The Excel venue is a great one for shows of this type, with good transport links, plenty of space and only moderately overpriced food and drink outside the halls. The car park that I usually use, outside the East entrance, was closed for coaches this year, so we were directed into the labyrinth under the venue. Random closures of certain parts made this a real maze, and I drove around fr about 20 minutes trying to find a parking space.
Eventually we managed to get into the hall just before 1pm, by which time all the freebie bags were gone, so I didn't get an of the nice give-aways like the Salute figure, which is a shame. I also thought that the hall seemed darker this year than previous years, but that could just be my failing eyesight. There seemed less gamers there than previous years, and I noticed a few empty tables. The lack of a bring and buy this year possibly contributed to the more spacious feel, as the stores were a little more spread out, which was a welcome change.
I didn't take any photos at the show, but there are some excellent galleries here, here, here and here. I was particularly impressed by the Sword Beach display, and the 1950's Vietnam board. The VSF board on Mars and the IHMN Lost City board also looked great. Unfortunately, because we arrived late, it was the first year that I didn't get to see everything, and missed some of the really good boards that you can see in the links above.
So, onto my haul. All the pictures below are straight from the pack, so include flash and sprue and are unassembled or glued.
Firstly, we have a freebie figure that I got from an interesting looking range soon to be launched by Spectre Miniatures. The range appears to be a modern/near future set in the dark, dangerous and sweaty world of unstable African countries. The figure is a CIA agent, and if the rest of the range is of similar quality they could be worth looking out for.
Next we have a collection of miniatures from Ground Zero Games
Firstly we have the Crusty attack bugs and handler. These are really nice giant attack prawns, and crusty with forked stick to prod them towards their enemies. I can see a whole host of uses for the attack prawns, and they are very nicely made, as ever.
Next we have a set of NSL heavy weapons, an autocannon on wheeled mount, grenade launcher on wheeled mount and RAM mortar. All nice, clean sculpts that will add a bit of punch to my Militech forces for the 4th Corporate War game.
I also wanted to pick up some Crusty light cruisers. When I placed an order with GZG after Christmas using my discount voucher, I ordered 4 sets of Heavy Destroyers by mistake instead of 4 light cruisers. Due to a picking error yesterday, I ended up with 2 more heavy cruisers and 2 light cruisers instead of the 4 light cruisers I wanted. I'm destined never to get my light cruiser squadron...
|Light on left, heavy on right.|
Next we have some really nice civilian vehicles from Critical Mass Games. I picked up a pack of the anti-grav cars and the anti-grav vans. The vans will make really good proxies for AV-4's (aerodyne vehicles) for the 4th Corporate war game, and the I'm going to convert a couple of the cars to be police cruisers by the addition of a styrene lightbar on the roof. I also picked up a Ravager Mech, but as it's in parts, didn't bother to photograph it.
Next we have a single pack of Arthurian Personalities from West Wind Productions Arturian range. These are a really nice set of Arthur, Merlin , Bishop and Owain, who I assume is Owain Ddantgwyn. Really nice figures, especially Merlin leaning on his staff. He just cries out for some faded blue tattoos on his arms.
Next we have a pack of Wargames Foundry figures from their unreleased range. These are a set from the Egyptian Adventures, which are essentially figures from the movie "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns". This set recreates the fight in the throne room between Nefretiri and Anacksunamun (his daughter and his mistress). It's a a nice set of figures which I will be using to bolster my Servants of Ra forces for In Her Majesty's Name.
|I seem to recall a distinct lack of boobies in the film...|
I finally picked up a set plastic of hills and escarpments from Kallistra, which I have been uhmming and ahhing over for the last 4 or 5 shows I've been to. They should paint up nicely, and when flocked to match my table will provide a nice alternative to some of the crummy polystyrene pieces I have. The ones below are the smallest pieces of the small, medium and large that you get in each set.
Finally, and my last purchases of the day, we have a few bits from Brigade Models. Firstly we have two sets of their powered armour, which will again be used for my 4th corporate war game, in this case a Militech Commando PA suits. They'll also do double duty as French BH-21 PA suits for a 2300AD game set on Aurore. Very nice models, but the details on the weapons seem a bit soft. Perhaps this is the age of the mould or maybe I just got a slightly rough batch. I got one set of the regular suits, and one set of the heavy weapon suits armed with a mix of rotary cannons and bazookas.
I also picked up a couple of sets each of their new fleet scale British Fighters. The detail on these really is remarkable. You can even make out the cockpit canopy frame on them, which is a major achievement for a miniature less then 6mm in length. This is clearly a positive result of CGI design and 3-d printing.
|The bars on the tail are sprue, but could easily be turned into a rear air-foil to give you a Vampire/Vixen twin boom vibe.|
|With handy 15mm figure for scale|