Hammerhead at Newark: A convention appraisal.

Hammerhead has been running at Newark showground for a few years now, probably enough time for it’s large lead-filled buttocks to leave an imprint in the Sofa of Shows. Intended to be an interactive experience, all the games are participation events, and the show has a broad mandate for genres and sub-genres of gaming.

Location, Location, Location (The Sniper’s Mantra)

Unusually, Hammerhead has spread out from it’s original home in the Cedric Ford Pavilion, grown exponentially and taken over the George Stevenson Exhibition Hall across the Car park which Partizan usually occupies. This can be a mixed blessing, depending on the weather and ones inclination to travel back and forth. Footsore traders (With sore feet, not the miniature company of that name) in the large hall can sometimes be heard muttering jealously about luxurious carpeting after a long day on a concrete floor. Those travelling to the show should be aware that it isn’t actually in Newark proper, but rather outside the town. Ample free parking on soft standing is provided. The show itself is sited at the rear of the showground site, so drive straight down. Other shows may be present, but if it’s full of show dogs, you’ve probably not gone far enough in…% pounds on the door, with concessions and a choice of show figures, mostly WW1 themed.

Organisers

https://www.hammerheadshow.co.uk/

Newark Showground, NG24 2NY

A glut of 3d printed armour and infantry

The detail is superb, though the technique is still time-intensive

Blood And Bridges (1985): a 3D version of the boardgame by Lock’n’Load

Excellent use for what appears to be 1/72 armour from the Combat Tanks Collection (or similar partwork) which are often available cheaply at show bring+buys

Usually played with chits or counters, clearly the format can cope with actual models

Kallistra Hexon boards were much in evidence

A veritable horde of soviet armour (probably equivalent to a platoon or small patrol, or a trip to the Russian version of the NAAFI.)

More Hexxon, representing a creek out of Lake George, circa 1758

The cardboard army concept looks pretty impressive from the right distance (Peter Dennis. Multiple eras available.)

Living dangerously, these chaps were situated a bare frisson away from he exit. Luckily the day was not windy…

We don’t care why this galley was stuck here, we just know that it is adorable

Unreleased at time of writing, this is the new Roman Bakery from Sarissa Precision

We’ll be talking to Sarissa at more length at Chillcon in Sheffield about these, hopefully

Its a deeply characterful (and well-researched) piece that wouldn’t go far amiss in a museum, never mind a wargame

Foraging

Both buildings have on-site catering, providing fairly standard wargaming fare (Chips & whatever, Chips & Chips etc). The Widow (when she isn’t feeling gastronimically inclined to devour her young or innocent passersby, or the sap of the Trees of Valinor, the Undying Lands) is a most critical gourmet, and was much displeased at this poor variety, and not terribly impressed with the prices, taking special exception to a plate of chips being 3 pounds and a sausage roll being two-fifty. Her advice is to bring a packed lunch, and perhaps a thermos. With no nearby amenities, we are inclined to agree.

Moving on to the big room….

32mm-ish, the ASOIF minis are quality examples of the new trend for boardgames with tabletop quality figures.

Unpainted miniatures! Is it still heretical if its technically a boardgame playing piece? Answers on a purity seal…

Winner of Best Constructed Game, run by Harrogate Wargames, &TV Apocalypse ‘Dune Buggy Challenge’

The more we witness 7tv Apocalypse stuff, the more we desire the End of Days (or at least a modest Fall of Humanity.)

Though we may settle for a model-clypse..

And there’s probably great potential for crossover with Modern and Zombie 28mm too..

7TV doesn’t have the monopoly on pockyclypses…A Monopocalypse…as evidenced by a bit of Dystopian Racing

Having spent weeks grinding through the Mad Max PC game, this particular piece brought back fond memories of long hot summers in the desert

Ticking all sorts of Dark Future boxes…

The RAF Assoc. boys were back with their road-mat. Reminds us of the end of Time Bandits something rotten

Sharpe Practice was also much in evidence. We hazard this was the fourth such game using those rules, which bodes well for their playability.

