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Tuesday 5 February 2019

Vapnartak show report

Since the 2013 show the Falkirk club has sent a bus down to Vapnartak.  It is our only club day out of the year and it is paid for by club funds.  About 20+ normally make the trip - some are perhaps put off by the early start (5am from Falkirk).  I have gone down every year but one and have always enjoyed my day out.

The trade presence is fantastic with York being as far north as some traders venture.  The flea market style bring and buy has always been pretty poor with the sellers crammed into a very tight space.  There is a bar and a café with a reasonably sized seating area – not wonderful but as good if not better than most wargames shows.

Until 2019 I have also normally been pretty impressed by the number and variety of games.  This year I was very disappointed.  Few of big set piece games attracted my attention and in fact didn’t seem to have changed much since last year.  Quite a few people have commented on the lack of engagement with the public by those taking part.  The number of games in total and participation games in particular seemed well down.

My verdict on the show

Trade – very good but not what I go for - the purchases that I made could just as easily have been done online

Games – much poorer – I was disappointed by only being able to get in to 2 participation games and I was not engaged by the demonstration games

Venue – pretty good – a bit crowded in places but no real issues

Bring and Buy – the flea market format is good but the set up is appallingly bad and this year virtually nothing tempted me (£2.50 spent)

If it was not for the fact that it is a good day out with mates from the club I am not sure that I would go in 2020.  By the way I have been involved in running a number of wargames shows myself, absolutely recognise the hard work done by the York club in putting Vapnartak on and thank them for that.  I am sure that the main attraction for the majority of the attendees is the trade element.  However for myself and other less interested in that aspect the attraction was somewhat less in 2019 compared to previous years.


  1. Hi Dave

    I agree with you entirely.

    The Falkirk Bus to Vapnartak is a legend in its own right however I do prefer my comfy fast car (legal of course) and a 6am start from Edinburgh.

    None of the display games caught my eye at all but I wasn't really looking for inspiration. I have no shortage of projects on the go.

    I made my essential purchases, an army pack from Pendraken and a dozen pots of paint (can't remember who from) and few little bits from Warbases.

    The canteen was heaving but the burgers were a little bit undercooked.

    The flea market was very crowded and I didn't see much money passing hands. I sold nothing and attracted few enquiries on similar items that I have easily sold elsewhere.

    It is a good day out with mates although I had to bring my own and I met a few others whom I rarely see at other shows.


  2. Thanks for the review, Dave. I was really looking forward to going to this show but work intervened. I was a bit disappointed not to be able to go but it sounds like I may not have missed much. In saying that I do like the buzz at a wargames show, even the small ones. And this would be the only one I wouldn't be working at this year. Oh well, hopefully it will be better next year as I do plan to take annual leave for that one. Thanks again

  3. Agfree on the games. There were a couple of the large games that seem to have not changed in years but keep reappearing! My experience on the flea market was very different. I had a table first thing in the morning and sold everything I had on offer making close on £300 so well worth my efforts. It made the spending side of the day that bit much more enjoyable! In fact I sold two boxes of soldiers whilst waiting in line. I do think they could have let the crowds in a few minutes early. It was brassic outside.

  4. Actually I thought traders were a little thin this year - neither Gripping Beast nor Plastic Soldier Company. I didn't see North Star either. Traders I spoke to were down on previous years - certainly I spent much less than normal and this is one of only two shows I go to.

  5. I only spent about 2 hours wandering round looking and buying things before heading out for lunch and I've got to say I thought it seemed a lot busier than normal, either that or there was less commuter space. The big display game down the bottom, does seem to be a slight variation on the same thing that's sat there every year we've been down. The participation games on the ground floor are usually run by a bunch of nice chaps who i've always found talkative. But I kinda just walked past the ones on the upper levels.

  6. I have to agree with virtually everything you've said Dave. I think the flea market would be better off directly above where it is now on the top floor with more space and the few games that were up there move down a level. Leave the games near the windows at the front where they are. Some of the demo games need pensioning off I think as we've seen them repetetively now for several years. If they'd been a bit smaller it might have helped to alleviate the crush on the ground floor as well.