Friday 13 April dawned chilly and cloudy, but after a tremendous effort from our events manager, Andy Miles, we had the van loaded virtually to its roof with lots of goodies for Salute, including three ranges of wargames figures. As some of you who visit us on the show circuit will be aware, we now carry not only a large range of our books to the shows, but also a number of figure ranges, including Bicorne (28mm English Civil War), Boot Hill (28mm Alamo/Texan War of Independence), Company D (28mm American Civil War) and Warfare Miniatures (28mm late C17th/Great Northern War). With Bicorne already attending Salute, we have the other three ranges ready to go plus as big a selection of books as we could manage.
The journey down to London Docklands went like a dream, and we were setting up by early afternoon. We were helped by a special guest, none other than Tom Cooper, who edits our acclaimed @War series of books. The challenge is always working out how best to fit a van full of goods into the space available for maximum effect, particularly as we sometimes vary what we take to a particular show. For example, we want to make sure we had plenty visibility for the wargames figures for Salute, which has a particularly international range of visitors.
The system at Excel worked really well, with us able to drive the van right up to our allotted display space. So, by 3:30 PM, we were done and dusted, ready for a rest, and then in the evening a spot of dinner with Tom to talk about a huge range of interesting projects he has lined up for the @War series in the next few years!
After a good breakfast at the hotel, Andy and I were on the stand for 8:30 AM, joined soon after by Tom, and our colleagues Charles Singleton (editor, Century of the Soldier series) and Andrew Bamford (editor, From Reason to Revolution series). Primed for what we hoped would be a throng of visitors, we were not disappointed. Soon after 10 AM, the opening of the show, the stand was full of visitors, and this didn’t really slow down until the middle of the afternoon.
It was great to see lots of old friends at the show, including Peter Dennis and Andy Callan running a paper soldiers game showcasing the forthcoming War of the Spanish Succession figures, which we will be publishing for this autumn.
Peter also premiered some of the 2019 paper soldier projects on our stand, which created a huge amount of interest. These include 16th Century Italian Wars, Zulus and the Napoleonic Peninsula range – Napoleonics are probably our most requested paper soldiers! Mark Allen, figure painter and illustrator extraordinaire, was also on hand, passing over artwork for the forthcoming book on the Battle of the White Mountain, for the Century of the Soldier series.
Visiting the shows gives us a great opportunity to talk directly with the people who read and use our books, and it’s always wonderful to discuss ideas, and get feedback on our publications.
The figure ranges created lots of interest, and it was nice to link up with Nick Futter, owner of Boot Hill, and Barry Hilton of Warfare Miniatures, too.
With the team working hard, each of us also had enough time to be able to take a look at the show. Plenty of fantastic games, and also some eye-catching figure displays, particularly (and purely biased, due to my own interests!) the Victrix stand with some of their beautifully painted 28mm plastic Ancients, and the Perrys previewing their 28mm Agincourt mounted knights in ‘three-up’ format. Amazing!
All in all we had a superb day, met many old friends and made lots of new ones, and look forward to Salute 2019!