Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Battleground: Gettysburg

A few random images from the Gettysburg episode of Battleground (admittedly these are of poor quality but as there's so little out there on Battleground i thought they were worth posting, and they do give a sense of how visually impressive the game was).

Apparently Peter Gilder managed to sell the Gettysburg terrain featured three times - first of all the original commission for the Callan movie, then, after it's return by the film company, to Edward Woodward (the owner when Battleground was filmed), and finally (again, after its return gratis by Woodward) to a wargamer in the USA.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Baa Humbug

What could be more seasonal than a few sheep?

Shaun and friends by Hovels, shepherd by Hinchliffe. Incidentally, from the mid 70s Hovelmeister Dennis Coleman was one of Gilder's team of crack figure painters (so there is a shiny connection here - this posting is no mere piece of fluff...or should that be wool...).

Monday, 1 November 2010

En Avant!

Mike's Elite Miniatures French officer points the way towards much shinyness over the coming months.

When i posted some of Mike Siggins' work previously i managed to overlook this splendidly painted figure from Elite's 1806-14 range (i reckon Mike has absolutely hit the sweet spot with this chap - great work). I've always been in two minds about Elite - they produce some of the very best figures i've ever seen, and yet too many of their offerings seem rather awkwardly posed and anatomically challenged.....they do look good en masse though (and yes, i know many would say the same about some of Gilder's creations).

The Gilder connection is probably well known - Peter Morbey painted for Gilder and sculpted a few figures for the Connoisseur range, and there's an obvious Gilder influence in Morbey's work. To my eyes there's also a Suren influence - particularly in the recent 'Collectors Series'. All of which contributes to making Elite one of the shiniest of current manufacturers (even if there is a scandalous lack of gloss finish in the galleries on their website!).

Sunday, 31 October 2010

More of Young's Surens

A couple of 17th C. types this time. The ECW officer is definitely a Suren, presumably the Cardinal is C 16 Cardinal Richelieu...?

It's a shame that Gilder's Hinchliffe ECW are some of his smallest 25mm offerings (at least of those still readily available) otherwise i'd have added Suren's ECW personalities to the collection long ago (then again, if over-sized commanders were good enough for Callan....).

The Brigadier's Willies

A few 30mm 18th c. subjects from the legendary Peter Young's collection. I think the majority of these are Suren conversions (though not being an expert in vintage 30mm figures i stand to be corrected) and, as the Brigadier apparently knew and wargamed with Ted Suren, then perhaps they are the work of the master himself...?

I've had these pictures for years, they are not mine, and i can't remember where i nicked them from (though i think i might have taken them from the site of the auction house that was selling them at the time).

Saturday, 14 August 2010

More Robinson Napoleonics

Another splendid Napoleonic command group by the obscenely talented Phil Robinson. This time i think the figures are Suren on Hinchliffe horses. Phil painted these chaps back in the 1980s, and they currently reside in the collection of Roy Lowson.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Words of Wisdom 3

Today's lesson comes from John G Garratt ('Model Soldiers for the Connoisseur', Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1972, p50):

'There is no logical reason, except possibly as a technical exercise of dubious merits, why eyes should be painted in detail at all.'

I'm with Garratt on this one, unless you want an army of Wilko Johnsons chopping out riffs across your wargames table then enough with the staring eyes - less is more, merely suggesting eyes is much more effective for 30mm and under i reckon.

That said, think what you could do with an army of Wilkos...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Garratt On Gilder

From John G Garratt's 'Model Soldiers for the Connoisseur' (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1972), p228:

"Peter Gilder, by contrast [to Charles Grant] believes that beautifully painted models need an appropriate setting. He is especially skilful in making naturalistic terrains and employs many types of house of the period approriate to the campaign in progress. His collection, comprising over three thousand Stadden, Gammage and Hinton models, all of the Napoleonic period , is delightfully painted and serves not only its primary purpose but at the same time is a delight to the eye."

Interestingly there's no mention of Gilders first wargaming love, the ACW. As you are probably aware Mike Ingham has a lot of the figures Garrat mentions currently for sale - details from Clive.

