Matakishi's Tea House

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April 19th- SALUTE 2008

Salute 08 was held at the Excel centre in London's Docklands and was organised and hosted by the South London Warlords.

A bit of a different Salute for me this year as I turned it into a mini school trip and took three students from the school wargames club along. We'd been looking forward to this for a while and, I'm glad to say, we weren't disappointed.
My longtime wargaming buddy Mark Bush accompanied us, apparently unperturbed by the presence of my underlings (he used to be a teacher before moving on to work for the government).

Pawel, Eduardo and Ali.

We set off from Woking station at 09:00...

...and arrived at the Excel centre shortly after 10:00 after an incident-free journey by train, tube and bus. Ok, virtually incident-free but we needn't go into that; Eduardo is still with us and nobody's pressing charges.

The plan for the day was a quick orientation tour before I released my charges to their own devices, a meeting at 13:00 for lunch and a catch up and then off on their own again until 17:00 when we would rendezvous and head home. Everything went swimmingly, I wasn't summoned by the tannoy (although, as usual, it was crap and I wouldn't have noticed if I was) and they didn't feel the need to phone me all day.

Here then is my take on the day. As always it doesn't nearly cover all Salute has to offer for which I make no apologies; if you want a fuller picture you should attend yourself. Alternatively there are many people publishing their photos of the event on the Internet which a quick Google should turn up. Most of these people have good cameras (unlike me) so their pictures are actually worth looking at (unlike mine).

The big thing about Salute is the traders. Although the Internet allows for easy, year-round purchasing it's still nice to meet the people who fuel my hobby, put faces to names and be able to express a little of the appreciation that I feel for their efforts.

I made my customary stop at Black Cat Bases to see Ben and Jo, possibly the nicest couple in wargaming. That's Ben above on the right, the other chap isn't Jo, these two aren't a couple despite what you might think from the photo. Jo is Ben's wife and, as is customary with traders' wives at wargames shows, she was too busy working to be photographed.

I picked up a selection of resin and metal items as is my wont and Ben made a very generous donation of stock to my school club.

I tried to have a word with
Ian Marsh and Mike Lewis of Fighting 15s and Black Hat Miniatures who were sharing their stand as always but there were too many people in the way as you can see so it didn't happen. Mike later reported that this was his best Salute ever which is good news.

I bought some resin beasties from Hasslefree Miniatures for my on-going Shadowman project. This took a while because Imogen (seen here) wasn't allowed to to touch them and neither was Kev. I waited around while someone went off to find Sally who was buying T shirts. Previous comments about traders' wives always being busy at shows ought to be rescinded here I suppose, clearly sally is a slacker. While we waited Imogen kept looking warily at Doug from
eM-4 Miniatures who was wearing a very peculiar hat. Not intimidated in the least by the hat myself I bought some very nice D16s and some average dice with pips from eM-4. I don't know why but I hate numerals on D6 and I've been after dotty average dice for ages.

Disclaimer: Sally isn't a slacker, she works very hard running Hasslefree Miniatures to ensure that, at least for the customers, it is indeed hasslefree. All that stuff above is a joke. Also, Imogen couldn't see Doug, their stands were separated by virtually the whole immensity of the salute hall. She only seems to be looking at him through the magic of my photoshop wizardry. Cunningly I've combined two completely different photographs into a single flawless picture, incredible!

I also bought miniatures from the fine folk at Artemis black. That's Artemis himself below (on the right, the chap on the left is a Roman re-enactor, do try to keep up 007) and, yes, his name really is Artemis Black don't believe him if he tries to tell you otherwise, he's lying
because he's Welsh and can't help himself. Despite this he's a jolly good chap and because of his generous pre-salute discount offer I saved the cost of my train journey on the figures I bought from him. Artemis offers a good mail order service if you can't see him at a show with built-in discounts and a flat rate £1.00 P&P charge. I recommend you buy from him often.

The vagaries of photo sizing means that I'm forced to move on to the re-enactors now. There were more traders of note however so I'll mention them at the end.
There were Romans like the chap above and ACW blokes like the Confederate below. There was a dalek or two as well who, whilst not being a re-enactor per se is still a person dressed up as something else so I've included him here. There were the obligatory Star wars stormtroopers too but you all know what they look like so don't expect a photo.

