Hi, Thank you for looking at my site, I hope you like what you've seen so far! On Saturday 1st September 2012, I attended the Border Reiver Show, At Gateshead International Stadium. I've attended the show for the last few years, which has in previous years been run at the Metro Radio Arena. I was a little dubious when I heard about the change of venue, but once I got to the stadium (GIS) I was pleasantly surprised. The parking was very good, and free, although there didn't seem to be much of it, considering the size of the venue, I will admit that once I found a space though, I cared very little about if there were other spaces, there could have been thousands more but I paid little attention! The building is superb, very light and new, the reception area had a TV showing sky sports news and had lots of tables and chairs + sofas for people to use. In past years at the show I've always felt that seating was lacking, even just getting a sit down for 5 minutes for a bite to eat is sometimes nice, it was always an after thought when held at the arena, although not all that important it was a welcome addition to the show in my opinion. First impressions There was a friendly gentleman  at the front desk who was guiding people in the right direction (you had to walk down a couple of corridors to get to the room the show was being held in), Then through a set of double doors and into the show itself, This led to my first disappointment of the day, I got there at 9:45am, Apparently the show opens at 10am.  As soon as I walked through the door, I was faced with two men sitting at a desk, the first barked "do you have stuff for the bring and buy?" I said "no, I'm just here for the show" the second guy then barked in a very angry tone "Then you'll have to leave. Don't come back until 10. Its against health and safety.". This wasn't the friendly greeting I was expecting to be honest, now I realise that for the organisers, this was probably quite a stressful day, but manners cost nothing. "I'm sorry, we aren't open to the  public until 10am" was closer to what I would have expected. Obviously, not though. The Venue (inside) When I did get let in, The first thing I noticed was the lights! There was a very strong orange tint to the lights in the room, this wouldn't really have effected anyone in any way other than if you planned to take photos (which I did!), and everyone seemed to be commenting on it! Strange, but didn't really detract from the event. The room was quite large, It was a regular square/rectangular room, unlike the foyer in the arena which was an irregular shape, The GIS  was probably quite a bit smaller,  but the space felt a lot better. It was easier to navigate, ligher (even if it was orange!), more open, and you felt like you didn't miss anything, where you quite easily could have in the arena. Even if it was a smaller venue. I thought that other than the lighting being weird, this was a really good choice for the event.
Shot of some of the events on display

Shot of some of the events on display

 
More random snaps

More random snaps

   
Again more random

Again more random

 
and again

and again

  Trade stands There were Quite a few trade stands, some familiar names that I was hoping to see, and a couple of new ones (at least new to me if not the show), (a Full list of traders can be seen HERE). If you've looked at any of my other posts on my blog (no? you'd best go HERE then) you'll probably know that my main focus in wargaming is 15mm World War 2. I play Flames of War, and I have played for a couple of years now. So I was mainly on the lookout for FoW related articles, although I'm always on the look out for different games, so I was looking forward to seeing some other games on offer! The number of stands seemed to be quite a few less than the previous year, and something that puzzled me greatly was the lack of support from our local companies. The North East isn't exactly "on the map" when it comes to wargaming, it's something you come to accept in all walks of life really when you come from the north, Southeners simply don't like travelling north, so we have to travel to see any of the good stuff. I mean it's not all doom and gloom, we do get some pretty neat stuff up here. But when it comes to events like this, it's rare to find one this far north. Which is one of the reasons why I support the border reiver show so much, it's one of (if not the) the best show in the North East, the only other one I know of at the same scale is Smoggycon, which I am yet to attend (mother nature has something against me attending this show!),  and depending on the size of smoggycon, it may be the biggest? Either way, I think it's great that it happens, and I'm always very grateful that the traders make the trip up (or down!). Which is why I was very surprised that hardly any of the actual local companies attended! I would have thought they would have wanted to expose themselves to the local market, and support one of very few local events that manages to pull in a crowd, I realise that sometimes life gets in the way, and, I don't know what the situation is of these events for cost of a table etc. But I would have thought it would be worthwhile, even if just to get your name out there. I do a lot of marketting in my job, it's part and parcel of the kind of graphic design that I do, so I really understand the power of good marketting, and what it can do for a business, it just baffles me why companies don't jump on any and all opportunities to raise their profile in a positive way. Especially when all of their target market is in one room. All eager to throw money at them. Anyway.. That's a whole other post.. The trade stands that did attend were all really well stocked from what I could tell, although there wasn't a great deal that I wanted (just my luck!) but then again, I was looking for specific items, so I wasn't expecting to get everything I wanted! I still got a pretty good haul though, even though a lot of the stuff I went hoping to find I couldn't get, but hey, I'm a wargamer, and I had money in my pocket. I was always going to find something to spend it on!
The haul!

