Saturday, 15 September 2018

Colours 2018 - A Day at the Races

Colours has, for a long time, been my favourite wargaming show; it is not too far, it is very easy to get to and has a good mix of traders and demo/participation games in a very nice venue. It also happens to occur at that time of year when my thoughts really turn back to all things wargaming related.

So after a pleasant drive down to Newbury racecourse, I joined the small queue, only for the organisers to walk down the line allowing us to pre-pay to get in, which was great. They also happened to open the doors about 10 minutes early, which was even better.

My first port of call was the Pendraken stand to collect a pre-order of SYW British and '45 Jacobites. After a quick chat with Dave and Leon, I dropped my package off a the car and then headed back in for a first quick wander around. There I met my good friends Craig, who was putting on a demo game and Keith, who like myself, was just a visitor.

I took plenty of pics of the games that interested me and I will try and add comments as I attempt to remember what the games were, as the layout bore little resemblance to that in the printed show guide. No big deal but it did confuse quite a few visitors. So without further ado...

A lovely little late medieval game, put on by Penarth Wargames Society.

The figures were very well painted with some lovely flags on display.

The table looked pretty good to me, with some nice details like the cattle in the foreground.

A lovely looking table with a great ship in the harbour, including an AA gun by the funnel.

I'm not sure if this was Vietnam or modern East Africa. either way it was a great looking game.

Simon Millar and Andrew Brentnall's 'To the Strongest' game which, as always, looked fantastic.

Simon's figures are really a joy to behold.

The village of Soggy Bottom?

Also on display were some of Andrew's wonderful 10mm figures.

The retreat from Moscow in 40mm.

I'm not a big fan of winter based games (it's a visual thing I think) but this looked pretty good.

I didn't get chance to check all of the details on the table, but the sled on the bridge caught my eye.

The Zeebruge raid, 1918 IIRC.

Not sure what scale was being played, but the ships were very, very nice.

1st Chechen War game put on by my fried Craig, using his Beta version rules and his superb Chechen War range of figures.

The table was not complete, but will be for Fiasco in Leeds. However, details such as the teddy bear on the roundabout caught my eye.

All of the terrain was scratch built by Craig and his friend John.

A simply wonderful WWI game. I think they put on a game last year. 

The table was full of nice details, such as this archaeological excavation.

The fort and German base at the far end of the table.

I just loved the plane being towed away.

A view from the Turkish/German lines.

British armoured cars ready to go into action.

A Napoleonic General d'Armee game.

There was lots of action going on spread right across the table.

Fighting erupts around the church.

Operation Goodwood using Rapid Fire rules. A simple but visually pleasing table nonetheless.

The British try to push past a town...

... but brew up in rapid succession.

A Cold War game based upon a board game but using figures rather than counters.

Arnhem 1944. I really wanted to see more of this game but it was rather popular, so was hard to get a good view.

The planes and village looked great.

The table was very long and certainly gave the feel or trying to advance up a single road.

A Society of Ancients game.

A visitor looks less than impressed with another 'line 'em up' Ancients bash;)

A very, very nice Sharpe Practice II game set in Japan towards the end of the 19thC by the look of it.

The buildings and details were wonderful

Samurai and soldiers together. What's not to like?

The enemy the other side of the bridge.

An Ancients game using Swordpoint.

Every self respecting Ancients gamer wants elephants on the table.

Leman from the Pendraken forum and a game of 'Daisho' I believe.

The small table looked great...

... as did the figures.

Post Show Thoughts
Well I hope the pics gave an impression of what was on offer this year. I thought I'd jot down some thoughts on the show in general, so in no particular order:

  • I thought the show was very good this year, with a good mix of demo and participation games on display. Some were of no interest to me at all, such as the Star Wars and What a Tanker games, but they looked to be popular. It was nice to see a mix of scales on show which, being a fan of 10mm, was good as in the past at has been a bit too much 28mm centric.
  • In previous years there hasn't seemed to be much actual playing of the games, but this year I'm pleased to say there was. Lets hope this carries on in future years.
  • As always the social side of a show is important and it was good to meet up with friends, fellow forum members and old club mates. This year I seemed to bump into quite a few, which was a nice bonus.
  • Walking the show with Keith I think gave me a different perspective on things, as he is a dyed in the wool 28mm gamers these days. It certainly made it more enjoyable that's for sure. We were both very impressed by the sheer amount of stuff on offer and, in particular, the quality of laser cut mdf products that has really come on in the past year. Thank God I'm no longer into 28mm games as otherwise the temptation to buy lots of stuff may have been too hard to resist!
  • I did notice that Timecast were not at the show this year and Foundry were noticeable by their absence. I know there has been a trend of some traders of not attending some or all shows over the past few years due to the time and costs involved.
  • The show was very busy for the first few hours, in fact making it quite hard to see some of the tables or traders, but come lunchtime it quietened down quite a lot which made it much easier to have a good look at all that was on offer.
  • The demographic of Colours was noticeably different to that of Salute. The greying of the hobby was very noticeable today but, despite that, the hobby looks to be in remarkable good health, which was very satisfying to see.
  • Both Keith and I enjoyed perusing the bookstalls, with Anita's Books proving to be extremely good value. On the book front it must be 'hats off' to Helion & co for the sheer range of material that they are bringing out, most of it extremely high quality. 

My haul proved to be relatively small, with only an Osprey book on the Jacobite Army for the '45 and some miscast 15mm gabions, which look to be perfect for my 10mm forces, actually bought at the show.

So all-in-all a very pleasant few hours were spent at the show. I always come away enthused to get back to the gaming, modelling or painting table and this year was no exception. I'm not sure what my next show will be, most likely Reveille II in Bristol in early December.


  1. Sounds like a really good day out. Thanks for all the photo's, going back in for another look now. Cheers.

    1. It was a good day out Norm, the best show for quite a few years IMHO, helped no end by the social aspect which was high this year.

  2. Great report Steve, I would be interested in knowing more about Craig's rules, I have a bunch of 15mm stuff but have yet to find the right balance of rules.

    1. Glad you liked it Stu. To contact Craig, either check out the following ot search for Tiny Terrain on Facebook. Hope this helps?

    2. Brilliant thanks Steve - a great looking game and figures, I will drop Craig a line.

  3. Thank you for an excellent photo report, very much appreciated.

    Happy gaming,
    Will Harley.

  4. I was one of the chaps putting on the Market Garden game and just wanted to say thanks for the kind words, I'll pass them on to Daren (who did all the terrain and models).

    1. Thank Iain. I really did like the look of your game as it's the sort of thing I could put on at home. The models were beautifully painted as well, so please pass on my thanks to Daren for all of his hard work.

    2. Will do Steve, glad you enjoyed it.