Salute in Review: Mat Bought Toys!

Salute 2014

And relax… So that was Salute. Well I have to say for my first show since Games Day many moons ago it was great and I loved every minute… But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me take you back to the Friday before…

It’s Friday night and I’m getting ready for the early morning start to pick up Lee, Neil & Phil and make our way to ExCel London. My bag is packed with all the standard supplies, chocolate, Jelly Babies for that mid show sugar pick me up, Business Cards, Wallet with money (but no credit card) and of course my all important ticket. Now I have had a pretty hard week and not a great deal of sleep up to this point so I was really looking forward to getting an early night and some well deserved Salute action. But one more thing had to be done, the car needed to be sorted ready for the drive up, which meant fuel was required, or so i thought.

So I take myself down to the local petrol station. On route I realise I have three quarters of a tank of Diesel so I’m probably okay for fuel but as I’m out I think: sod it I’ll top it up. It’s at this point everything goes horribly wrong and nearly ends in my not attending Salute. So I’m at the petrol station idly watching the litres tick over on the unleaded petrol and…fuck my life!

I end up spending my Friday evening sat in the petrol station for 2 hours waiting for the AA to turn up only to tell me they will have to tow me home as they can’t drain the tank until the following day. Needless to say the wife was less than impressed and I didn’t get my early night. This did mean I had to take my little run around with 4 blokes up to ExCel. All things considered it did okay. It got us there and back in one piece and that’s the main thing.

But what about the other car Mat? well my wife waited in the next morning and a very nice man we will call Trevor turned up at 9.30am and drained the tank and topped it back up with enough Diesel for my wife to get to a petrol station and put the correct jungle juice in (which cost us £152 people check your using the right nozzle it can be an expensive mistake to make), enabling her to meet Phil’s wife for there prearranged play date (with our 1 year old daughters).

Jump back to 10:30am Saturday the 12th of April… SALUTE! MAT BUY TOYS!

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The Shell Case has landed.

 

There was so much to see my poor brain couldn’t take it all in at first, there were hobbyists everywhere and toys galore, I don’t think I’m remiss if I say it was an awesome humbling sight, and it made my wallet cry.

But before I got to buying toys we had to round everyone up say hello as some of us had never actually met in the flesh namely Rob and Reece, it was great to finally meet thee guys, it also meant I could reduce the weight of my bag as I had Robs business cards with me. And once handed over I wold have more room for toys.

I had to remember that I wasn’t just here to buy toys, I was here on business, and it was with this in mind we headed over to a few of the indie stands to chat to a few people about some truly interesting games, that not only looked awesome but sound utterly brilliant.
Among these was a game that has been mentioned a couple of times on The Shell Case now and that’s World Of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral
first mentioned by Gav Thorpe in his guest post, but I will leave Phil to tell you more about this. What I will say is the models are gorgeous and it looks fantastic, I for one am really looking forward to this one.

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A Game of Twilight in action.

 

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Next up was a very cool looking game that got Phil and I very excited, its in development by a company called White Dragon Miniatures its called Shattered Void and it looks and sounds truly brilliant, the models look great and the artwork so far is stunning, its also going to incorporate a bit of RPG so your pilots will evolve as you play more games, and the movement template is frankly inspired, it also looks the utter tits when being played, I was slightly disappointed they only had the one demo on the go as I would of really liked to of had a game of this and really get to grips with it. As I say it is still in development although some of the models were on sale on the day and it took a great amount of will power for me not to succumb. But rest assured when the Kickstarter is due to go live we will let you know all about it. This is definitely one to watch.

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A Game of Shattered Void in progress
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Some of the models already being produced and sold for Shattered Void

Another in development game we got to have a quick look at and chat to the producers of was a game called Twisted by Demented Games, this was in very early stage of development but is set to be  board game or maybe an RPG, I have to say I don’t think its 100% sure what type of game its going to be but one thing is for sure the models were beautiful, the ones we got to see were supposedly the main protagonists based on characters from Charles Dickens Oliver Twist (I’m guessing this is where the name comes from). From what I understood the initial board game idea sees different fictional characters brought to life by some sort of Engine. The Dickens characters are jumping about literature causing mayhem and mischief. As I say this is very early in its development and I think the concept is a little confused at the moment, but its still one to watch if not just for the stunning miniatures we saw. It will be coming to Kickstarter in the not too distant future, so keep your eyes peeled and hopefully by then it will have a better idea of what it wants to be.

