Sunday, 17 September 2017

Colours 2017

Its mid September so it must be Colours at Newbury and its hard to believe that another year has rolled on since the last time I posted from this the annual show of the Newbury and Reading Wargames Society.

This show has been a constant fixture in my calendar save for the year it didn't run and its always one I look forward to coming straight after the holiday season.

The show seemed a bit quieter when Steve an I arrived at about 10.45, but as you can see by 11.30 the main trader hall was all hustle and bustle with plenty of potential punters on the lookout for more stuff.

I was picking up some buildings from Tiger Terrain and some tanks and paints from Plastic Soldier Company for a friend at club and then for myself, picked up some wounded Romans and Dacians from Wargames Foundry, together with a Centurion and work party.

Then it was over to Warbases to discuss getting hold of their new 28mm Roman fortress and some sabot bases for my Dux Bellorum collection and then I got a bargain from Black Tree Design getting a 28mm Roman Testudo for £10 saving over £20 and getting figures to match my collection of Victrix EIR legionaries.

Of course a show is not just for picking up more stuff, but also a great opportunity to see how others like to game in our great hobby and to meet up with friends to spend the day with and share all the fun. I had a very nice time meeting up with Steve M who travelled up with me and back on the day, Mr Steve and Chas and as you will read, meeting up with Simon Miller aka 'Big Red Bat' who was demoing his new English Civil War version of his ancient rule set 'To the Strongest' - thanks Simon for a very informative chat about that, Romans and Napoleonics.

As usual I present my pick of games from the show, in no particular order.

Dave Brown's General D'Armee and the Loughton Strike Force - Marengo in 15mm

This is my scale as far as Napoleonics are concerned and with my third play-through of Talavera 208 fast approaching next weekend it was lovely getting some pictures of this nice terrain and set up presented by Dave Brown and the Loughton chaps to show off his new rule set.

I've got a copy that I picked up at Partizan earlier in the year and several of the guys at club have a copy but we haven't had a chance to play them yet.

The Battlegoup Demonstration Team with this very nice 20mm/1:72nd Russian Front Demo Game

I have this rule set and have played them a few times but have to say they are not my preferred WWII rules for various reasons that I covered in my review of them a few years back.

That said I would always be happy to play in a game using them and a few of the chaps at club like them so I am always ready to play.

The chaps that  were running the game yesterday put this terrain set up together in rapid time, I think it was about a week to prepare before the show, and I was particularly struck by the ground work using towelling material for the grass effect which made a nice change from the ubiquitous teddy bear fur. 

This well turned out game was a great advert for the rule set which continues to grow with additional modules covering the various theatres and more recently handy data stat-cards to make it much easier to keep vehicle and weapon data close at hand and accessible.

The chaps had a rolling demonstration running through the day thus on my second pass by the table I saw they had the T34's out en-mass rushing towards the German position with a Panther and some StuG's rumbling forward to contest the Soviet attack.

A Friday Night in Crawley - Palestro 1859, Franco-Austrian War, Crawley Wargames Club

Well done to the chaps from Crawley for producing an eye-catching game with scratch built buildings and defences from the collection of Mr Philip Ayerst, who obviously has a lot of talent and too much time on his hands.

The figures were from Philip's collection and other members and this has been a bit of a theme in the club in the previous eighteen months.

Not really my period of horse and musket but you can really appreciate the passion put into this by the Crawley club.

The figures are a mix of mainly Lancashire Games, together with Essex, Old Glory 15's and Freikorps, and the rules used were 'Age of Valour' an Age of Eagles supplement.

The Assault on Ali el-Muntar 19th April 1917, 2nd Battle of Gaza - Adrian Shepherd & Friends

I love these 'Grand Manner' WWI games even though WWI holds no interest for me at all. The effort and attention to detail shown in a game like this is, in my humble opinion, what wargaming with model figures is all about.

You can't help getting a feel for the distances involved between to the two opposing rear area lines until you see the sweep of this table extending here from the British-Imperial lines towards the wire and the Turkish defences beyond.

The Imperial advance was well under way by the time I took my pictures with a burning RE8 on the slopes as a Turkish Observer plane wheels above the battle lines.

