War Torn 2014, Scarborough Spa

A trip to the seaside was in order on 29th June for Paul and Teresa with a visit to this year's War Torn event in Scarborough.  This was Teresa's second year at this show, whilst I have attended since its inception and have watched it grow, both in terms of attendance and ambition.

War Torn is a full weekend show, but unfortunately we were only able to attend on the Sunday and therefore missed Saturday's Armed Forces Day displays, including what we gather was a spectacular flying performance by Vulcan XH558.

That said, we were not disappointed with the second day's offerings.  War Torn is held in the picturesque surroundings of the Scarborough Spa, a venue redolent of all the bygone elegance of the Victorian and Edwardian seaside resort – although the idyll of this particular resort was infamously shattered by the Imperial German Navy in 1914.  And, fittingly, in this centenary year there were some interesting extra-curricular additions to the main games-themed events, including an eye-catching display by Scarborough Library and a talk by historian Steve Dunn on the Battle of Coronel.

But War Torn is, of course, primarily a wargames show and there were some fine display and participation games on offer, ranging from the Punic Wars and the English Civil War siege of Scarborough Castle to Wild West skirmishes and the ever-popular Mad Max highway mayhem. One of the most notable games, however, was Scarborough College Wargames Society's depiction of the British attack on Washington in 1814, which featured a splendid model of the White House, built by club member, James.  This game won a well-deserved 'Best Independent Game' trophy.

And then there were the traders.  Time to gossip and buy.  Indefatigable circuit favourite Stuart Armstrong, together with the amiable Scottie, had brought along the ever-expanding tradestand of Colonel Bill's Wargames Depot.  Together we reminisced about the first War Torn when his stand had been a single table with a small, but still eclectic, selection of second-hand figures.  The business and the show have both grown considerably since then.

For an upcoming company War Torn is a great show at which to establish a presence, and we found a cheerful welcome at the stand of the Northumbrian Tin Soldier whose owners, Dave and Jayne, gave us the lowdown on their new Nightfolk range, which they classify as dark fantasy, but in fact is brimming with whimsicality.  We couldn't resist coming away with the teddy bar 'Hero' and the disproportionately moustached 'Knight' – great stuff!

As well as being hypnotised by multifarious attractive displays of model soldiers, the wargames punter is often also in thrall to volumes of military history, and so, to close the day, a visit to David Lanchester at his bookstall was in order.  So many Ospreys, so many groaning shelves!

War Torn organiser, Kelvin Pickup, and his hard-working team are to be congratulated on what they are achieving here.  Weekend wargames events are difficult to run in the UK and the ambition demonstrated by this particular show is commendable, particularly given Kelvin's desire to make this a family-friendly event which tries to encourage more youngsters and women to participate in what can seem to be a testosterone-fuelled world!  We heartily wish War Torn continued and growing success and will certainly be attending next year, especially given Kelvin's promise of a spectacular wargames world record attempt, which sounds like model soldier heaven.

Paul and Teresa

Visit the gallery to see more photos of our visit.

We'll be visiting other shows throughout the year - see Events page. If you spot us, come and say hello ...