Sunday, 6 September 2015

Border Reiver 2015

South of the Border,
Down Gateshead way.
That's where I drove my car,
Where guys I love, came out to play.

OK, cut the crap, there's no love involved, just a bit of camaraderie (is that a real word?).

After a couple of hours of trouble free motoring I arrived at the Gateshead International Stadium.

I turned up before the show opened so I sauntered in via the open and unguarded fire exit to see if any of my trader chums were in need of a hand to carry their goodies in. Nope, all done there. I spied a couple of old chums setting up their display game but they had everything to hand as well.

I wandered over to the ticket desk and the guys there told me (with a smile) if I wasn't a trader or a demonstrator I was breaking their health and safety guidelines and I would have to leave. After a wee chat with them I retired to the canteen and gave in to a bacon buttie and a cup of tea. (Bacon is off my normal menu but what the hell, I was south of the border.

As soon as 10 o'clock came along I joined what appeared to be a very short queue waiting to get in. It started to move slowly and on turning a corner saw that the queue was twice as long as I thought it was and on turning the next corner (there was a lot of corners) it had doubled again. All of which was a good sign for such a small show.

Note: (For the Gateshead guys) At Claymore we also have a queue at the opening hour but prior to the doors being opened we have a couple of guys who pre-sell tickets to those in the queue which makes the queue disappear rapidly once the show is opened.

Once I was officially in I had a chat with a Gateshead guy called Robin (I think). I told him that this was the first show I had been to in a good while where I wasn't running a charity stall. I was here to see the show itself which is very hard to do while doing the hard sell. He said I would have been given a table without question if I had asked but no, I want to be a wargamer again.

The hall was already buzzing, traders doing their business, wargamers rolling their dice and all that jazz. The sodium lighting in the hall was horrendous making everything appear yellow. Photography was going to be difficult.

In my time honoured tradition I focussed only on a very few games (I'm not Henry Hyde) and in particular those which caught my eye for one reason or another.

First up was my old pals from the Dumfries club. They were demonstrating an episode from the Battle of Spotsylvania, the Mule Shoe Salient using the relatively new Longstreet rules.

(See how yellow everything looks)

A hoard of Yankees (about a brigades worth) were attempting to storm a defended hill in Rebel hands. Here's some of them waiting at the edge of a wooded area.

The Southern Gentlemen waited patiently on them.

I passed the battle later on in the day, here is the view from the other direction.

A leisurely paced game as the Dumfries guys, like me, took every chance to have a blether rather than roll more dice or play a card.

Here's a closer view of the attacking brigade.

The next game that caught my eye was a naval game set in the Russo-Japanese War.

This is the Borodino leading the Russian line.

Just count them funnels.

The Japanese, lead by the Mikasa (looked like the Mikasa, sailed like the Mikasa, so must have been the Mikasa) patiently awaited the Russian advance.

Come on you at the end, get into line!

The game was presented by the Tantobie Warfare and Tactical Society.The rules in use were Battlefleet 1900, free from the following link. I must have a look at these sometime.

The ships are from Old Glory and are 1:600 scale.

Tiger, Tiger, no, not another warship game but a tankie game. Falkirk District club put on their  'Get the Tiger game, or perhaps, get the Sherman game'. A good participation game, drew a small crowd, and more importantly young gamers. (Well, you've got to get them interested in the first place).

A well thought out game but handicapped a bit by tabletop clutter. Come on guys, sort that.

Some of the clutter was interesting:

And informative:

Here are some details:

This clutter would have been better on a noticeboard.

Here's a well painted Tiger sporting a gaming accessory.

A victim (Sherman) ambles forward.

Zulus, Thousands of Them (a few hundred anyway) attack the invading red coats. Maybe the red coats were invading Zululand, does it matter?)

This game was presented by Westerhope Wargames Club (somewhere up the left hand side of the A1). Small but perfectly formed, they say.

Small but perfectly formed Zulus do a bit of 'Strictly' prior to a tangle (tango) with the Brits.

Just as small but even more perfectly formed the British Jury awaits the first dance.

Well that's enough of Border Reiver for today. I retired to the canteen with a few of the guys for yet another blether. A passable Cornish Pasty and a few chips bolstered me sufficiently energy wise enough to drive home in the sunshine to ponder my goodies acquired on the day. Two and a half hours of driving this time as there were a few 'Sunday' motorists out a day early.

First up was another Warband Army pack from Pendraken, High Elves this time.

I hope to get these based up in Warmaster style and also have sabots more suitable for Warband.

Here are the sabots from Pendraken.

And some more 100 x 50 mm bases as I will be scratch building some sabots.

I also got some dice frames.

And some game markers.

Finally I got some pansy coloured paints for the High Elves. I've never done High Elves before so I think some pansy colours will help my lack of artistical eye.

I unbagged the High Elves to peer at the castings. Here's what you get in an army pack.

I'll get 8 Warband units out of them but also 5 Warmaster fighting units and some command.

The spearmen are regularly irregular or maybe irregularly regular.

What do you think?

I would have started painting them straight away but I have these to finish first.

Some 'skellies' complete with scratch built standards.

And these:

Peely Wally Barbarians just needing a bit of colour.

There are some other photo reports of the show at:






  1. Fair point about the untidyness Jim. We succumbed to the temptation to lengthen the playing area rather than use the end table for the display material for the Tiger, Tiger game as we should have done. However, glad you recognised our objective to introduce some kids into the hobby. For one it was his first wargame and his Grandad went off with one of our play sheets to play again at home, while another Dad also went off with one for the same purpose with his daughter clutching her Tiger picture for her wall.

    1. Glad you caught my drift John. My comments come from being a show judge too many times. It's hard to get rid of.

      Great game though and well done with the kids and the Grandad.

  2. The Russo- Japanese war game was by the Tantobie Warfare and Tactical Society- which is my local group and yes the ships are from Old Glory and are 1/600th I know this as I sell them !!

  3. Thanks Andy

    I'll edit the posting.

    Great ships by the way.