The haul!

I actually went with the intention of getting a Flames of War carry case from Battlefoam, I saw a fair number of thise kicking round last year, so I expected to see one or two, unfortunately, it just wasn't my day for a FoW bag! I already have one, and I think it's an absolutely superb piece of kit, so I was looking for another one, as I'm moving house soon and really need something to protect the minis that don't fit in the first case. Seen as there wasn't a FoW bag though, and I had cash on me, I thought I would try out something from KR Multicases, The guy who served me was really nice, and took the time to explain to me about all the different sizes of foam I could get, and offered to put me together a custom layout, as I really wanted something for my Artillery sized bases, as well as infantry ones. The case was £23, and while It's cardboard, It's really durable card, and it's just going to be for storage for me, I'm not going to use this as a "gaming" case, I already have one of those. It's about half the price of the proper FoW bag, and fits in about the same amount of stuff. There were more options you could go for, with reinforced bags to hold these card cases, made from the same stuff as the battlefoam FoW bags, however, that was a little more than what I needed, and more than what I wanted to spend, So I opted just for the one card case. It's a great case for what I want to use it for (in the home storage), and combined with the bags designed to carry these cases, would make a really good "gaming" case, especially for people with many armies. I can see myself buying more of these, labelling them, and then getting the outer carry bag, then all you need to do is grab the right card case for the day, slip it into the outer carry bag and you're all set. Highly recommend this system, and the chap who sold me it seemed a right top bloke too. Can't ask for anything more really. I also managed to pick up a horsa Glider, I've sort of half been after one of these ever since I started playing FoW, I play british paras, and while the opportunity doesnt arise too often to actually use the horsa. I really want one anyway, It would make a nice addition to the collection, and a nice centrepiece to the force. I really didn't intend to buy one at the show though, until I saw the one from Old Glory miniatures.
Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

When I saw this little beauty in the cabinet, I just knew I had to have it. This was a painted one in a cabinet, so the one I got was unpainted, but this will be a joy to put together, and I look forward to getting it done soon! Again, the two guys who were running the stand from Old glory were thoroughly  nice chaps. I had a nice little chat to them. I've seen them at the show before and they always seem to do well. They don't just do 15mm WW2 stuff either, they have an absolutely HUGE range, and it looks like they bring all of it to the show as you can see from the photo below! I look forward to searching their website for some "modern" stuff when I work out what scale I want to do "moderns" in!
Shot of the old glory stand

Shot of the old glory stand

Another Company I spoke to was QRF (and got some decals off for my canadian armour force!), Again, very nice chaps, It really makes a difference when you can go to an event like this and have a pleasant conversation with the people who own the companies. When they guenuinly have time for you it makes the experience so much better, and if nothing else, guarentees that i'll come back for more. QRF were another one of those companies that I will most certainly be returning to.
QRF

QRF

Some of (but possibly not all) of the local traders that turned up were:
Northumbria Games

Northumbria Games

Find northumbria Games HERE
Under the Bed Enterprises

Under the Bed Enterprises

Find Under the Bed Enterprises HERE Gateshead Gaming:
Gateshead Gaming

Gateshead Gaming

Find Gateshead Gaming HERE And wargames recon (the wargaming magazine):
Wargames recon

Wargames recon

(rubbish picture I know!) Find wargames recon HERE There were probably more local traders, but those are the ones I know of. Please feel free to let me know which others were local, and I'll credit them accordingly! MY main port of Call for the Day was Caliver books, (find them HERE)
Caliver Books

Caliver Books

Which was one of the larger stalls present, and one of the only stands with any real Flames of War presence this year
Look at all the Beautiful FoW!

