Sorting through boxes on Lockdown Day #whateveritis, I came across this 1987 Military Modelling A5 supplement on wargaming written by the late and sadly missed Stuart Asquith.
The colour front cover shows an enviable set up of a wargames room with shelves full of figures, a fine games table and some impressive pointing out of stuff by Stuart to the “younger generation”, youngsters who need such a free supplement explaining wargames. One day hopefully I will achieve this adult stage.
Being on furlough, I don’t have my usual office access to scanners so some rough photos will have to surfice for now.
One reason this booklet survived in my collection through my non-gaming busy years is the Peter Laing “Eye Candy” photographs.
These are presumably of Stuart’s collection of Laing, as it features the Boadicca figure that Peter made or converted especially for Stuart. This figure is mentioned in Stuart’s excellent Comfortable Wargaming article.
More Marlburians, the unusual period figures with which Peter Laing launched his 15mm range in the early 1970s.
Jacklex figures and gun conversions, including traction engine models and river launches built by Stuart Asquith.
Gramodels are still operating https://www.gramodels.co.uk. I wonder if these “Jacklex EFSI” vehicles will one day be available again or if they are conversions?
Finally, some of those range of scale pictures.
Part of my unpainted Peter Laing ECW / 1745 collection was preserved for decades of house moves by the sort of plastic box that I received as a present around this time – inspired no doubt by the photo in this supplement?
This box is still a time capsule or touchstone of my gaming activities c. 1986/7 with hair roller armies, Heroics and Ros / Skytrex 1:300, Platoon 20 and Peter Laing figures amongst the oddments. Worth an emptying out for a blog post one day as another fun “Unboxing” post?
Peter Laing 15mm collectors and fans can find those with similar interests on the MeWe Peter Laing site set up by Ian Dury when Google+ pages closed.
Malcolm Child, Models for Heroes: “It brings you away from the problems of the day. It brings you away from thinking about problems in the past and perhaps stresses the future, so yeah it keeps you in the now.”
Karl, Model Maker: “As a long term sufferer of PTSD I spend a lot of my time looking in my peripheral vision for threats … Coming here into a safe environment, the concentration on the model takes away the need to look for those threats and I can concentrate on the model and actually the byproduct of that, it gives my brain a time to rest, so it’s not absorbing all its energy on threats and what’s going on around me.”
Barrie, one of the other interviewees who was struggling with his concentration after a major operation, talked about the benefits of modelling: “the sitting peaceful, the quietness and the ability to work at your own pace and do things in your own time and actually to get something from the end result …”
Ceri Lawrence Occupational Therapy Assistant: “It gives people a meaningful occupation … [for] people who’ve lost the ability to do the things they used to enjoy … giving people a new chance, a new hobby and it’s an occupation they can do here as a group or elsewhere as a group or solo.”
These are all interesting points which I think are true of my own hobby enjoyment of making and painting figures for tabletop gaming. I have no mental health issues (so far) nor the black dog or PTSD but I have friends and acquaintances who have and I can see how modelling or other hobbies would help.
This concentration aspect sounds much like the well-being and mindfulness focus etc from the “colouring book” craze a year or two back.
I probably still have (somewhere) in my varied collection at home a WW2 era needlework pattern used with convalescent Troops in WW2. Similarly an altar piece for St Paul’s made in WW1 by recovering veterans has recently been restored and displayed as part of the 1914-18 Centenary.
Two short YouTube videos by UK charity Models for Heroes about the therapeutic value of plastic modelling and how having a hobby focus helps with mental health and PTSD: https://www.modelsforheroes.co.uk
This 1970s or 1980s (?) Military Modelling Manual article was kindly sent to me by fellow Peter Laing 15mm figure collector Ian Dury from his extensive collection of Military Modelling magazines and manuals. This was in response to my earliest crudest Fimo inspired attempts to repair some bsahed 54mm Britain’s and Johillco figures. Thanks Ian!
Having recently restored trashed metal detecting finds of toy soldiers, I appreciate how much work is involved in turning such damaged figures as the headless horseman on a legless horse pictured into the beautiful Yeomanry repaints shown throughout the article.
Some of the 1970s/ 1980s materials that B.S. Armstrong mentioned are still around.
Plaka casein based paints (now Pelican Plaka) and Testor metallics or Testors paint are still around and available online or from hobby / craft shops.
