Its taken longer than expected to get round to writing up the visit to Bovington last weekend. This was my first visit to both the Battlegroup South Show and the Tank Museum itself (why its taken me so long I have no idea), so I was a bit torn between looking at the games, the traders and the huge number of 1:1 scale armoured vehicles all around us.
First off, it was great to see so many 20mm games on display – at most other major shows the one true scale appears to be niche at best and sadly underrepresented. However, at Bovington this was not the case. There was an incredible D-Day Sword Beach game in the main lobby – it was huge and marvelously detailed – complete with the flak tower at Ouistreham (somehow I managed to miss talking a photo of it). Suffice to say it won best game award for the show.
The other really impressive game for me was the Battlegroup demo being run by Warwick Kinrade and Piers Brand, set during Barbarossa at the Berezina Bridgehead, with the Russians trying to dislodge a German bridgehead.
There was another 20mm Battlegroup game on the table opposite, a huge Normandy game with a lot of British armour, and also a Rapid Fire Normandy game run by the Society of Gentlemen Gamers (SOGGY) with some beautiful terrain and figures.
In terms of numbers, the show seemed quite quiet to me, but it was hard to gauge as you had gamers mixed in with the public who were there to look at the tanks. But a lot of the traders looked like they were having a slow couple of days. I wonder if Battlegroup South would survive as a show if it was not in such an iconic venue.
As for the real tanks, I saw the Bovvy Tiger (which apparently has just been used for the new film ‘Fury’), and I think I understand the term ‘tank terror’ a lot better. It was a monstrous vehicle – standing in front of that huge lump of metal was intimidating enough – I can’t imagine it running at you and breathing fire.
It was also great to see a Panther in the metal, along with a T-34 and some very interesting Cold War vehicles, particularly the Chieftain and T-72 (no T-64 though).
And finally, of course, the buying. I’ve finally been talked into some WWII Eastern Front, so went a bit crazy with the Russian stuff from Will at Plastic Soldier Company. Six T-34s, 3 T70s, a box of infantry, some AT guns, and some heavy weapons. I also got a few Russki bits from Andy Grubb and some Milicast Russian AFV crew. T-34s are already underway.