The AfterJoy of Six! Part One

I’m home, I’m rested, I’m unpacked and I’m ready to tell you all about my adventures in Sheffield.

The Pre-Show

Before the show there is this “little” event which if possible should not be missed. On the Saturday before the show is the Baccus Open Day where you get a tour of Baccus HQ and an insight into how, why, where and what your models are made from. It really is something you should do at least once, especially to be able to see your order being cast right infront of your eyes.

BeerHowever, I did all that 2 years ago so this year I arrived on Saturday afternoon and took a leisurely walk up the hill… the very long and tall hill… to The York, a pub where we were all meeting up for the start of the Baccus Beer and Curry Night. It started out with a rather nice pint who’s name I didn’t quite catch but I’m sure I’ll recognise when we meet again.

First to arrive I had time to catch my breath (I did mention I walked up the hill right? Seriously, I recommend catching one of the many buses) and unwind before David arrived, who recognised me immediately after quizzing me at Partizan earlier in the year about the new Baccus website. It wasn’t long before more arrived and soon a gathering of wargamers was convened in a pub – who would have thought it?

At around 8pm we made the move to the Balti King across the road for the Curry section of the evening and some banter. I got to chat with Per and his family including a long chat with his son about MineCraft! The meal was excellent as always and I can highly recommend coming along.

The Setup

setupBy setup I mean of course setting up the show, I volunteered to help Peter. So just after 7am we jumped (crawled) into the van and drove around to Sheffield Hallam University (a very short walk from the train station) and unloaded the Baccus stall. We also moved around some tables and generally solved all of those little problems that no-one ever sees because you want it fixed before they arrive.

At 8:30 a cheer went up when the cafe opened and coffee and bacon became available… much needed coffee! The prices were very reasonable and I can’t complain about the food and drink at all, it was just right.

Doors Open

10am came along and the hordes descended. The number of visitors for Joy of Six has gone up year by year and despite the venue change (which always makes it difficult to judge) it was visibly busier this year.

It was at this point (knowing what was coming up later) that I started marching around with my camera (~cough~ phone camera) in hand and began to visit each stall and game in turn. If I take anything away from this experience it is that this is the most organised I’ve been at any show about getting content for the blog but that I also have a way to go. I need either a notepad to scribble information on or to start recording audio as I walk around. I don’t think I’m quite at the point of recording video at shows yet, though I’m not ruling it out.

The Stalls

Baccus 6mm

baccusI couldn’t really start anywhere else could I?

While I have to admit that I didn’t part with any of my hard-earned cash here I can say that I have an extensive mountain of Baccus models in my lead mountain (I believe they constitute the majority of the northern face). I know Peter won’t view that as a valid excuse and I have to agree but SWMBO has me on a short budget these days.

If you did visit the stall though you would have met such delights as the My Little Ogre Playset (Napoleon’s Command Set) and some new models in the World War 1 range. I also noticed some more dynamic poses for French Napoleonic infantry which would work well if mixed into regular units.

Dr Mike’s Painting Clinic

DrMikeAlways popular at shows with aspiring painters of all ages Dr Mike was just across from the Baccus stall. I have a lot of respect for this man after he spent all day at a show trying to convince me that I was actually a good 6mm painter and that I was trying TOO hard. I have since gone from there to doing commission painting in 6mm and strength to strength.

I can highly recommend take the time to talk to him at a show and maybe even sit down and pick up a brush. My son (age 7 at the time) has done so twice and painted models that shocked me, the WW1 infantry he painted under Dr Mike’s tuition could grace any gaming table with pride.

Rapier Miniatures

RapierIf you’re ever feeling glum then go and see Rapier, these guys will cheer you up.

In the past I’ve been critical of some elements of their models (actually just the bases – the models themselves are fantastic) but I keep coming back. I have a particular fondness for their Parthian Cataphract models. This time however I was in the market for paint, washes to be specific. I picked up the entire set of Coat d’Arms washes (not the superwashes) and a blog post featuring them will be along soon.

I was very remiss and totally forgot to ask them what was new – guys, if you get in touch with me and let me know I’ll do a whole blog post on whatever you’re working on!

Timecast Miniatures

timecast1Stunning building and terrain from Timecast. Their latest release are these 1980’s houses suitable for any Cold War based game. Sadly my Cold War Commander games are played in 3mm but I can still admire them none the less.

timecast3I also took quite a shine to these modular roads and I’m tempted to pick up a set in the near future. I’m on a bit of a terrain gathering mission right now as I want a visually appealing table to game on at home rather than either using MRO’s scenery or playing around books, mugs and condiments!

They also have a rather attractive set of middle eastern buildings which would fit in very nicely with my 6mm Seleucid army. I did get something to go with them but more on that later.

