Imagi-Seven Nation Army

Off in his own worlds, Donald Featherstone, visionary …

I am always surprised by how rich in ideas Donald Featherstone’s original 1962 War Games book proves to be.

Reading through it as I often do, as its my ‘Desert Island Discs’ sort of book, I came across this interesting paragraph on page 46:

On the other hand, a completely mythical campaign is often conducted, using fancifully uniformed troops of imaginary countries and with highly coloured reasons for fighting the war. 

What If? British Redcoats with flame throwers for Imagi-nation Victorian Sci Fi / Steampunk scenarios (work in progress paint conversions from Airfix WW1 Germans)

It’s what we would now call Imagi-Nations gaming:

This can be fascinating, as ruling houses, petty dukedoms, jealous heirs and dashing princes provide excuses for one state declaring war on another adjacent dukedom, or fir those gaily coloured Hussars to be sent to the distant frontier where they will due gallantly fighting off the hordes of savage tribesmen threatening their country. 

This seems almost Game of Thrones stuff!

Whatever the type of campaign, the first essential is a master map … (Page 46)

The only thing Donald Featherstone doesn’t quite describe in War Games is the 1970s  rise in science fiction / space / fantasy style gaming. Or does he? Arguably his Ancients rules  demonstration game the “Battle of Trimsos” based on Tony Bath’s Hyboria campaign is kind of fantasy wargaming there in embryo also.

Minus the orcs, of course …

This battle was fought in an undefined period of the chequered history of the mythical continent of Hyboria – a vast land mass dreamed up by Tony Bath of Southampton, which contains nations of almost every type of known warrior of our own world from its earliest times.

These countries fight each other on the slightest provocation, make pacts, break pacts, invade, repel and generally carry on much as did our own ancestors in the earliest recorded days of history… (Page 75)

Somebody else’s ‘found in a jumble bag’ blue coated paint jobs on British WW1 Airfix soldiers? Which nation are they? Why are they fighting?

And as Donald says in his opening chapter:

For the player who finds nothing of interest in this list [of wargames periods] there are imaginary campaigns that he may fight without limit. He can form his own imaginary world, with continents and countries each of which will make war on its neighbour on the slightest pretext.

The French find themselves involved in wars with America,the British take on the Russians in period 1900, and great wars take place between countries who, at the actual period in time when the campaign is deemed to be taking place, were the very best of friends in real life! 

Therein lies one of  the fascinations of war gaming – one can remake history to suit one’s ideas, can alter the complete trend of events by re fighting a major battle such as Waterloo and making the French win it …

Sketches for Imagi-native redesign of pound store figures …

Donald Featherstone’s books are always so enthusiastically written with assured knowledge that you will receive genuine pleasure and fulfilment in this solitary or shared hobby:

There is a great deal of satisfaction in making one’s own armies, either in entirety or by conversions …

It’s true what Don Featherstone says. Who could resist such conviction?

Who could resist that ‘Avuncular’ tone of a knowledgeable ‘Uncle’ Donald ?

My copy of War Games is the sold-off ex-library stock hardback copy that I used to borrow and read as a child. Thankfully War Games has been reprinted recently in paperback by John Curry.

I hope you have your own ‘desert island wargames book‘, the one you keep going back to and finding fresh ideas (despite the familiarity) for your own real world or imagi-nations gaming.

War Games is my ‘go (back) to’ book for ideas or just comfort reading. What’s yours?

Happy gaming! Leave comments, explore past blogposts or follow my blog.

Another work in progress: Some of my enemy troops from my Cakes of Death polymer clay Fimo forces from silicon cake decoration moulds.

More about Imagi-Nations on a previous ‘Tintin’ blogpost:

And the Brontes got their first  …

I’m preparing a series of solo skirmish games this winter once I’ve worked out  the (confusing) imaginary kingdoms or Bronte 1820s/30s  Imagi-nations of Gondal, Gaaldine, Angria and Glass Town, for which a Bronte sketch map exists!

This along with my ‘Generic-an forces’, from my fictional country of Generica, should prove to be an interesting winter’s gaming.

The Coast of West Africa 1820s reimagined by the Bronte family as The Glass Town Federation and Angria (Wikipedia source).

And the Title of the blog post? Imagi – Seven Nation Army?

Check out the fabulous and irresistible sultry ’30s New Orleans sleaze’ / Jazz rendition by singer Haley Reinhart and the U.S. band Postmodern Jukebox of this modern White Stripes number, available on I-Tunes but to view free on YouTube! Just type in Postmodern Jukebox on YouTube and enjoy the many musical styles they play with in their ‘musical time machine’  … Or visit

Happy Listening! Happy Gaming!

Blog posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, September 2016.



6 thoughts on “Imagi-Seven Nation Army”

  1. Fascinating stuff, my desert island books are the 1st and 2nd books of wargaming by F E Perry – 54mm toy soldiers and matchstick firing cannon! I’m looking into making parts in Fimo like heads and equipment for converting figures.


    1. Lovely to hear from you again – I’m looking forwards to reading the First Book of Wargaming by FE Perry at last, having only ever seen / read Book Two. One of my favourite bits is where he mentions how relieved his wife was that he had written the “First Book”, so that when her friends enquired where he was, Mrs. Perry could truthfully say that “he was in the shed”, not puzzlingly for a grown man “playing with toy soldiers” (and looking at his books what an enviable toy soldier collection they were) but much more acceptably and evasively reply that her husband was “researching his next book”. Very funny.
      I hope the Fimo heads and equipment experiments go well and will feature on your blog in due course.
      Regards, Mark, Man of TIN blog


      1. Hi Mark
        Do you leave the Fimo in the silicone moulds when you bake it in the oven? I’ve discovered a two part compound that you mix like miliput and press around a master, it sets as a silicone mould in a couple off minutes. I’ve experimented using it to make replacement tails for Deetail horses in a variety of materials, with varying success! Will post on blog when it works!


  2. Brian
    You can leave fimo in the silicon (cake) moulds but have to control the temperature as the fimo pack says. Above this it burns and apparently gives off not so nice vapours.

    I usually take the figures out onto a baking tray as I am working off a single soldier cake Dec figure mould bought online, then cut off or add any additional bits before baking. You can add detail and rebake.

    I use fimo and silicon cake moulds as I can’t use Milliput or rubber / latex type moulding materials at home due to allergies in the family / household.

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

    Mark, Man of TIN blog.


  3. Great post (I`m slowly getting through all yours… front to back).

    My two go to books would have to be either Donald Featherstone`s Solo Wargaming, or Terrance Wise`s Introduction to Battle gaming.


    1. Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming is an excellent ‘go to’ desert island gaming book. The Terry Wise book I rarely saw in the library (probably always out on loan) so do not have quite the same affection for it, so I would probably take Featherstone’s War Games instead or Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World (Blandford).

      Looking back at the Terry Wise book, it is 50 years old this year, so worth celebrating in a blog entry or two, and worth a reread?
      It seems in parts like it is Featherstone’s War Games rewritten or maybe it was also just guided by what Airfix figure historic periods were easily available to gamers. I am happily distracted again by all the black and white photos of Airfix figures that I had in my collection, which gave you a strong link, that “I could do this stuff” even as a child. Egg box gun emplacements or pill boxes for example , cheap, functional and inspired.
      Did Wise and Featherstone have shares in Airfix and Bellona, I wonder ?


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