Othari Jeziel from Alternative Armies
Last year one of the most enjoyable shows I visited was one of the first. Vapnartak was held in January at the York racecourse and you may have noted the report in the shows section... if not read it later. So I was looking forward to the 2004 show and took Richard with me for the hour long drive in the sunshine.
I was not to be disappointed, the show was an excellent day out with a very friendly atmosphere. There were a host of first class display games to admire. The guys from North Hull gave their ACW display another run out using their home grown "The Long Road North" rules.
On the other side of the hall the home club, York Wargames presented a gem of a game, with the Invasion of Skye. This represented an incident of the First Jacobite rebellion with Williamite troops making a seaborne invasion of the Isle of Skye, complete with supporting naval vessels. An original idea, very well presented, with excellent terrain and well painted figures. This was my personal favourite of the show.
The Mailed Fist wargames club presented a WW2 airborne landing with gliders supported by patrolling fighters, that were suspended from a plastic net fixed over the battlefield.
Richard was very taken by a hands on display from the famous York, Castle Museum. This consisted of a variety of weapons including a Sharps model carbine, and a Brown Bess musket and plug bayonet. I noted that the display was kept busy throughout the day, mainly by youngsters and their Dads. Alternative Armies presented a nice little game with and ill assorted bunch of desert nomads skirmishing around a desert oasis, while on the next table a beautifully painted pair of armies, Mongol and Chinese, illustrated the fine quality of the new range of models produced by the Curtey Brothers.
Some of your will know of my own interest in the French Indian Wars, so I enjoyed the game which featured a very large, in fact majot English fortified settlement under attack by French and indian raiders. Although the games looked good the scenario was a little unrealistic given the forces involved. A quick study of Parkman's Montcalm and Wolfe will reveal that the majority of border fortresses were small and relatively poorly constructed, some little more than palisades lacking even loopholes or firesteps. While the large forts were sturdy earth, log and even stone constructions requiring formal seige works to be reduced. However this is probably just carping on my part. The game looked fun and that is the main thing!
The Bring and buy was fairly busy throughout the day, though I was a little disappointed compared with last year. having said that I spotted a couple of E Bay traders of my acquaintance who were happy with their purchases which by and large were grabbed even before they left the car park, you have to be fast to find a bargain nowadays. There were though some bargains to be had, and despite having sworn to keep my hands in my pockets for this show I still ended up carrying a few small boxes back to the car!
On the upper level the DBA Doubles competition was in full swing throughout the day, with some of the UK's top competition gamers in action, and some superbly painted armies on display. Unfortunately with Richard demanding My attention I did not get the chance to stop and watch the contests for any length of time.
It was on the balcony area that The Lance and Longbow Society was to be found with a new display, European this time. A siege with what seemed to be a relief column engaging a wagon lager, very colourful, and professionally presented, as we have come to expect from these guys. Across the gangway the Market Weighton club presented two interesting games, the first being the battle of Helms Deep as visualised in the film The Two Towers, and opposite a strange Sci Fi game, fought on an alien planet infested with large, garishly coloured plastic flowers.
Downstairs again the chaps from Gripping Beast forced me to accept samples of their latest releases, and they are currently with Steve Crofts for his inimitable attention, I also bumped into Paul Colfer who has been through the traumas of a house move and so has not been his usual prolific self in the painting field. He was raving about the WW2 15mm releases from Flames of War and hopefully he will soon send me some samples of his paintwork on these excellent models. Alan Lumley from Lancashire Games filled me in on their forthcoming releases, which will include an extensive WW1 East Africa range, which is bound to spark off a host of colonial campaigns.
Richard and I were kept busy throughout the day with the Lord of the Rings Combat Hex mini-tournament, hosted by the enthusiastic and very patient Nigel Price. The game system produced by Sabretooth Games is enjoyable, and is a good way to get youngsters into thinking tactically, as well as giving sufficient interest for adult players. So with my time taken up with the games I was not able to chat as long as usual, or obtain the details of the display games as is my want, so apologies to the guys with the very nice Pirates game, and the club refighting Corunna, I meant to talk to you and give you more of a write up, but I was too busy having fun.
Vapnartak is an excellent way to start the year, so long as the weather hold off, and with York being well worth a visit at any time of the year, I would recommend this show as a must for your diary.
Please remember to mention Wargames Forum when contacting traders!
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