Look at all the Beautiful FoW!

This is where I get a little bit sour, just a bit though. The selection there was available was great, and I picked up all of my FoW blisters you saw in the above picture of my spoils from Caliver books. But MY GOD how awkward was it to find anything?! I realise that space is a premium at these events, but really, everything just seemed to be whacked on those pegs in any old order, the only order they seemed to be in was the nations were vaugely in the same place. I come to events like these for a few reasons, but one of them, is to spend my pennies. Classically, wargaming websites are absolutely dire.  And make it very difficult for you to actually navigate round them, find stuff and then buy it. So it's an absolute JOY to have a stand full of blisters to pick through to have the stuff in my hand instantly and then pay for it. But come on, I don't want to spend the whole of my day looking through one stand. I know, it's a minor complaint, but i feel pretty strongly about presentation. You made the effort to come up all the way from Essex, would it have hurt SO bad to just make it so people can find stuff on the display? Anyway, The woman who served me was nice enough, and the selection was great. And, like I said earlier, I'm whole heartedly grateful for the fact they made the trip all the way from Essex, and do so every year. No doubt you'll have more of my pennies next year! It was here I found the "Force on Force" rulebook, something that I am really looking into, I didn't pick it up at the show, as I also found another book, "Bolt Action" which I liked the look of, I resisted, and want to do some research online onto which one I like the look of more before I commit to a purchase. Again, this was another one of the reasons why I come to this show. To see what other things are on offer I haven't come across yet. And I found two games I like the look of thanks to Caliver Books. Display Games There were a number of display games this year, I can't recall if it was more or less than last year, but I'm hedging my bets and saying it was about the same. The way the hall was laid out was that most of the traders were round the edges of the hall, with a few in the middle, and the display games were mainly in the middle. There were some top notch tables this year (as ever), my local club, The Northumbrian Adventurers Guild (find them HERE) had two tables, one for 40k and one for flames of war. The FoW game was the one I was most interested in, and it seemed to draw a lot of attention, which is great. The table was made by one of the club members (his name is Mark), with his British Paras being on the table, along side "Nate"'s British armour, and Dave A's germans, all armies were painted to a very high standard indeed.
NAG FOW table

NAG FOW table

 
Dave next to the FoW table

Dave next to the FoW table

Mark's Brit Paras

Mark's Brit Paras

 
Daves Tigers

Daves Tigers

 
german gun teams

german gun teams

 
german vehicles

german vehicles

  I believe the Tables showing the Dysatopian wars figures were from the Newbiggen wargames club, who put on a fantastic display, Although there was a lack of support from traders, which was a shame, as I was ready to pick up at least one force after seeing the display games they put on! (I could have just missed them though, there may well have been some dysatpian wars stuff available)    
Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

 
Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

 
Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

Newbiggen dysatopian wars

  You also couldnt miss Derwentside Gamers, and Shot and Shell gamers, who had a couple of tables with MASSIVE banners, Again, looking absolutely stunning.
Derwentside Gamers

Derwentside Gamers

Derwentside Gamers

Derwentside Gamers

Shot & Shell gamers

Shot & Shell gamers

Shot & Shell gamers

Shot & Shell gamers

 
Dunno who this one was?

Dunno who this one was?

