I'm fresh back from the Reading and Newbury show held at Newbury Racecourse. I've no idea where that is really, somewhere down South. I have to say I was amazed by the sheer scale of it. Same sort of size of venue as York (again held at a race course) but absolutely packed to the rafters with trade stands and games. Held on three floors of the grandstand building the first floor is all for shopping. I got a free bundle of catalogues from the friendly chaps at Front Rank miniatures, first time I have seen these guys at a show. In fact I saw many manufacturers I never knew existed. For example:
Parkfield Miniatures - very competatively priced 25mm figures with ranges for Napoleon in Egypt, Peninsular, SYW, FIW, Vietnam (great looking M113's!) and very interestingly the South American Wars of independance. Lovely looking Argentine and Spanish sets newly released. www.parkfieldminiatures.freeservers.com
Eagle Figures - nice looking and good priced 28mm SYW, ACW, HYW, and Napoleonic Swedes and Spanish! www.eaglefigures.co.uk
Also saw many more traders I had never heard of and ones I know well but have never seen in the flesh.
Our favourite trader Colonel Bill was there too with his pre-owned figures. I got the French 36 man btn in greatcoasts (Foundry figs) from him for £35. Those were the only figures I bought, I was litterally overwhelmed so decided to simple collect infomation and catalogues for future possibly buys. I have enough to paint (see below) so was being strict with myself. Sadly Dave Thomas was by this point running out of Perry Prussian's so I held back.
I attended along with two wargames show 'noobies' at least they hadn't been to a regular wargames show before. Paul and Rob are more GW/Sci Fi gamers but loved the show and particularly loved the huge Zombie game on the 3rd floor. Biggest zombie game I've ever seen at around 16ft x 4ft. Hopefully I have inspired to have a Yorkshire Coast Wargamers contingent in the South and we can make it an annual trip!
For me the best game was by the Skirmish Wargames guys. It was a 1/32 scale skirmish based on the French retreat from Moscow. The table looks big but was actually split into three, so three skirmish wargames were happening at once at different time periods. This ensured that everyone involved was always playing and not sat about waiting for something to develop at the other end of the table. I had seen these guys years ago putting on a WWII Pacific theatre game in 1/32 scale at the Sheffield Toy Soldier show and the modelling skill in their conversions is amazing. This game didn't disapoint either, they had use the 'green stuff' to convert figures into Cossacks and to 'winter and weather' their French. Many of the French figures were from the new Victrix range of 1/32 scale, which needed a bit of conversion from Peninsular to Russian theatre but worked well. More info on these fine chaps here: www.skirmishwargames.co.uk
A fantastic show and one I hope to attend regularly from now on. I resited buying some of the Victirx French as above that were on offer cheap and also some 1/32 scale Prussians from the same trader, also cheap. I'm starting to regret that so having a quick look on ebay once I've uploaded this. I also didn't buy a sourcebook on the Prussian Napoleonic army and tactics. It would have been perfect but as an out of print it was selling for £28 and I knew I could get similar from Osprey which have just released their Prussian Napoleonic Tactics book, which will only be £14 - looked for it but couldn't find it at the show.
In all, the shows I have attended this year are:
York - Vapnartak
Sheffield - Tripples
York - Battlegroup North (took a game)
St. Helens - Phalanx
Scarborough - Wartorn
Gateshead - Border Reiver
Newbury & Reading - Colours
Great fun at all of them and still a few more to go this year! Hope to get to Pudsey, South Sheilds and Leeds to make it up to ten shows this year. Maybe squeeze something else in too. It's long been an ambition to go to London Toy Soldier Show. Maybe next year!