Place: Birmingham Coach Station
Actually the day had started at 05:00 when my alarm went off. Get up! Get Up!! GET UP!!! So I did. Shuffling about like one of the Evil Dead I managed to shower, shave and have breakfast without incurring serious injury. On the train at 06:45 and then the short stroll from New Street to Digbeth and the Coach Station. The coach was already boarding so I zoomed over; showed the nice man my ticket and got on. To find my chumrade and co-explorer, Charles S, already aboard.
Now, the coach takes about an hour longer than the train to get to That London. However at £15 return and the company of my companion in arms what's not to like? We actually arrived at London Victoria twenty minutes early so hurrah for National Express.
Rather handily I had two oyster cards available. One a top-up job the other permanently loaded with credit. Whyzat you cry?! Well, thanks to Boris, I got the permanent one because I'm a damaged, war-pension drawing veteran. Are you listening/reading Birmingham City Council? Anyway enough of that and on with the motley!
District Line to Tower Hill; Tower Hill to Tower Gateway on foot (guessed where we're heading yet?); Tower Gateway to Custom House.....and then on foot to Excel for SALUTE '13! My first ever Salute. Ever.
The SLW are a slick crew and had the plebs queue moving pretty rikkitik. Advance tickets next year though we agreed. And in. It was, according to Chaz, a bit quieter than last year. I thought they had used the space of the hall extremely well. There was plenty of room to move about and even the scrums at the popular stalls were negotiable. I also got to see some chumrades from way back when who I hadn't seen in a while. The reunions were joyous and hilarious. I also managed to sell off a truck from my rucksack. Bloody heavy to carry too.
So what did I see and what did I buy? I tried to get around everything but failed. Its sheer size defeated that attempt. However, I did see 'Return To The Planet of The Apes' with simians aplenty and scantily clad babes around THE spacecraft; the VBCW game with plenty of factions and saucy vehicles on a lovely terrain; A Steampunk game where the Imperialists were getting a good kicking off the Martian freedom-fighters; tank car parks, lots of them; Some kind of Haunted House of Horror game; A Dark Ages bust-up; A dusty Western gunfight; The Warlords' 'Jason & The Argonauts' 1/6 scale game: the climactic encounter between Jase and his two buds versus a load of skellingtons. Overall I was super-impressed with the imagination and skill level shown in most of the games.
Chas has just released a book: 'Uncharitable Mischief' about war-crimes, or not, during the Civil War of the Three Kingdoms. So we spent an enjoyable time chatting to the chaps on the Pike & Shot Society stand. I even got into a brilliant discussion with Stephen Ede-Borrett on the Royalist Foote at Naseby.
And what did you buy? I had a shopping list and, amazingly, I stuck to it, kind of. I bought:
- S-Models 1/72 Somua R-35 tank (2 x models)
- Resin 1/72 Katyusha launcher
- Zvezda 1/72 German m/c combo
- Zvezda 1/72 Soviet 85mm AA gun
- Resin 1/72 Vickers Mark E Type B tank
- WW2 German crosses
- WW2 French roundels (Where does one buy the Hearts, Diamonds, Spades & Clubs?)
- Pegasus 1/72 US trucks (2 x models)
- Revell 1/72 Panzer II
- Revell 1/72 Puma
- RAF 1/76 Refuelling set
I also got to meet some of Chas's wargaming chumrades from the Kidderminster club. We had an intersting chat about Spanish Civil War. I got rather evangelical about Jarama. Why is Suicide Hill ALWAYS in the wrong place on maps and wargame tables? It's in front of Casa Blanca Hill, not to its right. I know, I've been there: English Voices On The Hills
We left at 16:30 to get back in good time for out coach at 18:00. The homeward journey went without a hitch although the conversation was a little more stilted. Mainly because were both absolutely knackered. I think I was in bed at not much after 21:30.
A grand day out in fabulous company. We're going to Partizan next!
This was a nice surprise in the goody bag as were the two D6
With Gorilla Masks!
Busty Babes Battle Bad Baboons (I know)
Frothers Unite's Horror House Game
Major Falling-Out: Dark Ages Style
Go Home Imperialists! (Note Slootmugs)
Brilliant Game; Brilliant Movie!
Boney Leads The Way!
It's good to be back!