Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Inspiration from old wargames books

I managed to spend part of this afternoon looking through some of my old wargames books. The first was CHARGE! by by Brigadier Peter Young and Lieutenant Colonel J P Lawford, closely followed by Donald Featherstone's WAR GAMES, and John Tunstill's DISCOVERING WARGAMES. The first two books are well known, but the latter is probably only remembered by a few old buffers like myself.

Tunstill's book was published by Shire Publications in 1969, and cost the sum of five shillings (or 25 pence). It was a rather fragile 64-page paperback and included some outline rules for the Ancient, Medieval, and Musket eras. It also had eight pages of photographs ... and it was these that caught my attention. In particular it was the photographs of some American Civil War battles in progress that were of special interest to me as the figures were painted in the sort of style I am thinking of using myself for my imagi-world project; a sort of basic 'toy soldier' style, without shading or use of 'dips'.



What is also interesting is that the majority of figures featured in both photographs are Spencer Smith Miniatures ... one of the ranges I am thinking of using for my imagi-world project.

I then realised that a large number of the figures featured in CHARGE! ...


... and WAR GAMES ...



... were also Spencer Smith Miniatures.

I am beginning to wonder if someone is trying to tell me something.

12 comments:

  1. I guess that makes me an old buffer too as I still have my (treasured) copy of Tunstill's book. A huge influence to me at the time as an eleven-year old! I nearly bought Spencer Smith plastics back then too but ended of course up with the Hinton Hunts.

    Ian

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  2. Stryker (Ian),

    My first metal figures were also Hinton Hunts (Crimean British Infantry and Cavalry). I think that they may still be stored in my garden shed!

    Tunstill's book was an interesting little addition to the wargamers' 'library' in the late 60s and early 70s, but alas is now almost forgotten.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. I never bought Spencer Smith plastic figures either ... but I think that I will be buying some of the metal ones very soon!

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  3. Hi Bob,

    Oh the irony of it all! Charge! Spencer Smith and Discovering Wargames - the circle is now complete!

    John Curry I think has the Shire titles on his 'to do' list - I remember the other book that numerous sets of rules with a lurid lime green cover.

    I have a small sample order on its way to SSM and I can't wait to get cracking!

    All the best,

    DC

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  4. David Crook,

    You cannot argue with the inevitable!

    I have an order for some Spencer Smith figures sitting on my work table waiting to be sent off ... and then - as you say - I can get cracking!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of reading "Charge!" or "The War Game", though as a youngster I devoured every old-school wargaming book I could get my hands on from the local library. Most of them seemed to rely mainly on Airfix for their figures.

    One of the joys of being in well paid full time employment as an adult was to be able to start building my own collection of those old books that got me started in the hobby. I still go back to them for inspiration.

    And I think the signs are definitely suggesting a 42mm future :-)

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  6. Dr Vesuvius,

    I would strongly recommend both books. I understand that they have been - or will shortly be - republished, and if you can get copies, do so!

    I am havering between 42mm and 30mm for my imagi-world project ... but I am starting by painting some Spencer Smith figures as an experiment.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. The Spencer Smith figures certainly have the spirit for OS games. One of the reasons that I like the old Scruby 40mm ACW figures so much is that they appear to be out of the same stable.

    Exciting times.

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  8. Ross Mac,

    The Spencer Smith figures do 'look' right for wargaming, and have much detail on them as I want. If I want to add detail, all I need to do is just paint it on. Lots of scope for 'paint conversions' ... my favourite kind!

    I have sent my first order off to Spencer Smith, and hopefully they will not be too long arriving.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. I still have my copies of Charge, The War Game, and various Featherstone books. But I was thinning my library recently, and sold the Tunstill book by mistake (my son handled the details). I think it went on eBay for about $2.00. Groan.

    Best regards (in tears),

    Chris

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  10. I would recommend Spencer smith miniatures strongly. I have put an order in with them and will get back to you on how they look. Also, John Curry has reprinted Charge in his history of wargaming project and you can buy a copy for a reasonable sum of £16.50.

    Luke

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  11. Masher88 (Luke),

    I have taken the plunge and ordered some figures from Spencer Smith this morning ... and I would love to hear how you get on with yours when they arrive.

    Luckily I have a first edition copy of CHARGE! (it was the first wargames book I ever bought), but I am pleased to hear the John Curry has republished it.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Chris,

    Do not despair! I think that it is one of the books that John Curry intends to republish. If he does, it will probably part of a compendium of several small books published together.

    All the best,

    Bob

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