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Salute 2016 summary

Last weekend was really intense, those who were at the “Salute 2016” know what i mean. Finally we came back to our country, recovered from rather exhausting trip, thought about it for a while and we are ready to share with you our observations and opinions.

Before we even begin: i know that there are people that probably think - what the hell is “Salute”? Describing it as simple as i can - Salute is one of the biggest wargaming/miniature show on this planet. It takes place once a year in London, UK. It has a long history but since 2006 venue for this event is “ExCell London”. Really interesting fact about this show - it is not purely business focused. Organizer of this show is “South London WARLORDS”, a local wargaming club. This guys put a lot of work and passion to make it happen and seeing how big this thing is makes me really impressed and respectful for their work.

The show is mainly focused on wargaming and miniatures but you can also find there everything related: board games, card games,  RPGs, scale models, hobby magazines, cases, accessories ect.

This is the first time we attended to the show. We knew that it existed, we heard a lot about it, watched a lot of photos, but never had a chance to be there. Honestly we planned to attend as one of the exhibitors, but we were a little too late to catch one of those hot tables(In september they are all out!). So I was a little sad and disappointed about this lost opportunity because we really wanted to meet with you guys, show you our models in real, get some feedback and just simply hangout...but!... there is nothing wrong that cannot be turned to something good :) We get back to this later.

Get there earlier!

If you live outside UK, consider to get there one day earlier. The show lasts only one day from about 9/10 am till 5pm. I guarantee you that you want to be there as soon as you can so do not waste your time! Get there one day earlier, get some good sleep and prepare your body for 8h madness :) It’s not a summer but you need those muscles and beachbody to work for you on a full day walking battlefield :)

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I do not want to bore you with our trip, but we were welcomed on Friday by typical English weather… you know… when english weather forecast says that it may rain from time to time... Well it means that you’ll be all wet from the ground up to the top of your head in about 10 minutes :). Then weather changes...you stay the same. Lesson learned - do not take sneekers to England.

To warm a little bit we decided to visit some of a local pub. I guess we founded it a good spot, because the menu couldn’t be better.

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I guess broken dreams needs more alcohol :)

Let's get this party started!

As i said before, get there as soon as you can. Do yourself a favour and buy the tickets online. You can do this on your mobile. I will also repeat advices i have heard before:

  1. Get comfortable shoes, you will stand or walk the whole day!

  2. Backpack is advised! I doubt that you won’t buy anything :) You will also receive some goodies. You do not want to carry things in your hands through the next few hours.

  3. You do not need to worry about the food, but large bottle of water is advised.

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We were pretty early, just after the gates were opened and i have to say that ticket checking and queue went smoothly. 15-20 minutes later and we were in.

Just after the entrance you will receive a bag of freebies. This is another reason to be there earlier, because i doubt that they have enough copies for everybody. It’s always hard to tell how many people will come up to the show. Last year it was about 7k this year i guess about 9k.

Freebies

OK, i said freebies, so i probably grab your attention. Who does not like them, right :) So what is in the magic bag:

  • Show guide

  • Two plastic miniatures for MALESTORM’S EDGE

  • Salute 2016 exclusive themed miniature

  • Custom, cool looking D6 dice

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Pretty nice set, don’t you think?

The guide/magazine is pretty cool thing. You can learn more about the design and production of the Salute miniature.

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Learn some more about painting and different color schemes.

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This year was all about Steampunk, so there are also few parts of the articles about steampunk gaming.

Aside from the fluff, the most useful part of this magazine is basicly layout and info about what is where and what are they exposing. I should mentioned that layout is known much earlier so if you seek for something specific you should definitely download pdf map from the Salute www page few days earlier.

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They do realize that not everyone is familiar with the event and history of the show so they wrote few words about how it all started.

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And finally the custom dice. I have to say that it looks really nice. Most of the time when i hear about custom dices i know that they will look not that great and the ornament will be caricature of the original design. Barely readable and visible.This one is different. The dice in real life is a little glossy and it’s made out of a fancy gold mass.

We’re in

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This photo was take about 15:30, so the dust started to settle down, and casualties of war were slowly taken from the battlefield :)

You are probably curious what's inside and what to expect. Well i can guarantee you that there will be a really big crowd :) As funny and stupid as it sounds it will affect the things you see or notice. Some things you will probably accidently skip because you didn’t notice them. But we will elaborate on this later. So let’s focus on what to expect:

  1. Producers - you can find your favorite producers, buy something from them without worrying of shipment costs. Talk with them about their plans, minis etc.

  2. Traders - basicly shops that offer many different products varying from card games to miniatures. You will find a lot of online shops.

