Monday 10 March 2014

Spendin' cash, talkin' trash...

With Colours 2014 not taking place, The In Crowd decided we owed ourselves a visit to another wargames show. Therefore, Craig, Steve and myself made the journey north to the West Midlands Military Show in Wolverhampton on Sunday 9th March. Many thanks for the lift Craig - you're a star.

Talkin' Trash
So - three wargamers who hadn't met up in a while confined in a car for a couple of hours. Naturally, the conversation quickly turned to... yes, wargaming. If I remember correctly we discussed painting standards and how many hours one could reasonably spend painting a figure, as well as the relationship between painting competitions and wargaming. And then what latest temptations we were trying to avoid, and some stuff about what made a good wargames show. I'm afraid Salute got a bit of a hammering (too big, too crowded, too far away, too expensive to visit), but we all agreed Colours would be sorely missed this year. With myself and Craig contemplating house moves, there was some wistful dreaming about having separate wargames rooms in our new homes, and some discussion of the merits of erecting a big shed in the garden versus going for a proper extension to your home. We concluded that a nice big conservatory makes a lovely wargaming space.

Spendin' Cash
And then we were there. A lovely sunny day, and we celebrated the spring-like feeling by joining other wargamers driving over the newly sprung bulbs to park on the grassed area of the car park. Well, it might not actually have been part of the car park officially, but needs must when spaces are at a premium. No time for sentimentality when there is a bring and buy waiting!

The show is in a large, modern sports hall. The ad promised 50 trade stands and 25 games, and we were not disappointed - this a good size show. The games were just about universally excellent, with a great variety in period, type and size. There was perhaps some space for a few more tables, but generally the hall was well filled, whilst not too overcrowded. Overall, plenty to keep you inspired and interested for a good few hours. Traders were also varied and numerous. We were all glad we went, and will very likely go again. Well done to the Alumwell Wargames Society.

Picture This
And so to the photo report. This is by no means exhaustive, and the pictures were mainly compiled to test out my new camera. Therefore the names of those putting on the games, and sometimes the nature of the games themselves, are mostly missing. If by chance you recognise your game here, please leave some details in the comments section. Personally, I noticed the modest but significant number of quite small games, which might be a trend. And in general, when talking to participants, it was interesting the number of people who were using their own rules. Well done chaps.

Negatives? None to speak of really, except for the continuing grim determination of some wargamers to spend months on modelling a marvellous wargames terrain, then come the great day bestrewing it with playsheets, coffee cups and fizzy drink bottles. Presenters and organisers need to get together to prevent this by requesting/providing more room than the game itself actually requires, so that side tables or vacant space can be used for rules and refreshments.

Overview. A nice light and airy hall

Beautifully modelled game of Norway 1940 - except that  information on what
the game represented was noticeable by its absence.

A lot of effort had obviously gone into producing the game.
A pleasure to behold.

Snow. I like snow.

Battle of Britain game. 

Cabbage crates over the briny.

Hex terrain, models balanced on house roofs - I should hate this game...

...but I didn't. Looked extremely tempting and I wanted to join in.
Love the bright green terrain colour - sets off the figures well.
Oh yes, this was The Battle of the Marne, 1914.

Cracking Hougomont game set up by some local gamers.

Inside the courtyard.

The defenders prepare.

Aha, tricornes!

Behind the display boards were a host of lovely 40mm AWI figures.

Oh dear, a great looking game I forgot to record the details of.
Move those playsheets gentlemen!

This is what we want - good size figures and lots of colour!

One of three Zulu Wars games present. Note the PC being used for the rules.

Crikey - a Flames of War game that actually looks like a real battle.
Oops - sorry to be patronising. A very nice presentation, I thought.

Yes, another unidentified game with some lovely units - as you can see here.

Two very friendly gentlemen were overseeing a participation skirmish game
set in Poland 1939, which naturally drew my attention.

They had assembled some lovely early-war armour in 1/32nd scale.

The future of wargaming? (1). A small but nice looking game
of something sci-fi in progress.

The future of wargaming? (2). The Society of Ancients also chose
a small but perfectly formed game to tempt new recruits.

One of those post 1945 WW2 games, apparently set in 1947 with walking tanks and
Shermans with some sort of las-cannon. These were mixed in with ordinary 1945 stuff.
Interesting and fun. That's a lot of technological advance in 2 years, though.

Eagle Figures stand, with some lovely SYW stuff on display.

Outstanding 20mm Arab-Iraeli game.

Great work, but I dislike that (currently popular) style of burning marker.
Looks very artificial to me. 

I've been pining for this particular model for some years, as transport for one of my SYW generals.
But there's too much other work to be done first. Get thee behind me Satan.
An alternative from Warlord Games is also now available.

Excellent, more tricornes. A game set in the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.

As the Scots weren't wearing tricornes I didn't bother to photograph them.

More redcoats in the same battle.

Finally, a small band of 18th century re-enactors were present, and so yours truly couldn't resist the temptation to
handle a replica Brown Bess. And yes, it's just as heavy and unbalanced as it looks. Shit!

Oh yes, purchases. Steve and Craig contented themselves with picking up some pre-orders from Pendraken. I bought a couple of books - reviews may well follow. I did however shell out about £55 on 20mm WW2 stuff for my friend Paul. Always a pleasure to spend other people's money!

And remember - if it's square, we ain't there.

P.S. Another blogger has captured some of the games my camera missed. I think the demo games at the show really were of a great standard, so for more proof go to:


Dannoc said...

nice report and tempting for next year. I'll have to keep it in mind.

Dalauppror said...

Greate pictures! Yhanks for sharing !

Steve J. said...

You've summed up the day perfectly Keith.

Ubique Matt said...

Nice report, WMMS is one of the better one day shows with something for everyone.

The medieval game was put on by this chap: