Well last Saturday we made the snap decision to go to Salute and that we would drive there and back in one day, Amy thought I was mad but conceded in the end to my logic of "well why not?". After a nine and a half hour round car journey and eight hours of being on our feet we arrived home safely with a boot full of goodies and still positively buzzing about the experience.
In order to get to Salute and be in at doors open we set of at 3:30 in the morning and made our way to London, we landed at the Excel centre with on one or two wrong turns (not bad being our first time in London) at 8:15 to see that there was already a queue for the queue!
So after quick breakfast bagel each we joined the pre-queue which was soon ushered into the queuing hall, where we rummaged through our Salute goody bags and passed the time by reading the enclosed magazine. Now we knew Salute was big and I had read about last years attendance figures (somewhere between 5000-7000 people) but it didn't prepare me for the sheer amount of people that is, it was certainly quite the site just before they let us in.
This is a small portion of the queue, it was about double the depth and then the same again behind me.
At just after 10 they opened the flood gates and on plan of action kicked in. We had printed out and marked on a map of Salute with everyone we definitely wanted to see and first up was Prodos where we could collect some of our Kickstarter pledge and the limited Alien Warriors. Then we found Deep Cut studios who's gaming mats we've been eyeing up for some time, then we were off to Heresy Miniatures to say hi to Andy and pick up some of the Kickstarter miniatures as well as look at some of the work in progress sculpts and the master cast of Madame Ner'Gabba (she's bloody gorgeous), next came stops at River Horse who had a mock up copy of the Labyrinth board game (can't wait for this as it looked great), Mantic Games for some miniatures for Amy and then Steamforged Games to check out the Dark Souls board game.
Prepare to Die!
The miniatures for Dark Souls looked good but I wasn't to sure on the game itself but as this as only a snapshot I'll wait for the Kickstarter to launch before passing judgement. Next up was a stop at the Crooked Dice stand and a catch up with Karl on what was coming up and of course to pick a little something up as well, they were running an escape from Mos Eisley game (among many others) which looked brilliant as well. Then finally on our first run around we headed to World of Twilight, again to pick up some Kickstarter miniatures and a pre-order along with some new bits they had brought along or I had forgotten to order. It was nice to meet Mike in person and have a chat as well as catch the bug hunt demo game.
At this point it was 1:15 and we were weighed down with bags and boxes so decided to drop them off at the car and grab some lunch after which we could have a more leisurely walk around. We wanted to make sure we checked out every trade stand before leaving to make sure we didn't miss anything and so ended up with a couple more bags by the end of the day and also managed to bump into a friend or two as well, you couldn't meet a nicer chap than Tony Yates who was manning the Foundry stand and we had a nice little chin-wag and then Rob from Hysterical Games who's new buildings are fantastic:
They'll be finding use in our games of World of Twilight and Dragon Rampant, we just need to pick up a few more now!
It was now just after 4:15 and we wanted to head back home before the masses of people did the same, a wise decision as the journey home was nice and easy with us stepping back over the threshold at just after 10:00, minds still whirring with the excitement of the day.
Now on to the goodies!
Our condensed swag (there was a few more bags initially)
The Deep Cut Studios (http://www.deepcutstudio.com/) mat, we'll be picking up a couple more of these, great print quality
The Salute goody bag you receive on entry
The new Centaurs from Mantic Games, these are really nice sculpts with a Narnian feel
Various bits a pieces we picked up on the second run through (the Modiphius miniatures were actually part of a a pre-order I placed on the day for Achtung! Chthulhu Skirmish game which looked very interesting)
The World of Twilight miniatures, should keep me going for some time
The Plast Craft church caught Amy's eye so we brought one home. It will fit nicely into games of Batman, WWWII and Doctor Who
A Gnome house from Hysterical Games, we love it
AvP Kickstarter picks ups and the 'limited' Alien warriors. There's one thing you can't deny about these and that is that they are superb miniatures
Hersey Miniatures, so many uses for these; 40k 2nd Ed; Dragon Rampant; and of course Andy's own Netherhells once completed.
Sorry if I've gone on a bit but we really did have an excellent time and will be making sure we attend next year.
Finally I just want to give a quick shout out to some of the other stands we stopped at and had a chat with or just rummaged through their lovely wares; Clockwork Goblin (I have Konflikt '47 on pre-order and they had some painted 3D prints on show of upcoming miniatures); Warlord Games who had a few Doctor Who miniatures on display (the Zygons and Judoon looked good as did Wilf and Martha however the Tennant Doctor didn't look that great for me so it appears as though I'll be cherry picking from this range once released); Arcane scenery (who's resin stone circles and pre-historic scenery will soon be added to our collection); Otherworld Miniatures (for some stunning displays and of course more miniatures for Amy's Nature army); and Titan Wargames who's evil Dwarves will be finding their way into my Abyssal Dwarf army for Kings of War.