The main re-enactor display this year was given over to some Vietnam GIs with their impressive truck mounted quad gun and a nice well armed Jeep. Their area was roped off unlike the Germans last year so there was no touching, or indeed talking to them either from what I could see but I didn't make much of an effort so this shouldn't be taken as a criticism. Personally I'm not a big fan of re-enactors and can take them or leave them. I like looking at the kit though. I understand from others that the Roman guys were very knowledgeable, interesting and friendly so good for them.

I didn't notice anyone being outraged by the blokes in historical costumes this year either. Presumably someone dressed up as a Confederate or Roman isn't automatically advocating, or secretly wishing for, the return of slavery; unlike the people last year who were all apparently closet baby-bayoneting, Jew-hating scum bags because they dared to dress as SS. Maybe the outrage is out there and I haven't noticed it yet? Well, whatever, the upshot is that there were people in various costumes hanging around. All good fun and very picturesque.

Back to the traders before I move on to the games that were on display.
I collected more scenery building necessities from Jed at
Antenocitiís Workshop. This is my first port of call for things of this nature you ought to check them out if you haven't already they are always getting new and interesting things added to their ranges.

I got a foam tray from Daryl Elms of
Kaiser Rushforth Ltd to replace one I'd given away. Daryl donated the replacement which saved me some money and proved he's a top bloke. I meant to go back later and buy another carrying box from him right at the end to save having to carry it around but I didn't manage to. Since Kaiser Rushforth don't charge extra for shipping I can always mail order one though so no real loss.

There were many, many games on show this year as always. I didn't get to see all of them which is usual, there just isn't time, and most of the photos I took were rubbish because of my camera flash. Consequently I'm only going to mention a couple here and direct you, once again, to take the time to search out some of the excellent photo spreads around the net from others with good photography equipment and skills.

The big game for me was the 70+ft long 1/35 scale Market garden game using Crossfire rules put on by the Huntingdon & District Wargames Society.

Those are some impressive squad bases with some nifty sides to aid in picking them up.
Here's a link to the photo album of the man responsible for this amazing game:

The Spirit of the Game people had their End of Empire set up out again but this time they had a night time effect going with some acetate circles showing the illuminated areas of the board. This isn't new of course but I did like the fact that they had the street cobblestone pattern showing in the illuminated parts.

Paul Darnell of Touching History  had a Napoleonic Peninsula War set up, splendid stuff as always. It made me buy issue four, I just couldn't help myself. Those of you thinking I just bought it because I'm mentioned in it are filthy rotters! Either that of I'm just shallow (yes, ok, I am just shallow).

This is the Frothers' game. Frankly I was amazed that they managed to organise themselves enough to actually get anything on the table. The fact that what they did produce was this good was completely unexpected. I passed by several times and everyone seemed to be having a good time so I'm guessing it was a success. Good effort from all involved, well done lads.

This was built by Bungle and Hetz; it's basic construction with printed textures added and it looks great, the pictures don't do it justice. I particularly like the reflected sky in the windows of the rear building by the tape measure, cracking stuff. I'll be copying this for my own buildings in the near future.

Mark and Giro.

No salute is complete without meeting old friends and making new ones. Above are Mark Bush who I travelled up with and Giro who I met up with at the show, both are members of my small circle of gaming friends.

Jeremy (Germy) and Scott (Alien Surfer).

There was a general lunch time meet up as usual. Germy and Alien Surfer took time off from running games for eM-4 Miniatures to share a coffee and we were joined by many others including Rees from
Moonfleet Miniatures and other people familiar from many forums and newsgroups. I'm not going to list them all because I didn't take photos and a list of forum names without faces to link them to is pointless and dull. If you want to see what these folk look like you need to come along yourself next year.

After lunch there was a repeat of the morning's activity, buying, looking, chatting etc. Eventually it was time to leave and I set about rounding up my charges. I found them playing Warmachine under the friendly guidance of Lee, one of the Privateer Press volunteers.

The journey home was tiring but uneventful and we arrived back at Woking at 18:30. Pawel, Eduardo and Ali all said they enjoyed the day and hoped to return next year.
Me too.