This weekend I attended Salute, a miniature wargaming convention in London. I go there primarily to enter its annual painting competition and scout out new and interesting miniatures and painting stuff, along with blow a pre-determined budget on new toys. The experience included fun, frustration (at not winning anything in the competition) and the aforementioned impulse buying, but it also made me think.
I wish there were more painting contests, and more varied. In particular, I imagine what could be done with a format where painters had, say, an hour, to paint the same miniature, rather than the ten or twenty minutes for regular speed painting, along with rigorous judging standards, to make for a more ‘mind sports’ feel so competition painting included more than the normal ‘bring the thing you’ve been working on for twelve months’ format.
It also made me wonder how many people paint primarily, rather than game with miniatures. Most of the exhibitors were showing or selling wargames, but there is always a number that are selling models and products for display instead of or as well as gaming, and these are always the most fascinating to me. Both Moonstone Miniatures and, confusingly, Monkstone Miniatures had some beautiful models mainly for display, and theirs were the kind of miniature lines that excite my imagination the most.
I hope miniature painting continues to expand beyond its wargaming origins, while still including more than enough for anyone who wants to field armies of tiny people. And in the meantime, the journey to Salute 2024 starts now.