A Call to Muster 2013 - the show leaflet, the show programme, the show report & accounts and feedback on the show

A Call to Muster 2013 - Saturday 23rd March 2013 at Southlands Leisure Centre


a) The show leaflet:




b) The show programme


1) Programme Front and Back Cover:




2) Inside the Front and Back Cover:




3) The Layout Map:



4) The Traders etc. List:




D1 1/144 scale First World War - South East Northumberland Wargames Group

D2 15mm Second World War - Redcar Ironbeards

D3 15mm Franco Prussian - Tyneside Wargames Club

D4 28mm A Very British Civil War - Brompton Bankers

D5 30mm Seven Years War - Independent Wargames Group

D6 28mm Ancients - Private Soldiers

D7 15mm Second World War 1944 - Middlesbrough Games Club

D8 10mm Second World War - Section 8




P1 1/144 scale First World War - South East Northumberland Wargames Group

P2 1/144 scale Second World War - Wargames Recon Magazine

P3 28mm Warhammer 40000 - Redcar Ironbeards

P4 28mm Kings of War - Mantic Games

P5 25/28mm Fantasy - Rathbone Games/Midlam Miniatures

P6 28mm Wild West Cinema – Derwentside Wargames Society

P7 28mm Old West Shoot Em Up! - Guisborough Gamers

P8 28mm Dreadball (Sci-fi Blood Bowl) - Crucible of Lead




M1 Military Models - Darlington Military Modeling Society

M2 Unable to Attend - Cleveland Scale Model Group

M3 Armour, Aircraft and Figures - IPMS Cleveland

M4 United Kingdom and Commonwealth Armed Forces - IPMS Cleveland – Special Interest Group

M5 Unable to Attend - IPMS Tyneside           




R1 Unable to Attend - North East Militaria Society

R2 Armed Forces Items from the Falklands War & BOAR – Forces 80

R3 Unable to Attend - Time Bandits

R4 WW1 - Durham Pals

R5 Uniforms and Equipment from 1758, 1814 & 1939 - Old 68th DLI Society




1 SK Miniatures – A wide range of Large Scale Figures

2 Northumbria Games Ltd – The Boardgames Specialist

3 Wargames Recon Magazine -The North East’s Wargames Magazine

4 Old Glory Corporation - Wargame Figures from the New World

5 Little Star Miniatures – Wargaming and Hobby Supplier

6 Rathbone Games/Midlam Miniatures – A range of Fantasy Products

7 Hoka Hey Wargaming - Wargaming terrain sets manufacturer

8 David Lancaster Books – Military History Specialist

9 Ainsty Castings – Resin Scenics and Accessories for gamers

10 Crucible of Lead - Figures from various periods/Sci-Fi

11 Pendraken - 10mm Wargames Specialist

12 Minibits - Supplier all those little bits and bobs you need to get your miniatures on to the table.

13 Halifax Modellers World - Large and Small Scale Kit Retailer

14 Gateshead Gaming – Warhammer & Lots of Other Figures

15 Guardhouse Games – Games Workshop & Plastic Model Kits

16 Games of War – 28mm Wargame Supplies

17 Colonel Bill's Wargames Depot – The Depot for an expanding range of wargame products

18 Offensive Miniatures - manufacturer of traditional 28mm Wargames figures

19 Under The Bed Enterprises - Figure & Vehicle Painter and Retailer

20 Warmill – Manufacturer of laser-cut terrain and bases

21 Worley Books - Quality Books at Affordable Prices

22 Warlord Games - Large range of metal & plastic 28mm figures

23 MTFG Hobbies – Models, Trains & Fantasy Games

24 Victorian Toy Soldiers – 54mm Toy Soldier style figures

25 Four A Miniatures – Fantasy miniatures manufacturer

26 Lesley's Bits Box/KR Multicases – The names say it all

27 Graham's Wuerkshoppe – Seller of previously enjoyed wargame items




B1 Bring and Buy Stall - Run by Mr Charlie Whitehouse

T1 Tombola Stall - With Modeling and Wargames Prizes




c) the show report & accounts

A Call To Muster 2013 – The Organiser’s View


When we printed the programme a few days before the show ACTM 2013 promised to be one of the biggest shows we had ever organised. However we suffered losses due to weather, illness and other factors before the doors had opened amounting to:

5 Traders

2 Wargames

2 Model Displays

2 Re-enactment Displays

and of course the weather, and the media reporting of the weather, probably affected the numbers through the door.


What Were The Good Points


In our view the good points were as follows:

1) The layout at a new venue worked reasonably well – problems were resolved amicably.

2) We were very grateful to traders and others for their generosity with tombola prizes and items for the goodie bags.