Plastic Padding “Chemical Metal from Sweden” is still produced by Henkel / Loctite and extensively available, likewise Epoxy Cements.
Interestingly Milliput or Green Stuff is not mentioned to do this job, suggesting this is quite an early article as it was widely used by modellers in the 1980s. I don’t currently use it for repairs as we have a family / household allergy to Milliput type products.
Nitromors or Daz as a paint remover? Choose your own tried and tested, safe chemical method!
Rose Miniatures as a source of heads and arms? Not sure about the heads but a list of recast Rose figures is available from John Eden Studios, who also produce the beautiful FANY First Aid Nursing Yeomanry figures on horseback here at http://johnedenstudios.com/page48.htm
No internet traces of Antony J. Kite of Castle Hill, Windsor replacement alloy heads for Britain’s plastics (Eyes Right?) Soldiers mentioned in the article.
However Brian Carrick commented: “Antony J. Kite of Castle Hill, Windsor, better known as Tony Kite was one of the great old gentlemen of the hobby, the Castle Hill address was a souvenir shop he ran. He produced several ranges of plastic figures under the Cavendish brand, Henry VIII and his 6 wives, Regiments of 1745 and Ceremonials. If memory serves right they were designed by Stadden. He passed away about 10 years ago and was an active supporter of the hobby to the very end.”
However Langley Models and Dorset Toy Soldiers both produce an extensive range of similar recast Britain’s Type heads, arms, horses tails, heads and legs. I recently ordered (May 2018) and received some recast arms from Dorset. http://dorsetmodelsoldiers.com
I will check by email whether GBE Toy Soldiers in Coningsby still produce their spares range, as their undated website suggests.
Buyer beware: Always worth checking by email, post or phone that the manufacturer of any of these ranges still exists before parting with cash! A small plea to figure makers: I wish manufacturers would make this more apparent on their website that they or their ranges are still currently in production.
I’m not too sure about the dreaded Lead Rot mentioned by B.S. Armstrong but I did seal trashed earthy metal destructor toy soldier finds once cleaned up with an outer coating of acrylic primer paint and the inner coating with paint or glue as much as possible could be oozed through holes such as missing legs or heads.
An interesting and inspiring article!
Inspired? Here are some of my previous recent blogposts on restoring Broken Britain’s:
Copyright remains with B.S. Armstrong for this Mil Mod article, produced in the days before websites, blogs and emails, I have no way of contacting him to ask permission or express my thanks for his encouraging article. I will withdraw this post if Mr. Armstrong he wishes. Hopefully he will be pleased that this article continues to inspire another generation of lead Dr. Frankensteins and toy soldier Remount and resurrection men.
All comments via the usual channels and comments page.
Some illustrators I know use roll top desks for much the same tidy domestic reasons.
Henry Harris’ useful little book also has a 6 page chapter on Wargames by Donald Featherstone including a short rules section, reprinted here and those in Featherstone’s own Book Tackle Model Soldiers This Way (Stanley Paul, 1963) :
A second-hand find, this picture rich 2009 book by Bill Dunn is now out of print but was published by Lawrence King.com (a publisher of many fashion and textile books). It contains 294 pictures, 247 in colour.
Bill Dunn is a style editor, having worked on GQ, Esquire and LV magazines. As a result, he brings a different feel to this book than a military historian might. Full of uniform pictures, mostly in colour, Dunn uses familiar film stills as well as colour photos from all over the world to illustrate the very short essay at the start of each section. Overall , Dunn wants to know “why is it a good idea for people to look the same? Nothing sums up the power of the ‘We’ like a uniform.”
The book illustrates the role of uniforms for every job role from Hitler and The Pope and his Papal Swiss Guards to traffic wardens in Britain and Vietnam, from Boy Scouts to bunny girls, from fast food restaurants in the USA to policemen in Korea, from air hostesses to schoolchildren in Japan.
The book is interesting for the gamer or creator of Imagi-Nations uniforms.
One of my favourite ornate uniforms in the book is shown on the back cover – the mystery of who wears this smart get-up is revealed on page 78/79. They are Monaco police officers in their dress uniforms. Intriguingly, one of them has paratroop wings!
The captions are both informative and witty in places – the Carabinieri picture is captioned “Giant Italian Police (Carabinieri) in front of very small people in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.” Pure Slinkachu or model village, this.
The Future section covers Astronauts to Science Fiction films and some bizarre past visions of the future.