  3. Game demos - some producers, distributors or game clubs offer demos of their games. You can find everything: from Marvel universe to historical games. Below you can find just a few photos of some example tables.

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This table was backlit and it gave really good impression and feeling.

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4. Clubs and clubs demos - some of the clubs had their own games and ideas. But what's the most impressive are their gaming tables and how much heart and effort are put into immerse themselves into their worlds, historical events ect. Below are only some of them….

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Good morning Vietnam!

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Seeing this i already screening in my head “Platoon”, “Rambo” and all this lame action films from the 90’s :) God i loved them back then.

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Modern warfare and A10 Thunderbolts as i believe.

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This was probably one of my favourite table. Great looking Russian-Finland winter war diorama.

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Seeing this things you know that this people are not kidding and treating their hobby really serious :) It must be a huge joy to play on so well crafted tables/dioramas. We were really surprised how much attention and love UK scene put into this things. And what you saw on these photos was only a part of what was available… i wish we had the time to take more photos and to talk more with the people who made them.

5. Painting competition - yes, you can try yourself and your skills competing with great painters from around the world. This is also a great opportunity to see beautifully painted minis. Unfortunately we do not have any photos, but internet is full of studio quality pictures of this year entries.

6. Painters and Painting studios - if you’re into painting you could find some painters and painting studios that organized small demos. We have seen Angel Giraldez(Infinity guy:)), guys from Siege Studios had their table but i believe there was much more going on.

7. Friends - a lot of friends...old ones, new ones, online ect. Salute is probably one of the biggest “hub” for people from this hobby and industry. Painters, gamers, producers, casters, designers, artists all of them can be meet in real in one place.

In this place we would like to thank everyone that gave us some time and attention :) It was a pleasure to meet you all! I won’t even try to list you all because i know i will skip some of you and will feel really stupid...you know who you are! Below photo we stole from our man from Amsterdam Vincent Vega...ok, Jason Martin :)

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From the left: Daniel Kałaska, Jason Martin, Jacek Sałacki

I am more than sure that i skipped a lot of things, but by now you have the idea what to expect.

We’re out?!

Yeah, we are, unfortunately. By that i mean that this event ends quicker than it starts and I'm not kidding. At the beginning i said that we felt a little disappointed that we couldn’t visit Salute as a one of the exhibitors, but seeing how rush it was i am actually happy that this year we just was there to get the essence and feeling of the show. Now we know what it can offer and what we can offer next year… Leaving this place around 17 i felt that we missed a lot of great places. When people started to leave the area I saw few traders that i really wanted to visited, check their products, talk to ect. Just yesterday i discovered that Dark Souls board game was demoing on Salute, we realize being in the plane that we completely missed doing photos of the painting competition. And honestly seeing how intense this experience is for exhibitors i doubt that we could see ¼ of it.

This is the biggest and only letdown of the show - it last only one day and for about 7-8 hour. It is physically impossible to visit every table and to speak with everyone you would like to for as long as you would like to. The size, the amount of cool places is overwhelming. At the same time we do understand financial and logistic reasoning behind this.

From the perspective of a potential exhibitor/producer/trader this show is great for:

  • Selling your products - that is no brainer

  • Being visible - there are about 7-9k people that potentially can take a look at you and your brand

  • Showing your products in real life - this is always different than seeing them on the internet.

  • Networking - meeting people from the industry and basicly your fans, customers ect.

What is not so great

  • Demoing of your game - if you plan to run demo make sure to hire somebody dedicated only to this task. Consider also small skirmishes because you have really limited time and you want to pass the feel of your game to as many people as you can.

What i can advise you from a simple nerd and geek point of view?

Use your time wisely - be there early, buy the tickets online. Make plan what is the most important for you - what games, what companies, who you want to meet. You can download the plan few days before event so it shouldn’t be a problem. After you’re sure you have got what you wanted…. Start exploring :) We had the plan to walk around from the outer circle to the inner. I also suggest to immediately skip the places you are not remotely interested in(are there any? :)). If Historic games or Fantasy are not your cup of tea, do not waste your time and move on to something more valuable for you. This was our first time, so if you have any better method let us know!

Is it worth it?

If you try to do cold calculation: money investment to return. I mean sales, discounts freebies ect. Well it’s probably not. Maybe if you live in London or really near to it. This show is not a sale per se.

Other than that, YES! This is a celebration of the miniature hobby and community as a whole. It takes place once a year and if you can afford it you should definitely be there.

I hope it gave you a glimpse on the show and we hope to see you next year.

 

Cheers

Daniel Kałaska & Jacek Sałacki