"Salute" Loot 2021
Updated: Nov 20, 2021
After almost a two-year absence, I was finally able to once again make the pilgrimage to the ExCeL convention centre in Custom House, East London earlier this month, so as to add a few more bags of lead and plastic to my ever-swelling ‘incline of inspiration’. I must confess I didn’t really know what to expect from the much delayed show, especially as a number of companies decided to announce their non-attendance at short notice, such as “Mierce Miniatures” - who appeared to have posted up their no-show decision on social media the evening before it actually started.
Happily however, considering just how many manufacturers ultimately decided not to appear without any warning whatsoever, I wasn’t just travelling up to “the Big Smoke” to purchase goodies, but to also meet up with some of my fellow bloggers like Dave Docherty (“One Man And His Brushes”), Tamsin Piper (“Wargaming Girl”) and Ray Rousell (“Don’t Throw A One”). This impromptu get together late in the morning was easily the highlight of the day, and also allowed me to obtain a little heads up as to what these prodigious painters would be potentially pigmenting for the upcoming Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (AHPC).
Loot-wise, things were looking rather sparse for a considerably long time, despite it taking me a good hour or so to slowly make my way around all the stalls sat up against the edges of the grand hall. This year’s “lovely little commemorative figure of the Battle Of Britain” immediately caught my eye when I spied it in my goodie bag, and I also managed to pick up a “Reaper Miniatures” Werecrocodile and Werearmadillo from an early seller who seemingly had every Bones figure imaginable for sale. Yet surprisingly, that was it for quite a while as I walked past a disconcertingly high number of empty tables.
Perhaps the show’s biggest deal was from a large stand (whose name escapes me) whose numerous staff were selling both old and new packets of “Flames Of War” models by “Battlefront Miniatures” at half the recommended retail price (RRP). One of my reasons for signing up to the AHPC this year is to ‘push through’ my Late War Germans, so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to bulk up on some reinforcements. As a result I picked up a 15cm Infantry Gun Platoon, a 7.5cm Infantry Gun Platoon, a Fallschirmjager Rifle Platoon, and a D-Day Mission Token Set. To be honest I could have bought more, but as the sellers kept having to use their phones to web-search the RRP for each blister I selected before giving me a price, my (im)patience dictated that I settled upon just the bare essentials.
Disappointingly, the centre of the hall was probably where the ‘no-shows’ made their biggest impact as there were some considerable holes in the line-up, and despite looking I never managed to find the likes of “Gripping Beast”, “Hasslefree” or “Troll Trader” – the last of which usually sees me fork out an inordinate amount of dosh on genres/ranges I never ever anticipated buying. To be honest, this soon caused me to return to the edge stalls for a second perusal, and thus caused me to miss Dave Stone’s “Wargames Terrain Workshop” stand completely. Though I did get to spend five minutes chatting to Duncan Rhodes about his new “Two Thin Coats Paints” range.
This subsequent, albeit whirlwind, tour of the outer tables ultimately landed me with my most expensive purchase of the day, as I returned to “Red Eagle Miniatures” and their 10mm range of Franco-Prussian models. This has always been a period which has fascinated me, but I have never properly ventured into it before now. In addition, I tend to predominantly stick with “Pendraken Miniatures” for my 10mm fix, so I actually felt a little guilty buying a range I knew they produced from someone else. However, in the end I decided to pick up a packet each from most of the e-commerce company’s infantry range to trial during the AHPC, along with a couple of cavalry units too…