Wargames Emporium

wargamesemproium1There’s a certain pleasure to be derived from taking photos of people when you yourself aren’t keen on having your photo taken. It didn’t seem to bother this guy one bit though and he was more than happy to wave a copy of the new Command Horizon rules under my nose. I have to say it worked because I took away a copy and plan to give the rules a review soon.

wargamesemporium2If you’re interested then the rules are a test version and will eventually be replaced but don’t feel bad about buying “test rules” because the guys are offering to let you trade the rules in when the main rulebook is released in return for some models. I hope that wasn’t a show only offer, or an offer just to me, because now you have to do it guys!

The models look great, I have some of the infantry somewhere along with some Brigade 6mm tanks that I was going to use for Future War Commander. I got a change to see the rules in action but not a chance to play them myself (they were very popular) and they seem simple enough. Not “hex-based” simple but certainly not complex so something I would consider playing with my son with a little guidance (I’m starting him out with Kallistra’s hex rules and Memoir ’44).

Total Battle Miniatures

tbm1The moral here is, never ask me to take a photo of the other guy!

TBM have some absolutely cracking models and never more relevant than this year thanks to their 100 Days Campaign set. All the scenery you could need for Waterloo in 6mm in amazing detail. All of the buildings drop nicely (and carefully!) into the 30mm scenic tiles making an all in one package for terrain.

tbm2If you don’t believe me about the quality then click the image on the right, I dare you! That terrain piece is astounding.

While I shouldn’t mention it in a show report for a 6mm show they also do 10mm and 15mm buildings. I found the 10mm fortress walls to be particularly interesting but would need to see them in the flesh before committing to them, mostly to see what could be balanced on the walls. Everyone loves a good castle siege don’t they?

Heroics and Ros

harA trip to the Heroics and Ros stand is interesting for me. I’ve always been a Baccus man when it comes to 6mm but Baccus doesn’t do moderns… (not yet anyway – you never know what Peter is planning).

Now I did say that my moderns (well, Cold War) were in 3mm but I do have a few 6mm ones. Mostly from Scotia Grendel and GHQ but my plan was to fill out the bulk of the armoured regiment with H&R tanks. Not for any particular game, just to model it. One day I might even get around to it!

Commission Figurines

commissionThose are 6mm soldiers cut from MDF with engraved surface detail. Take a moment to look at that picture. Really look.

Now I’m not going to say that they are as high quality as the likes of Baccus and neither are Commission Figurines, but they are cheap. They are a great way to put together a mass of troops which, from the end of the table if you’re not looking for it, you can’t tell the difference. I mean if you look for it then yes, you can see that they are a bit boxy, especially sideways on, but I have to hand it to them, they are impressive. I’m willing to bet that when I said “cut from MDF” you had visions of glorified counters, then you looked at the image. A little later in this blog post you’ll see a game that was run using these and I honestly didn’t notice until I was leaning over the table.

I picked up a pack of Penninsular British and will be giving them a go soon, also comparing them size-wise to the Baccus British I have piles of. This could be my son’s first Napoleonic army (don’t listen Peter!).

Leven Miniatures

levenThe stall that nearly killed me (other than carrying the Baccus one). I think it’s a conspiracy that everything I saw that interested me was right at the bottom of the racks. I’ve reached that point in life where the floor is far to far away to travel there and back on a regular basis!

On the flip side, it was worth it. I picked up some cannon ball stacks and wooden crates (both cast in metal) which will decorate my artillery batteries soon, and likely other things too. I also picked up a pair of Obelisks to go with my Middle Eastern terrain. Many similarities with the Timecast buildings here that a feel a mix of the two would make a very nice terrain set. It’s great to have such variety in the 6mm market.

Overall

Mentioning the lack of notebook again, in places it’s tricky to remember all the things I spoke about with the traders on the day but I’ve tried to give an overall impression of them and pick out any new and interesting things they had. On the whole I think the hobby was very well represented and nothing stood out as being out of place nor missing. There are a few of manufacturers that I would love to have seen there (Angel Barracks and Dark Realm to name 2) but being realistic you can’t go to every show. With that said Joy of Six is establishing itself as a major show in the circuit with a specialised audience so I expect to see more traders attending in the future. But you want to see the games don’t you? Okay…

To be continued…

You noticed the “Part One” in the title right? That’s because this post has turned into a monster. If it grew any bigger it would start eating the children and I’m not taking responsibility for that. It’s also starting to get quite photo heavy and anyone out there on a creaky modem in the middle of nowhere will thank me.

You’ll have to wait until tomorrow (he said optimistically, okay, possibly Sunday…) for Part Two where I’ll give details on all the games. So take a bathroom break, get a drink and we’ll be right back with you…

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