. For me wargames shows
are now a serene experience where I get to meet and talk to people.
So, hereís who I met and talked to this year:
Here's Jed and Mark discussing purchases.
I had a chat with Jed who owns Antenocitiís Workshop
and discussed some future projects of mine with him. I saw the new
sci-fi furniture heís producing which is very nice and has cemented its
place on my list of stuff for my Moonbase. Generally Antenocittiís Workshop
is my first port of call for all things modelling these days; Jed is
very knowledgeable and easy to deal with. The customer service from Antenociti
is unbeatable. I didnít spend any money with Jed but Mark hadnít seen
the stand before and stocked up on varnish and other supplies so
everyone was happy.
Ian Marsh and Mike Lewis. Ian doesn't always look this strange.
I spent some time with Ian Marsh of Fighting 15s and Mike Lewis of Black Hat Miniatures
who were, as usual, sharing a stand. Iíve known Ian and Mike for a
number of years and it was nice to catch up with them. I managed to get
a good look at the Cephalods that Black Hat
produce; these are lovely models with lots of tentacles that will be
making an appearance on my wargames table soon. Theyíre easily big
enough to mix with 28mm humans as an alien race. Martians will be
joining the Alien Invasion at last.
The Moonfleet Miniatures table with a selection of their wares.
I found Moonfleet Miniatures and Rees showed me the new additions to his A.S.P. forces that I use as UFO aliens,
there was plenty here to interest me including the new snipers and a
medical team with a floating stretcher/treatment bed which will soon be
used as a mobile human dissection table in my games. I bought quite a
few of this range and theyíve been shunted up the painting schedule so
expect pictures of them soon. I also bought some of the Lyrium which
are a kind of fish-man race with bags of character.
were also lots of new Smoggers available as well as some completely new
races, some of which are in metal, and some in resin. The big slug
things in particular are really nice. Sadly Moonfleetís new website
isnít up yet so you canít see photos of the new stuff and the photos on
the current site do not show the figures to their best advantage. Bear
with them though; itíll be worth the wait. I hope theyíre here to stay
as they inject some much-needed originality into the sci-fi games
The Black Cat banner and some of the bases they produce.
Next door to Moonfleet, and connected with them, were Black Cat Bases.
Ben and Jo Parker
who own and run Black Cat told me their mission was to be the nicest
people in wargaming and then went on to try and prove it to me. I was
plied with free (non alcoholic) drink and chocolate biscuits throughout
our extended conversation and every time I mentioned I liked one of
their products it was forced upon me as a freebie to Ďtry it outí. I
stopped mentioning what I thought was good because my Ďfreebieí bag was
heavier than my Ďboughtí bag and, although Iím as mercenary as the next
bloke, even I have my limits past which my conscience will not let me
make a lot of stuff other than bases. Their bases are very fine but not
something Iíd ever use because I like making my own. Their scenery
items and figures however are useful, well crafted and fill several
gaps in my collection. I came away with some resin phone boxes (UK red
ones), dustbins, wheelie bins and rubbish sacks to clutter my city with
and a whole set of 28mm metal cats and kittens to add to various
character bases. I even got some toilets for my Moonbase. There was much more available that I will get later (and pay for like a proper customer ) as the mood takes me. Their site is well worth a visit, especially if you (unlike me) actually want some bases.
of the Touching History set up. If you'd been here earlier you'd have
seen the pic with Bill Gaskin and Mike Siggins in it but Mike wants to
remain anonymous and unseen so he's gone, ninja-like, back into
There were also
several people and traders that I made acquaintance with that didnít
have to put up with me boring them for extended periods of time. Most
notably for me I met Bill Gaskin who has been an inspiration to me and
others in our hobby for many years.
I spent money on some Peter Pig dice because you can never have too many D6 and they were yellow with pigs on them. A good alternative for Pig Tickler players who donít want to use pink ones and worth the investment.
And finally, I bought a terrain book, ĎMaking
terrain and buildings for historical wargamesí by Timothy Hall and
Jonathan Sutherland, published by Crowood Press ISBN 1 86126 829 7
£16.99. I was looking through this while Mark was buying some
figures and was surprised to see that there were three pieces of my
work in it. I had been contacted about this over a year ago but hadnít
heard anything further. Itís nice to finally see it but a note that it
was published would have been nice. (A free copy would have been nicer ). Anyway, itís a good looking book with lots of colour photographs, you should probably rush out and buy it.