If you are a model soldier fan then i highly recommend Garratt's book. I suppose it's largely a 'state of the hobby' circa 1972. As you would expect it's profusely illustrated, but the real value for me is the many biographies it contains of makers (including the odd barbed critique of their work) and collectors. The international array includes Hinton, Higgins, Suren, Stadden, Grant, Gilder, Sweet, Morschauser, Eriksson, and many more. Interestingly Gilder is only mentioned as a collector - which suggests Garrat's information to be a few years out of date by the time of publication, either that, or Gilder's sculpting is overlooked as 20/25mm was not Garratt's primary interest.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Griffith At Gettysburg

The late Dr Paddy Griffith is one of the key individuals behind my enduring (but largely unfulfilled) interest in the ACW. His books are fascinating but, long before i had read any of them, he took part in the first ACW game i witnessed (albeit via the TV screen) - the game played during the Gettysburg episode of Battleground. I remember the game looked spectacular and it was the terrain in particular that really struck me as something to aspire to. And wargaming was now on TV, presented by a famous actor, so it was clearly a serious adult pastime worthy of the many hours i was destined to devote to it in the coming decades....oh yes....

Despite playing with 'his toys, his terrain, and with his rules' Peter Gilder was given a sound thrashing by the other PG as they played out a highly condensed Gettysburg scenario. After winning a largely irrelevant cavalry melee on his left flank Gilder made his main thrust in the centre - Griffith's front line was brushed aside as Gilder's Rebs won the heights but his elation was to be short lived as he was then confronted by Griffith's reserve ('the Iron Brigade armed with breechloaders') and hit by enfilading artillery. A couple of moves later Gilder's centre was in tatters with his infantry brigades either dead or fleeing and the game was up.

Incidentally, the terrain was the same board used in the Callan movie, although by the time Battleground was recorded Edward Woodward had purchased it from Gilder.

The 'high point of the Confederacy' - Gilder's Rebs crest Cemetery Ridge but are shot to pieces by Griffith's reserve infantry and supporting artillery.

Not only did Griffith take part in one episode but he was also a Historical Consultant (along with Dr David Chandler and Charles Wesencraft) to the series. At this point in his career Griffith was Senior Lecturer at Sandhurst, where he also ran the wargame group.

Thanks to some very generous individuals i am slowly pulling together more information and images, so i hope to post more on Battleground in due course.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


In recent years i've become addicted to tinkering - every new unit has to include a few conversions. Inspiration often comes from illustrations, and the Company of Military Historians 'The Era of the American Revolution' title is a source i keep returning to.

You may remember i featured the Culpeper Minutemen some time ago, i'd thought i'd put them to bed as a small 18 figure battalion but hadn't reckoned on the generosity of 'Mr MWAN' himself - Hal Thinglum. Last year Hal sent me a box of Hinchliffe figures that contained a number of riflemen and i recently used those to boost the Culpeper battalion up to it's 1775 paper strength. More rank and file meant more command figures so i took the opportunity to create my own miniature version of the officer illustrated in the COMH book. I took a Hinchliffe militia casting, replaced the head and left arm, converted the voluminous waistcoat into a hunting shirt and added a few other details such as an officers sash and fringing to the legs. A lick of Humbrol Midnight Blue and i'm quite pleased with the result.

The new drummer boy is also a conversion - the Foremost British Napoleonic drummer getting the Miliput hunting shirt treatment.

Recently i was able to pop down to the WHC and Mike Ingham was good enough to let me poke around the shelves for a couple of hours. Having had a good gander at literally hundreds of Doug Mason creations (not to mention those fantastic and ingenious Gilder buildings and terrain features) i am now armed with a stock of great conversion ideas to pillage for my AWI armies.

Friday, 4 June 2010

More Gilder Era Figures From The WHC

Again these British rifles come to us courtesy of Mike Ingham. Somewhat dusty apparently they've been languishing in a cupboard for years. The officer and kneeling figures are current Hinchliffe, the standing firing chap is more of a mystery - Clive reckons he's a 'first edition' Hinchliffe, and he's probably right (similar style to his more modern colleagues, just smaller and thinner ....that's the figure, not Clive).

