Elstonation’s visit to Salute 2015
So if you’re wondering what this event called Salute is all about, then this article will give you my insight into this epic event.
What is Salute?
Salute is a convention (yes convention so expect geeks galore) about tabletop wargaming . If you don’t know what tabletop wargaming is then you are really reading the wrong blog. Salute is hosted by the South London Warlords in the ExCel Centre in London, around April time. It’s a chance for companies and groups to come in and show off their games and products.
So my adventure (yes i’m calling it an adventure) to Salute 2015
Our journey started off at about 6:30pm the evening before Salute. Car was loaded with snacks and bags whilst still trying to leave enough room for our goodies that we indefinitely would obtain at the convention. My personal preference is to travel down to London the night before so there’s no getting up at 6 in the morning to then travel three hours and then walk around for 7 hours then travel back for another 3 hours. Trust me after that amount of time you will be all geeked out. So we checked into the Ibis hotel which is literally next to the venue and then decided to go for a bit of a wonder around the surrounding area. I wanted to film more because it was a very nice area but didn’t want to advertise to people that were sitting in the shadows (yes i saw you!!) that i’m holding a £300 camera. I would have preferred getting there a bit earlier as there were a few nice looking bars around, but lesson learnt for next year.
Next day we got up and thought breakfast time, so we went down to what i can only describe as the most popular rubbish ‘all you could’ eat breakfast buffet in London. I mean you had to queue for some steamed rubbish and sweaty meats… So as we’re both trying to stomach some of this “food”, two guys who are having trouble finding a seat look at us and simply say “these guys look like wargamers” (this would give me a complex later when i thought about it) and sat at our table. We then got chatting to them and found out that they were some of the staff from Gripping Beast. I should point out at this stage that my partner in crime is a bit of a newb to games that don’t have Warhammer in the title. So we get chatting and Rob (partner in crime) starts inquiring about what Gripping Beast are about. This is his first introduction to the game SAGA which is a semi historical game based on the dark ages. I’m hearing more and more about this game and one will have a look into what it’s all about. So after forcing down the rest of the food and saying our goodbyes to the guys from Gripping Beast we decide to get sorted and check out of the hotel. It’s time to start Salute.
We’re walking up to the venue and there is what i can only describe as hoards of people flooding into the Excel centre. Part of me is wanting to run past them all and get to the front of the queue but then again we were an hour early so that just meant being out of breath and sweaty . I also realise that the London marathon registration and the Sherlock convention is on – so lots of people in hats. As i’m walking up someone spots me and comes over to say hello. It seems they have seen my youtube channel or seen me on the chilling wargamers channel. One step closer to celebrity status ☺.
So we arrive at the queue and it doesn’t seem that bad possibly 200-300 people in front of us (trust me that’s not that bad in comparison), and now we start the process of entertaining ourselves whilst standing around doing nothing. This included how many Gingers we could count (thanks for the idea Robin), who would win geek vs geek, who was sweating the most (this was unfortunate if they were in close proximity), how many people you can spot without facial hair, a very tricky one, how many women can you spot which was followed by “is that his girlfriend or his mum” (some of them it’s really hard to tell). It also involved looking at the programme and trying to decide where we were going to go first. So they finally open the gates and the standard geek roar occurs and people do their hardest not to run. As we get in, I turn around and notice the queue is dissolving into a giant mess, with no order left and security guards just giving up and standing aside.
So finally we’re in and Salute 2015 begins. We start off by visit my friend at Siege Studios as he was supposed to be bringing some models for me (but forgot) and the first 50 people that view the stand got a free paint brush set. It’s no Windsor and Newton but i’m not going to turn down free shit. He had the models they painted on display there and they are looking beautiful. I’m hoping they got some more commissions by the end of the day. After this the venue is really filling up but we decided to visit Wayland games who were running Wild West exodus games so we decided we’d have a quick game. Rob took the enlightened (scientist and zombies) and I took the warrior nation (Indians with werewolves/bears). We only managed to finish a round each before time caught up on us, but thoroughly enjoyed the game. I think this is going to be one of the games I get heavily invested in this year.
We then decide to find some friends as there was a lot of youtubers all meeting up and some I only see once a year so it was time to catch up. After finding everyone and having a brief catch up we all dispersed and started off to discover the rest of Salute. It’s worthwhile mentioning that it’s very hard to stay in a large group at Salute because there’s bound to be something you want to look at that someone else doesn’t so it’s usually easier splitting into groups of 2 or 3 then meeting up at specific times. Also i would advise taking headphones if you want to speak to people on the phone as it gets very loud and hard to hear.
At this point it gets a bit blurry on whom we saw and in what order but I will try to run down some of the ones that were highlights.
Highlights of Salute 2015
- Prodos Games had some lovely models up but a very small stall so it was a bit cramped and sweaty, i would like to look into Warzone Resurrection this year if i get the opportunity.
- Hawk wargames were out in force showing off their colossal dropship that had to be about 2-3 metres long with hundreds of dropships inside. This was a kind of a sneak peek into their new Dropship commander game which i am really excited about. If you haven’t played dropzone commander yet then i would strongly advise looking into it as it has one of the best value for money starter sets on the market today.
- Wargames tournaments had some awesome scenery at a very reasonable price (kicking myself that i didn’t get the necromunda style terrain but hopefully they’ll release that soon).
- Antinocity Workshops had some amazing stuff on the go (i sooo want some of their tanks they are beautiful).
- 4 Ground were showing of their amazing scenery, hands down has to be some of the best HDF cut terrain out there however it is a bit on the pricy side.
- Fenris games had some awesome terrain pieces and some interesting miniatures as well which i wasn’t aware they did.
- The dice bag lady was there with all her accessories, had to pick up some dice + accessories and also some minion American football players (these are by far the cutest things there).
- Blight wheel were there and if you’re liking your ad mech stuff you’ll want to check these guys out (the mantis tank kicks ass).
- Mierce Miniatures had brought their collection and if you want fantasy monsters/models these are definitely the best in the market at the moment. The price does reflect that though.
- The Troll Trader stand was quite entertaining. They had brought all their products that had damaged packaging and put them all in big plastic tubs and discounted prices (like £2-£3 for a blister) so as you can tell a hoard of sweaty geeks was mobbing this part of the stand.
There are many more that I haven’t mentioned because of over geek stimulation (yes nerdgasms were flying left right and centre).
I remember it getting to 14:00 and feeling exhausted but realising i hadn’t seen half of the stalls there.
Salute is not all about selling stuff though, there are gaming tables all over the place, some big ones you would only see at display exhibitions. For example the battle of Hoth table was monstrous and looked amazing with all the LED’s in echo base. It even had the make out tunnel for Han and Leia.
So at around half 3 in the afternoon we decided we’ve had enough. Not because we were bored, more because our arms and feet were hurting from carrying around the silly amount of models we purchased. So we said our goodbyes and headed out stopping off to get an ice cream on the way to the car. Then came the 2 hour drive home according to my sat nav. Rob’s google on his phone however said we could get home if we went left instead of right at the roundabout. Fuck you very much google for taking me through the centre of London on a weekend. If there’s a moral to this story don’t trust google.
Basically if you are after anything wargaming, more than likely you will find it at salute from Historical to crazy steampunk horror to sci fi it’s all there.I can’t tell you how good it is because you won’t believe me until you’ve been there for yourselves, so all i can say is give it a try and see what you think. If you want to get more of a feeling for Salute type in Salute 2015 into youtube and there will be hours of documentation to show you what went on there.