Sunday, 16 July 2017

Despite Living In Beirut, An Excellent Day Was Had

 After 4 weeks (with several more ahead) of living in what is a building site with windows, redolent of those 80s news segments from downtown Beirut, today, I made my second visit to the Joy Of Six, 6mm themed convention here in Sheffield, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable day - and an expensive one!

Let me say from the outset, that if you think that 6mm is a waste of time or simply doesn't have anything for you, you really should make the effort to attend, because you are missing a genuine treat.

We arrived at about 10AM and I delivered a few thousand 6mm models to assorted clients, including some new releases for Heroics & Ros, including Danish Centurions, T55s, and WW2 Italian infantry, all of which were. joy to paint.

The venue is the atrium of the main Sheffield Hallam University campus and is bright, airy and a very relaxing venue for a show. The atmosphere of the show is probably the best of any I have attended in the last 25 years with only Britcon coming close. I genuinely believe that the days of the big show are numbered, and if it results in more shows like J.O.6 then I'll shed few if any tears.

The staff and organisers are friendly, the attendees are friendly and the traders are equally friendly, sharing a passion for tiny yet perfectly formed things. Nobody smelled bad, smiles and good manners were abundant. What more could you want?

The bring and buy seemed a bit of a waste of time and this would be my only (and a minor) criticism.

The food was very well priced and the quality outstanding. Two bacon sandwiches and two large hot drinks cost £6.85, and the catering staff were kept very busy, serving all with smiles and banter which simply poured more goodness into the cereal bowl of life. My wife has to have her bread buttered, and the gentleman serving me did not make the fuss and grumbling noises of the catering staff at the Partizan show, a few months back. In fact I would like to thank those staff for being professional and friendly. After all we gamers can be a fickle bunch can't we?

When another of our party arrived, he grabbed two excellent slices of fresh, home made pizza and a large coffee for a fiver...

We set up camp in the seating area as my wife is not in the rudest of health recently and we chatted amiably with friends, clients and traders who dropped by. It was most agreeable.

The display and participation games were of the usual high standard and it was noted that there was a distinct lack of the miserable buggers, you seem to find at many shows these days.

30 minutes into the show, and I'd spent £180. By 4PM when we left, that total had reached £310.

My wife, a sceptic of the scale spent £99 with Baccus on a shedload of Napoleonic models for the Peninsular - for her personal use, you understand.

The traders were very busy indeed, and never seemed to be idle for more than a few moments, because of course, potentially every attendee was a customer, with the focus being on one scale.

When you see a table with a few thousand figures and 500+ trees, it really makes you want to go and spend some of your hard earned lolly. And I did...

I spent around £100 on sci-fi models from Brigade Models, then another £50 on scenery from the same company - And I got a LOT for that money too.

Then it was over to Leven Miniatures and a few fantasy buildings and a stunning rendition of Rourke's Drift which will fit into about the same area as a sheet of A4 paper. An exquisite little model!

Next, we visited Rapier Miniatures, who were telling me about their Glorantha range of 6mm models, and their plan for a massive Runequest / Glorantha game next year at the show - Stirring stuff if like me, you are a fan of the Glorantha mythos. Anyway, I walked away from there with a massive Trojan army, whilst Kayte and Dave ended up with Egyptian and Assyrian armies.

We then repaired to the nearby Red Lion pub where they serve a rather stunning Sunday roast which is tasty and almost too large to manage, washed down with a few alcohol free beers before returning to the show and spending another £50 on a few bits from Brigade and a Prussian army of the FPW from Baccus.

Dave had purchased a couple of raffle tickets and at 15:45 when it was drawn, he won a set of the Command Horizon sci-fi rules - Jammy git!

And so ended a most enjoyable and relaxing day.

I would like to thank Pete Berry of Baccus and Jon Skotulanski of Wargames Emporium along with all of the staff who made the day possible and without whom it would not have been the well oiled machine of an event that it was. And of course thanks to, to those people who presented the games which showcased what this most underrated of all the wargaming scales, can really be!

I am already looking forward to J.O.S 2018!


Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Joy Of Six

Let me begin with an apology.

I apologise for the lack of posts of late, but as you may recall, we'd  undertaken to have the DarkTower re-worked. Alas, what was to be a straightforward renovation of bathroom and kitchen has now become all of that plus the knock through of the dining room, plastering of three locations, replacement of a floor and three ceilings.

Three weeks in, and we are living in only two of the 8 rooms here at the Tower. I am working in some of the most cramped conditions I have had to endure in twenty years.

But, it's given me a lot of time to think of things game related. I've come to one big decision and that is to move over to 6mm for all but my 40K, Cape Wars and Warhammer Fantasy projects.

It all began when, lost in reveries of my misspent (or is that well spent?) youth, I was wont to remember the Triples that irregular Miniatures released it's 6mm range. We were al pretty hooked in our group of Young Olympians, with the exception of your correspondent who, at the eleventh hour when the rest of the gang had cleared out pretty much the entire show stock, decided he would be less of a martinet and join the club. Alas, Irregular had sold out on the Sunday afternoon but one of my mates took pity and sold me a Frankish army pack, which was frankly uninspiring when compared to the other armies Roger, Simon and the rest of the crew were jealously guarding.

But, the scale snob in me, never really went away, and despite the fact that I arguably paint some of the nicest commercially available 6mm you will ever see, I have stubbornly hung on to the notion of larger scales.

Well, that is right out of the window. I have painted so much 6mm that I have begun to once again see the sheer beauty in this scale. Last weekend, I was taking lunch with my gaming buddy, and he was berating me with a series of 'What did I tell you all those years ago?' comments. But, he was correct.

And so with the Joy Of Six show here in my home city on the 16th of July, I have set u a fighting fund to cover the cost of around 5000 (probably more) models.

As the blurb states (and it's all 100% true!):

'The venue for the show is the Heartspace at Sheffield Hallam University. This is a large stylish atrium which will give a light and airy atmosphere to the event.
The venue also has brilliant easily accessible on-site catering, and the menu will be tailored to wargamers at reasonable prices.
The opening times are 10am-4pm and the entrance fee is £3

I'm certainly starting with 6mm sci-fi, fantasy, 18th century and renaissance. Beyond that I have some other ideas, but the world as they say, is my mussel.

I've been reading Craig Armstrong's superb little rule set 'Lord & Lands' which are streamlined yet have a lot of tactical opportunities and multi-genre flexibility.  Indeed I am looking at the possibility of modifying them for 20th century urban unrest.

If you can get to Sheffield on the 16th, I'd really, really suggest you visit the show. You will be blown away by the quality and scope of the games on display, and what;'s more there are great bacon and sausage sandwiches, decent coffee, and if you want a bloody good lunch, the Red Lion on Matilda Street, a couple of minutes easy walk from the venue, offers a truly outstanding Sunday lunch.

Even if the idea of 6mm does not appeal, give the show a visit, because I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what the scale has to offer the gamer.