“Colours" Showcase 2022
Having been bitterly disappointed by Newbury & Reading Wargaming Society's "tough decision to hold back in 2021 for the safety of our members and you the public" I was super-keen to attend this year's "Colours" at its usual venue inside Newbury Racecourse. Of course, having visited the show numerous times before, I didn't bother to read the website's "Navigating the Racecourse" guidance, so promptly spent a frustrating thirty minutes desperately trying to enter the facility via its 'traditional' western end, as opposed to the correct access point "between the flats and the course" on its eastern side.
Eventually, after much gnashing of teeth, several three-point turns at closed barricades, and some grumbling with many of the other visiting drivers who were also caught in this nightmarish spider's web of lost traffic, I found my way to Car Park Five. Possibly a sign or two explaining the change of access might not have gone amiss on the closed barriers or even along the route I eventually followed like a lemming..? Though I do appreciate there was a very precise map to the venue on the website - I'll certainly be checking that with much more attention next year..!!
Of course, being late meant that I didn't have to queue up, and in addition, discovered that it was free to enter. This decision seems to have gone down very well with the punters I mingled with, and I certainly felt overall that it was a much better attended show than the last time I visited; albeit, apart from the Bring & Buy section, I never once felt particularly jostled or cramped for room.
Obviously, the mainstay companies such as "Pendraken", "Warlord Games", "Westwind Productions", "Kallistra" and "Deep Cut Studio" were all in attendance, but perhaps the biggest thing to hit me during my repeated walk-a-rounds was the number of 3D printed models on offer from people I'd not really heard of before. Foremost of these was "ROK Miniatures", who immediately caught my attention with their gorgeous display of small-scale Fantasy forces, and ultra-impressive gothic-flavoured science fiction buildings.
I was especially tempted by their 10mm Wargame box sets for "Kings of War" and "Warmaster", which seemed a convincing way to game either rule-set both inexpensively and within a small-sized gaming area. The chap was also very keen to emphasise that he could produce the models at an even smaller sizes if requested, and explained one customer had everything 3D printed in 3mm scale so as to field some enormous armies.
Alongside the opportunity to own an eye-wateringly small "Chivalric Knights, Undead, Wood Elf, High Elf or Chaotic" warband, I was also rather mesmerised by their crisp, 6-8mm resin sci-fi terrain. The company's Airfield Control Centre and Imperial Fortress were especially gobsmacking, and are apparently printed from files by "Grim Dark Terrain" under licence. These appeared just the job for "Adeptus Titanicus" or "Epic", so in the end I quickly scampered away to pick up some Mechanical Men and Magma Apes from "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" before temptation got the better of me.
Sticking with the PLA/Resin theme, I must also mention the tremendous array of fabulous WW1 aircraft sold by "Syborg 3D Printing". I actually saw this company in something of a fledgling state at "Warfare 2021" and they have clearly expanded their comprehensive range of kits exponentially over the past eleven months. As someone who has always been enticed by the pre-painted aeroplanes for "Wings Of Glory" by "Ares Games", I was very close to hitting the trigger on some of their already-assembled 3D printed Sopwith Camels.
Likewise I was similarly tempted by "Baccus 6mm" and their intriguing looking "Pony Wars" range. For just over a hundred pounds the game's Starter Set was definitely a serious financial investment, yet seemed to contain plenty of small-scale models to keep my magnifying glass busy for months. I was also rather curious to see how the rule-set's card mechanics worked, especially when a chap beside me mentioned he was playing something similar using 20mm figures by "Newline Designs".
Ultimately, I decided to pick up a Royal Navy Fleet Pack and Neo-Soviet Battle Fleet, along with the "A Billion Suns" rule-book by "Osprey Wargames", from "Brigade Models" as my main buy of the show. However, I was momentarily seduced by the large range of metal sculpts displayed by "Broadsword Miniatures". These somewhat roughly-hewn models strongly reminded me of the classic Fantasy ranges from the Eighties, and supported "The Woods: Second Edition" by "Oakbound Studio". Surprisingly though, the blokes behind the booth didn't seem inclined to give me a 'sales pitch' about them, so once I'd snapped a picture I moved to other stalls a bit perplexed...