dimanche 24 avril 2016

Salute 2016 Special Edition!!! I'm back, and I Salute you! (Pics heavy)

First, I'd like to apologize for the huge lentgh of time I've left this blog to rot.
Well. Sorry, really. Sometimes you have to make choices, and I favored painting and playing over writing. I know it feels like a lack of respect for my few readers, but in my time, I've spent too much time "bragging" about my hobbies and not actually enjoying the said hobby. So I played and painted (mainly Malifaux, X-Wing, Arkham Horror and recently, a bit of Infinity...). I hate to make promises when I can't know for certain if i'll be able to keep them, but I'll try to keep you up to date with my progresses in painting and my most recent discoveries as far as Miniatures Wargaming goes. Here are a few new paintings that "happened" while I was away...
Blessed of December (Malifaux Arcanists)

Baby Kade and Candy (Malifaux Neverborn)

Francisco Ortega (Malifaux Guild. LE)

Raethford (Multikit TTB, for Malifaux, Joint Task Force Encounter)

Mobile Toolkit (Malifaux Arcanists)

Well. The time has passed since my last article, and many things have come up since. We moved out of our former address, and like I said a bit earlier, I tried to play and paint more...

This article will be about my latest adventure : Salute 2016!!!

So here we go : it's been almost a decade that I've wanted to go to the Salute in London. But it seemed that everytime my mind was made up , something went wrong (not enough money, health issues, not enough time, exams to mark, etc.). And this year, it felt like it was going to be another of those years. But it wasn't , actually. My wonderfull wife decided otherwise. As a present, she offered me the price of the travel and the hotel. So here I was, finally set on the right course! Even better : this year's theme was Steampunk! I bought my ticket and on the day before the event, left for my second home : London.

So, for those not in the know, what is Salute? Well, simply the biggest European event in Miniatures Wargaming. It's a meeting for the gamers and the makers of wargames. You can find some of the best gaming tables to play on, to look at people playing games, and buy all the stuff you put money aside for during the past year. And there are even some exclusive surprises for you. if you've already been to a Games Workshop Games Day, it's exactly the same, but it is not dedicated to just one made, and it's not just about fantasy gaming. You 'll find history enthousiasts too (which is rather excellent, since I've never really understood the divide between the two genres. After all, we do exactly the same thing, in exactly the same way : playing with lead figures, that we've spent hours painstakingly painting, on tables that we've paintstakingly spent hours building, with rules that we've been painstakingly reading and learning...). It only last for a day, in Spring. The event is organised by the South London Warlords gaming club. And it's been going on for nearly three decades.
And this is my trip to this year's edition (just one word : most of my photos are blurred. I took them with my phone's camera which is rather mediocre as far as taking good pictures go. That, and the poor lights condition, combined with my poor eye-sight. So I'll provide you with pictures, but also the links, FB or not, where you can find good, solid pictures!):
Since I wanted to make the most of it, I arrived on the day before. Went around Camden Town for a walk, and after discovering a new building I'd never seen before, went on a sort of pilgrimage to one of my favourite comics shop : Mega City Comics. There, I grabbed a copy of Judge Dredd : the Complete Case Files 1 (I've been a fan of the comic for years, and only a few of the French versions. This was the perfect opportunity to get the complete edition. Well, at least, the first volume...). Then to the hotel.
The Carreras Building, a former cigarette factory, now an office building. Dig the cats!!!

He is the LAw, you perp!
On Saturday morning, I woke up early, took a good breakfast (this was gonna be a loooong day, after all. The funny thing is, I met around the breakfast table two nice Belgian guys who were going to the event as well. Nice chat!), and set for the Excel Exhibition Center. Quite imposing building, I have to admit. The gates open at 10 am, and when I arrived at 9:15, there were already a lot of people there, waiting.
Waiting for the doors to open
As soon you arrive, when you register with your pre-paid ticket, you're given a bag with your exclusive figure -- a Steampukette with a huge rifle (made by West wind. 5,000 copies, no more!) -- and a   special guide to the event. After waiting patiently and chitchatting about minis and games with my neighbours, the gate opens and I finally got into the hall. The open space is huge, and there are many things to see! I wanted to go to the Word Forge stand as quickly as possible to grab one copy of their latest game, but had to stop on the way to take my first pictures of the day. This table with the long boats was too cool not to gawk at it...

 Then on my way to the Word Forge Games stand, as planned. When I started playing, painting and collecting minis, all those years ago (circa 1985/6) GW had a game called "Dark Future", and since I couldn't afford much in those days (being 14...), I had to chose between 40k (RT edition) and Dark Future. So I let this wonderful (I guess it was...) game of  cars and motorbikes chasing each other in a post-apocalyptic setting go and settle for war in the grim future. A few months ago, I discovered that this little gaming compagny had KS a game called "Devil's Run : Route 666", with exactly the same aim : simulate cars and bikes chases directly out of Mad Max : the Road Warrior and the recent sucker Punch of a movie that was Mad Max fury Road! With brilliant minis! Since it was too late to back up the project -- the KS was over -- the London Salute was the perfect occasion to grab one copy of the game. The guys at the stand were really nice. I saved 5£ on the game and even participated into a little game designed for the people who bought something : roll 3d6. If you score two 6s, you win a "small prize". If you score three 6s, you win a "big prize"! Well most of you guys know by now that luck and I do not live on the same plane of existence, to say the least, so I rolled the dice not expecting anything from the roll. And lo! Three 6s!!! Not believing my eyes, I grabbed my prize which was a wonderful huge sized print of one exclusive artwork of the game! That's the start of a good day!
I won this print!
The War Rig (big truck) will be mine! Oh yes, it will be mine!

