Salute – The largest one day wargaming convention of the year…

A must attend event for a whole lot of people. Visited by the most discerning of Englishmen and with an ever increasing international audience judging by the range of voices and haircuts I was exposed to this year. A yearly tradition almost.

This time I almost missed it though…  It was planned months in advance that we would all go down to Excel in one car spread the cost of parking (a cost that could lead to the re-mortgaging of ones home if done alone).  Then, 12 hours before the go, disaster strikes…

A Polo… One harmless looking, traditional English sweet, and I find myself in agony and despair.  The combination from hell: A broken tooth, done at 6pm with no dentist open to call upon, and worst of all, just before a meal out… Was my plan unravelling?

NO!  The trusty NHS comes through with an emergency dentist, opening on a Saturday morning at 07.50.  Oodles of pain relief and a pair of pliers later, I no longer have a broken tooth (I feel like I have a gaping hole in my head but no matter, Salute will distract me…)

I missed my lift but arrived only an hour or so behind.  I re-mortgaged the house and parked the car, then ventured in to see what good things were on show.

I was thankfully unaware of my drooping visage and dribbling (due to the continuing numbness in my face, not my normal response to new toys).  However, I didn’t find it too much trouble, crowds parted at my ghastly approach, so it did some good.

The drugs may have taken some sensibility from me as I purchased some items not on my list and missed some that I had planned to pick up. Quite how I came home with a submersible instead of a martial tripod heaven only knows…

Some items, like these new buildings by Sarissa Precision will have to be on next years list as they were only prototypes and not yet available.  In fact, their stand was the only one that I took a camera out at (again I blame medication not absentmindedness).

By 3pm I was about as coherent as a camel in the arctic.  With the pain relief wearing off and a face sized hole in my mouth I took my leave of the guys and headed home.  Happy with my purchases (not that I could remember at the time what I had bought) and content I had not missed out.

Needless to say, my womenfolk had no sympathy on my return home. Before I left they had informed me I would probably feel slightly poorly if I went, and had suggested that I ‘miss the show this year’.

I am that dedicated (foolish you may say) soul who knows that Salute is always worth the effort.

Police House Finally Gets Some Finishing Touches

Sometimes we all get started on something, then get distracted for one reason or another.  I realised how that presents recently as I was setting up for a purely infantry Steam Wars game.

The game was to playtest Coronasan’s changes to the rules for infantry and close combat.  We have played many Steam Wars games now, and the rules are looking very tidy at the moment. Our playtesting continues though, with just the need for a slight balancing change every so often.  Heavy infantry and their effect on the game is one balance issue we now seem to have straightened out…

However, the moment of clarity I had before that particular game was more about my efforts at scenery collection.  When setting things up, I noted that the Warbases police house and out building that I own was still not finished.

I started this building in late December 2014 as it arrived in the shed as a perfect little Xmas gift.

Back then it was first played in its basic, naked state.

Now in March 2016, a whole 15 months later, I still found it unfinished.  The brick work and painting happened over 6 months ago but the roof remained untouched.

It has, surprisingly though, featured in many games over the time I have owned it.  Each time it was used I never needed to finish the roof because it was never really necessary. One great feature of the Warbases buildings is that the sections are all fairly interchangeable. I had managed to use this building so often because I had ‘borrowed’ a roof from another building each time I needed it for a game.

This game called for a full table of buildings so no spare roof was available this time.

This time I would have to get the job done (at last)…

One reason for not doing it before now is that it is actually a very long, messy and smelly job.  I use lasercut tile sheets made from thick paper and, due to the high number of cuts needed to make it, this stuff gets ash all over the place and leaves you with fingers that smell of burnt paper for days afterwards.

But, once done, the effort is well worth it.

A small lasercut chimney was added from the bits box and the finish is complete.  Well worth the effort but a long time coming. This means all my made up buildings are now fully usable.

Don’t get me started on the fact that I have not actually painted my Sarissa apartment blocks yet or that I have 2 small houses still unstarted from a purchase I made about 2 years ago.

Ceri Design Mats

Some new mats are on the market after a successful and very well run Kickstarter.


Ceri Design is the effort behind these printed felt mats with photo quality images.


The ‘sublimated artwork’ is nicely coloured and robust so as to keep its image without fading or rubbing off.  I got 3 mats from the kickstarter. Each was only £19 at that time. It would seem the low price is still available from the website today as well.

