“Salute 50" Showcase 2023 - Part Three: The Loot
Updated: May 16
To be brutally honest, I only really had a couple of things on my 'To Buy' list before I stepped foot into the ExCeL convention centre at Custom House, as my hobby mentality has definitely changed over the past six months thanks to my purchase of an "Elegoo" Mars 3 Pro 3D printer. Indeed, my original plan was to predominantly spend my time participating in a handful of games whose rules I was unfamiliar with (e.g. Oathmark: Battles Of A Lost Age" by "Osprey Games") and meet up with a few friendly faces - as opposed to the reality of me ultimately staggering out of the hall with a backpack crammed full of lead, plastic and MDF...
The first indication I had that things were not going to pan out as I thought came with the South London Warlords' Salute 50 goodie bag, which included a special 28mm scale figure. In the past I've usually just set this miniatures aside for a 'rainy day' or, as I did with Paul Hicks' Boy With Spitfire model in 2021, turned them into a statue/tabletop objective marker. This year's Viking Jarl though genuinely captured my imagination, not least because both its creation and subsequent paint-job were wonderfully written up in the show's guide produced by "Miniature Wargames".
Resultantly, when I started to work my way around the stalls located against the concourse's walls, having immediately turned right from the entrance, I was already thinking about when I'd have the time to build Warlord Games' warrior "festooned with booty pillaged during his fifty year reign". and what else I could assemble alongside of him whilst waiting for the superglue to dry. This mentality stuck with me throughout the event, and would later spur me on to search out a number of bargains I hadn't even considered beforehand.
One thing I did have on my meagre shopping list though was a set (or ultimately two) of Retro Dungeon Tiles by "Warbases", which I'd luckily seen advertised the night before on social media. Somehow, I actually managed to bypass their stall during my opening circle of the venue, having never spotted the giant banner waving above their spot. So once I realised my mistake I hurried straight over to their location and gleefully poured over the four sheets of "high quality printed tiles" before parting with my cash.
It was at this point that things started to go badly awry though as en route back to my pre-planned circuit around the vendors, the always-friendly Karl Perrotton of “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” lured me into his booth and gave me an opportunity to peruse some of his latest offerings. This particular company has been a mainstay of my hobby since they started trading, and whilst so many of the figures I paint/play with these days are 3D resin prints, I have always enjoyed working on their range of 28mm metal "7TV" miniatures.
Suffice to say my love of Crooked Dice models also means I have a towering backlog of 'unloved lead' back home. But that simply couldn't prevent me from picking up the superb-looking Stalwart Sidekicks, Borgo Pass Tribesmen and Man-Ape Cultists (the last two items coming from Karl's recently successful 7TV Dracula Kickstarter) for some future Indiana Jones flavoured horror/pulp gaming - most likely using the yet to be released new 7TV Core Rulebook - "a 288 page hardback consolidating eight years and four boxed sets of cinematic skirmish rules in one place."
Having now clearly already crossed a 'mental line' I proceeded to "Pendraken Miniatures", where I initially fooled myself into thinking I was simply going to buy a blister of Churchill VII tanks to add to the pair I am currently pigmenting to use with some homemade rules. Afterall, I've since discovered a whole horde of long-forgotten 10mm armoured vehicles in my loft... One basket later and I was thanking Leon for kindly putting a veritable ton of metal models into a plastic carrier bag for me, and walking away asking myself just why I needed almost every conceivable type of tank the Allies had ever fielded during the Second World War. Not to mention the variety of German Panzers I picked up too...
My next buys didn't actually come until much later in the day, after I'd spent a very pleasant lunch chatting to a well-mannered youth who politely asked to sit at the table I was occupying, and then proceeded to enthusiastically show me the two Traveller RPG books he'd bought. The first occurred when I spotted some well-priced "Flames Of War" scenery at the "Entoyment Wargaming And Hobby Centre" stall. To be honest this area was absolutely packed full of similarly-eager buyers on account of some genuine bargains. In fact I would have certainly picked up a fully-painted Brick Factory by "Gale Force Nine" if the sheer size of its box hadn't put me off.
Instead I had to content myself with a set of the Battlefront Group Company's Factory Chimneys and an incredibly inexpensive 15mm Tiger Heavy Tank Platoon for "Flames Of War" - which was marked up at so good a deal that the chap at the till double-checked the price before ringing the sale through. I had a similar experience at "Frome Model Centre" booth shortly afterwards, where I snagged an old metal/resin Panzer II Light Tank Platoon for just twenty quid. The seller wanted twice that much at first until I pointed to the sticky label and he very graciously admitted a mistake had been made and subsequently sold it to me at the much lower price.
With a rather heavy bag and already slightly aching shoulder, that should have been it for my Salute 50 loot. However, as I approached the way out I spotted an enormous banner of a Terminator, or rather a T-800 in its default machine form. Now, having recently 3D printed and painted a whole host of Skynet's death-dealing robots I did not take much convincing from co-author Mark Rapson to pick up a copy of his The Terminator Role-Playing Game Quick Start Rules by "Nightfall Games". In addition to signing my copy, he also sold me another of his rule systems, SLA Industries Second Edition for just a couple of quid.
And thus ended my swag for the day - significantly more than I had perhaps somewhat naively anticipated, but also a darn sight less than what I would have carried away if I'd brought along a second strong bag. Overall though I was very pleased with myself. I got some terrific bargains for "Flames Of War" - which is very much my favoured wargame currently, picked up the goodies I had planned to get from "Warbases" and "Pendraken Miniatures", and, as per my annual tradition at this very special show, bought something for a game I'd never considered before...