Featherstone 1963 elementary WW2 rules

Vintage Airfix 8th Army versus Airfix  Desert Warriors on the arid terrain of my portable ‘Heroscape’ hex game board. 


Stephen Briddon, one of my blog readers, asked about an ‘elementary ‘ set of Donald Featherstone simple WW2 or Moderns rules that I had mentioned. These were first published in a chapter in his 1963 book, Tackle Model Soldiers This Way.

They prove an interesting comparison with his War Games published the year before in 1962. He keeps to the same periods, Ancients, Horse and Musket and WW2 Modern.


“It should not be thought that the only types of war games are those for which elementary rules are given here, that is for battles in the ancient oeriod, horse and musket period and the modern game. There are many war-gamers throughly enjoying games which involve redskins and settlers, naval wargames  …”



The Simple WW2 rules.

“The easiest and cheapest method of fighting modern combat seems to be by using Airfix figures (these come in British and German infantry, plus British 8th Army and German Afrika Korps). By using a combination of these figures it is possible to end up with adequate machine-gun teams, anti-tank guns, whilst mortars are not too difficult to fabricate.”

Simple times and irresistible enthusiasm …




There are some interesting differences and simplifications in these simple WW2 rules. Here modern troops are based in threes and rifles fire  in threes for example, rather than firing in a volley of five men as Featherstone usually does in his ‘horse and musket rules’ here and elsewhere in his WW2 rules.

Order of firing is an interesting idea here as well, useful for solo games.

In short, a lovely short inspirational chapter full of enthusiasm for the hobby. Hopefully it created lots of converts for the hobby!

It is a good short summary of his earlier book War Games, designed to create a cross market from one hobby / readership of toy of model soldier collectors to another of wargaming.

I know that Donald Featherstone’s 1962 War Games has been recently reprinted or available as  an ebook for a new generation of gamers by John Curry. I’m not sure if John Curry has reprinted these 1963 simple rules elsewhere in his Featherstone reprints.

I posted sections from another of these simple cross readership efforts,  a guest  chapter in Henry Harris’ book How to Go Collecting Model Soldiers, first published by PSL in 1969. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/simplest-featherstone-rules-ever/

A short set of rules influenced by but  almost simpler than H.G. Wells’ Little Wars:



The whole of Donald Featherstone’s Tackle Model Soldiers This Way book  anyway  is worth tracking down on second hand book sites.


Thanks again, Donald Featherstone!

Posted by Mark, Mr MIN Man of TIN blog, October 2016.




Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

10 thoughts on “Featherstone 1963 elementary WW2 rules”

  1. Thanks Mr. Min, I never knew there were rules in that book. It is interesting to note that the WWII rules are closer to Joe Morschauser’s rules than to Don’s rules in Wargames (62). They need tweaked though — with a 1/18 chance per shot of knocking out an enemy tank through the front armor (and 1/9 from the side), tank and antitank fire are not going to be very effective. I would just use my armor to destroy all the enemy infantry as quickly as possible, then focus on the enemy tanks.
    But I’m still adding it to my rules collection, of course. 🙂 Actually I think if you revised the tank rules from Wargames (to be a little more logical) and use the other WWII rules here, you could come up with a pretty good basic set. The Wargames WWII rules are a little weird, for example, tanks can be knocked out by 88s, 75s, 25 pdrs, and anti-tank guns — but not by TANK guns (whatever that means; it’s never defined). Someday I’m going to make time to clarify those tank rules. You bet.
    Thanks again, and regards,


    1. Dear John, glad you liked them. I think where Featherstone (an ex tank sergeant) talks about ‘tank guns’ in War Games 1962 he probably means whatever weapon calibre the tank is carrying (possibly). Does this make any more sense?
      Glad you have another edition of WW2 tanks rules for your sets – I thought there were some interesting rules and unusual early mechanisms buried away in his Tackle Model Soldiers This Way modelling book chapter.
      Happy gaming. Thanks, Mark Mr. MIN Man of TIN blog.


  2. Thanks for posting those rules, the WW2 ones look really interesting. I have copied them and will print them off and have a play. I must track down the book too.



  3. You are awesome. Thank you so much for sharing these rules. I enjoy comparing Featherstonian rules with Morschauser and so I will definitely be dragging out the 54mm WW2 boys to have a play with these the minute that real life lets me!


    1. Happy 54mm gaming! Bob Cordery in Wargaming Miscellany blog & the Portable Wargame site etc is very interesting on Morschauser, not someone I knew of until recently. Featherstone and Grant were all I could get in my local UK library as a youngster.
      Have you seen the Little Wars revisited 54mm forum set up by Mike Lewis? There is some WW2 there too.
      Best wishes, Mark, Mr MIN, Man of TIN


      1. I haven’t but I will. My revived interest in wargaming came from reading Bob Cordery’s blogs on Portable Wargaming, which in turn were inspired by Morschauser (I believe). The portable set up described in Mr Cordery’s blog led me to the realization that I could use the larger scale models without having to play in the back field! I have a 3′ square table, gridded in to 3″ squares. Two Airfix armies made up of British and Germans supplemented by Britain’s cannon and CTS tanks supply the man power. Stylized terrain pieces are all I require. The games are simple and contemplative and make no pretense at ‘realism’ which is why I am so interested in simple rules. Best wishes.


  4. Dear Mark, A fascinating and entertaining post. Also great comments from Tin Soldier chums. F Perry 1st and second book of wargames ? Some pleasing buckets of dice mechanisms in Chain of Command. It would seem that most of the tin soldier blokes who love simplicity play solo !? Thanks very much, Man of Tin and the Wargames Hermit are my first ports of call for toy soldier pleasure and inspiration.


  5. Apologies, I meant to mention that I have a day off tomorrow and the plan is, internal security and labour services allowing, to gather the Tesco pound store men from the garage, remove all the modern types and get some paint on them.


    1. Dear Chris
      Thanks for your comments – I have only recently tracked down a copy of F E Perry’s First Book of Wargaming, about 35 years after I bought the Second Book at random as a youngster. This was a book I loved especially for the pictures of various inventively used figures but sadly Book 2 doesn’t make much sense on its own!

      I hope the pound store soldier project goes well.

      I have been buying 54mm “lead graveyard” figures off eBay to repair, repaint and bring back into action to add some FE Perry variety to the Pound store recruits my 54mm games. Should keep me busy over winter!

      Solo play allows a bit of time to tinker and play test whenever time allows.

      Mark, Mr MIN Man of TIN blog.


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