I was really impressed to see a Star Wars game too, from a Club from Glasgow!
Glasgow Phoenix club

Glasgow Phoenix club

Another local club who had two tables was Section 8, They had a historical game on show as well as a beautiful 40k table. Unfortunately I couldn't get too close to the 40k table, I got a few funny looks whenever I got close with my camera, so I just stayed clear. However I got chatting to this happy chap (didn't catch his name though) and had a good chat about how his game was going.
Section 8

Section 8

  There was also a Fantastic ww1 game, that looked like 28mm, Again, Every time I got close with the camera they didn't seem to keen, and They weren't very keen on chatting either, they seemed to have lots of folders on the table, I'm not sure whether they were selling something, advertising a club or just the history of a game? Who knows? I did try and strike up a conversation, but they didn't seem interested in talking, at least to me anyway. So I just snapped a few pics of their table (it was too good to walk away from) and then hurried on.
I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

] I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

I think this was 28mm WW1, looked fabulous whatever it was

  There were plenty more display games too, I think I missed a few, I tried to get as much into the day as possible, but it was near impossible to capture everything!
More Display Games

More Display Games

 
More Display Games

More Display Games

More Display Games

More Display Games

More Display Games

More Display Games

  Other stands There were a couple of other stands too, Ones that might well have been "traders" but warrent their own catagory I think! Warbases.co.uk was one of these, They produce their own terrain and bases using laser cut MDF. I've seen a lot of these types of thing popping up recently, Laser Cut MDF seems to be the latest "Fad" in wargaming, for bases, it doesn't really do anything for me, I like plastic bases, but I can see the appeal. Some of the terrain looks fantastic though! I've got a bit too much terrain at the moment, so I didn't pick any up myself, but you should definately check them out, they had some simply stunning pieces.
warbases

warbases

warbases

warbases

There was also a miniature painting company that had some really lovely models, Sabre painting I think they were called. Here's some photos of their minis though
miniature painters

miniature painters

sabre painted minis

sabre painted minis

sabre painted minis

sabre painted minis

sabre painted minis

sabre painted minis

sabre painted minis

sabre painted minis

  There was also a sculptor there (i think he sculpts them anyway), he had his own range of figures, and they were really really nice. Unfortunately I haven't got a use for any of them just yet, but as soon as I get into a system where I can use them I'll be buying a fuckton of them.
Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

Four A Miniatures

  Overall Overall, I had a pretty good day at Border reiver 2012. The hall was great (albeit for the crappy lighting), the people were mostly friendly, and there were some stunning display games. I was a little upset by the lack of bargains/deals to be had, the bring and buy was a little weak this year, and everything seemed to just be internet prices. There weren't any real DEALS on offer, which was pretty upsetting, if you were just there to shop, then there wasn't that much of an insentive for you to come. For example, everywhere was selling the new 40k Dark Vengeance box for £58.50. Yes, thats 10% cheaper than buying it direct from GW, but, it's the same price as buying it online. And I had to pay £3 to get in the place. Thats practically like paying postage (and most of the retailers there with websites offer free postage!). I'm not saying they should have lost out on it, but would it really have harmed at least ONE of the retailers to try and shift it for £55? that extra little bit off might hav made me part with some cash, knowing it was a "show only" price. I walked away from a few stands thinking "whats the point in buying it now? its the same price online, I'll just wait", there were hardly any "3 for 2" offers or the like, it felt like it needed something to kick start people into buying. People want bargains, and it seemed to just be a little marred by the fact that there weren't a great deal of them going round. Don't get me wrong, there was still plenty of coin changing hands. But it could have been a lot more if there were some promotions on the go. Sure, everything was right in front of me, and I still spent a fair amount of cash, but I probably would have spent more, if there were some offers on. I was a little miffed at the reception I got when I first arrived, and some of the display games weren't all that approachable, but, it could have been something to do with the camera, some people see it and it instantly puts them off. Generally though, the camera was well received, and the people were very chatty. I had a great morning out, and can't wait for next years event. Hopefully it'll get bigger not smaller like it has been doing over the past couple of years. I have a full gallery of the photos I took here: http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b94/chrissecond/Border_reiver2012/?start=all Hope you've enjoyed my blog post, please feel free to comment and check out the rest of my site. Thanks again for reading. Chris.  

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