Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Scenes From Hot Lead 2019

Last weekend was Hot Lead, southern Ontario’s biggest (and, I think, best) tabletop wargames convention, which celebrated it’s 25th anniversary, a  considerable achievement for its organizers.   I was able to get to Stratford and attend Friday and Saturday.  I did a little admin to help the redshirt crew of organizers, got to play a bit, and got some images of some of the many games.

One of the many tables hosted by OHA (Ontario Hobbit Adventures), a super-dedicated group of gamers dedicated to the Games Workshop LOTR rules.  The terrain is quite stellar.

The Battle of Britain, one of several large-scale games run by Bill Bean.

Adam Gow’s fantastic samurai table using Test of Honour rules.   The photo doesn’t do this table justice, but the stone pillars along the path and the buildings all featured hand-soldered LED diodes.   It was quite magical.

Some chaps came up from the States to run this Battle of Hastings game, using a new set of ancient and medieval rules called TRIUMPH!   I wasn’t really tracking the game, but people seemed to enjoy these rules.

Dan Hutter’s crzy multiplayer games are a Hotlead fixture.   This is an ancients skirnish game set in the back of beyond of the Roman Empire.   Dan described it as “lying, bribing, cheating and back stabbing”.


Three more tables run by the Ontario Hobbit Adventures club.   The quality of the bespoke scenery attracted a lot of attention and admiration.


Another of Bill Bean’s BIG WW2 aerial games.   These B17s are off to bomb the Reich.

But they’ve met some opposition.

 I had a chance to command a MIG-15 in a 1950s melee with some NATO Sabres, in one of Keith Burnett’s meticulously organized games, this one using Check Your Six rules.   It was very zooms and shooty, but the NATO flyboys had the worse of it.

 Another Hot Lead veteran game master, Ian Tetlow, ran a reprise of his 1914 Le Cateau game.   Here the Kaiser’s hosts prepare to step off.

 Somewhere in this terrain lurk the BEF defenders.

 The German objective, this British battery, ignores the skirmish behind it.  They obviously have a more important fire mission.

 A very big Star Wars game.

 Another of Dan Hutter’s crazy multiplayer games, and a Hot Lead tradition, “Mongols With Mausers”.  Chinese warlords, Mongol bandits, European adventures, Reds and Whites mix it up on the Silk Road in the 1920s.

 Of course there are silly hats.


Dan receives the Emperor’s congratulations on a fine game.


 An amazing 1/32nd scale WW2 game using the FL What a Tanker! rules.

Basically a big game of cat and mouse. 

 With big cats.

 Speaking of big cats, this Leopard from James Manto’s 20mm Afghanistan collection watches as ISAF and ANA forces move forward against heavy Taliban resistance, 

James’ terrain is all home made and very effective.

I didn’t get the chance to stay on Sunday or see the epic SF/steampunk game which is another Hot Lead tradition, but it was a grand time out and good to see the hobby going strong.  There was some talk from the veteran gamesters about passing the torch on, and after 25 years, I don’t blame them for thinking that they’ve done their bit.   Sometimes I find that wargaming is a lot like church, in that people with gray hair worry about the institution dying out, but I saw enough younger gamers present that I’m not too worried about the future.


  1. Very impressive tables; thanks for sharing!

    1. The quality of games presented was almost uniformly high, but the Middle Earth types stole the show.

  2. Thanks very much for sharing these pictures, I really enjoyed the tour and the ton of effort that has clearly gone into those tables.

    1. Indeed. And I wish I had some pictures of some very fine 6mm tables on display as well.

  3. A real variety of great games there. Thanks for the shots.

    1. There was a lot of variety, though it seems that 15mm WW2 gaming has pretty much run its course in this part of the world, there were no FoW tables - a few Bolt Action in 28mm. Only saw one Nap and ACW game.

  4. Lots of great game tables Padre :)

  5. Replies
    1. They are. Makes me a little intimidated to offer a game, but I've gone a long time with Hot lead without stepping in as a GM, I need to change that.

  6. I miss Hot Lead and it looks like the tables are better looking than ever, but I console myself with thoughts of Trumpeter Salute in a couple of weeks.

    1. Hot Lead is a good go as small events go, though it has practically grown to the limit of the available space.
      I would love to do Salute some year.

  7. Some amazing looking tables on show, thank you for sharing.


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