|"Dead Man's Hand" WIPs - John Bridges, the Scarred Man and Ned Kelly|
This year's traditional trip to the ExCeL convention centre in Custom House, East London has once again added a few more baubles to my horde of metal, plastic and resin miniatures, as well as greatly widened my interest in yet another genre or two. In fact, one of the main reasons I enjoy attending this show is that some manufacturer somewhere will throw me a real ‘curve ball’ and before I know it, I’ll have bought heavily into a new game system I hadn’t previously even heard of.
Fortunately, financially-wise at least, that didn’t quite happen during “Salute” 2019, but I did still walk away with a few Wild West miniatures by “Great Escape Games” for their “Dead Man’s Hand” rule-set. Even though I don’t currently have any particular intention in purchasing and playing the 28mm skirmish game itself, I did find it impossibly hard to resist purchasing a box of models disconcertingly based upon an Undead Magnificent Seven.
|"Time Robbers" WIPs - The Minotaur and two models from the Ultimate Evil set|
Obviously I needed some opposition for the skull-headed Malevolent Seven, and spotted amongst the stall’s single figure blister packs an excellent proxy for “DC Comics” Jonah Hex in the guise of the Scarred Man and Rooster Cogburn with John Bridges (albeit I would have much preferred one resembling John Wayne’s original incarnation). In addition, whilst searching this excellent range I also spotted a boxed set featuring Ned Kelly’s formidably armoured lawbreakers. The bucket-wearing Australian bushranger has always been a favourite Wild West villain of mine, even if he did his shooting on the other side of the world, so there was no way I could resist picking his gang up as well…
A couple of years ago at “Salute” 2016 “Northumbrian Tin Soldier” caught me completely off-guard with half a dozen 28mm white metal "Time Robbers” based upon the band of dwarves from the 1981 motion picture "Time Bandits". Rather embarrassingly, apart from basing and priming the figures I have never touched them again, however that may now all change, as at this show the Tyne & Wear-based manufacturer’s captured my imagination once again by serving up both an Ultimate Evil set of four miniatures, alongside a blister comprising of Agamemnon and a giant Minotaur.
|"Dust Tactics" WIPs - Three members of the Cultist Fire Squad|
Quite possibly one of my most unexpected buys of “Salute” 2019 however, came from a chance encounter with “Dust Studio”, who I had totally forgotten about following a rather painful “Kickstarter” experience way back in 2014. I’d always been a big fan of “Dust Tactics” up until this point, and at the time pledged very enthusiastically for all things “Operation Babylon”. Sadly, ‘behind-the-scene’ bust-ups over backer rewards seemed to stall the distribution of my goodies for an eternity, and ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth for the genre.
To my utter astonishment though, a quick look at the “Dust Studio” display cabinet was all that was needed to immediately reignite my enthusiasm back up as I saw the Hong Kong-headquartered company have recently introduced a Cthulhu Mythos faction into their 1947 A.D. universe, and crammed it with just the sort of baddies one would expect to see in an Indiana Jones or Ray Harryhausen motion picture. Resultantly, I couldn’t stop myself from picking up a box of unassembled Cultist Fire Squad figures, Mi-Go Raiders and (more) Nazi killer Gorilla Squad members, as well as later digging out my dusty old collection of miniatures in anticipation for a painting frenzy…