If the father of modern wargaming were still alive, Donald Featherstone would be 101 today – Happy Birthday!
Last year I marked his centenary with several blogposts including:
I was delighted to discover this year, after reading recent articles in Miniature Wargames, that Don Featherstone’s collection of figures still exists – some colonials are in regular gaming use in the UK and the rest with his manuscripts and books can be seen in the collection of Daniel Borris in Canada. They can be visited by appointment. Daniel has filmed and photographed much of the collection to put them online on his website: https://www.borrisfeatherstone.com
Toying with some eraser merchant ships I revisited Featherstone’s Naval War Games and noticed another interesting connection:
Celebrating some of the “old guard” of the hobby, one of the figure makers that Don admired and contributors to Don’s Naval War Games book – Jack Alexander – is 90 years old and still actively modelling ships.
I always admired the Jacklex figures seen in Donald Featherstone’s books but had no idea where to buy them from in the 1980s, or if they were still made. His beautiful Jacklex figures are still available from Spencer Smith Miniatures and so a few maybe added this year to complement my vintage Airfix figures, just as Jack intended in their size and design. http://www.spencersmithminiatures.co.uk/html/jacklex.html
There is also a delightful blog about Jacklex, well worth reading and following.
Another excellent Featherstone related and still active blog is by Rod MacArthur, one of Don’s original 1960s young opponents in Southampton, His blog Rod’s Wargaming features some great Airfix conversions, some like the Zulus cast or aided by Don himself.
Happy Birthday Donald F. Featherstone! His simple book War Games (1962) is still one of my two Desert Island gaming books. I like the simplicity of his rules including his Close Wars appendix. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/
Still inspiring many gamers today!
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 20th March 2019.
8 thoughts on “Donald Featherstone’s Birthday!”
Happy birthday Don.. you singlehandedly started me off in a hobby that has given me huge enjoyment for over 45 years now… RIP
It is a good birthday to mark (along with Vera Lynn 102 years young). Every game you play and figure you paint is his tribute. Gone but definitely not forgotten …
Good to see your ECW figures on your blog as this period with Peter Laing figures were my first metal figures. I think it was the flags tha got me started …https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/simple-ecw-starter-rules-a-john-mitchell-tribute/
Great post- being a relative youngster I came into wargaming through GW but have discovered Don’s work since and have got a fair selection of his books now.
I find his books usually very readable and inspiring. I was surprised to see Donald Featherstone had sci-fi and fantasy sections to his History of Wargaming project reprint / update of his Skirmish Wargaming, so not a million miles from GW. Then there is Tony Bath’s Hyboria Games with Don in War Games and elsewhere.
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Great tribute Mark.
Jacklex figures are lovely aren’t they – I have some of the Colonial range.
I have a Jacklex order form ready to post for a few Jacklex ACW characters (officers etc) to join my vintage Airfix ACW figures (as Jack Alexander intended) but a couple of colonials might sneak in too. They look so good in Solo Wargaming.
Makes me want to play his games again. Thanks for the reminder! I’m planning to run Close Wars at a local convention – the library system is sending some staff to run a booth- and a simple Jutland game I found at JuniorGeneral.org, with battleships I 3d-printed at the library. Thinking about a colonial game as well, and torn between the conventional and well-known TSATF and the colonial variant of his Civil War rules.
Have also been reading some of the republished Kindle books; just finished Advanced War Games, and next on my list is Lost Tales.
I haven’t got the hang yet of Kindles and still prefer the feel of the old books or at best the reprints from History of Wargaming project.
I hope the local convention game of Close Wars and 3D printed JutlandJunior General goes well and attracts new recruits. There should hopefully be some interest from a new generation of gamers who will bond with downloadable Kindle rules and pdfs, 3D print figures on demand etc … I’m sure Donald Featherstone would approve!