Run by ‘The Spartans’ wargame club and held at Sutton Leisure Centre, near St. Helens, North West UK. This is one of the shows on my ‘must support’ circuit, with a ‘use it or lose it’ ethos.
It is a medium sized show with around 34 Traders and 23 Gaming tables.
For an overview of this show and access to previous years show reports, please use the ‘read more’ tab.
Prior to the show, I had a quite well thought out list in my head of what I wanted, but that didn't seem to survive first contact. The list was sensible, small scale stuff to fit with my limited storage, the purchases were instead of the 'bigger boys' types .... I'm going to give up on lists! again!
As always, there was a good reception at the door by the club members. Though there seems to have been two hiccups this year (unusual). Firstly the venue was double booked, though everything was finely handled, the main hall was still available to traders and game tables and the Bring 'n Buy was moved upstairs, so the show itself was not compromised. Secondly, something had happened re the supply of refreshments. The usual external caterer (Suzie's) was not there, but there was a friendly guy doing pies and sausage rolls from a van, though no coffee. Inside I heard several conversations about food and where to get it, there seemed to be plenty of confusion on the point.
The show manages to continue to be diverse in its trade aspect with all the scales being represented. This year, new to the show, there was someone specialising in brushes and another in game mats. The reader was well accommodated (thank you Dave Lanchester), but as with last year, there was a lack of anyone singularly concentrating on rules and scenerio type publications.
As for numbers attending, I am not sure, I thought less than last year, but my friend thought more, I pointed out that people didn't really seem to be carrying bags, but this was still early. I spoke to three traders closer to lunch time. One said they had done better than expected, other said it was okay and another said it was slightly disappointing and they needed the next hour to catch up before the crowds started to thin. The Bring 'n Buy gets such a crowd, that if they were all in the trade hall instead at one time, it would probably look very busy, so who knows!
Armed with a new camera, I hoped this year to get some better photographs as this venue uses sodium lighting that plays havoc with White Balance, producing an orange hue to my pictures. Each year I go with a new idea to defeat it it and each year it beats me instead ....... once more into the breach! Anyway, see what you think, I set the camera White Balance setting to 'Underwater Auto' of all things.
I decided this year not to take anything to the Bring & Buy, a sore back means I will have limited time on my feet and it leaves me less inclined to be involved in the queuing and the subsequent rugby scrum that is the Bring ‘n Buy. I just wanted to be able to enjoy the show without that distraction.
The following photographs are amongst those that were less affected by the orange lighting and as always, I find myself apologising for not being able to fully attribute games to the remarkable people who take the time and trouble to present these things for the sake of creating a better show, hopefully I have done better this year;
Bob Martin of Lancaster Wargames Society always puts on a good participation game and works tirelessly to entertain his audience. This year he did the Royal Navy bravely taking on the Martians!
Martyn Hotchkiss did a Wild West Fantasy Skirmish, with a very nice table that looked to be not much bigger than a 2' x 2'.
A real show stealer (Ross this one is for you) 54mm Isandlwana by the All Independent 54mm Wargames Club.
There are 1000 figures in total on the table.
I was assured that the lovely looking game was the product of very hard work - well done all.
28mm 7 Years War, Torgau 1760 by the Cheshire and Staffordshire Wargamers. This was a big table and just looked wonderful. Best scene!
Perry v Nevilles 1454, Lance and Longbow Society, always good to see this friendly crew with their nice figures on a 'do-able' sized table. They use their own variation of Lion Rampant. Smiles all around and the 'fun' put into gaming.
Actium 31 BC by Liverpool Wargames Association, just one of several games that they brought to this local recruiting ground for them.
Hastings 1066, a Participation game by Liverpool Wargames Association. They have brought this before and it is a lovely looking game that runs off one sheet of rules.
It is just one of those tables that inspires you to do something, I wonder how many people who put on games actually are aware how it can make others go off in an enthusiastic direction.
I made a start by visiting Warbases for some 100mm wide bases, mixed at 50mm depth and 60mm depth.
I think this was a 'Chosen Men' game from MAWS. 28mm Peninsular War, it looks lovely in his shot with the terrain, but when I dropped by later, it had some lovely 28mm's roaming the table and it looked a fun game. My camera was packed away by then.
Close up of a dock side, very nicely done, for a TV7 game I think.
This was a nice game (modern) put on by a couple of blokes who always do the unusual and are very good with the public.
I'm pretty sure this is by The Mailed Fist, they always put something on that is spectacular!
Just a close up, that is real sand on the road.
My own swag was to satisfy a gentle ramble of current ideas. I picked up the said MDF bases for some pre-gunpowder 28mm figures, plus some 30mm x 20mm intended for the 12mm ACW rebasing malarky.
From 1st Corps, a bag of 28mm ACW Union casualties.
From EWM, one of their kits that has Armourfast vehicles plus their own conversion pack for accesories and crew etc. It gives 3 standard Sd kfz 251c's and a platoon Command vehicle. I added an accessory pack for the M10's I have already built plus some decals.
From S&A scenics, a hill to match my others by them and three ploughed fields.
From Colonel Bill, some 12mm big tufts for some better scenics on my 28mm / 20mm bases and finally bargain of the year, a copy of Paul Darnell's Touching History which looks at terrain and modelling the Napoleonic Spanish Peninsular War, normally £13, it was sitting there for £2.
Anyway an enjoyable day as always.
Thanks to the Spartans and all those people who come together to put on a well run show and also to the traders, who give up at least one day to service Phalanx 2018, I hope it worked out for everyone.
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