Category Archives: Vapnartak

Vapnartak 2016 and stuff…

Today was the annual York show, Vapnartak, at York Racecourse. I’ve been attending this regularly for a few years now and it is always a good show and a good start to the gaming year. For a change this year I travelled down on the Saturday afternoon with the intention of meeting up with Iain Burt (Essex Boy) for a few beers. Couldn’t find a cheap place IN York so I ended up at The Bay Horse in Fulford. Clean and friendly B&B, they even sorted me a vegan breakfast. And easy to get to and from by bus (last bus back at 11 though). So last night had a few beers and nosh at Wagamama with EB and a good rant/natter. After a good feed this morning I walked across to the Racecourse via the Millennium footbridge. Bright and chilly it was nonetheless a pleasant walk in.

I didn’t have a huge purchase list for this so the show was more about meeting a few people (from both LAW and AMG) and chatting. It was nice to see a few traders had been moved around and there seemed to be more space between stalls/tables so even at peak time it felt busy but not congested. I didn’t get much time to view the demo games but those I saw were the usual high standard. A couple did seem rather ‘static’ and I have to admit I’d quite like to see some of the ‘regulars’ trying something a bit different or giving other clubs a chance. Admittedly there may not be many other clubs chasing the spaces but it would be nice to see some new blood…

The Alamo game looked particularly nice and I grabbed a couple of pics of other games. These were a bit last minute so I missed getting shots of the upstairs games. The Dragon Rampant siege looked rather nice though!

IMAG5019 IMAG5020 IMAG5021 IMAG5022 IMAG5023 IMAG5024 IMAG5025 IMAG5026

The tabletop sale area seemed rather busy on number of occasions and I only managed two run throughs and came away with wallet intact! I know a couple of people picked up some bargains though. There did seem to be a couple of tables/groups there who appeared to have booked quite a long session. Not sure if there is a limit on time but a couple of the sections just felt like a normal Bring and Buy with the same stuff there an hour or more later…

What did I buy? First up was REFIGHTING HISTORY –VOLUME 1 SEVEN YEARS WAR – FIGHTING WITHDRAWALS by Charles S Grant. The first in a new series. I have all his Wargaming in History books and rather like them. Like them, this is not cheap (£32.50) but the production quality is spot on. It is A4 hardback and full of lots of eye candy from both Mr Grant’s collection and that of John Ray. I’m looking forward to delving into this over the next few days so shall report back.


I also had some battalion guns and crew to collect from Graham from Crann Tara Miniatures. These are the few extra I need for Ayton. Best start painting! And finally, as I have partaken of the latest Forged in Battle Kickstarter, I bought a pack of Celtic infantry so see how they paint up. If I get round to painting them! And final purchase was next month’s Wargames Illustrated which has Marlborough as the theme. Looks a good issue and the content of this mag has been improving much of late. May consider a sub again soon.

And that was it! Very modest purchases (apart from the book!). It was good to meet up with various AMG members (I really must get round to re-registering!) and a few LAW members. Always good to catch up. And good to see some members of the Tyneside and Whitley Bay clubs making the journey as well. All in all a good day. Thanks again to the organisers. And the day rounded off nicely with a few beers with Iain in the York Tap as we awaited our respective trains.

Workbench update

Things have been a little slow so far this year. Despite my great plans I’ve failed miserably to stay Wargaming Neutral and the only time at the work bench has been to do a little basing and a little more to the modern British…IMAG5027 IMAG5028 IMAG5029

Still, better than nothing at all. Hopefully the rest of this month will see things moving again…



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Vapnartak 2015

I have returned from a most excellent day in York! Set off early this morning. 07:55 train. Managed to get cheap First Class tickets both ways which meant free snacks. But not many vegan options so just lots of free coffee! Arrived at 9am and there was a No. 4 at the bus stop so ended up at the Racecourse by 9.30! Luckily the organisers weren’t making early birds stand out in the cold so was in the show nice early. For once, apart from being a bit nippy, the Show wasn’t subjected to snow and rain!

The organisation and layout of the show are pretty standard each year and a nice handout points you in the right direction. I usually try and take lots of photos at this one as the light is generally quite good but for some reason I hadn’t fully charged my phone overnight so I restricted photos to the games that really caught my eye. Not to say the others weren’t good, but just not my thing!

