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Monday, 16 April 2018

Salute 2018

Oscar and I went for our annual trip to the Excel Centre in London this past weekend, to visit Salute 2018...


It was in the same format as always, but there were some notable differences to last year. The absence of Spartan and Hawk (with its impressive 1:100 scale Frigate) was one, another was the mix of available items for the community. I think we summed it up with the following;

  • Lots of mat companies this year, and lots of people buying them
  • A wealth of games with Eldritch Horror/HP Lovecraft themes
  • Companies showcasing Kickstarters
  • Too many gamers with stupid backpacks (which should be banned from all model shows)

It was a great opportunity to catch up with people, like Stuart at Warcradle and the guys at White Dragon Miniatures. We swung by The Drowned Earth too, but sadly didn't get a chance to see James. I did bump into Chris Worth, however, who pulled me out of the crowd as I wandered by Anvil Industries. For those of you who don't know, Chris wrote the core rules for Firestorm v2.

So what drew our eye this year? Quite a lot! First of all, these models for Beyond the Gates of Antares - a game which I've always looked at before but never quite did anything for me minis wise - but these are a bit better than I've seen from them before.



Next up we perused the various nastiness that was arrayed at Heresy Miniatures (and I eventually picked up some of these gribblies for my upcoming 5e campaign)



Next up were Fenris and their ranges of Cthulhu models (they of course did a lot of the stuff for Cthulhu Wars). 



Spotting more tentacles we saw this impressive display cabinet with a game neither of us would ever play, but it did have some really well painted minis - the most creepy of which I thought were these children and their guardian.



Moving on to Atlantis Miniatures, who had some really interesting and very beautifully sculpted models. The unusual and original "Death Kiwis" and the bafflingly hideous "Blood Oak" (where the tree starts and the skeleton ends I'm not sure!) are but a couple of examples.



Along from Atlantis were our old friends at White Dragon, showing off the modern British troops and some of the Shattered Void Kickstarter ships. The modern troops are really superb - the detail is just staggering.



Next we spotted some minis that wed have loved to buy at the Crooked Dice stand, but alas were only an example of a Kickstarter coming soon. The grim reapers and scarecrows (Corndoll hoedown!) are very cool and creepy;


Also on this stand were some gorgeous plant models that they also sadly didn't have in stock, or I'd have bought some of them too.


Of course what drew our eye were the tentacles of a kraken-like beast, which watched us for the duration...


Moving on, we found a set of models for another Kickstarter, this time from Steamforged Games - Godtear.



Dropping by Warcradle next, Oscar was particularly drawn to this Diorama...




This was, of course, Wild West Exodus, and Warcradle were showcasing some of their upcoming releases - which look REALLY nice, as well as some lovely painted existing releases.




Coming out of Warcradle we passed by the painting competition, and Oscar spotted this model, who we later found out is the new Nyarlathotep from Dust 47. We visited them later and found the models, but with no prices (though everything else was!)... <sigh>


We got a look at Mophidius' Fallout game being played, which looks very nice too, but I've resisted the temptation so far as it's a very specific "look", whereas most of the games we have use minis which can cover a broader spectrum of play.



I did grab this picture of a supermutant through a building window, however, which I thought was very much like the video game! (I can imagine going into VATS and targeting his head multiple times....)


Probably one of my favourite pieces in the show, however, was this board - a participation zombie game played in a model representation of the Salute show itself! Very clever, the detail here was great (even down to figures on the mini gaming boards) and the guys running it were super-nice. Apparently it was supported heavily by the traders, some of whom made custom stands for it! This kind of thing represents some of the best of people in the hobby, I think - well done guys!



Returning to perusing the stands, next up was TableTop Combat - the new owners of the Dropfleet franchise. They had Destroyers on display but without the huge frigate model it felt a bit sad and "tagged on" compared to Hawk's presence in prior years. The feeling wasn't helped by other stands selling off the range at discount prices.


They were running some crazy deals, however, including selling 4x4game boards including all buildings and scenery for half price - £100 instead of £200. They had all sorts of genres (10mm scifi for Dropzone, WH 40k, Japanese, battlezone ruins, etc). I bought one of these below for the Drowned Earth Kickstarter I knew was coming any day - it'll work for many skirmish games, but that's primarily what I've in mind for it. Great part of it too is that this price included delivery, so no need to cart around the show and lug it home - it'll be made and sent in the post in a couple of weeks...sweet!


Our next stop was Mierce Miniatures, who are our standard drool-fest at every Salute. Mierce make some of the best large resin monstrous figures I've ever seen, and their stock painter is amazing, so you get stuff like this;

The Chimera is still one of my favourite pieces anywhere;




It's a hard act to follow, that, but this crab (Click Clack) did a good job of drawing my attention


This was the point at which I caught up with Chris, and he showed me that game he was helping out with on the day - Afterlife, a 28mm SF skirmish game from Anvil industries (who he's been doing some sculpting work for I believe). This was Oscar's pick of the day, and it also had an under-lit sci-fi board which was very cool indeed.






After a last round of a couple of stands to pick up a few models, we then left the ExCel for another year, feet aching and wallet dented...


Salute is a great day, but it has undoubtedly changed from when we first went. There are a lot of companies showcasing Kickstarters now, rather than selling things. There are still the usual military traders, the usual suspects of the larger companies like Wayland and Trolltrader and the unexplainable queue around the Forgeworld stand, but also newer companies trying to forge into the market. The "middle ground" seems to be what's shrunk since last year, though maybe that was just a feeling...

In any case, if you're wondering whether to go next year, don't - it's well worth a trip and you'll undoubtedly pick up a bargain or too. Maybe we'll see you there?!?

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