First stop was Irregular Miniatures, where I procured two 54mm figures, one a 7 Years War officer, the other a Greek hoplite, for use as Victorian-era statuary. The officer looks quite splendid atop the column I have, while I think the hoplite deserves a slightly lower plinth.
The second, secret objective was to call at Empress Miniatures and procure the Mutton Chop "Sidney 'Dirty Laugh' Cohen & Sidekick"
Regular readers may remember that I run a house rule that GASLIGHT characters for whom a custom figure has been explicitly painted or converted, do NOT die permanently on failing their last Save roll. I did this mainly to preserve my mini alter-ego that I'd painstakingly converted, but left this retroactively open. At the Battle of Aldershot, Mi Hermano Morituri Jonesy had lost his favourite GASLIGHT Main Character, Sir Roger d'Ars, modelled after Sid James. The above pack made a nice thank-you gift for driving us to the show, and hopefully we may see Sir Roger return to our games.
The third objective, visit the Black Pyramid stand and wobble my lower lip at the lack of Home Service Helmets, was thwarted by the big empty space where their stand ought to be. Clearly I shouldn't have warned them I was coming.
Other things to see at the show - a fairly spectacular remote-controlled tank battle arena, with an adjacent trade stand selling the very reasonably priced tanks like hotcakes. £60 for what looked like about 1/12 scale tanks, up to double that if you wanted a metal shell instead of plastic. There were also a few old-school demonstration games, tying into the Little Wars anniversary. An 18th century game recreating the Battle of Plattsville using Don Featherstone's rules caught my eye, and we had a very pleasant chat with one of the fellows running it, discussing the merits of simple rules, toy soldier aesthetics and home cast figures. Jonesy obviously preached to him the merits of gaming with Lego, but meh, you can't take him anywhere!
I did call by Ironclad Miniatures stand, and lo and behold they didn't have the steam tanks I wanted with them but offered to post them on 'later in the week'. Long term readers might recall a similar promise back in 2011, which turned into a month's wait with pretty poor communication from Ironclad. Let's see if things have improved a little since then.
One other thing that struck me was how ubiquitous Zvezda kits are becoming. They seem aimed at gamers, since unlike many other plastic kit manufacturers, they produce simple models in wargame scales (e.g. 1/100 for 15mm). Every other stand seemed to have a dump basket full of the 15mm vehicle kits at £2.75-2.99 and either 4 for £10 or 5 for £12.75 offers. They have me once again seriously considering 1938: A Very British Civil War in 15mm using the Portable Wargame rules.
I'm told that the show was quite busy Saturday, but on Sunday when we went, while there was a good crowd, it wasn't painfully packed out. For the first time in a long while, I didn't have to fight my way through crowds to get to the Bring & Buy table, which made for a refreshing change. Sadly there weren't any bargains there to tickle my fancy.
Anyway, 'twas a good day out indeed.
Today Jonesy and I played our first game of In Her Majesty's Name. But that, as they say, is another story....