First up was Mark Dudley and the Ilkley Lads 40mm semi-flat Blasthof Bridge participation game using Charge rules. Lovely figures, simple terrain and good Old School fun!

2015-02-01 09.50.11 2015-02-01 09.50.06 2015-02-01 09.49.56 2015-02-01 09.49.41 2015-02-01 09.49.14 2015-02-01 09.49.27But most important were the kids playing and enjoying the game throughout the day. Excellent stuff!

2015-02-01 10.39.12 2015-02-01 10.38.26-2Hidden away at the far end of the first floor was an excellent looking Third Afghan War, 1919 Bolt Action game. And I really wish I’d taken away the leaflet I was handed! Put on by East Leeds Militaria, it was an excellent looking game:

2015-02-01 10.12.11 2015-02-01 10.11.47 2015-02-01 10.11.26 2015-02-01 10.11.07 2015-02-01 10.10.25 2015-02-01 10.10.11Ground floor centre was a very well presented Rorkes Drift game by Rotherham Wargames Club:

2015-02-01 11.20.09 2015-02-01 11.19.53 2015-02-01 11.19.42 2015-02-01 11.19.32 2015-02-01 11.19.14And John Paul Jones raid on Leith 1779 by York Wargames(?) had the usual excellent terrain and lovely model ships:

2015-02-01 11.21.37 2015-02-01 11.21.26 2015-02-01 11.21.15 2015-02-01 11.21.08And finally, the Bunker presented some zombie goodness with Shaun of the Dead:

2015-02-01 11.20.49 2015-02-01 11.20.38 2015-02-01 11.20.29There were obviously many other excellent games on but a large part of my day was spent socialising. Apart from the usual bumping into people during the day (very nice to see Levied Troop!) there was a gathering (in the bar obviously!) of The LAW crew (The Loose Association of Wargamers) and then an excellent gathering from John Ray’s A Military Gentleman forum where it was great to put faces to names and nice to finally meet and chat with Charles S Grant (and son). The AMG forum is a great gathering place (for purchasers of John Ray’s book) and is always inspiring and entertaining. I’m really looking forward to the game a group of forum members are putting on at Partizan in May so I best get on with the painting!

So what did I buy? I didn’t really have a list for the show as I have plenty to be going on with. I was just pleased I didn’t buy into a new scale or a new period! So…

1 x pack Old Glory 15mm Pikemen

1 x Blood, Bilge and Irons Balls naval book/rules

2 x horses from Graham at Crann Tara for the wagon I got at Christmas

some paints, primers and washes

And from the table top sale, a copy of Risk (£4) and a load of Pirates Constructible Strategy game collectable ships and game (£10). I’ve been thinking of getting my lad to play risk but I still have my old 70s copy which although good and nostalgic for me may be a little boring for him so I’m hoping the nice figures will inspire him! The game and ships I’d looked for before with a view to using them for Blood and Bilge so this lot was a nice little bargain!

2015-02-01 21.27.02I got the feeling the turnout for the show was pretty good. Close to pay day and not snowing must have helped! A couple of traders I spoke to were happy with the takings so hopefully that applied to all. A good day on all fronts and congrats to York Wargames for all the work again. And the day nicely rounded off by an hour in the York Tap drinking Bad Seed Brewery Expresso Stout. Very nice. And vegan!


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Vapnartak – York 2nd Feb 2014

And so the first show of the North was on us again and the trip down to York duly booked. Having had hassles with buses to get to the early train last year I thought I’d take no chances on this one so booked a taxi for 7.30. Alarm was set got 6.50. Slept right through it! Luckily my daughter came in at 7.15 and woke us up.. 15 minutes. Up. Showered. Dressed. Out of door!

Uneventful trip down other than trying not to fall asleep on the train, and managed to get a better bus this year (No.11) that drops you at the Racecourse entrance rather than waaay down the road (the No. 4!).

Arriving at near 10am there didn’t seem to be a queue but that seemed to belie the number of people in there as the morning part of the show seemed VERY busy. Which is a good thing! I’d arranged to meet various people from assorted fora at the event  (Peeler, Alex T, Darklord, Marshallney, Tim W, Norman D Landings) but was pleased to bump into Levied Troop, now a Gentleman of Leisure having recently taken early retirement.