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The Twisted Game Board.
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Some of the stunning models for Twisted.

Now… MAT BUY TOYS! I had a rather extensive list of things I wanted to get at Salute or at least look at but one of my main objectives was Pathfinders for my Tau force and some X-Wing shizzle to aid me in my ever growing struggle to actually win a game. So we all headed over to the rather large Wayland Games stand, I got my Pathfinders hoozaah, but alas there was no X-Wing Shiz for me or Phil although we did get some extra Dice for said game, I say these won’t help me in the struggle to bitch slap Phil, but you never know these could be the dice I was looking for.

Its Business Time… Whilst Lee and Phil queued to make their purchases Neil and I wandered over to Mantic, whose stand was swamped and with good reason, Mantic had brought with them a limited number of there pretty awesome Battle Grounds sets. During our rather long chat with the guys at Mantic we got a bit of an over view of the future of Dreadball, which honestly had us totally gripped and is something we can all really look forward to, I can’t say too much here but needless to say Dreadball is set to become something even bigger and better than it is right now. And getting the low down on the Battle Grounds set was awesome, it was really good to speak to the guys and find out what was there intentions for the scenery set, and we all agreed it would make a god damn brilliant Necromunda board, so watch this space as our Necromunda itch grows fuelled by Mantic goodness. After talking all things Mantic it was time for… MAT BUY TOYS!

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The impressive Tower made up using the new Battlezones sets.
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Deadzone, being played out on the Tower.

And to Forge World we wound our merry way, we had 20 minutes before the #warmongers meet, so this had to be a strategic hit and run style purchasing spree with the queue neigh huddle still being rather sizeable. Phil, Lee and I worked together to cordon off an area to enable us to make our way to the front on the queue (eventually) and pick up our wares, I had preordered myself a tasty Tau Battlesuit for my growing Tau force, yeay another tick for me… and a slight addition something that had been tickling my hobby spot for the last week… DEATH SHROUD. Yep I crumbled it didn’t take much to be honest, and purchased myself a set of Death Guard, Death Shroud Terminators. I’m not totally sure what I’m doing with them yet I’m thinking a small skirmish force but that’s always how these things start.

FOOD TIME, so it was that time of day where we all broke out from the buying of all the things as Ashley would say and went in search of sustenance to enable us to continue our day of awesomeness. It was also time to catch up with the other #Warmongers and compare purchases and stories of our days so far.

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Once more unto the breach my friends, after the #Warmongers meet it was time to head over to Heresy Miniatures, one to check out the new Netherlord and two for me to get my hands on a set of Andy’s amazing gangers, just to help me with that Necromunda itch. I’m doing Delaque this time around but don’t really like the original models Andy’s are a fantastic alternative the “not” Delaques are stunning and the full set ay of set me back £70 but for that I got 25 blokes and a big bag of weapons with some god damn inspiring choices. Sadly we missed the last Netherlord by a matter of seconds it was such a big hit that some desperate French man forced Andy to sell him the one out of the display case. but hey MAT BOUGHT TOYS! and another tick.

It was at this point Rob decided to join us the workaholic had missed the #Warmongers meet due to his blue foam addiction, and the need to push this on other people. Which I’m all for frankly. But it was good to have a catch up and compare purchases which were pretty meagre on Robs side of things, he did however point out Mierce miniatures were in attendance with some of their wares, so with this in mind we made our way over to the stand Via Forge World to enable Phil to part with some more money of some old armour variants for his Ultrmarines. Now I’m not going to talk to much about Mierce here mainly because I was so distracted by all the shiney I don’t recall much of what was said, luckily Phil was in attendance and did most of the talking whilst I and several other others of the crew frankly perved at the utterly beautiful miniatures on display. I managed to hold off buying anything here but mainly because at this point I was influx as to whether I was going to do Beastmen of Lizardmen for my Mordheim warband.

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JIMP!

To West Wind Productions, now if you haven’t heard of them why not and where the hell have you been? They are the creators of the great Empire of the Dead Victorian/Steam punk skirmish game which has some great looking starter sets available with factions ranging from Vampire Slayers to Bedlam Inmates and Jack the Ripper, more on this game to come shortly as me and Phil face off with 2 opposing factions and a run down of the rules. We got chatting to Wendy whilst on the stand discussing our aspirations and explaining how much we liked what they had and what they were doing. It was at this point that Wendy filled us in on their upcoming update of Secrets of the Third Reich, One that got Neil and I pretty excited, I mean its a game that has Nazi Zombies for crying out loud what’s not to get excited about. And with its update imminent it is only set to get better. Wendy also gave us a quick update on their latest Kickstarter, War & Empire a 15mm Ancient Era Wargame, that got us all a little bit excited and I can foresee a few arguments about who gets to play which army. But more on this to come.

