Saddened to hear of the passing of Stuart Asquith, former wargames magazine editor and author:
It is often said that a man dies two deaths, once when he physically dies and second when he is past living memory and his name and works are forgotten.
Someone like Stuart Asquith with his magazine columns and books, along with the many figures he painted, will not be forgotten, at least not by a small band of wargamers of a certain age and hopefully younger people who discover his simple approach in his accessible wargaming books.
Beginners will not forget borrowing from branch libraries or now tracking down online his Military Modelling Guide to Wargaming, which had lots of entry level plastic figures and simple rules. I still have and use the local branch library copy that I borrowed as child, picked up cheaply when it was sold off by the library service.
Solo Wargamers will not forget his interesting book on the topic with some innovative solo games mechanisms.
Siege Wargamers will not forget his book on this unusual subject.
I really like his Comfortable Wargaming articles with their laid back, enjoy your games approach with No Units. No Morale Tests: “If you want to shell out around £30 for a set of rules, then feel free, but you know, you really don’t have to – don’t worry about phases or factors, go back to simple enjoyment.”
I never met Stuart in person but you feel like you sort of know somebody when you have read and reread their books and magazines for 30 to 40 years.
However in the last couple of years I was fortunate enough to be able to say a small thank you for all that he had done for my hobby.
I heard from Stuart after reprinting some sections of the Brian Carrick article Big Wars on 54mm gaming sections from the Battle For Wargamers Military Modelling Wargames Manual on my blog(s) as part of a discussion on 54mm garden gaming.
Stuart asked if anyone had a spare copy of this Manual magazine / annual as he could not find his own copy. He wanted to see a copy again but there were no second hand copies around. Not wishing to part with the original (a treasured gift from my Dad), I managed to photocopy it all and send it in a presentation folder to him.
It was my small way of saying thanks for all he had done for simplifying and inspiring my hobby over many years. I was happy to have given him a weekend of comfortable wargames nostalgia.
I was trying not to be a total fanboy but Stuart Asquith – the Stuart Asquith – had read my blogs. He left a comment on them and then I had a few emails from him.
Could I have imagined that as an 1970s 1980s Airfix kid pushing my plastic armies around a felt cloth on the dining room table?
The editor of the wargames bits and books from Military Modelling Magazine, Stuart Asquith was a giant in my Airfix boy eyes, along with Donald Featherstone. More important to me than any 1970s or 80s popstar, TV celebrity or footballer. (No, you’re right, that is a bit total fanboy but still …)
I was delighted and not a little surprised to hear that he was still enthusiastic and active in our wonderful hobby, cropping up on some of his regular gaming partners’ blogs. Hope for us all yet …
I received an appreciative email or two back from Stuart, who was also pleased when I let him know that his 15mm Peter Laing Roman Army and Ancient British Celtic armies were in good hands, mine, and still in use. Painted and used by Stuart, they now take pride of place amongst many treasured objects in my games room, still looking good after many years but awaiting rebasing.
They receive a passing mention of these very troops in his Comfortable Wargaming article in the form of Boadicea in her chariot that Peter Laing had specially made for Stuart, one figure that he had not parted with when he started downsizing his figure collection.
Amidst our email conversations, I mentioned the Wargames Manual’s general unavailability secondhand to John Curry of the History of Wargaming Project, who started talking to Stuart about possibly reprinting the Wargames Manual as part of his long to-do list of reprints. John has already reprinted several Stuart Asquith titles. http://www.wargaming.co/recreation/asquithandwise.htm
Thinking back to my first Osprey book written by him to help paint my Pater Laing ECW armies, Stuart’s 2019 reprinted ECW rules book ought to be on my Christmas list.
Tell it to the Bees …
Like bees, when their bee keepers die, I wonder if you have to break it to the tiny tin and lead men very gently that their painter and former (owner) Commander in Chief is no longer with us, gone to that Valhalla in the skies which is a bit like an eternal weekend of the Wargames Holiday Centre.
There, Stuart Asquith and Donald Featherstone, H.G. Wells and many of the wargames pioneers who are no longer with us are, I hope, having good natured arguments about wargaming in the afterlife and rolling the odd dice together …
Thank you Stuart Asquith, not forgotten, whenever and wherever a simple comfortable wargame is played and enjoyed.
I remain proud to lead his tiny legions and tribes into battle with his blessing as their new Commander.
Blog posted by Asquith fanboy Mark Man of TIN, 4/5 November 2019
B.P.S. Blog Post Script:
The Muffled Drum of the title is common at soldiers’ funerals as in this Victorian poem by Anne S. Bushby, minor poet and Victorian translator of Hans Christian Andersen http://ojs.ub.gu.se/ojs/index.php/njes/article/download/240/237