Sunday, 25 April 2010
Salute 2010: ExCel Centre
I'm a long time attended of the Salute show and remember it when it was at Kensington, but think the last time I went to a Salute was in 2004 at Olympia, so it has been quite a while since I've been to what is arguably the premier wargame show in Britain. Since I last went it has moved again to the Excel Centre in the Docklands. I had intended to go last year, but was too ill to cope with the travel, and I think the previous year the Docklands light railway was offline, so I passed going because of the travel time. Yesterday though, the trains were working, the sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day.
I got there at 09.30, having risen at my usual sparrow fart time that would indicate it was a work day. I'm not a morning person at the best of times, and going to a show probably is the best of times. Luckily one can nap on the tube. Anyway, got there and the early queue was winding itself into another hallway, and was paralleled by an almost equally long queue of people who had not bought cheaper early bird tickets. There was a delay due to the fire marshal not clearing the hall as safe, but the Salute crew were on the ball handing out the goody bags and pre-stamping the tickets and the backs of our hands. I commented that this would be a good way to infect everybody with experiment viruses, if one were so inclined that is.
Got in the hall, having had a jelly baby off a Chris Tennant Dr. Who look-a-like, see Darth Vader wheezing along with three doughty Storm Troopers in tow and passed three members of an StarGate team, which included a woman who had made a sterling effort to look like Sam Carter. Well done to Vikings, WW1 Germans, the WW2 British and any other re-enactors at the show and any I didn't see for all the effort you put in to entertain me.
I then commenced Operation Buying Frenzy, as I had a little list. Peter Pig was visited for a pair of Toyota technicals for conversion (watch this space as they say), a pair of Gaz 469 jeeps (that I will mount recoilless rifles on), and a pair of Unimogs (one with a tilt, the other open) all for my Somalian AK47R project that I'm making, which was my third largest purchase of the day at Peter Pig.
I also stopped at Dom's Decals and bought some German turret decals in both 10 & 15mm for my mechs, and also bought three aircraft from him too. Nice to meet him very briefly and put a name to a face, though I don't think he will remember me, given how busy it was. After this I passed a stand that had the Wings of War Balloon Busters with nearly £10.00 off, so I bought one, which was my second most expensive purchase of the day.
Then I found Pendraken and picked up my pre-order, which was my biggest single spend of the day. Two Spanish Civil War starter armies (Republican & Nationalist) with a full German & Italian armour contigent with various assorted sundry items, and three hot out the casting machine MkVs tanks for my World War One project. I was a happy girl, if a bit poorer.
Then it was mooching around for bargains and on the Gamers shop stand I found some MechWarrior goodies. I bought the three Ares Class mech box set for £10.00, and the Poseidon Ares for £7.00, which I though was a bargain. I also found at Leisure Games shop stand some MechWarrior booster packs marked at £2.00 a pop, so I thought I'd buy five. When I came to pay the guy said they were on a special show offer of buy five and get three free. After counting out 16 booster packs, there were only 7 left and he did me a deal of the remainder for £4.00. Score, or what? (when I got home, opening them and sorting them out kept me occupied for five hours, which is cheap for the entertainment really).
After this the frenzy I met up with Trevor and his son Oliver, around 11.30. They got to Salute late, due to travel difficulties. I then showed Oliver my cache and told him and his dad that the stand still had some more MechWarrior Poseidon Ares mechs left. So we went over and bought the last remaining two he had, and the nice man behind the stand smiled at us. Trevor and Oliver have played a game of MechWarrior and both father and son seem to be enjoying themselves.
Trevor and I then went to have a coffee and a snack as it was lunchtime. Oliver meanwhile was frothing like a good one, over all the things to see at the show. However, it was nice to sit down and chat and while we were drinking our coffee and having a snack, Dov Rigal, another long time old friend of mine turned up, with his son Sam. So had a good natter about stuff. After a suitable time and feeling more refreshed we went back into the show.
We then spent the rest of the afternoon mooching for stuff, and Oliver bought a Monsterpocalypse starter set at half price. We then got him and his dad into a participation game of zombies and power armour trooper running through an underground complex, which they both enjoyed. Meanwhile I perused the show and saw some great looking games. I especially like the C. J. Cherryh Merchanter/Union universe space game with scratchbuilt models as per the book descriptions. So good I bought a set of the home made rules for a pound. I also like the two Dr. Who miniature games that were being run, and which were both grossly over subscribed with children of all ages being turned away. Bought the starter rules they had for the games too for £3.00.
I also bumped into a few old friends, but not Martin B. who had emailed me to late to let me know he was down from up North, and talked to Laurie from the South East Essex Military Society, which I used to be a member of many, many years ago. So, I had a really nice time and was totally revved up from the day, even if at the end of it my feet were killing me, and I felt totally exhausted. However, sitting at home and opening 21 boxes of MechWarrior boosters, while drinking wine and chatting to friends was most relaxing, especially as they only cost 66p per box.