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The Secrets of the Third Reich.

 

As the day was drawing to a close we headed to wards KR Multicase and its mountain of blue foam and card board… Via Forge World (again!) for me to acquire Calas Typhon to go with my Deathshroud. Phil also needed to make a stop at Studio McVey to have a quick catch up with Mike, and we dropped in on Sphere wars.

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Sphere Wars in action.

After a quick chat with the fine people at KR including Rob… Again! and a sit down on their fine chairs made of the finest blue foam available, Phil and I walked away with an X-Wing carry case each, reviews to follow, I will say now its bloody brilliant and has got me looking at KR cases for my other armies now as well.

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Big Blue KR.

It was at this point I took the opportunity to grab a few snaps of some of the stunning games boards on show at Salute, I am only sorry I didn’t stop long enough to ask a bit more about them, but I think you’ll all agree it doesn’t make them any less brilliant.

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FREMEN!

 

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Sardaukar storming a Fremen Sietch.
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Charlie don’t surf!

 

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Oh and I bumped into someone who was clearly less than impressed with my last performance against Phil in X-Wing.

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I’m no good to you dead!

 

So with swag in hand we made our way to the Bar for a much needed rest and a post Salute catch up over a beer, or Pepsi in my case (other fizzy drinks brans are available) all before our mammoth 4 hour drive home, not helped by football traffic or Phil’s inadequate bladder.

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And… Relax.

 

So in review I thoroughly enjoyed my first Salute I didn’t pick up everything I wanted I had hoped to walk away with some Malifaux items but just couldn’t make up my mind on the day. I had also hoped to pick up some bits for Mordheim but again my own indecisiveness was the downfall there.

I did how ever tick a few of my boxes, I got my Pathfinders, Some X-Wing Shizz all be it just extra dice but that still counts, a gang for Necromunda and DEATHSHROUD. I didn’t foresee Calas but frankly I should of known the Pretty black boxes were just too much for me to resist.
Oh and the awesome KR case. Out of everything I have to say the Heresy Minis have become my purchase of the show and I really cant wait to build and paint them let alone play with them.

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The Swag!

 

And its with some great contacts made and empty pockets I wish you farewell Salute for another year.

 

 

 

 

Heresy Troopers – A Review

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Regular readers will know that I’m working on a secret project with a couple of The Chaps. Seeing as this is a wargaming blog and I’m what could arguably called a veteran gamer it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s a wargame. Having developed what we thought was a rather natty mechanic we went to Salute last weekend with our minds set on finding some awesome models to use for play testing.

I was opting for the dubiously labelled good guys and therefore knew exactly where I would be heading: Heresy Miniatures to get my hands on some of their trooper models.

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I’ve always liked Heresy Miniatures‘…er…miniatures because they have a lot of personality. To be clear, I don’t mean personality in the sense that the ugly bird at a party has a ‘really nice personality’, I mean that Andy and the other guys work really hard to make their models feel real. Posing, accessories, expressions, everything is just so. They feel like they belong in the environments one would expect to see them.

The troopers as a selection of models all look dynamic and because the arms and some heads are separate so you can mix up the poses so a running model can be simply hauling ass with rifle in hand or running whilst taking a hurried aimed shot. They just look brilliant.

Plus the look of the models has a simplistic charm about them. The rifles look like they could actually work and I love that they’re bullpup design. The troopers armour is simple but, again, looks like it might actually work, the vambraces being sizeable so would afford its wearer actual protection from incoming fire and considering its positioning during an aimed shot ones face may not get shot off. Which is nice.

