Sunday 3 March 2019

Hammerhead Show 2 March 2019

John the Red and I attended the Hammerhead show on Saturday. It was a first for both of us and is an easy run down the A19/A1 in less than two hours. Overall it was an excellent day and an excellent event.

The good stuff:

  • Location, location, location. Easy to get to from most of the country. At less than two hours by road from Teesside, and probably not much more from the West Midlands, the North West and London, the show has a very wide reach as far as potential punters are concerned. Newark railway station is only 5-10 minutes away by taxi.
  • There was plenty of reserved and clearly marked disabled parking right outside the entrances to both halls that was policed to ensure no naughty traders or other more agile or complete punters pinched the spaces.
  • Thanks to me and my trusty trundlulator (walker) we were able to fast track into the main hall and effectively jumped the queue which was still quite long when we arrived at 9.45 or thereabouts.
  • The pre-purchase of the entry tickets works well. Free figure actually useful this time.
  • I met up with my mates of the Like a Stonewall Group (LaSW) who as always made me welcome and feel like a long-lost brother. I was quickly signed up to play in their Sharpe Practice ACW game. The game was enjoyable and having never played SP before I could see their appeal.
  • Barry (of LaSW) brought me five battalions of mid-18thC French that he'd painted for me. In return I left a few 28mm Ottomans in his care.
  • I also met up with my good friend David Bickley who kindly made me a gift of eight FRW British Yeomanry. Much appreciated they are too and I already have a notion as to what I shall paint them up as.
  • The event was also a fine opportunity to catch up with other friends and acquaintances, some of whom I've known for almost 40 years and/or hadn't seen for quite a while!
  • There were a lot of traders, and I mean a lot. 
  • Foundry had a 50% off sale on a whole mass of excess stock and I was like a kid in a sweetshop (or a fox in a chicken coop) as I managed to pick up a load of figures I had no idea I had needed until I saw them on the racks. (these were mainly Italian Wars but some early Napoleonic Saxons and SYW French cuirassiers). I didn't buy anything else all day, apart from lunch.
  • The catering and food was excellent, with some (relatively) healthy options (lettuce-based items) as well as the obligatory pie, chips, peas and gravy. Normally at shows the healthy option is to BYO or starve!
  • The concept that all the games were participation ones is excellent. The quality of the multitude of games was good with several excellent-looking ones and a really eclectic range of periods on show. The games were being played pretty much all the time, with both the young and old taking part. Both halls looked busy.
  • Unlike many shows, even Partizan, the place was buzzing still at 3.45 when we left and games were still being played.
  • Rucksacks in your face and poor personal hygiene were conspicuous by their absence.
  • Well-signposted disabled loos.
The not as good stuff:

  • For me the walk across the car park between the two event halls was at the extreme end my ability. We could have moved the car but that would have put unnecessary pressure on John. Had it been raining of course.....
  • Foundry had a 50% off sale on selected items (see above). I went a little mad and picked up 30 blister packs at £5 each. Totally unplanned and not budgeted for but when the opportunity is there one has to go for it.

In my honest opinion, one shared by many people I spoke to, is that Hammerhead and both the Partizan's knock Salute into the proverbial cocked hat and the latter's claim to be the best and biggest wargames event in the UK is completely overstated and frankly b******s! Here are a few photos of just a few of the games.


Space 1999 and Moonbase Alpha

The Battle of Assaye 1803

Assaye again. Love the red fort.
Assaye yet again. If I was younger with fewer projects on the go I might venture into this period....
Marsaglia, 1692 using For King and Parliament rules adapted for the Nine Years War. This game looked great and  I am tempted to try out the rules for my 1672-78 Franco-Dutch War.
South Sea Island adventures.
The Battle of Dorking
This was me in the LaSW game striking a heroic pose before battle commenced.
Rebs looting a farmstead before the Union forces can interfere.
My first volley missed my intended target but did manage to frighten some livestock and kill a sheep! 
The other hall at lunchtime. Pretty busy.
The other half of the other hall.
West Indian slave revolt game.
Paper Armies Napoleonic game.

Boxer Rebellion game by the Falkirk Club.

Save the Tsar! I believe he was saved at least once.
I took this photo just before we left at around 3.30. The main hall is still busy and  buzzing with gaming activity.

Overall, and outstanding show. I had an excellent day out (as did John). It is a very long time indeed since I spent from 9.45 till 3.45 at a show that I was only attending as a punter.  I was absolutely knackered but I left with lots of ideas for my own games. Massive thanks to John for doing the driving. We had plenty of time in the car to discuss wargaming and a little bit of politics and Brexit-balls nonsense.


  1. Always a pleasure to meet up and chat. Mind you, you make my purchase of two packs of Italian Wars alight Cavalry look a bit mean. I'm pleased you enjoyed such a good day. See you at Partizan I hope.

  2. I might try and get to this show next year - or maybe one of the Partizans. Some great games there - but it always surprises me that after planning and putting together a really impressive game, people don't plan for a side table to put all their sh*t on.

    1. Keith I couldn’t agree more about the wargames detritus and bottles of water/pop that find their way onto the table. It is not their place and players must avoid it as it spoils the effect, and the photos.

  3. Sounds like a great show and some wonderful looking games there. The moonbase alpha gave me a nostalgic twinge as I loved the series, especially the great models. Maybone one year I might try and attend, but is a tad far from Bristol, as it's 3 hours to Nottingham from here, based upon experience:(

  4. Sadly I missed you old chap...
    It was indeed an excellent show...and I agree with you loads better than Salute...

    All the best Aly

  5. Excellent show report. If a Foundry 50% discount materialized for me, I would load up a truck!