Incidentally i think the first time i heard of the WHC was via a small piece in a Sunday supplement (probably the Sunday Times) c. 1980 - i remember that article being illustrated with a rather atmospheric shot of a British rifleman. It's a shame i no longer have that cutting.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


More vintage Hinchliffe from the WHC courtesy of Mike Ingham. Here i think we have early Hinchliffe cossacks (i've not seen this figure before, and it's not in the current catalogue) on current range ancient Hun ponies. Mike inherited these from Peter Gilder in 1988 and they are still in regular use at the WHC (which could make them veterans of over 35 years service).

Incidentally Clive has posted images of Garrison and Hinton Hunt figures from the WHC collection at The Hinton Hunter and The Old Metal Detector recently.

More vintage WHC Napoleonics soon.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Vintage Hinchliffe From The WHC

Mike Ingham (owner of the Wargames Holiday Centre) was kind enough to send me these images recently. They form part of a substantial collection of vintage, original 'Gilder era', figures that Mike had unearthed.

These particular chaps are 'first edition' Hinchliffe British Napoleonic heavy dragoons - the trooper was remodelled (and significantly enlarged) in the late 1970s but the officer and trumpeter remain in the Hinchliffe catalogue to this very day.

More vintage Hinchliffe from the WHC in due course.

Friday, 14 May 2010


If you are familiar with the Connoisseur Napoleonic range then you'll know that some troop types are lacking some rather basic variants - for example, in the case of French Hussars there is a trooper and trumpeter, but no officer casting. I suspect Peter Gilder simply ran out of time to add all of the figures he would have liked, but every cloud has a silver lining and this one encourages you to be creative.

John created this Grand Manner unit some time ago, it's been notoriously camera shy which is why i've had to make do with the rather dodgy pictures above (note to self: a glass topped table is not a good venue for toy soldier photography). An impressive result when you consider that only two basic castings were used (the aforementioned trooper and trumpeter) - a great example of what can be achieved with a little greenstuff and imagination.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

More From Siggins

More splendid Connoisseur personalities from the brush of Mike Siggins. Mike uses oils for horses and acrylics (mostly Vallejo) for everything else. Lovely stuff!

Whilst we're on the subject of acrylics there are some very useful painting guides available online that i should have mentioned a long time ago - the Rapid Fire site contains three articles (Painting Plastic Figures I, II and III) that take you through their 'Wash and Line' method that is near as damnit to my own (you may be forgiven for thinking i nicked it from them ...ahem...). Highly recommended, as they say.

Monday, 5 April 2010

More 'Orses

I've never been happy with my horses - the finished article always seems a bit dull in comparison to the rest of my toys. So i decided to be a bit bolder with the latest batch, and the dun and grey above are two of the results. All i've done is increased the contrast between the shadows and highlights and i think it's worked. Using lighter colours than the usual Vandyke Brown, black, etc. helped a lot - and is probably the no-brainer answer!

As usual i've used a white undercoat, applied a colour wash ( Burnt Umber oil, and Humbrol Gloss 5 respectively) which is then wiped off, the deepest shadows are painted in with a darker shade of the wash. Lower legs, mane, tail and muzzle are then painted in and highlighted with a dry brush (or a wipe-off as in the dun).

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Featherstone Snaps The Stars

I'm posting this today (rather than tomorrow) just in case you think it's a Photoshopped wind-up....

Another gem from uber-blogger Clive - Don Featherstone caught Frank Hinchliffe and Peter Gilder (together with Tradition's Peter Beaton and Osprey's MD Tony Bovill) at the launch party for Osprey's 50th title in September 1975. In front of them Hinchliffe British and French Napoleonics face off on one of PG's terrain modules.

As Clive suggested this could be a still from The Sweeney (or perhaps back stage during the shooting of the Beastie Boys Sabotage video).....dig the threads Pete!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Words of Wisdom 2

Mr Preece's recent dilema put me in mind of these sage words from George Gush ('A Guide to Wargaming' by Gush and Finch):

Be warned: once one embarks on super-detail and elaborate painting techniques, some strange psychological force makes it almost impossible to return to simpler standards, so one is condemned to lengthy sessions of painting for ever!