They’ve also been outfitted with things an actual solider would have like pouches and a side arm. So all in all, they’re exactly what it says on the blister pack. Which may seem obvious but they just feel more substantial and more like soldiers than some other sci-fi trooper models, specifically the plastic Cadians from GW. I feel like their body armour is more than decoration. But then I suppose basic Guard are meant to go pop. These bad boys aren’t. Which would make them pretty good proxy models for Stormtroopers.

troops2Equally the heavy weapon teams have that sense of robustness one would want from someone toting a chuffing great machine gun or flame thrower. And what’s really nice is that Heresy resisted the temptation to just do a weapon and head swap. They are noticeably different models and the fuel tank for the flame thrower is very cleverly designed so it not only goes together but the hose connects with the fuel tube without a lot of bending, swearing, and the inevitable snapping of the tube. Followed by more swearing.

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What it all adds up to are models that are sculpted with care and consideration. Real thought going into not just the look of the model but how that model will look on the board. Heresy take their responsibility to the gamer very seriously as if a model looks shit on a board, beyond the paint job the only person you can blame is the sculptor.

I also got my hands on the new Officer model above. Amusingly, because I like the model so much I’ve justified his existence in my game but in so doing made that faction much more versatile. I just love him. Aside from being a brilliant sculpt, everything about it just oozes British stiff upper lippedness in service of Queen and Country. And better still is that you get multiple heads so can play around with it. I opted for the head above but having a full visored officer was tempting because he looks bloody menacing.

I absolutely love these trooper models and I’m already figuring out a colour scheme. Regular readers know that I don’t often put brush to model so that says quite a lot. I’m honestly as excited about painting these as I am my shiny new Crisis suit from Forge World. Which, to me speaks volumes about how much fun I had putting them together. It can obviously be a tad fiddly sticking arm sets together but that’s true of any model that requires to adjoining parts to be stuck onto a third part using super glue. But because the poses were so natural I was just excited to get them built.

Plus the casting quality was such that beyond trimming and filing a bit of flash off the guns there was very little cleaning up to do. The mould lines, if any, were so slight they were gone in moments. I had the squad, the support weapons and the officer cleaned and built inside an hour.  And that kind of ease makes them aces in my book.

 

 

My Day at Salute

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So yesterday was Salute 2013, a day that I spend the previous 365 days looking forward too hugely. And why? Aside from it being a massive room full of toy soldiers, games, scenery and even more toy soldiers, it’s a gathering of wargamers from across the country enjoying their hobby. It’s always great fun to see all the different people who are drawn to wargaming and what kind of games tickles their fancy.

I had a rip-roaring day. I always make a point of visiting as many companies as I can that have supported The Shell Case in one way or another. So I stopped by Amera and may or may not have impulsively preordered their new Dreadball Arena. Also spent a huge lump of wonga with Ainsty Castings on a tremendous 4×4 sci-fi installation board so you can expect a review of that soon.

I also managed to catch up with Andy from Heresy Miniatures and Jed from Antenociti’s Workshop – who I must apologise to for not popping back to see him but time ran out. Mantic got some of my pounds as I picked up Dreadball Season 2 and the Judwan team. I also picked up those Troopers from Heresy like I planned.

Two big highlights for me: A couple of highlights for me was catching up with friend of The Shell Case, and all round nice guy, Chris Wraight at the Black Library stand and we talked Horus Heresy and what was coming next. Excited doesn’t cover it.

I also got the opportunity to talk to Mike McVey about what’s next for Sedition Wars which, again, is hugely exciting and I can already see my bank balance shrinking but it’s so cool I don’t care. The shitter was that I was so engrossed that I missed out on the last limited edition Vanguard model that was on sale. But you can’t have em all.

I also got to chat with the guys from Pulp City about their impending second edition. I may have also picked up a couple of their models just because they’re way cool…

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Steel Crown Productions, the dudes behind Exodus Wars, are up to some way cool stuff and are really gaining momentum with the new ranges. By the time I caught up with one of the creators – Tom – there were a lot of empty pegs on their stand. I also came across a company called Ammon Miniatures who do some awesome stuff so make sure you look em up and check out their Indiegogo campaign.

 

An unexpected gem was what KR Multicase are up to. They’re producing wargaming tables and furniture. All I need to do now is get my man cave built in the back garden and I’ll be all set. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to speak to Dayl so I don’t have prices or anything for you but as and when I do I shall put them up.

I did spontaneously buy myself this bad boy from Forge World so it does rather look like I’ll be doing a small ally contingent of Tau to go with my Ultramarines.

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Just to be clear, as it’s allies I don’t break my ‘no new army’ rule. So there.

Obviously one of the highlights of the day was catching up with various #warmongers and sitting down with a dozen or so of them for lunch. There was much showing off of toys and the usual banter one would expect from all lads together.