What a Tanker, from the same stable as Sharpe Practice

The besieged Moon-base Treadaway One-Niner (probably.)

Having the pertinent rules up on display is rather handy

I didn’t spot an Eagle Lander anywhere. A chilling oversight, IMO

Lord of the Rings was represented too

As soon as she saw this, the Widow was all ‘Oh, I like that one..’ ‘Oh yes, Indian architecture in that red stone is very aesthetically pleasing’ says I…

‘No, not the fort, the wine. I could definitely play games with wine. All games should have wine…’ Assaye 1803

Gripes, Grumbles and other Observations

There is much to be positive about Hammerhead as a show. For one, it is probably the biggest show, trader-for-trader in the North these days: a crown that used to be worn by the late lamented Sheffield Triples. As a new show with copious room, there is plenty of space for the smaller or newer traders who often languish on waiting lists for other more well-established shows. The participation aspect of the gaming and the sheer variety of games available is very inclusive, though sometimes it can leave the odd game a little lonely and forlorn. It is also a quite child-friendly event. Many miniature people can be espied peering with deep interest at elaborate set-ups, or tugging on the parental sleeve to draw attention to some item or other. As a parent of a perpetual sleeve-tugger, it is also helpful that the venue is quite spacious, with limited exits. If you lose a child at Vapnartak, it’s gone. Game over. Get a new one.

Star Wars Legion. The lack of Star Wars related games (until recently) has always surprised us. Licensing, no doubt.

Age of Sigmar gets mixed responses, but its undeniable that huge monsters make for an impressive centrepiece

Traders are (it seems) for the most part quite happy to cater to younglings. Special mention should go to Bad Squiddo/Krakon in this regard. We do not know what was IN the baskets underneath Annies’ racks, but whatever it was it had attracted a bevy of munchkins intent on rooting through it. This despite the foreboding Doom-Laden Beard of her cohort…Or perhaps because, for a Traders Beard may hold starlings, small toys, or beloved childrens characters like Berk from Trapdoor…(No really, Krakon has a Berk, and a Boney, and a Drutt..)

Miniature-wranglers from under the very shadow of the Lead Mountain

We are rather taken with the Flakvierling bunker, the archetypal guard hut…

…and the view from the safe end of a Flying Bomb.

Every battle should have an ornamental garden. Capability Brown walks again…

Speaking of Bad Squiddo, a minor unpleasance came to light after the fact on Twitter. To quote the Bag Lady herself:


Another reminder that the “Believable Female Minis” are for everyone, regardless of age & gender. Dude dragged his son away yesterday after realising it was all “for girls”. More diverse representation of women helps everyone, louder again for those at the back! ❤

The Widow, upon reading this, uttered a sigh of cyclopean proportion, perplexed at this backwards-thinking attitude. More prosaically, her archivist thinks its bollocks, and those perpetuating such ridiculousness should promptly fuck off back to the 1970s. Show us on the tiny model where the bad women hurt you…

Whilst a bring&buy does operate (excelsior!) it is of the ‘Hire a table for 6 quid an hour’ variety, which we personally find a touch frustrating, especially in a show held over two buildings. We nevertheless found most of our shopping there.

Not an era in which we have much dabbled, but flags are good. There should be more flags on everything. 1693, Battle of Marsaglia, the Nine Years War. (What do they name the next conflict that takes exactly nine years, we wonder? Is it like the 100yrs War? (IE more than 100yrs?)

An eye-catching loco, visible from across the room.

We sense that Communism may be involved in this game.

Although we didn’t catch the names of the Wargames Illustrated Painting Competition winners, we have observed that a rather nice Marder caught the historical bag, and an insider told us that one of the competitors (and we believe prizewinner) was so excited at the prospect of driving legendary miniature painting guru John Blanche to the show that in the end he deferred driving duties to his girlfriend so as not to have an attack of the vapours and crash.