3) The displays put on by wargamers, modellers and re-enactors provided quality entertainment for people attending the event.

4) There was a good mix of traders providing something for everyone interested in the hobby.


What Were The Bad Points


In our view the bad points were as follows:


1) We did not reach as many potential customers as possible through miscalculating the lead time required to place an advert in Wargames Illustrated. In addition we were unaware of the advertising possibilities provided by Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine.

2) We did not reach as many potential customers as possible through insufficient online advertising.

3) Our attempt to advertise the show through local media was completely unsuccessful – We know from our experience with Stockton shows that getting local media interest was becoming increasingly difficult but it is now clear that local media is not interested in good news stories.

4) We underestimated the postage cost of the Information Packs giving a bad impression of the show organisation.

5) The lighting was poor making the taking of photographs difficult.

6) The use of the PA System was a complete failure.

7) The 4.00 PM finish time was unrealistic – the hall was almost empty by that time.


Did We Achieve Our Objectives In Staging The Show


The best way to determine this is to score each objective in sequence:


1) Support the role of Southlands Leisure Centre as a major hobby show venue in North East England, building upon the success of the Smoggycon series of shows – 6 traders, 3 wargamers, 3 model displays and 2 re-enactment displays attended an event at Southlands for the first time as far as we are aware and but for the weather etc it would have been more.

2) Show off the hobby that has given us so much pleasure for nearly 50 years – The event appeared to bring enjoyment to the people exhibiting the hobby and to the 250 people who came through the door. It was a pity that the weather and other factors resulted in the attendance figures being considerably less than we had hoped.

3) Provide a vehicle through which the hobby could grow in terms of merchandize – With our planned 27 traders and the Bring & Buy there was a wide variety of products for people to buy. In addition our programme advertised other hobby events at Southlands and elsewhere in North East England possibly boosting attendance (and spending) at those events.

4) Provide a value for money experience for customers coming through the door – We believe that our long established policies of low admission charges, a quality programme and variety of things to buy, see and do is the best way to give customers attending our shows a good memory of the hobby and encourage new entrants. Again it was a pity that the weather and other factors resulted in the attendance figures being considerably less than we had hoped.

5) Raise money for one of our favourite charities - the amount raised was almost £450 (details attached) and it has been donated to the Royal British Legion. The amount was less than we had hoped but the shortfall was basically down to the effect of the weather and other factors on numbers through the door.

6) Prove to ourselves that we were still capable of organising a show after a break of 4 years and at a new venue – It happened, it was not a good as we had hoped but there again it was not as bad as it might have been.


So the big question is – do we do another show next year? The jury is out on that, there is a lot to consider and soundings to be taken before we come to a decision.


A Call to Muster 2013    
Income and Expenditure Accounts  
  £ p £ p
Trade Stands   2,052.00
Admission Charges   243.50
Tombola Receipts   73.40
Bring and Buy Stand   36.00
Hire of Hall & Tables 864.00  
Insurance 164.00  
Printing - Leaflets, Letters, Programme etc.. 528.22  
Magazine Adverts 257.00  
Other Expenses 148.78 1,962.00
Amount donated to the Royal British Legion   442.90
David R. Clemmet & Thomas Davidson        19/04/2013  



d) feedback on the show

Feedback on A Call To Muster 2013

On the 19th April 2013 we sent the traders and exhibitors our show report and accounts and requested that if they had any comments (good or bad) on the show to please let us know. In addition at that point in time we have not decided if there would be a show in 2014 so requested their help in making the decision by answering the following questions:

a) If we were to stage a show what improvements do you think we should make?

b) If we were to stage a show do you wish to be invited to attend?

The responses received are as follows:

Dave of Guisborough Games

Thanks, it makes interesting reading. It's perhaps useful for people to realise these thing don't just happen but need organising. Also things do take time to develop.

Certainly weather is a factor, various shows have been hit with it over the years recently. But that it is what it is.

Key point is advertising, you need to use the magazines , but also really hit the on line forums, aTMP, Lead adventure Forum, gentlemans war game parlour, very British civil war forum , et al. Perhaps a permanent show website or blog that you continually push out there.

Lighting is what it is , anyone with decent digital photo editing skills can fix lighting colour hues issues.. And at the end that is about people publishing photos of the show.. All good publicity, they moan about almost every show for lighting in my experience.

I will certainly be happy to support you in another venture...

For a first return to organising I thought you two did really well producing a balanced show of broad interest.

Certainly top marks on price point.. May actually have been able to go a little higher overall

And I must say that reception was spot on.... Well I would (as it was his wife).

Paul of Midlam Miniatures/Rathbone Games

I personally would have preferred it if the tables were a little cheaper, at least in line with Smoggycon, as there certainly weren't more people attending. Or a cheaper rate for getting a second table.