It was a chuffing brilliant day with lots of good people, piles of money spent and piles of plastic, metal and resin to show for it. All I can say is roll on next yet.

Shopping Lists

This evening I had Neil of The Chaps round to work on a game we’ve been developing with Lee of The Chaps. We’re reaching the point where we’ll be able to start basic playtesting as our mechanic is, if I do say so myself, rather elegant and so we need to make sure it holds up to full scale games before we get too involved in the more exotic rules and campaigns etc. So, inevitably we started browsing the interwebs for models that would proxy until such time as we’re ready to get models designed and cast.

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As we started to put together a list of companies we liked the look of we naturally started going through the list of traders attending Salute  2013 to see if they would be there. And before we knew it a shopping list had started to form as well as an increasing list of traders to visit.

This got me thinking about how much fun events like Salute can be as it’s not always about running around like a child trying to spend all your money as quickly as possible (although that can be fun too). And it’s not always about looking at and investing in new games or just picking up models because you like them. This year myself and Neil and Lee are going there with the intention of seeing what models we can find that fit in with our various hobby projects. The age-old art of Proxying.

The really exciting part is that there are so many good companies out there producing some wonderful games and some awesome models and is this very reason that gives this site its main focus. As we browsed the internet we came across models that we wanted to buy and we dutifully added them to our shopping list and made notes against the trader list (which is so full of mistakes it’s actually embarrassing). I thought I’d share some of the models we have our eye on and the companies that produce them…

Troopers from Heresy Miniatures

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The Convoy from Taban’s Eden

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A couple of hard nuts from Pulp City

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And a few villainous sorts from Knight Models

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And maybe finished off with a few Special Forces from Urban Mammoth

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And this is on top of all the other stuff that was already on our shopping list but you know what, it’s part of the fun of going to events like Salute because no matter how strict you plan on being, and how rigidly you stick to your shopping list one still can’t help but run around the place like a child on a sugar high because there’s few things better than going round with your mates, looking at cool toys, buying a few and in your head work out how much you’re going to tell the wife how much you spent whilst grimacing at how much you really spent.

For all those going to Salute this year I’d love to hear what’s on your shopping list…

 

 

 

 

Heresy Miniatures Review

Whilst at Salute the other week I found myself over at the Heresy Miniatures stand chatting with the thoroughly nice chaps and oggling all the various models in the cabinets, especially the models that most definitely aren’t Delaques that most definitely aren’t for Necromunda.

However my eye was drawn to a fantasy miniature, which is, generally, very unlike me unless I can cram it into Mordheim some how. The model in question is the Barbarian Warlord, first cast back in 2008.

Although not the newest model in the Heresy catalogue I just had to buy him because, quite simply, he looks awesome. I think the thing that really gets me is that he’s not a typical barbarian model. He’s not swinging his axe wildly, nor is he covered in rags, nor chains. However he still looks hard as nails! The casual pose with that massive axe rested on his shoulder screams ‘walk away now and I’ll let you live’. Because you know, when the axe starts swinging it’s only going to end one, very messy, way.

Beyond the pose, the detail does well to convey the skull splitting bad-assery of the model without going overboard. All the armour is down one side which is a nice touch. It indicates that (A) he has status in that he has armour at all and (B) he favours his right hand when fighting so presents his off side to the enemy. However restricting the armour to his left side still gives him mobility, which is key. Although that gauntlet looks like it could bring some serious hurt, and is one of my favourite bits of the model.

I like attention to detail like that. It shows actual thought has gone into the model rather than ‘lets give him a weapon twice his size and give him a huge suit of armour and cover every surface we can with spikes and skulls!’ I’m all for fantasy but it also needs to be possible excluding magic, demons and all that jiggery pokery of course.

The little touches are all evident as well on the model. The throwing knives and coin purse are all competently sculpted so when they’re painted they’ll look the part. Even the cloak has clasps attaching it to the armour which is a silly level of detail that I haven’t seen for a while. And the mentalists have even sculpted muscle definition on the chest. Which is great so now Thor and the Barbarian Warlord can make me feel inadequate together.

Overall it’s a top model. The mould lines were a bit of a sod in places but I can’t dock too many points for that as the casting quality itself is very good. And for £6.50 it’s an absolute bargain. If you haven’t checked out Heresy Miniatures go there right now and grab yourself a little slice of awesome.