Believe it or not, that's really me who rolled those dice!!!

After a little chat with the guys, I went on to my walk around the stands.
I came across several good surprises, and quite tempting games (already published, or yet to be Kickstarted, by established gaming companie or young gaming start-ups).
The first that caught my attention was a little company which offers a 15mm Sci-fi game : CSW Invasion. The KS is scheduled for the middle of the year, and I am very tempted to go for it. The minis are terrific!
Mats are optional, you can play on a 3D table!

Then there was this really nice game : The Roots of Magic. The minis-range is a bit limited, at the moment, but they are gorgeous, and the game is played on a small scale : you play a wizard, and no more than four characters at a time. Fast play, a refreshing change from the "I hit you, you hit me" routine (the characters are wizards, they cast spells, offensive or not, and all have a goal, which is not always to level the opponent's face to cinders)...

A shame the picture is blurred, the bear looks fantastic. And according to the designer, a WOLF is to come!!!!

I then made a stop at the Hasslefree minis stand, to have a chat with the lovely Mr and Mrs White (yes Kev White himself!), and buy a present for my wife (Well, we're both fond of the Tomb Raider licence, and the mini "Eve" is a perfect stand-in for Miss Croft. I plan on painting it for her, and even working on a mini-diorama).

After that, I went around, without any goal in mind, just to feast my eyes on the wonderful tables. Across the Dead Earth was quite tempting, too... I felt that the post-apolyptic genre (with or without zombies) is quite a thing, these days : Devil's Run Route 666, Infernal, Across the Ded Earth, Project Z (by Warlord Games, which I almost bought...) and the recent "The Walking Dead" KS by Mantic a few weeks ago. There were even a bunch of guys who had designed their own game, with huge models (the "troopers" are between 54mm and 75mm) and were even dressed up for the occasion!
From now on, I'll lett you browse throught the pictures.

Believe it or not, this is 2mm Wargaming!!!

Tribal! A game about Maori tribes fighting each other.

Empire of the Dead, West Wind Productions

The Chicago Way by Studio Tomahawk.
I was this close to buy it!!!

I still think this figure (the Journalist) was a Salute exclusive offer...

Beyond the Gates of Antares (Warlord Games)

Project Z (Warlord Games)

Brotherhood of Mars. Big game of 30k organised by members of the South London Warlords.

The 5 year mission continues.



I really liked this scatter terrain on the infernal table.

Dropzone commander (Hawk Wargames)

War of the Worlds

Wacky Races (I guess the minis are from McDonald's Happy Meals).

I bought the gates and graves for my Malifaux Victorian table.

Wolsung (Micro Art Studio)

Crooked Dice Games organised some The Avengers Participation games

Those would have made wonderful tables for X-Wing!


Never give up! Never surrender!


Iron-Man (Knight Models. I think this was demos by Wayland Games?)

Batman, as displayed on 4Ground terrains.



Mexican Revolution!

Huge, wonderful table!

Mad Max!!!

Models are huge!!! Guys must be 54 or 75 mm!!!


Mantic huge battle!!!

Halo demo game.

Soon to come Eisenhron video-game

Darklands products. I love the werewolf!

It really was a wonderful day, as far as I am concerned. I had a very good time. I saw wonderful minis, wonderful tables and bought excellent stuff for my games -- here's my loot, by the way :

People are really nice. Of course, most of the traders are here to porpmote and sell their products, but you're not just a potential client... for most of the people there, you're a fellow gamer.
During the course of the day, I managed to  : chat for a full 15 minutes with one of my idols (Rick Priestley), spend time with Mr and Mrs White, say hello and have a chat with the incredible Mr Laverdet (Blight Wheel Miniatures), have a good chat with fellow French Waaaghers Chappatrack and Canard WC (yes, that's his pseudo!), had some solid painting advices from Warlord Games painters (can't remember their names, I'm afraid!), spend some time with David Brown (who was demoing Malifaux and Infinity on the Simple Miniatures Games stand, and who is part of the excellent "A Wyrd Place" community)

 ...and talked a little with one of my mentors as far as painting minis go, Mr Lawrence Widdicombe. Actually, a full day is almost not enough. I tried to make the most of it, and yet, I could not see all that I wanted to see (maybe I spent a wee bit too much time around the ACW table, but I don't regret it. Not at all!).

Maybe I won't go back next year, nor the year after. But I will go back! If you're into Miniature Wargaming, Salute is the place to go, at least once!
Closing time. 5P.M.

As promised, here is a list of the traders I told you about (I included the website and the Fb page if avalaible, so you can find better pictures and more informations about the games/traders I mentionned (you may even find a picture of me chatting with rick Priestley. I'll let you find out...).


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