Sunday, 20 April 2008

SALUTE 2008: Oh dear..!

This was not a good day out, but it wasn't the fault of the Salute organizers. Everything went fine until we reached London just before 9am. From that point on a combination of tube closures and bad directions from a London Underground staffer meant a horribly long and frustrating diversion through the East End of London and the Docklands involving a number of buses. We didn't reach the ExCel Center until just before 12 noon, meaning there was only an hour to look around a huge venue before having to head back to catch the return train. Our late arrival meant a lot of traders had already sold out of goods I would have bought, the prime reason I had for attending the convention.


Booking in at the Bring & Buy stall was straightforward but the scant time I had for my items to be on display meant no sales for me. I was a little annoyed when I tried to reclaim my goods at the earliest time of 1pm as stated on the booking-in form, only to be told by a couple of guys eating baguette sandwiches that the time had been extended to 1.30pm due to the heavy intake of goods. A bit of diplomacy was required and resulted in my goods being reclaimed by 1.15, leaving us only just sufficient time to make it back to the main railway station.


So, "moan" aside, it wasn't a bad show from all appearances. It was certainly crowded, with customers thronging the various stalls. After Salute 07's fiasco with the Waffen SS, the re-enactments were far less controversial his year. US Vietnam infantry rubbed shoulders with their Union and Confederate forebears, and squads of 18th century pirates and Star Wars Stormtroopers were making the rounds. I didn't have time to do more than glance at the games on display but they all looked good. A couple really caught my eye. The first was a nice WW2 Pacific beach landing game with US Marines storming Japanese-held defences. The second was another big WW2 game depicting the Allies assaulting the last foothold of the Axis forces in Tunisia.

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