Matakishi's Tea House

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22nd April 2006- SALUTE

Salute 06
Organised by the South London Warlords
Held at the ExCel centre in Londonís Docklands

I travelled up to Salute this year with my friend Mark Bush, itís always nice to have company at an event like this and the fact that Mark can get me free rail travel because of his season ticket is an added bonus.

We left sunny Woking station at 9:15 and by 10:30 we were in Salute. It was an easy, stress-free and pleasant journey by public transport which set us up for the rest of the day ahead.

This year Salute was at its new venue, the ExCel Centre in Londonís Docklands. Everything was laid out on one floor which made it much easier to get around. The hard floor was murder on the feet though.

We began with a quick circuit but an hour and a half later we hadnít completed it, we still had a third of the show to look at. However, it was 12:00 and time to Ďmeet the TMPersí. We headed for the rendezvous in the Foxís bar just outside the hall wher Aliensurfer, Johnny, and Germy were waiting. Beer and food followed. We had a relaxing hourís break before heading back into the fray.

The TMP lunch crew. L to R: Johnny, Alien surfer, Germy, Nigel Molesworth, Matakishi.

There were all the usual traders present. In previous years Iíve used Salute (and other shows) as a huge shop. Shows like this used to be the only way to see what you were getting before you paid for it and to find out about new stuff. Nowadays, with the internet allowing much more access to most manufacturersí catalogues and up-to-the-minute news reporting on TMP and other sites, I donít have a need to rush round buying up wargaming supplies for a whole year and I can take my time to have a look at whatís going on around the show.

I did spend £100 on various things, Iím not proud of it, but every single item will be used before the end of July this year so not a penny was wasted. I bought figures, rules and scenery for my Prehistoric Settlement project which is starting in May and rules for my French-Indian War project that is starting in June.
Oh, and I bought some dice that I didnít need so I suppose that that particular £2.00 was wasted. However, there were mitigating circumstances which Iíll get to later.
I think this is the first convention where I havenít bought an Osprey book or a tree, an historic event.

The highlights of the show for me were, in no particular order:

Neo Tokyo. This one caught my eye very early on. It was being overseen by Dennis from the Carry On Wargaming group and used modular cast buildings from Bouldings Mouldings. I think it looked very effective and Iím hoping to try something similar myself. Iíll be building my own buildings though, not using the castings, so Iíll just be stealing their ideas I suppose. Oh well.

A 28mm game of Rorkeís Drift put on by the SSWG using Redoubt figures and buildings. The rolling terrain was very nice and all the figures were based singularly. Basing them this way made the Zulus look really good as they swarmed around the scrubby bushes in front of the mission but made moving them very time-consuming.

Circus Minimus from the Reading Wargames club, the chaps that organise Warfare in Reading not Colours.
Matt Slade the games organiser, was running a fast and fun chariot racing game that was being enjoyed by the young (very young) and old alike. This game impressed me with itís clear simplicity and charming setting. The fact that it was so accessible to such a wide range of age groups is an added bonus and an achievement that shouldnít go un-remarked.

Touching History is a new magazine by Paul Darnell about making scenery. Issue one concentrates on the Peninsular War.  Some of you may remember Paul from when he started Colonial Conquest which was one of my favourite magazines. I wish him well in his new venture and urge you all to grab a copy.

The one trader I will mention is Chessex and their fiendish dice box. Any dice, 20p each. How could I resist? They got me to buy 10 dice from them which was my 'wasted' £2.00, I couldn't help it, the colours were soooooooo interesting.

I got to meet (briefly) Aberrant Games Creative Director & CEO Simon Mackenzie and renew my aquaintace with Abberant's European Operations Manager Simon Key. Aberrant Games produce Rezolution which is a game I'm fond of. I didn't have enough money to take advantage of their offers to get some CSO Peacekeepers early so I'll just wait for the proper release date like everyone else. Here's Simon Key running the Rezolution demo game.

To sum up, an enjoyable show, well managed and organised by the Warlords. I'm looking forward to 2007.