Apparently as well as ordering up eight British Mk.1 Tanks for this attack, 4,000 gas shells were thrown in for good measure as evidenced by the ugly yellowy-green cloud developing in one of the Turkish trenches.

A superb game and a feast for the eyes which I really enjoyed, and I hope my pictures do justice to.

Society of Ancients -Greeks & Persian using Philip Sabins 'Lost Battles'

I know this was showing one of the Greco-Persian clashes but I only grabbed these two shots of a game that stuck me for the modelling of a typically Greek style open plain that I have seen many times travelling in the area.

There was no reference to the game in my show brochure and the only reference I could find was on the Colours 2017 web-page to the Society of Ancients and as I saw a copy of Philip Sabin's classic book on show have assumed that 'Lost Battles' were the rules being used.

Apologies to the display team and please feel free to drop me a comment and I will be happy to amend my post.

Suffice to say the game was nicely presented with some lovely figures on show to grab my attention.

Battle of Lessie's Moor (spot the pun) 10mm ECW using 'For King and Parliament' - Simon Miller and the 10mm ECW collection from co-writer Andrew Brentall .

I have an itch to put together an English Civil War collection at some time in the future and so I was more than happy to spend some time in the company of Mr Simon Miller as Mr Steve and I watched the chaps playing Simon's and Andrew's new ECW version of the ancient rule set 'To the Strongest'.

The fictitious struggle portrayed had some obvious puns in the title as well some easily recognisable characters from a long running British radio soap, "The Archers" including the redoubtable Sir Sidney Perks.

Simon plans to have this new set ready in time for Salute 2018 and having seen the work and comments about how 'To the Strongest' plays it was interesting to hear about the changes to the core system to better reflect the processes at play in an English Civil War battle, particularly around command and control, which has had an influence over likely upgrades of the ancient set.

Anyone who follows Simon's blog will know he is a prolific collector of figures when he gets into a particular theme, and some of his growing collection of ECW 28mm figures together with their nicely terrained 'Bat Bases', mdf bases' specifically designed for Simon's rule sets were on display yesterday.

I had not seen these bases close up before and I really like the irregular edging he has incorporated which has also been designed to allow the stands to interlock seamlessly to produce a group of bases in a unit.

Additionally I don't think you can have enough flags in an ECW infantry unit as they were known to carry up to ten with one per company and the idea of having a separate colour party stand to affix to the fighting formations is one that I think I will use.

So there we are another Colours show in the memory locker with a thoroughly enjoyable day spent basking in the hobby.

JJ's Wargames is back next weekend with the third and possibly final play through of Talavera 208 as a new set of players go head to head in the Tagus Valley .

In addition I have some Saxon Theigns ready for their parade shots and the first Dacian Warband is well underway. Also to come are posts on the WWII Arnhem campaign touring I did in Holland this summer and the second part of my trip to Xanten and Haltern Roman museums in Germany.

More anon


  1. Shame you didn't stop by the SL Warlords Cold War game JJ. It would have been great to meet you!

    1. Hi Iain, that was remiss if me because I did see the game which was very nicely done and was a hive of activity when I passed by that made getting pictures and then I was distracted in other directions including lunch at the pub.

      So hopefully next time, and now I know your association with the Warlords I will keep a look out. Maybe you chaps will be at Warfare in November?


    2. No problem JJ the pub is always the better option!

      Glad you liked the look of the game but we won't be putting it on again I'm afraid, although I might be at Warfare as a punter and I might be back at Colours next year though with another game.

      By the way, I have to agree with you about the Gaza game, a truly fantastic spectacle.

  2. Great report - i used to live in Reading so Colours and Warfare were the two shows I used to regularly attend. love the General D' Armee Marengo Game - I am working on doing the same for General De Brigade!

  3. Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

  4. Really a terrific set of photos of what looks like a great set of games. Thanks for taking the time.


  5. I thought the 15mm Marengo table looked great - my favourite at the show.

  6. Great show photos, Jonathan! Marengo and the walled fortress were my two favorites. Incredible craftsmanship.

  7. My first time at colours, I have to say I enjoyed it and agree that the WW1 desert game was the best one there, very dark at some of the stalls on the ground floor but lovely and light on the other two. I got some bargains enjoyed the games , free parking and a well priced bacon roll, what more can you ask for? !
    Best Iain