The Other Partizan 2003
|Redcar Rebel's superb Rhine Crossing|
I won't bore you with my normal moan about the drive from Stockport to Newark, the time passed quickly enough as I was in good company and anyway I was sure that the show would be worth it. The thing about Partizan is that whatever happens you can guarantee that every game will be worth seeing for one reason or another. It may be that the terrain is superb, the models masterpieces in miniature, the subject new and innovative, or the games simply fun, and these, along with the host of gamers all willing to spread ideas and opinions, are the reasons why the Partizan shows are "must does" in my diary.
|The welcoming committee|
I managed to arrive in time to collect my free figure on entry this time, and I started to wonder where I could find a place for a railwayman in my collection (I am considering the Transylvanian Choo Choo scenario in my own Vampire Hunters game). Dropping my coat with Alan of Lancashire Games I dived straight into the Bring and Buy (I have some dosh and I'm going to spend it). The bring an buy had been moved and I personally found the new layout preferable. This time the table had been laid out in a hollow rectangle and the potential buyers moved in a one way stream around this artificial island.
T & M Terrain provide another superb display
There were some problems, not least the fact that those staffing the stalls were trapped, cramped, and overheated. Also the queue of those wanting to sell cut across the stream of buyers and blocked the doorway. Finding a perfect home for a buy bring and buy is probably an impossibility, but all credit to the organisers for trying. As for the goods, there were some excellent lots still available, even after my E Baying colleagues had carried out their sweep, though many were priced way over the top as usual. I picked up some nice bits and pieces, including a couple of armies described as "crap" but rebased and washed in inks look fine.
Dropwing's Rorkes Drift
Wandering round the varied trade stands I took a quick peek at the new Old Glory releases, and discussed the soon to be available Trojan Wars range. I picked up some samples of the latest Front Rank Napoleonics (Duchy of Warsaw and artillery), which at first glance seemed mouthwateringly good. I was also given the lowdown on the new War of Spanish Succession range soon to hit the market, and I can't wait! I spent some time poring over the releases from Ainsty Castings whose stand is always worth a visit, and then tortured myself over the Macedonian and Persian ranges from Vendel, especially the beautiful elephant models.
LOTR......from Messrs Birch and Townsend
My weakness though is always books, and having laid out thirty quid with Hersants, and another twenty with Colin Worley and his excellent range of remaindered titles, I thought I had got away lightly. Then I noticed that Mike Smith of Chelifer Books was lurking quietly, and although I tried, really tried, I was dragged inexorably to his display of rare and wonderful publications. Within minutes Mike's charm, and my own damned weakness had seen me down another £40 ….. I just hope Mel does not read this!
Croatians at Stalingrad from League of Augsburg
But of course it is the games that you want to know about, and where to start is the difficulty. Well size is not all important, but is does catch the eye, and I have to say that the Redcar Rebels display with a Caesarian Roman army bridging the Rhine, with a host of barbarians waiting their arrival was superb. The modelling and terrain was absolutely first class, as was the painting, and even a cynical old timer like me could not help but be impressed.
Next door, Like a Stonewall Wargames presented another of their little skirmishes with a colonial battle in 25mm. The action was the Battle of Tofrek, the Sudan 1885 (click), and the refight called for hundreds of well painted models spread over nicely sculpted terrain.
|Action in the Indies from Derby wargamers|
Size though is not everything, and there were a host of excellent games throughout the stately pile of Kelham Hall. I was especially struck by the West Indies Revolutionary Wars game presented by the Derby Wargames Group. This is a fascinating period with French troops upholding the philosophy of Liberty Equality and Fraternity by crushing the attempts for freedom of the enslaved blacks of the West Indies, and the intervention of a whole kaleidoscope of British troops. If you want to know more about these campaigns I recommend Dreams of Empire by Paul Fregossi, and excellent read that looks at the Worldwide nature of the French revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
There were a couple of Lord Of the Rings skirmishes presented by Les Birch and Chris Townsend, where I was urged to take loads of pics and to spread their name all over the Forum ……. Well this is the spread guys! If you want to feature more prominently mail me for the advertising rates.
|The Mongol Fleet|
Another game, that may not have featured the best in terrain, or the premier league painted models that appeared on so many tables, was a representation of one of the Mongol invasions of Japan. A fleet of war junks filling the bay, whilst the defending samurai manned a defensive earthwork. A very interesting subject, presented in a workmanlike manner, and the gamers, John Kersey and the Foden Clan, proved very knowledgeable about their subject.
|Gentlemen Volunteers exchanging tips!|
The Napoleonic period was well represented with a 28mm action (the Mossborough boys!) and a 15mm battle (Nottingham Wargames Club)(click) all formed around the Campaign of Leipzig. While S.O.D.S. (Selly Oak and District Wargamers) (click) presented one of their famous, "In the Grand manner" games, based on the Battle of St Pierre, 1813. Each was in their own way excellent and it would be pretty crass of me to judge which was best, as all the players seemed to be enjoying themselves, and they were all taking time out to explain what was happening to those who asked.
|It IS Stalin!|
The Back of Beyond phenomena continues with the Mongrels presenting a blood thirsty and exciting game set around the Roof of the World (If you have seen the film High Road to China you will get the idea). This featured some of the new vehicles of the period being produced by Sloppy Jallopy. In the main hall Two Sad B*ggars also wandered the wastes of Central Asia with Chinese warlords meeting with Bolshevik cavalry. There was also a very nice staff car wandering the field, and I was assured that the frontseat passenger was Edmund Blackadder….. but he looked like Stalin to me!
AWI from Coltishall Cowards
In the elegance of the marble halls beyond the main entrance there were a host of other games, ranging form the traditional massive presentation from the North Hull group, to the elegant Rorkes Drift game presented by 'The Cranwell Old Dirigibles". A rather loud, but hugely enjoyable contribution was being made by the Blue Bears. And this is a problem for the organisers, the Blue Bears (click) give one of the best participation games of the show, but it is very annoying for those close by because of the level of vocal player participation. So you could recognise the players from Peter Pig's Normandy Airborne games and the Bedford Pioneers Franco Prussian War action by their red swollen ears.
|Note the swollen ears!|
Spent up, and footsore, I spent a pleasant hour chewing the fat with Frank Hammond of the Mongrels, discussing how easy it is for people to misinterpret postings in online message boards, Pete Berry about a very exciting Baccus project for 2004 of which more in future postings. Finally I am very grateful to Derek Patten of Vendel Miniatures for providing me with a chair and a refuge from those happy punters who overwhelmed me with their opinions and recommendations for the Forum.
Eventually my colleagues joined me, their wallets empty and they arms loaded with their purchases, and so it was time to set off home. Passing the 54mm games being fought by Wakefield and Ossett Wargames Society on the grass, with its wooden fort. It looked fun, but it was time to go, and reflect on an enjoyable day and some of the best wargame displays available in the country.
|Touching History's Viking Raid|
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