Naturally Vappa (as many of us call it) or Vapnartak to be correct is one of the first big shows of the year and one that I always enjoy, always friendly, always some great games on display, always many, many good quality traders baring their respective wares! I wasn't able to make it last year (see above!) so it was a real joy to race down the A1M and finally hit my first show in what seems like a very long time. What's more I found that my enthusiasm for the hobby had returned, though my wallet probably has a different take on this!
OK, so let's start with the bank busting, wallet crunching buys.....
Firstly I headed straight to Dave T's stand and filled one of his little plastic shopping trays he had with all the Perry Late Medieval (Agincourt to Orleans, Wars of the Roses [or Cousins War as it was know at the time] and the European Armies range) miniatures that I hadn't had a chance purchase yet. This amounted to over £100 but Dave T, always generous gave a nice discount and all was well. Cheers Dave, you're a gent.
My next stop had a bit of a comical air to it as I stopped off at Warlord Games stand, mentioned that I had used their miniatures for the front cover vignette I painted up for Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, asked how many browny points that might earn me in terms of a discount and got a fiver off a £25. book! Both Saby (my long suffering girlfriend) and I gave one another a knowing glance, tried to conceal our grins, probably not to much effect. I did manage to say thanks but I don't think I'll be using Warlords miniatures for any other publications without being payed for it first lol :>) In truth, I did appreciate the discount, it just seemed a poor reward for free advertising! Better move on now, eh?.....
One copy of Pike and Shot:
I plan to use these rules in combination of Hail Caesar for the Battle of Fornovo 1495 demo game that I have planned for the future with the Lance and Longbow Society. Fornovo falls right on the cusp of the Late Medieval period and the beginnings of the Renaissance. Of course these are artificial lines drawn in the sand set by us wargamers (and some historians!). It's all a matter of balancing out the gunpowder vs archery. I'm sure that this can be done with a combination of both rule sets but if anyone has any other ideas, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
OK, onwards and upwards....
I was quite taken aback by the quality of some model trees that a chap had on a small stand that would have been easy to walk past. This was the Treemendus stand and I was quickly convinced it would be a very good idea to buy a Tree kit. On close inspection of the kit it contains all the gear necessary to create a very realistic tree and I think I'll be going this way with all of my schwubbewy! The next day upon request the owner kindly sent me a file with extended instructions, which at least means I won't make any colossal blunders. I will of course be posting up pics of the tree in due course.
Nest stop was Curteys Miniatures. I always enjoy a good chat with them. Two of the friendliest lads in the hobby. In between some discussion of England's unforgivable performance in the Ashes and playing a very young inexperienced team in the Rugby against France (& thus losing by two points!!) we managed to fit in a few words about miniatures. I was pleased to find out that Battle Flag, which Curteys stock, have produced a Venetian set of transfers that will fit the Perry Miniatures European Range Carraccio. This will save a lot of painting time since the army sent against the French at Fornovo was the League of Venice and therefore the transfers are ideal. Alhough Carraccio's were obsolete by the time of the battle, the model is so lovely that it would be a disservice to wargaming not to have it included on the tabletop. I do intend to paint one up without the transfers at some point but at the moment in order to keep the project moving along momentum is the key.
Perry Miniatures Carraccio:
Curteys Miniatures version of the Corraccio with Battle Flag transfers:
Any trip to a wargames show would seem empty without a look at the Gripping Beast stand. However, time was running out as I had just finished my run of taking pics of what I considered to be the best games (anyone out there who was missed out, please consider that these are in my opinion the best games on display and in no way should deflect from the elegance and splendour of many of the others!) I digress.....
It was great to catch up with the guys from GB and have a good chat as it's been a while. Darren also ran both Saby (remember, the long suffering girlfriend?) and I through the Saga rules despite it being late in the day (I suspect that he was skiving from packing up!) as although I bought the Saga rules and two supplements when they were released I have not been able to get a game in due to illness last year etc. Here's a few pics of the game and I think that they hint very well who out of Saby and I were to be crowned as King of England circa 1065 ;>)
Did I mention that I bought some of the special dice for Saga? Well, they are worth it and add that little bit more flavour to the game.
Fearsome Norse ~Warrior Woman Saby Skagi!
Saby Impressed by Darren's Dexterous Tuition Skills
Mr Harding Lending a Helping Hand to Us Both(?)
Yours Truly (Darrell Baldheadson) in Full Concentration Mode
Possibly the Most Fearsome Partnership in all of the 11th Century!
My final downfall.... (watch out for those Ulfhednar! Seriously!)
OK, so now onto the pics of the games. Time was running out verily so I had to pick some games and miss others that I would have liked to get some snaps of. In particular there was a fantastic WWI game and a Martian War of the Worlds encounter that I would have loved to get. In the end I managed five games but managed to take a large numberl of pics.
The Lance and Longbow Society/Simon Chick Battle of Cravant 1424
To anyone who knows me it should come as no surprise that the Battle of Cravant game would inevitably be my favourite. As obsessed by Late Medieval Warfare as I am.
Simon Chick (Painterman on various wargaming fora) had really made marvellous spectacle on the tabletop. The first time I saw the game it was in the throws of the action where the English and Burgundians had just launched their attack over the river after staring the French and their Scottish allies in the face for a while. It was very late in the day when it came to do the pics and with much of the French and Scots scattered I decided to concentrate on the details of the demo of which there were many as you will see below:
M. Wheatly, The Battle of Justice Mills (Aberdeen) 1644:
This game was unusual in that there were no players playing the game. I had heard a few utterances from a few people that this was rather silly, "after all, why not play the game?" but I have to say that I disagree. I know plenty of painters who don't game and even some that just paint professionally and have no interest in having a collection of miniatures. So, why not? Each to their own. The terrain and miniatures were, very much like the Cravant game, fabulously detailed and had a sense a deep imagination in terms of setting the scene.
Bolt Action Game:
I took a few quick snaps of the game. I haven't had the pleasure of playing as of yet but it's proving to be the No. 1 set of rules for WWII in 28mm so it would have been a bit daft of me not to have taken a few snaps.
Leicester Fat Cats, "Booster ridge", The Last Line of Defence in the Valley of the Tears
(October 16th, The Yom Kippur War)
Unusually for me, this game struck quite a chord. I'm not usually attracted to 15mm gaming with the same enthusiasm that I take to 28mm stuff but the game was a real spectacle as the images below will bear witness to:
Falkirk Wargames Club, The Slaughter of the Danes;
Dark Ages? Of course there will be pics!! The Falkik lads really seemed like they were really enjoying themselves playing the game. I can recommend the Falkirk Club's show Carronade as I've been many times and never been disappointed. Ranks nearly as high as Claymore show in Edinburgh, run by SESWC as far as the Scottish shows go.
.....and that's a wrap!