Mine are a 3’X3′ cobbled road system in scrubland…


…and a 3’X3′ fully cobbled mat. (I also got a Frostgrave themed one as a gift for Veganman, as he is always finding bits and bobs to pass my way…)


All the mats are currently available in 3’X3′ only, but Ceri is looking to continue expanding the range, so I hope that means he will be able to do larger mats in time.

Check them out if you need a small mat or a couple of mats to use together (as I have done here) on a larger table.

Bring On The Band

This was picked up at Salute earlier in the year.  Sarissa Precision make this fine Band Stand.  I made it up back in May.  Its now July… Time it got some love.


I have a habit of painting things with as little planning as possible.  Happy mistakes have let to many moments where I have smiled pleasantly to myself in the shed. Probably very disturbing to anyone looking in.


This came out in the colour scheme of my recent Bushido crew as that was the colour of the paint on the table…  It works well, in an old fashioned English country village sort of way.

I wanted to weather it up a bit but my usual method of washing with stain left some heavy brush marks this time round.  Large flat surfaces do not benefit very well from this method. pooling of the ink or brush marks are always left in the most obvious areas.


Overall I like it as a quirky piece to use in games where the Victorian town gets set up.  Should be usable for most games in the shed over the next few months.  Even my Bushido games may feature this soon.

I have some weathering powder that I have never worked out what to do with. Maybe I should play about with it next time I get a piece like this to do…

Warehouse District

Our Dust Battlefield game is due to be played on an industrial table.  Lots of cover and height changes.  A great excuse to get out my various warehouses and workshops.

Along with a bunker or two to add a bit of WWII theme.


You can see I am making good use of my barbed wire rolls and the walkways I picked up from our trip to Salute.


The small workshop from Warbases and the pre printed units from the XLC Kickstarter.


And the new factory unit from Sarissa Precision.  Now painted like the Warbases workshop using a sponge painted, layered application. Brick base in industrial grey and roof and windows in weathered black.


I’ve had some rust effect paint in the shed for some time and not often used it so it was a great chance to try it out on something.


Looks good on the window bars and the railings.  Not so sure on the door.  I think less is more with this stuff.


Overall a great little building that adds a little more to the collection in the shed. Likely to be well used.  Just need to get those walkways done now…

A Little More Wood.

Salute also resulted in the usual additions to the scenery in the shed.  Less than most years and smaller parts too.

4ground supplied the first bits in the form of these wire barricades.

They go together easily and with little need for trimming or complex gluing.  In fact, fitting the wire was the most complex bit! My advice would be not winding it too tight, this may seem simple but is harder than I expected when putting it into practice… keep this in mind if you pick up any yourselves.

I actually got ten of these (2 packs) for less than £10. A price that I think is very good. They should be useful in Bolt Action and Dust Warfare/ Battlefield as well as any post apocalyptic game. They may even be useful for the new Judge Dredd game if we go that way…

Sarissa Precision supplied me with a number of bits this year.  Yet to be painted but they will get a simple basecoat and touch up very soon.  These walkways will add the height to our games that we found useful when we played with the Deadzone scenery recently.  The scale is good (the only figure I had to hand does not quite fit the scenery I know…) and it should fit in well with a number of the other industrial style items I already have in the shed.

The guys at the show did not have all the bits that I needed so they were kind enough to post the extra parts at no extra shipping cost to me.  I am currently awaiting a couple of parts (longer straight walkways) but I will more than likely end up buying other bits from this set in time…

This little industrial unit was new on their catalogue for the show and looks great.  Simple, and easy to build, and the roof looks like it should be removable. This is however, too fragile to be taken off and on regularly (I broke part of it on the second time I removed it).  Mine will be fitted in place permanently to stop me causing more harm but this should not cause too many problems from a game play point.

My plan is to use a paint job that matches or at least compliments the workshop I have by Warbases.  The slightly worn look I managed on that building should be good here too.

Lastly I picked up something I have wanted for some time.  The Bandstand is a great idea.  It has little use in gaming but as a project should be fun and add flavour to the ever growing town I have hidden all over the shed.

All in all a great little haul.  Very pleased with what I have got.  The only item I regret not buying is the new Warbases cricket pavilion.  Again it has no great gameplay purpose but I think it has to be something every town needs.  Maybe next time…