Monday, 18 November 2013


It seems only fair that having moaned about the downside of Shows in a previous piece I should offer an after action report on my experience at Reading Warfare. It’s an eclectic mix – neither balanced nor unbiased – that no doubt says more about me than the show. But hey, its my blog
First I should say thank you to the organisers. I appreciate that pulling one of these things together takes a lot of commitment. I alluded  earlier to the accusation ‘If you think you can do better....’ well, I couldn’t nor would I want to. You have my admiration. It goes without saying that the good cause – Parkinson’s UK – has more than just admiration.

Second, the catering at the ‘bar’ was every bit as grim as I had anticipated.  My cup of Nescafe was not enhanced by the addition of two micro pots of long life chemical mix and the byzantine till arrangement (I wont go into detail) was not one of best practice. The staff in attendance were a testimony to modern youth.
For the first time in a long while I was able to access a bring and buy stall. I didn’t bring or buy anything as the prices seemed to be rather optimistic/unrealistic depending on your point of view. I thought it was meant to be a jumble sale and I would be reluctant to spend large sums of money on items here. Isn’t that what eBay is for?

Foresight junior said to me before we reached them ‘I like the demonstration games the best’. I’m not sure why some people do them.  There is a sliding scale of enthusiastic shouting to the all too prevalent morose silence. If the demo involves two introspective 50 somethings playing a game without talking then this is the show for you. It’s hardly inspiring. I went up to one table (and I’m not making this up) and asked which battle was being played. I got a one word answer and the demonstrator promptly walked off. Now there may have been many different reasons why he would do this – perhaps he was going to be sick after having had a cup of coffee – but if someone shows interest then surely thats the point of going to all the trouble of setting everything up. But it was not unique – lots of clubs do it. If someone comes and stands by your table then presumably they have a passing interest in talking to someone even if its just to say ‘nice figures’ or some such. I did laugh though.
The traders were as ever the most entertaining part. ‘Dont buy these now’ one told me. ‘There’s a 20% discount in December’. And I would have bought them there and then! The saga figures looked nice – its the LBM shields that sell them really. A masterpiece of rebranding by Gripping Beast, I bought a pack and found the same figures that I bought about 7 years ago. And why do the Vallejo displays never have Iraqi sand or Light Grey on them. You’d think traders would bring extra. And does anyone else think that Warlord are expensive?

We were there for an hour and a half and the afternoon cost me about £100 all in. We came away with products from Perry, Artizan, GB, Victrix, Rendra and Vallejo. Driving home through a grey and gridlocked Reading listening to England lose at rugby I vowed never again. But I said that last year and the year before that........

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Following on from the earlier post on the Carabinier I've been pottering around with a few more figures. I thought that I would aim for a firing line Battalion and in order to get some variety will mix in some metal figures. I have yet toget these so its a long term aspiration especially as I've been doing a lot of commission work recently so time is a factor. However once you get into the swing of Napoleonics they are not as daunting as they seem.

Anyway, here are the Carabinier Company for a French Light Infantry Battalion. I'll base them up when I can.


Friday, 15 November 2013


I'm curious. There was a significant spike of hits on the blog yesterday. The stats don't appear to indicate why this might have been although my previous blog entry seems to be the cause. If anyone can say why the sudden rush occured I would be interested to hear.

And in complete contrast to the above.......

I was standing in a queue this morning and the man behind said to his friend 'Have you seen the Times this morning? There's a photo montage on JFK. Some great shots'.

Well, it made me laugh.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


It's the rather dramatically entitled Warfare show in Reading next weekend. Foresight junior is keen to be there and as it is reasonably local we'll go. However I vow that every time I go to one of these things it will be the last. I should add that I'm not singling out this particular event rather my thoughts relate to all such shows or extravaganzas.

First its the cost. When all the peripherals such as travel, food, entry etc are taken into account then there goes the best part of £50 before a single figure is acquired. It's not the recession - I'm happy to do my bit - but when the alternative these days is to sit comfortably in front of the internet and examine new figures on screen at maximum magnification then it seems a poor exchange. And notwithstanding postal charges these days then delivery times are extremely good. Most of the stuff I order arrives within a couple of days.

Second is the catering. I do not go to a show for the culinary experience but frankly most catering outlets set the bar at a very low level. Do chefs hate wargamers? They must do as some of the rubbish I have eaten over the years betrays a psychological scarring that requires urgent assistance. I guarantee that next weekend I will be sold a cup of Nescafe instant that calls on me to add milk from a one litre container that is virtually empty and surrounded by a sea of brew-kit debris. It will not be cheap either. Let me be clear. I am happy to pay for a good product. I am not happy to pay for crap. I once attended a modelling show in Austria where the food stands were light, bright, cheerful, apppetising and alluring. And guess what? They were doing a roaring trade. Families were laughing and eating and looked as if they wanted to be there. Compare and contrast, as they say.

Third is the environment. I've been uncomfortable in many parts of the world but the morose and cheerless gloom of shows is an experience all of its own. Its not the crowdedness, the odour or the backpacks and what I really like about wargaming is the cottage industry rusticness of a business that resolutely refuses to reward enterprise. Let Foundry be a warning! No, its the fact that any show can turn even the most charming of surroundings into a mud strewn barn within an hour of the Q buster doors opening. Look at Newbury racecourse for an example. Or the Excel Centre in Docklands. Actually I'm just joking with Excel. A bit of mud adds interest to that environment.

Fourth, its the games. I will illustrate the point with an anecdote from last year. Junior was keen to play a game so we pitched up at a table ready for a quick bit of fun. Despite the obvious enthusiasm of the hosts we found ourselves lost in a convoluted scenario that in its quest for realism had long since lost sight of the fact that we were both confused and bored. And it seems so rude to just walk away. After we had extricated ourselves Junior looked at me and said 'I didn't understand a word they said'. I had to agree. Conversely can I just put in a good word for the Isandlwhana game we played a few years ago. Quick, fast, simple and over in 10 minutes. What more could you want?

So, am I being unfair? Possibly and I await the 'why dont you do something about it' feedback. But please dont start me on the bring and buy.