Wednesday, 6 November 2013

First Show.

Wargames Conventions are, I assume, as old as Wargaming as a hobby...
Wargaming by it's nature, and unlike say, model railways or model flight, needs groups of people to make it worthwhile, so where two or three are gathered together, then a 'Show' and the accompanying Trade are bound to follow.

TTG used to have  big calendar in the back room on which were displayed all the events that Bob would be attending in the year. The Season, started in late January or early February and ran through the whole year with a few weeks off in the summer, until the last week in November or first in December... There would be a show almost every weekend, and Bob would attend most of them.
At the time names like, Triples and Midland Militare were all new to me, I didn't really know what went off at these events, all I really knew was that on these Saturdays, Bob would be out of the shop on the weekend, taking half of the shop with him, and Kate and the other Robert would be left alone to hold the fort.

Once Mark and I had started work it became obvious what a large part of TTG's business Conventions were. We would spend the later part of most Show-weeks, getting the stock ready, rules and games all counted and boxed, miniature stock filled to the brim and display cabinets repaired and updated with new items... and by Friday afternoon, there would be a large pile of heavily taped brown card-board boxes stacked by the door waiting for the command from His Lordship to load-up so that he could be away that evening, or early next morning.

Balrog in constant need of fixing...
Tuesdays the reverse would happen, all the stock piled near the door would have to be counted, filled or repaired again and stacked away waiting for the same to happen over and over again... Mark whose job it had become to repair the mini display cases, would become thoroughly sick of constantly having to re-stick dragon wings, or hydra heads to the fantasy range display or tank turrets that had 'taken a knock' in transit... 

Kate had promised Mark and I that when it can to the bigger two day shows later in the year, that Bob would take us one of us with him to help, which would mean a weekend away from home.

But...
The first major show, after the small summer pause, would not require us to go very far, as the British Nationals Championship would be held on our doorstep in Nottingham.

Arena, as I'm sure the event was called, was a result of  the Sherwood Foresters (off whom more later) winning the team prize at the previous years event, and opting to host the event themselves as was the tradition at that stage...
Victoria Leisure Centre

The event itself was held at Victoria Leisure Centre on the outskirts of central Nottingham, less than a mile from the city centre, over two days on I think the 17th and 18th of September 1983. The venue was split into two main halls, with games and Trade in the sports hall and more games and the Bring & Buy in the (covered) swimming pool hall...

From what I recall, Bob had set the trade stand up on the Friday evening so that when I got there on the Saturday morning there was very little in the way of work required of me for the first hour or so until the event opened, and I had chance to wander around... 

The centre of the hall was given over to the games championship, with those grass-green 6x4's borrowed from Notts Wargames Club featuring... but around the outside were other traders like TTG. Bob introduced me to Paul and Teresa Bailey, who had the Minifigs stand, next to them were Jacobite miniatures, who had travelled from Scotland for the weekend and also in the Hall were Dixon miniatures, whose adverts I had seen in White Dwarf magazine and many others.

Also there, taking up one side of the hall were Citadel miniatures. I was very pleased to speak to Bryan Ansell for the first time, He said hello and was I Bob's 'new boy', I was wearing a hand knitted jumper with the logo on, so I guess it wasn't too big a leap for him to make,  I asked about what new minis they had along that day... and in front of the Citadel stand was a huge siege game run by The Players Guild using the new Warhammer Fantasy rules.

And outside, were the Treasure Trap, Live Role Play people, who were offering a free weekend to anyone who could defeat their Champion in hand to hand combat. Mark had about 10 goes at doing this and I think eventually they just gave him the prize for persistence...

I don't really remember much about the weekend other than I spent a long time on my feet, serving customers with minis and rules, I left Bob to serve the people wanting the tanks, planes and ships, as these were well beyond my knowledge... and I came away on the Sunday afternoon with a Jacobite 15mm English Civil War royalist army (with which I hoped to start playing Tercio when I had some painted) 

I think John Blanche won the painting competition, with an Asgard half-troll stood on the most elaborate base I'd ever seen, it had resin as a water effect at the lower levels of it and I just had to (just HAD to) touch it to prove to myself that it wasn't real water... 

I can't really remember much about the games, Ancient and Medieval using WRG 6th, Renaissance using the new edition of Tercio, Napoleonic with To The Sound of the Guns, ACW using the Newbury rules and Modern and WW2 using WRG or maybe Challenger... Who won? can't remember... Not the Foresters, or Nottingham club, I think the over all Champions were The Bun Shop a London club, so the next years event would be theirs to organize.