Monday, 23 June 2014

St. Helens and Stafford Show Swag

Had a train ride up to St. Helens a couple of Saturdays ago for the Phalanx show. I did this last year as well, as it's quite an easy train journey from the West Midlands as the train stops directly opposite the leisure centre the show is held in (Glasgow train from Wolves or Brum, jump off at Warrington Bank Quay and get the commuter line train heading towards Liverpool Lime Street and all the Scouse Brows, three stops in is Lea Green, walk out of the car park and you can see the venue. All for cheaper than the petrol would cost in Barbie's Convertible at 22mpg).

Saw this big fuck off Panzer II - The Dragon plastic kit in 1:6 scale. That's basically the equivalent of twelve 1:72 scale PzIIs laid out end to end and side to side. This is a £240 kit and I suspect that larger tanks could not practically be made in this scale - build something like a King Tiger and it probably won't fit through the door.

Basically an Action Man tank.

(Those white and blue midgets are 28mm 40K Space Marines BTW.)

Last year I picked up a copy of Chainsaw Warrior here (to my eternal shame I haven't even opened the box yet - it might be full of other crap instead) and the GW printing of Cosmic Encounter, a version of the game that is entirely illustrated in wonderful Blanchitsu. This year I got a set of rulebooks for 2nd edition 40K for the grand sum of £9.

Actually play it? Don't talk nonsense.

Now 40K 2nd is a weird one. I hear a lot of yak about how this is the favourite version of many long-standing players and there seem to be groups who have never moved past this version. But I have no memory of it at all. None whatsoever. In my memories there was RT that was released in the period of time known as WD93 and then at some point (1998 I think) 3rd edition came out and I bought that and felt that it was quite a good game for which I painted up most of a Fetish Elf army, some Field Police and camo'd Marines and then flogged them when my old schoolmate who was interested in playing moved away.

Knowing that this was the 3rd edition should have tipped me off to the fact that there had been a 2nd edition at some point (1993) but.... it never crossed my mind. At no point did the existence of a successor to RT ever bubble up to the top of the mudpool that is my gaming mind and make me aware that something had happened that I should have paid attention to.

It could be that something truly terrible happened to me around this time and accordingly knowledge of 2nd is a victim of some defensive mechanism of the sub-conscious that has blanked out all memory but... fuck knows. Anyway this is a bit like owning Led Zep I, III, & IV and then twenty-odd years later going "there was another one called II!? When!?"

(This might be a result of me losing interest in 40K when the game started to drift away from being a firefight game and towards shooting guns being something that happened on the way into melee).

Not actually from Phalanx (Webb got it for me for what he paid for it - £5) was this.

Which is also weird. It's as if GW continued to produce material for their lesser known 1987 sci-fi expansion to WFB 2nd edition and later collected it in a softback anthology. Most odd.

Back to St. Helens. A good show and worth getting to as I think it's the only show in the North-West of England these days. The catering van there can fix you up with something called a "barmcake" but I never found out what that was as I didn't like to ask in case I inadvertently violated some local custom or taboo. You can't be too careful when trying not to draw attention to yourself in alien climes.

Then a weekend later (or yesterday as it is sometimes known) I jumped on the train again to go to Stafford. (Coop's "practicality of train ride" rating - Excellent - sixteen minutes from Wolves and a sub-ten minute walk makes it faster than the car - however I believe the venue is moving next year so YMMV).

This was a small show in the hall of the local Polish social club, all a bit tight and rammed on a very hot day. A few traders and a lot of tables manned by wargamers having a clear out so excellent for a rummage. I picked up these...

...and some Warmaster magazines. I recall Drachenfels as being really good BITD which probably means I should put this straight on the shelf and never open it again...

Also a proper Oldhammer score in that I got 15 Necromunda Cawdor for £25 most of which were Fairy Powersprayed back to bare metal by teatime. Now I just need to discover if I still own the Necromunda rulebook...

Stafford reminded me of the old days of wargames shows - the local club putting on a few games and the opportunity to get hold of somebody's castoffs as well as new stuff. The only downside was hearing an exuberant youth boasting about his local 40K scene with the word "and we have some of the best players in the area!".

I said nothing. Teeth were gritted.

Then the moment had passed and nobody had been slapped. I must be mellowing in my old age.


  1. They kept adding bits on to Rogue Trader and by the end it was quite different to how it started; with 40K2 they tidied up the patchwork monster they'd made and stuck it in a box but it's not that different to RT-plus-supplements so perhaps that's why you didn't notice it.

    It's my favourite version of the rules although I think the army lists were better in RT.

  2. Coops, a barmcake is a large, flat, white bread roll. So a chip barm (commonly sold) is basically a chip butty but in a roll rather than between two slices of break. Then again, those heathens put gravy on their chips rather thsn curry sauce. Madness.

  3. Army lists? Second edition? What is this that you speak of? There is only Rogue Trader (which is getting another outing tonight).

  4. I read Drachenfels relatively recently (the past few years) and I still found it quite good - as good as lots of decent non-GW fantasy (i.e. better than the current stuff).

    But tell me about Fairy Powerspray...

    1. Better than Dettol. Decant into a sealed container and drop the models in for a hour or two. Remove and scrub with a toothbrush which makes it foam up. Rinse under tap.

      Has the stripping power of Dettol without the stink that stays on your skin for days and the resulting mess doesn't go black and stringy and difficult to remove at the first sign of water.

      Its a cooker and bbq rack cleaner but tends to be found with the washing up liquid as I think the brand name confuses shelf stackers.