There was the usual good selection of well presented games. The Leicester Phat Cats Arab Israeli game has been at a couple of shows now but is still an impressive setup:

2014-02-02 14.39.41WWW1 inevitably had a couple of very big games with some great figures on display such as this from North Hull Wargames(?):

2014-02-02 14.42.582014-02-02 14.42.46 2014-02-02 14.43.23 2014-02-02 14.43.41 Although I only seem to have pics of one game!

An ECW game had some rather impressive scenery:

2014-02-02 14.40.47 And the 20mm Martians game was excellent. Some great use of scenic items and the Martians themselves were suitably ominous!

2014-02-02 14.41.49 2014-02-02 14.42.04 2014-02-02 14.42.46And the final one that grabbed me was the Wake Island game:

2014-02-02 14.44.17 2014-02-02 14.44.40 2014-02-02 14.45.04 2014-02-02 14.45.21There were plenty of other games on show (the jousting game looked good) but as I’d ended up spending a lot of time chatting I didn’t really have time to do the full works.

The table top sale seemed to do well and was busy the few times I went through. By 2 it had pretty well finished. My only purchase there is detailed below. There seemed to be more ‘groups’ running bigger tables? Which seems a good way of doing it as you can run for a couple of hours and have a few people rotating the serving. Still seems to work well and I think a Bring and Buy in the same space would be more chaotic.

So overall, it was another good show. The impression seemed to be that it was VERY busy in the morning but that by two it was dying off and by three people were starting to clear up. Is this the trend with shows? Lots of targetted buying in a short timescale and then depart? We were chatting on the way back to the station and wondered if there was a  need for more participation games to encourage people to stay longer? But does allowing space for that mean less traders and making the show less viable? Don’t know. I may keep an eye on similar behaviour at the other shows I attend this year.

And now we come to The Haul:

I had tried to pre-order most of what I wanted and the aim was to get mostly paints and bases.

2014-02-04 15.49.58From Pendraken I got the assorted Vallejo paints I needed, some more of the Black Surface Primer which seems to be working well at the moment, some of the dice holder squares to make casualty bases and a pile of Fire and Fury size bases so I can start re-basing my 15mm ACW Union to match my basing style. I also grabbed a pack of WW2 aircraft decals to go with….

1/300 WW2 British and Italian aircraft from Museum Miniatures. There are party to provide air support for my North African microarmour but also to let me dabble with Check Your Six and Bag the Hun. I’ve never painted aircraft before so it will be interesting to see how they come out!

Martin at Warbases had yet again sorted some bespoke MDF bases to my own spec. Some sabots to take the crews and guns for my 28mm artillery

And some bases for the artillery guards which Martin had cut to my requirements.

I’ve had quite a few fiddly base options done over the years and each time Martin has done me proud.

I had some figures and Basetex to pick up for Essex Boy from Irregular. They only had one pot of Basetex so I used the ‘refund’ to get a limber for the 20mm I’ll be painting for the Fram game in October. I then found someone else stocking Basetex so EB got to fulfill his order!

Is Basetex used as much now? It used to be the ‘in thing’ for basing but seems harder to find now as basing styles have moved on?

And finally, the table top sale bagged me a copy of Avalon Hill’s Wooden Ships and Iron Men. Missing half a dozen ship counters but otherwise in excellent condition. £3. Bargain!

2014-02-04 15.50.36So that was the lot? I managed to not start any new periods or scales but it was close on several occasions! Had a nice chat with Pete Berry and almost grabbed some of the new WW1 Brits. I think they are on the books at some point this year as they are rather nice. Alex and Peeler etc. of the Yorkshire Coast Wargamers are currently working on a FPW variant of their DBN rules. And I think 6mm would be the ideal for this! Maybe next year…

Next show for me should be A Call to Muster on March 22nd but as I’m currently planning my first trip to Salute a few weeks after I may have to preserve my spending power!

Now, on with the painting!

