Another year, another Crisis has passed. First off - thanks to everyone at TSA involved in the organisation for putting up this great show (and, more importantly, suffering our presence each year :). Great work guys!
On to the personal bit. We took a rehash of our Zeebrugge game, using the same terrain but setting it during a fictional Operation SHIELD FRIENDLY in August 1944. The game was well received (although I think we spent less effort this year evangelicising it) but, as predicted, did not win any prizes (I would have been quite amazed had it done so). As to the result, the Germans easily beat off the British assault, leading to the safe escape of the submarine prototype.
Personally, I had entered this figure in the painting competition, in the single historical miniature category:
I thought the paintjob on this figure to be pretty good (considering I only spent around 4 hours on it, base included), but my hopes flagged when I went to check out the competition. Luckily, it did not turn out that bad at all, as I got two bronze medals (one in category, one for Celtic figures — although there probably only were three Celtic figures :) ) for it. According to Willie, this year’s scoring of the competition was very tough (there were only two gold medals in the entire competition), so I’m quite chuffed with this achievement. The figure will make a perfect general for my Celtic army for our upcoming WAB escalation campaign.
Purchase wise, I got four sets of Foundry Paint System: the black and white, some reds, some yellows and some greens. I’m quite curious as to whether I’ll like painting with these (I know the paints themselves will be pretty good, given that they are produced by the same firm that produces the Coat d’ Arms series as well as the old GW paints, and that the Foundry apparently has had them put in quite a lot of pigment), and I’ll report my findings here once I have painted up a few figures with them. My second purchase was in the bring & buy, where I picked up almost 100 of the now out of production Goedendag Miniatures Flemish Communal infantry. They do seem to be a bit of a bother to assemble, as they consist of seperate torsos, arms, weapons and heads, but knowing my current style of building units, I’d probably have converted most of them anyway (head swaps etc), so this will give me more freedom to do so (famous last words). They will form the infantry arm (about four units or so) of a future Flemish 14th Century army.
Now on to the rest of the convention. My general impression was that the overall level of the convention was better than last year. There was certainly more lighting, the catering problems had been cleverly solved by providing discount tickets for the nearby Quick (although there apparently was quite a spectacle to be seen in a competing sandwichbar) and attendance seemed to be up. I did feel that the general level of the games presented had levelled off a bit (to some fault of our own of course, as we were taking an ‘old’ game). Over the last couple of years, the number of ‘wow’ games has risen steadily, but I thought that this year, that number has stabilised a bit (at least not risen anymore).
That said, there were some beautiful games around. TSA had done a rendition of the assault of the Evil forces on Osgiliath, built entirely in Hirst’s Arts blocks, that was pretty popular with visitors throughout the day. Peter & Petra Schulein of Murphy’s Heroes presented A hot day in June, a beautiful 6mm version of a 1967 or so battle in the Egyptian / Israeli desert. Going right along, the Dortmund Amateur Wargamers presented an exquisitely done game on Operation Felix, the planned but never executed German assault on Gibraltar in 1941. This game featured their trademark well crafted and finely detailed terrain and troops, and deservedly won Best Presented Wargame (again).
On a side note, this might say something about the state of wargaming in Belgium: on Belgium’s premier wargames show, only two Belgian clubs have ever won Best Presented Wargame, all of the other awards going to German or Dutch clubs. Should we be worried about this? Comments, please. It was heart warming, though, to see Stipsiczs Hussars win the new prize for Best Participation Game, after years of staying under the radar. Well done, Fons & Marcel!
Les Chemins de Feu presented a well modelled game on the Russo-Finnish winter war, featuring some very realistic icy lakes and snow. This game excelled in the surrounding paraphernalia as well, having a few (original?) period weapons along, and continually displaying a Norwegian-Finnish DVD on the war, among other things.
Finally, THS, a German club, presented Phil’s dream — a full size 25mm game on the Boxer Rebellion, featuring the city wall and what looked like most or all of the Legation Quarter in Beijing.
That’s about it for this installment. I’ll put up some photos of the convention fairly soon(ish).