Well, the West Midlands Military Show, known to all and sundry as "Alumwell" after the host club and former venue, has now been and gone.
Sunday, 12th March saw a plethora of gamers, traders and visitors, along with a few staff, spend several hopefully happy hours at the Aldersley Leisure Village near Wolverhampton, engaged in the various pursuits found around the average wargames show - spending money, taking money, chatting, gaming, renewing acquaintances, eating, drinking, arguing about rules and then going home again!
What did I think? Well, this show is always one I like to go to, not least because it is local but also because I get to spend too much on various whims and fancies, lay on a game and speak to like-minded individuals without the usual jibes about "toy soldiers" and references to Peter Pan's refusal to become an adult...
The footfall seemed high this year, perhaps more so than recent years, which can only be a good thing. Trying to get down some of the aisles at different times would certainly back up my view on this, but only the organisers would know for sure. And the aisles are not even narrow compared with some shows I have been to!
There were some notable absences on the trader front from recent years, however, at least how I remember them. No Lancashire Games, no Foundry, no Baccus 6mm, no one seemingly willing to turn up with a job lot of wargames buildings for sale. Booksellers were also few and far between. This must be the first show I have been to where I did not see Dave Lanchester.Yet there were still plenty of opportunities to hand over the hard-earned, opportunities which I duly took with my usual abandon!
One highlight for me was a company I had not previously encountered, namely "Oakbound Studio" from Bristol, first time attendees and purveyors of a marvellous-looking, Celtic-inspired skirmish/ roleplaying range of books and figures called "THE WOODS". I'll cover my loot in a separate post, but suffice to say that this small company took some of my money and I was most happy to be relieved of it! I am reading through the main sourcebook for the system and enthusiasm is VERY high.
The standard of games ranged from the sort of club night affair run for fun to some truly awesome-looking events, with all things in between. We ran our "Storri's Trek 2: The Rath of Cahan" game, slightly amended from our last outing as is our way (never exactly the same game twice), so when you next see it (at the BARRAGE SHOW in STAFFORD on JULY 9TH), it will be different again. Telford, Wyre Forest, Shrewsbury and others were all in evidence, but best in show went to the excellent-looking (and magazine featured) "Siege of Athlone" game.
The venue is light, airy and BIG ENOUGH for the purpose to which we put it. Most importantly of all, it was the first year in many that we had no fire alarm to disturb the fun!
Overall, I enjoyed the show immensely and hope the growing footfall (IMO) continues. Popular shows means more traders (I think). Why else do such concerns exist if it is not to make money, so the more people, the more intake of cash!
Finally, a massive THANK YOU to the guys at the Chase Wargames Club, from whom I acquired a large number of wargaming and military magazines to plough through for various bits of source material, completely free of charge. They are still in the car, because if there is one thing about my hobby that my wife hates, it is all the magazines and books, that are slowly causing our little pile of bricks to sink into the Staffordshire landscape under their combined weight!!! I will get around to sorting through them and keeping articles I like the look of...
|WYRLEY RETINUE: Nephew Paul's command formed of Nephew Nick's Vikings, with a few of mine sneaking into shot bottom left.|
|WYRLEY RETINUE: Daughter Eleanor had charge of the Norse-Gael contingent of the Irish forces in her on-going battle for most wins with Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev.|
|WYRLEY RETINUE: the Irish mass for battle under control of Nephew Nick. They lost (AGAIN!!!)|
|ATHLONE: Danish contingent march to battle|
|ATHLONE: more Danes|
|ATHLONE: some Jacobites on the other side of the river to the Danes|
|ATHLONE: the aforementioned river - Jacobites to the right, Williamites to the left|
|COBRIDGE?: the Battle of Ramillies done in 10mm. I am not sure about the basing convention though. Surely the two lines of troops in each battalion should be rather closer than this? Couldn't you just argue about aesthetics all day!?!?!?|
|COBRIDGE?: the full Ramillies table, complete with zorbing event in the foreground|
|A Peninsular War skirmish game by an unknown (to me) group|
|WYRE FOREST: a Tiger tank trundling down a lane near you (if you live in Normandy at any rate)|
|WYRE FOREST: more bits of Normandy|
|My 10 year old son wants a Willy's Jeep when he grows up, so I took this shot for him. He also wants a Bugatti Veyron...|
|Rorke's Drift by an unknown group|
|SHREWSBURY: another good looker from the Borderers of the Welsh Marches in what seems to be their favourite period, the 18th Century|
|SHREWSBURY: and they also seem to like boats a lot over in Shropshire|
|SHREWSBURY: my favourite scene of any game on the day - simple but very well done|
|A Fokker DVII's view of his next kill.|