Sunday, 5 April 2015

Stearns at Hinchliffe

From Mil Mod February 1973 the legendary Phil Stearns (the OSS, Penthouse and Mil Mod - beat that for a CV) pays a visit to Hinchliffe Models.

For a little more on Stearns see Shep Paine's tribute.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Bernard Lyall on Battleground Normandy

Bernard Lyall (son of Gavin, co-author of WW2 wargaming classic 'Operation Warboard', and participant - vs his father - in the Normandy episode of Battleground) has been in touch:  

After the book was published ['Operation Warboard' A&C Black 1976] , there was a certain amount of media interest, probably including much I'd have missed. My dad's career was going well and his minor fame would have provided an obvious hook for print, radio and TV producers. We did one other TV event, a slot on (I think) Pebble Mill at One, after Battleground, where we played a game in the background of the studio (using our own kit) and at some point the presenter wandered over for a five-minute interview. I remember being surprised at the hours of effort on our part - travelling there, setting up, playing at least some of a game - which went into such a small amount of airtime. After 30 years in TV, I'm much less surprised now. 

 The book has recently been republished, by a chap called John Curry, who's reprinting a whole series of classic books on the subject - see link below. I re-shot the cover, based on the original hardback design, and wrote a foreword for it. 

Of the Battleground episode, I recall that the figures, vehicles and board had all been prepared for us [by Peter Gilder of course], to a much higher standard than our own stuff. Our equipment (which is in the photos inside the book, and some of which still survives) was much simpler - two green-painted chipboard 4'x3' sheets, green painted polystyrene hills, and trees of green foam on cocktail-sticks. But then ours had to be widely adaptable for each new scenario. The rules were ours, of course (that would been much of the point of doing it, and besides I'd have been baffled by any others) as were the tools (graphs, dividers etc.) that we used. I turned up in a stripy shirt which I had to change, as the lines on it produced that curious 'moire' effect on the studio cameras. And it was all very hot and bright in our little pool of light, surrounded by mysterious figures and cameras moving around in the dark. 

 I don't remember much about the game. We played a lot of generic, post D-Day, northern France scenarios. I think we were both more interested in grasping tactics than recreating specific events - and in any case, since our forces were only really at battalion level, we'd only have managed a small portion of a significant engagement. 

We weren't given any recording of the show, and wouldn't have been able to play it if we had.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Battleground on YouTube

Ssssshhhhhhh....let's just keep this to ourselves, OK? More episodes to follow in due course.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

What's that coming over the hill....

Dan Morgan and friends contemplate a career change as they spy a horde of shiny redcoat veterans on the march.

is it a monster Gilder AWI update? Could be.....

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Fantastic Soldered Soldiers

The above are a sample of the British Legion dragoons Doug Mason created for me last year. Despite there being only 2 castings in the Hinchliffe range (an officer and trooper) Doug has created a unit of 24 figures where each is different. Of all the conversions i think the trooper with pistol and dangling sword is my favourite, and something of a Mason trademark.

All in all another great example of what is possible with fairly basic raw material, if you have the imagination (and a soldering iron).

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Jager von Mason

AWI Hessian Jager by Doug Mason. If you're familiar with the Hinchliffe range then you'll know that the Jager (AW31) is only available in a single pose (the rather static 'cocking rifle' pose as seen above in the lower picture, third figure from the right), so all of the variation you see above is the result of Doug's imagination and soldering iron. Great stuff!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Gilder and Waterloo 150

1965 was a big year for Napoleonic enthusiasts, none more so than a young Peter Gilder who proved to be a pivotal figure in two of our hobby's major commemorative events - the British Model Soldier Society Waterloo Convention, and Wargamers Newsletter's Military Festival.

First up two reports, from the BMSS periodical 'THE BULLETIN' (No 6 December 1965), on the Waterloo Convention (staged at the Rembrandt Hotel, London on 18th June), where PG  starred in the final of the BMSS national Napoleonic wargame competition:

Next, also from THE BULLETIN (this time No 3 June 1965), Donald Featherstone's report on his Military Festival (staged on the 20th March at Chelsea Barracks), where PG contributed to a demonstration wargame of Waterloo itself:

It strikes me how quickly (within a couple of years of discovering the hobby) Gilder had become a major figure in British wargaming. Of course the hobby was much smaller then, but it is testament to his great enthusiasm and talent nevertheless (and getting on with Don Featherstone would have helped too!).