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Vapnartak – York 2013

And so another wargaming year begins in the North with the excellent Vapnartak Show from York Wargames Society at the great Racecourse venue. This year I traveled down by train so I could get there early and spend the whole day and then call in at the York Tap while waiting for my train! I managed to arrive at 9.50 and was hopeful of getting the free figures only to find the doors were already open and all the figures had gone! Obviously not a 10am start then… 🙂

This year was more of a social visit as I had very little on my list to buy. On that front it was a great success. I met the usual WD3 crowd and even partook of Mr Peeler’s DBN Borodino game (of which more anon). As usual it was good to catch up and chat. I had hoped to meet a few people from the BKC/CWC forums but as no one knew what anyone else looked like I fear we passed/ignore each other at the designated meeting time. Next time!

The show seemed to follow what may be a recent pattern. Busy ’til about 1pm then a tail off and pretty well quiet by 2pm. Couple of traders commented on this too. It wasn’t empty at 2 but the peak was definitely passed.

I had several wonders down the table top sale area and for most of the morning this was pretty jammed. It seems to be working as a bring and buy alternative. A few seemed to have the usual over the top prices but most seemed happy to shift stuff and haggle. I do fear some of the real bargains will be appearing on eBay soon though…

Table Top Sale
Table Top Sale

The above was at about 13:30 and although there were a few empty tables there were still plenty of people passing through.

There was the usual good selection of demo games. Some I’d seen at other shows in the latter half of last year and others seemed familiar from York last year but the standard was good and in places excellent. I concentrated the photos on the ‘new’ stuff to me and the few that really grabbed me.

Mr Peeler’s DBN Borodino was excellent fun. Using 15mm figures and the DBN rules this allowed Borodino to be refought on a small table and in a few hours. Things were going well for the French until I took command of the dice and proceeded to roll a good string of 1s which pretty well crippled the attack! Excellent fun and a good bunch of chaps for the East Coast Wargamers.

DBN Borodino
DBN Borodino

The highlight game for me was The Bunker Wargames Holiday Centre ‘The last stand of the Rani’ which had some excellent figures and terrain.

The last stand of the Rani
The last stand of the Rani

The other game that really grabbed me was the Ilkley Wargames (I think/hope) 40mm Prince August Old School/New School game using Sam Mustafa’s Maurice rules. A very striking game.

Old School / New School
Old School / New School

It was good to see the usual section for younger gamers to keep themselves occupied (though there were quite a few kids involved in other games) and there was an excellent little Dr Who game:

Dr Who
Dr Who

There are more pictures of these and other games in the York 2013 Gallery .

Purchase wise I was quite restrained. I needed a pack of GHQ T34-85s to allow me to do another battalion for my Syrians. For once I was able to resist a large Baccus purchase and just grabbed a single pack of 1806 French to enable me to re-base (yes, EB, re-base!) the three units of 1806 French I have and add the extras to fit my 6mm ImagiNation basing style. And Andy at Old Glory kindly brought along his stock of Jackdaw figures for me to look at. I wanted some ‘specials’ to add to the huge pile of 25/30mm C18th stuff I have for my ImagiNations. Seeing as he’d bought them it would have been impolite to not buy anything so I grabbed the French High Command, the On the Road command and camp followers pack and the ‘Ball’ pack so I can have some posh people in the rear watching the action!

And finally it was good to yet again meet Ian of the Blog With No Name and collect my ASL Scenario Pack (LFT7) I won in his recent draw. Nice to see Ian and sorry we didn’t catch up later and have a proper natter.

So, overall another good show from the York crew. Thanks!

NB. As usual, all mis-labelling of photos and errors in the text etc. are mine alone. Feel free to correct and I’ll update accordingly!


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Vapnartak 2012 – York Wargames Show

Vapnartak, the first big show of the year in the north was upon us again today. Attendance was a little touch and go at the end as my daughter was ill on the Friday and we had to take the cat to the vets on Saturday morning. So it was near 3pm before we had dropped the kids (and cat) at their grandparents and as we approached York around 5pm we also ran into the snow that was beginning to blanket the country. For once I was attending York with my wife. We planned a Saturday night out in York and then we would both be going shopping: me at the show, her in York! We managed a food and drink in York (Wagamama and then the York Tap) by braving the blizzards and woke up Sunday morning to see the following view from the hotel window:

Although Tadcaster Road seemed pretty clear it was uncertain how the rest of the area was and how this would affect attendance at the show and if all traders would make it. So I was dropped at the show at 10.30, the road up being pretty well covered in snow and a little treacherous but not that bad. As I went in the show seemed a little quiet but this turned out to be more of a slow start due to the weather rather than a bad omen of poor attendance. I’m sure someone from the York club can provide figures, but overall it did seem down on last year but I felt it gave a bit more room to move and see things properly. I spoke to a couple of traders who seemed happy enough with the day but given the conditions and the potential for disaster I think it went pretty well.

Bring and Buy/Table Top Sale

Well, last year I was a little disparaging of the new approach. I had hoped this year to join a friend Keith who was taking a table and try things from the seller side, but kids and cat meant I didn’t get chance to sort anything. However, I made it up there at about 11am and got straight in. All tables seemed in use, it was busy and maybe a little cramped but looked more ‘successful’, to me at least than last year. And Keith seemed happy so have shifted a lot of stuff. I didn’t see anything that grabbed me. I didn’t get chance to get back until about 2pm and by then people were cleared up and there was only two rather sorry looking tables left. So, I think the new style is to stay and to be honest I think it worked better this year than last, maybe the objections last year more to do with the change rather than how it worked! Maybe 2013 I’ll take a table and see…

Demo Games

There ‘seemed’ fewer games this year but I can’t produce figures to prove it. But those I looked at were excellent. I will again apologise in advance for lack of info. I had planned to pick up a show guide and had worked my way round the show in order taking photos. When I went to collect one late on there didn’t seem to be one. I was generously given the printout they were using at reception but it only listed who and not what, and some games seemed to be in different places! As ever, if people shout I’ll update who did what!

First up was the Ilkley Old School game, I assume Mark Dudley being the main man on this one. Some excellent 40mm Prinz August figures, played using Charge! and with a plain but lovely green table! And he also had a few 25/30mm Minden, Tradition and Spencer Smiths on show at the side. Nice looking table and proper Old School.

There were a couple of ancient games in evidence promoting various new rule sets:

There was an excellent WW2 game. Big table, excellent scenery and I think from the printout, Hull Wargames:

The Lance And Longbow (Ravenna?), Pike and Shot and Mark Wheatley had some rather nice looking games:

The table shot of the naval game was from about 11am. It looked the same at 3pm…

SF and Fantasy and its variations were eveident on each floor. An interesting Stingray based game, Star Trek, Victoriana/vampire? and a dungeon game (YWS Warmachine).

Apart from the static naval game there was a nice little ACW demo/participation game from Peter Pig and an interesting Jutlan game from YWS.

Dark Ages are the taste of the month a well. An excellent SAGA demo from Gripping Beast (and good to see kids playing), a Clash of Empires game, and a nifty little Viking Raid game again from YWS.

There were a number of games/activities targeted at younger gamers and this is to be applauded and is something that all shows should aim for.

And so we come to the final pics. Games by the League of Extraordinary Kreigspeilers, and an IRISH CIVIL WAR game from Border Reiver Wargames

What I bought

I managed to keep things pretty reasonable this year:

  • 4 packs of GHQ for my Syrians and Western Desert British
  • my ‘secret weapon’ for the Ayton game
  • Army Painter Leather Brown Spray
  • Baccus French Hussars (seeing as Raise the Colour painting service disappeared taking mine with them!)

And that was it…

I managed to meet up with Peeler, custarpie, Stephen Davison, Ian, Lawrence, Keith and had some nice chats, as well as with a few of the traders. I do like the show and it was good that the turnout was still OK despite the weather. I was going to have a chat with Andrew Hubback of Miniature Wargames about the recent columns by Steve Eardly but in the end couldn’t be bothered (I’d emailed him and not been happy with the response anyway) so I think my subscription will be moving to Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. It was also good to see a leaflet for the Crisis Point Cold War Commander game in Sheffield in April. I would really like to go to this but with Ayton due two weeks after there is no way I could get the requisite pass!


A good show for me. May not the best due to the weather. But fun, sociable and worth the trip.




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