(To be fair to JP one of the things i admire about him is his apparent ability to switch between painting styles and levels of detail as appropriate for the particular project - not something i seem able to do other than using a shiny finish for vintage figures and matt for modern ones. And then there's the fact that he has 10,000 painted figures....).

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Great Gilder Set Pieces 5

Peter Gilder's version of the premature demolition of the bridge over the Elster on the 18th October 1813. You'll find this on the cover of 'The Campaign of Leipzig 1813' - the second, and last, title in the short-lived Osprey Wargames series.

The Wargames series was similar to the current Osprey Campaigns series - you got an overview of the campaign and combatants, and a section on wargaming (which was always frustratingly short). Neither fish nor foul i suppose Osprey were trying to please both wargamers and history buffs in a single short volume; i much preferred the more wargamer focused approach of the similar Knights and Bellona series. Four years later Gilder's 'Let's Fight Leipzig' series in Miniature Wargames perhaps completed the picture begun by this Osprey title.

Of course where the Osprey series did score highly was the illustrations, and not just the half dozen Gilder set pieces in each volume, but also the numerous line drawings and sketches of relevant equipment and locations - in general they were well chosen and useful.

As for the toys - the majority of the figures in the foreground are obviously standard Hinchliffe 25s, but the figures in the background are intriguing - they must be 15mm, or perhaps System 12? Can anyone identify them?

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Brief Charles Stadden Interlude

They are not shiny, they're not even wargame figures, but they are by Charles Stadden - so well worthy of inclusion.

These images are just 3 pages from the slim 'Model Soldiers' volume published by Tradition (strictly speaking Belmont-Maintland Publishers Ltd) in 1967. Text by JBR Nicholson and photography by the doyen of model soldier snappers - Philip O Stearns.

All the figures illustrated are 54mm, and would probably be considered a touch naive by the standards of today's top modellers, but they retain a real charm that certainly appeals to me. More from this book anon.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Words of Wisdom 1

This tickled me - from AIRFIX magazine guide 19 'Model Soldiers', Martin Windrow (or was it Gerry Embleton) spoke thus:

Like a gun, a modelling knife is neutral; whether it works for good or ill depends entirely on the moron holding it.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

That Classic Mil Mod Cover

I remember being transfixed by this Hezzlewood and Ray created FIW set piece pretty much from the moment i collected the magazine from the local newsagent. Neither Suren nor Stadden figures were on my radar at the time so seeing such finely sculpted figures for the SYW was a revelation (Spencer Smith's these were not, and, although i liked Gilder's SYW cavalry, the infantry he did for Hinchliffe were a bit too chunky for my liking).

I guess this cover was arranged to coincide with the launch of Hezzlewood's Pax Britannica range (ads for which appeared in early editions of Miniature Wargames, which places them in 1983 or '84), and the majority of the figures featured appear to be standard PB castings. Apparently John Ray painted the British, and Hezzlewood the French (and rumour has it he didn't bother painting the legs of the chaps defending the stockade). The buildings look suspiciously like the creations of the late Ian Weekley of Battlements fame.

Nearly 30 years on this remains an inspirational image and one of my all time classics.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Hezzlewood Writes..

Not content with merely being possibly the finest sculptor to ever grace our little hobby the late Steve Hezzlewood was also capable of writing engaging and informative articles. The article featured here comes from the Battle for wargamers 'Wargames Manual' of 1983 and is an account of a FIW skirmish game with John Ray. The article is illustrated with some of Hezzlewood's early designs - instantly recognisable to fans of his Pax Britannica and Hinchliffe figures no doubt.

As far as i know Hezzlewood had only two other articles published in the mainstream wargames press - 'Table-top Movement' and 'The Melee in Wargames' both of which appeared in Issue 6 of Miniature Wargames (which should still be available as a hard copy or PDF from the publishers, so i won't be posting those articles).

That same year the Hezzlewood and Ray partnership was also responsible for one of the great Mil Mod covers - of which more anon.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Clash of the Titans

Two of the big cheeses of the '70s scene lock horns - John Braithwaite (of Garrison Miniatures fame) takes on Peter Gilder during the filming of the Waterloo episode of Battleground.

This image was taken from the Battle for wargamers 'Wargames Manual' of 1983.