Hammerhead 2023

I know I usually wait until after the pictures to get into my discussion of a show, but I feel this point is so important that it needs to be addressed up front: show beers. When I go to a show, I like to have a beer at some point. If it’s a multi-day show, I might even have several beers.

Now, not all shows have suitable catering on site, and I appreciate that. However, when a show has had such catering in the past, it is a nigh-unforgiveable offence to remove the opportunity in later years. Hammerhead has committed this sin.

Last year, the show was across two buildings, with the second building containing a bar. The beer was, frankly, a bit mediocre, but at least it was there. I could stay at the show and enjoy a beer. This year, however, the show shrunk a little, so it didn’t need the second building and, as you have no doubt deduced, the opportunity for beer evaporated, much like the beer I didn’t have might have evaporated if I left it out too long.

On the plus side, it turned out there was actually a very nice pub not too far away (with much better beer), so I suppose, on balance, it all worked out in the end.

But let this remain a warning for shows that do have bars: don’t take them away. Please.

(I should note that Fen Model Show not only has a bar, it has another bar immediately outside and another one a hundred metres away. That’s called ambience.)

On with the pictures.

So, other than the debacle with my show beers, Hammerhead was actually pretty decent. The turnout was, I think, larger than last year, and there was certainly a good level of painting present – much higher than many of the other small shows we attend. However, there were some issues:

  1. The models were, once again, displayed in small, round cases with shallow shelves, which meant that models on lower shelves were essentially invisible if they weren’t at the front, and that larger models ended up perched on top of the cases or on the table.
  2. The awards presentation did announce silver and bronze this year (last year you got told if you got one of those when you collected your models), but there was no actual award for it – not even a simple certificate or card. I don’t particularly keep track of most of my awards, but it’s a nice thing to get, especially if – as I suspect is the case for many painters at Hammerhead – it’s your first competition or your local show.
  3. The awards need to be announced by someone whose voice doesn’t fade into the space in the hall. We spent most of the presentation struggling to hear anything. Maybe I’m just old and my hearing is failing because I listen to too much dark synthwave and girly pop when I’m working.

It would be good if the competition could sort out these issues, because it’s otherwise quite a decent small show. The lighting in the hall is surprisingly good, so they don’t need extra lamps for the models, the judging seems to be generally pretty sound, there are a lot of shopping options, etc. If the competition continues to get bigger, they’ll definitely need to sort out the cabinets – they’re not really suited for anything except wargaming models on wargaming bases (they also make it really hard to get a decent photo). And given that the competition is run by Wargames Illustrated – a company that prints a magazine – I’m surprised they couldn’t organise printing some cards for silver and bronze.

As to results, Martin cleaned up a wee bit again, picking up gold in fantasy single with his Nurgle bloke and gold in open and best of show with his diver. I picked up silvers in historical single with my prehistoric shaman and silver in open with my old couple feeding chickens. Joey and Kev didn’t pick up anything, but I would hazard to guess they weren’t too far from making the podium themselves, but, as mentioned, the quality was really decent this year.

And to save you from having to tolerate a show photo of the best of show piece, here’s the ‘studio’ photo I took for Martin ages ago:

1 thought on “Hammerhead 2023”

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