We were so busy checking out the cool floor, we didn’t even clock the Stegosaurus until the second time round…

The inlaid designs on the cobbles are fantastic and OMG THAT’S STEGOSAURUS! GET IN THE BLACK MARIA!

Kings of War: Vanguard: Mantic Games skirmish offering

It seems here that a certain Squid-related trader has been in engaging in some subtle guerrilla marketing again…

Small board skirmish games allow a lot of leeway for elaborately detailed groundwork, more than a large rank&flank set up.

Still fascinated that this is a historically accurate battle…

And the flightless birds won it…

Traders

Rather than attempt to recreate a Trader list, we will instead direct you to the show site, thus saving many hours of backbreaking labour on our part. Instead we will draw your attention to one or two traders that caught our attention. Firstly, Zinge Industries were present, having missed out on the previous show due to Bad Weather Cancellation Shenanigans. We are most taken with their wares, and fully intend to do a more in-depth examination. Resin-cast accessories, parts, gewgaws and macguffins, mostly 28mm, but with a growing range of 20mm (ie Hot Wheels) scale items, and little lights. A small trader worthy of note. Secondly Saddlegoose/Glenbrook games, pictured below, have a truly eye-catching array of dice-bags and provide a super useful painting service. Go forth and examine. The Widow Compels You.

Edit: On occasion a trader scheduled to be present will be a no-show. This year Mierce miniatures were not present but were listed. A quick inquiry later, and it transpires that they felt they needed to concentrate in building up stock for Salute, rather than show up with near-empty racks to Hammerhead. Salute: the bane of the North.

If you can think of a design Saddlegoose don’t make, send them an email or a tweet, and get it made.

We imagine this might be of some utility, thematically speaking, in the upcoming Mortal Gods game

The Goddess of Wisdom is watching you

Glenbrook Games, holders of the longest Meeples & Miniatures Podcast interview record, also sometimes take time out to paint figures

Painting armies can be a daunting or even impossible task for some. It is righteous that there are quality services available to accommodate them. (We might get more posts done if we didn’t have to paint all this stuff ourselves…)

Asian conflicts at the turn of the century interest us here.

Falkirk Wargames Club causing Big Trouble at Tianjin Station..

Baggy demands Regency-style comforts, and the finest model tractors available to humanity. Bad Squiddo represent in style. We gather that Annie herself one day desires to have such a chaise longue at shows, for all her reclining needs. Goals.

Not the largest haul in the world, but some significant items nevertheless, and the greatest miniature in the land…

Our own haul might appear meagre at first, but closer study will reveal the putty-fingered stylings of Krakon, providing the basis for a might standard bearer for our Fomoraic/Fimir forces. Nearby is a (possibly) Celtos undead cavalryman, intend to add to our fledgling Barbarian cavalry. Two dwarves will join our throng, and for good measure a classic Realm of Chaos Khornate beastman gets thrown in because there was no good reason not to. A bevy of shields will help equip some more of the dwarven throng, and their Orc cousins from the Warhammer Fantasy Regiment box. As part of a long-term project to convert Matchbox/Hotwheels cars for Gaslands, Zinge Industries have provided a selection of exqusitely sculpted engine blocks, and the whole lot rests atop a complete copy of the now OOP Rackham Confrontation starter game, which contains a raft of interesting things like a hill, sexy dice and an equally sexy tape-measure. There are probably rules and figures in there too but mostly sexy dice.

Up to four people were involved in searching out all of the parts to assemble him, but the centrepiece is definitely THE GARGOYLE.

In summation: Hammerhead is a good day out, with a broad spectrum inclusive approach, but take a packed lunch

(We experiment with the format of these reviews each time. Feel free to feedback with suggestions, thoughts or complaints, observations and notes.)

If you enjoy the content I generate, feel free to show your appreciation using the link below. It’s not actually coffee, but it might end up being. (Or I can upgrade WordPress and make this whole show more shiny.)
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