Uniforms by Bill Dunn covers equally male and female uniforms, military, police and civilian. Ukrainian female paratroopers (women make up 10% of their armed forces) share the page with Indonesian women soldiers with sub machine guns trying to march on parade in absurdly tight skirts!
My other favourite elaborate Imagi-Nations uniform is the parade dress of male and female members of the Moroccan army, c. 2000.
This book sets up such smart military and police parade uniforms up against civialian uniforms of drum majorettes and cinema or hotel Commissionaires to show the similarities and differences. If you’re not in the military or public services, it’s not always called a uniform, it’s called “career apparel” (or workwear).
The chapter introductions are quite interesting. Uniform is something you (have to) wear to show belonging, sometimes to show Authority but paradoxically of also being under Authority – you have to wear what you’re told. It reminds me of many of my Dad’s stories about the importance of spotless kit, shiny boots, berets and shapeless uniforms to a National Serviceman, some of which I shared last month.
Uniforms by Bill Dunn is as interesting to flick through and dip into as Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour (Blandford, 1967/8). I am happily reminded of the section in Harry Pearson’s gaming memoir Achtung Schweinhund when he talks about endlessly poring through this library book trying to make lists of which is the coolest and most impressive, the worst or most curious uniform. I’m sure we all did this in our own ways. But that’s for another blogpost …
If you like uniform books or creating Imagi-Nations troops, Uniforms by Bill Dunn is well worth ordering online secondhand. It has some inserting points to make about the uniforms that many of us, military or civilian, choose or are forced to wear throughout life from childhood onwards.
As a follow up to my earlier Maori Wars and Peter Laing related blog posts, here are the Andy Callan rules in full – or so I thought!
John The Wargames Hermit blogger in the USA was interested in these Maori bush wars rules and as back copies of this issue of Military Modelling magazine are probably quite scarce (I have hacked most of my magazines to pieces), I have added the missing section.
However, flicking through my box file, I found that the above rules as printed in September 1983 Military Modelling had some errors – they were corrected by Andy Callan in a half page erratum page in Military Modelling December 1983.
I also noticed in the book list that the Ian Knight who wrote the excellent Osprey book on the New Zealand Wars had also written a couple of interesting articles called “Fire in the Bush” in Military Modelling in April and November 1980, worth tracking down.
I also found some interesting articles on the New Zealand Wars in that most reliable of sources, Wikipedia.
These entries also features some interesting pictures, including:
An atmospheric view of the terrain is shown in “The Death of Von Tempsky at Te Ngutu o Te Manu”, a portrayal of an incident in the New Zealand wars on 7 September 1868. Apparently published in the New Zealand Mail, last produced in 1907, this Lithograph from 1893 by William Potts (1859-1947) was made from a painting by Kennett Watkins (1847-1933). Wikipedia image in public domain.
I had an interesting email from Andy Callan last week about his Maori Wars rules, surprised to see his Maori rules and hair roller armies still in use.
Andy Callan: “Wow! That’s a real blast from the past. When I wrote these rules I saw them as a sort of Victorian assymetrical Vietnam equivalent – high tech westerners vs wily bunkered-down natives…
I’m still actively wargaming and writing new stuff. Have a look on Amazon for Peter Dennis’ Battle for Britain and you will see what I am currently up to … Good to hear from you. What a great hobby this is – it is still keeping me busy nearly fifty years after I started out!”
My first Man Craft Hero featured on this blog is shown here from the August 1983 Military Modelling magazine, one of the early editions of this magazine that my Dad bought home for me.
I love this fort (based on Ladysmith Barracks in Manchester) which matches the style of old toy soldiers, an excellent simple display frame for these figures.
There is a nice depth to this fort and a lovely inner courtyard. Although designed for display, this is a fort that any child would want to play with. It has a lovely ‘toy’ feel to it.
Being myself a bit ‘cack-handed’ in the area of craft and woodwork, at the time I read this I was struggling through school woodwork lessons, so I was especially impressed that this obviously proud disabled young man called Nicholas managed to create this beautiful fort. It must have taken a great amount of time and effort. One deservedly very proud grandfather!
I have always found the pride in his handiwork by Nicholas and his grandfather inspiring.
The barrack gateway is nicely recalled in Nicholas’ fort. This gateway is all that remains of the Ladysmith Barracks which was demolished in 1985, two years after Nicholas made his model.
Once home of the late Manchester Regiment, the Ladysmith Barracks is pictured on the following web sites: