Spent the last week down south and in the Midlands on a friends and family tour. It was a lot of travelling and the kids were ‘trying’ so they’ve been in nursery today and myself and Ingrid took the day off to recover! I managed to spend a bit of time in the attic listing all the stuff I’m selling at the moment and also tidying up a little so I can actually see some of the surface of my desk!
Anyway, to the matter at hand. We started the trip last Thursday travelling down to Gosport to visit friends who were over from Dubai. As last year, I managed to wangle a little time to pop to Southsea Models and Games over the river. I’d popped there last year but the owner had been away and his son had little clue as to what stock might be hidden away so I ended up coming away with just a single Osprey book. This time I had a longer chat with the owner discussing the popularity of Flames of War and the new 28mm plastic ranges. The consensus being that a lot of the new blood in the historical area had been raised on the Games Workshop plastic figures and are used to the type of figure and the whole assembly thing. I’d hoped to find some old micro-armor stock or something but he has had to trim down radically what he stocks and concentrate on the stuff that sells. Good business sense but it takes away a little of the fun of rooting round a crowded shop.
In the end I just came away with three Osprey Elite books. All old editions but fine for the 1980s based stuff I’m doing:
- Elite 10: Warsaw Pact Ground Forces
- Elite 12: Inside the Soviet Army
- Elite 20: Inside the US Army
Either way, it was good to see that the shop was still there.
Our return journey involved a stop in Shrewsbury and although I’d have liked to pop to Timecast we didn’t really have time. Best I could do was to negotiate a stop off in Donnington, Telford and a visit to Sanda Games which I’d last visited about seven years ago! Again, it was good to see them still there and although the range of stock didn’t cover much of interest to me I picked up some fine hollow brass rod for mounting aircraft, some Silfor tufts and a few trees for my 6mm stuff.
The conversation with the owner was similar to that at Southsea. They could only stock what would sell and was popular locally (again, FoW and plastics). Although they stocked some Xyston and Corvus Belli there was no way they could stock an entire range and relied on getting local orders where they then contacted the supplier and got stock in a few days. I assume there are local buyers who are happy to give them the business and can’t be bothered doing the whole internet ordering thing themselves. Given the recent hassles at Scotia I can see how some people may still be cautious.
It is good to see a couple of shops thriving and when visiting areas I always like to seek out the local game shop and if possible give them a little business. When I started out gaming in the 70’s there were two shops in Shrewsbury and couple in Birmingham. When I moved up to Newcastle in the 80’s there was a couple as well, albeit small. The internet has made a big impact on the traditional wargames shop and more now have to follow the GW model or at least stock their ranges to attract custom. I’d rather see a shop with GW stock and a small range of historical figures to try and spread the word rather then there only be a Games Workshop option.
I still do most of my games shopping online but I still have a soft spot for the days when you waited for new stock at your local shop or travelled to the shows to get your lead fix. The problem with the easy online access to the vast ranges available is that I have a large lead pile, many incomplete/unstarted projects and a greatly diminished bank account!
So, would I go back to the good old days? Hell, no! 🙂