I paid for one, and thanks to your offer of taking over some empty space got three, which I could fill by stretching out my stuff. I'm comfortable with two, but can usually only afford one.

I felt the visitor count was dented by bad weather and first show. I was worried about what I would take, but did okay by the end of the day.

I would definitely come again (barring unforeseen events) as it's local(ish) and I'd like to support you.

Bad points. The lighting is terrible in these sports halls. All yellow and murky and a bit depressing. Anything that could be done to improve that would be great, although how easy that would be...

I spoke to two guys and they'd walked in for free. They didn't seem to be villains, but if they can walk through easily, people will. Meaning your visitor counts and profits for charity might be down. I thought the desk should have been in the corridor, as it was easy to walk past it in the alcove behind the door.

Anyway, hope you do it again, I'd love to come.

All the best

Andy of Derwentside Wargames Society

In answer to your questions. Of course I'd like to attend. A few more traders and more accessible refreshments would be a plus.

Andy of Crucible of Lead

We had problems with the lighting, due to the wash out effect it had on some of the products (packaging only) and imagery.

We would like to attend again, because we enjoyed ourselves and like to see/chat to local gamers and network

Michael of Gateshead Gaming

A: As you have mentioned getting on the advertising bandwagon earlier i.e. flyers at other shows north of Manchester and the Scottish shows.

B. Yes.

Charlie of Northumbria Games

Thank you for the information and the opportunity to comment. [It was very frustrating to find out later in the day that the band of bad weather did not extend very far east of Staindrop.]

Your comment about the lighting being poor does not surprise me as I was expecting that. And PA systems often struggle in that sort of environment. I assume from the financial figures you had around 300 through the door.

With regard to trying again in 2014, I would be prepared to come (barring bad weather but then lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place, or does it!).

Dave from Halifax Modellers World

first let me say that given the circumstances of weather I thought this years show went fairly well. We certainly made money on the day and managed to find a few things to buy as well which is always a bonus.

Question 2 is easy of course we would look forward to another show next year if you guys put the effort in to organise one we will be there.

Question 1 how to improve is more difficult.

I'll risk stating the obvious ; For me a successful show brings together the right mix of popular traders , good variety of demo games , a healthy bring and buy, and most important plenty of punters.

In terms of traders Warlord, Foundry, Plastic Soldier, Grubby, Bachus, Games Workshop, Flames of war all seem popular. You need to get more second hand dealers as well. A good terrain/building supplier and a good wargame book supplier. Someone doing paints.

You could have a competition of sorts ; best painted unit/army/demo game.

To get the public to turn up I think there are only a couple of popular wargame mags for strategic adverts. Leaflets distributed at other shows earlier in the year and a good website with links/mentions on traders websites seems good policy.

I'm sure traders will spread the word and support where they can. Don't be afraid to ask for prizes or other help.

One thing you can't do anything about is freak weather unless you change the date to summer time.

I don't know that many people on the wargames side so I hope this is of some help.

Dave of David Lanchester Books

Thank you for reporting back and allowing us to see the internal workings of your show.

You were very frank in your report, thank you! Little to add to anything here except for saying unloading etc was a pain! Ok, I had the wrong trolley! Those slopes are steep with very tight angles! Someone did give me a hand at the end as I was suffering - with a chest infection, so every effort was hard - I'll try and be well next time. If you were a large club then several hands would have helped with unloading and loading, that would have been a great help. But if they are not available then ok.

Yes, I would like to come back next year. I was happy with what I did however. More people through the door and those spaces filled with games and traders would have helped. Next year the weather may be kinder!

Keep up the good work

Steve of SK Miniatures

Thanks for your email.

For me, it was a slow day for trade - however as a specialist figure seller, I am not sure that my range was the right fit for the show. If you decided to have a show in 2014 then if the Darlington club was taking a display table, then I would probably come to trade but would tailor my stand to the likely market & therefore take only a small stand.

Having said that, I did enjoy the day & bought a couple of books..... Glad to see also that a reasonable sum was raised for charity.

Robert from Brompton Bankers

Not much you can do about the weather but if you do organise a show next year we are prepared to lay on a game. Lack of traders did not bother me too much as I do most of my buying on line but my 2 fellow Bankers were hoping to buy some Bolt Action stuff. As it happened we would have been leaving at 3pm anyway as I had somewhere else to be that evening but normally we would game on all the time punters are still in attendance. The number of traders will be the key to future shows as they obviously pay the bills so if they give the thumbs down for next year you will have little option but to not bother as a purely gaming show will not pay. Well done though on making a profit for this year though.





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