Saturday, 1 March 2014


My thanks to Mike for these pictures of his SEGOM figures - Prussian Infantry and Russian Grenadiers. Mike thinks he bought them at Northern Militaire in the 1970s and remembers Austrian Infnatry in helmets too.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

My Old Dutch

Another ebay purchase and a surprise twice over - first in the form of a second chance offer to buy them, and second  to discover some of the figures weren't metal. I'm not sure how I feel about this as it wasn't referred to anywhere in the description. At first (and in an earlier version of this post) my initial thought when I saw the photograph for the first time was that they were Springwood Plastics, with the exception of the mounted officer and pioneer, who are S Range.

However Fire at Will, who has several thousand Springwood Plastics figures humself, has pointed out that they are actually something even rarer to see in this quantity, and are in fact by the French company SEGOM. So the twist in the tail/tale is that they are now a surprise three times over and they look an even better purchase than before. In one sense it is the quality of the figure rather than their maker that matters, but it is always nice to have something new in the collection.

An earlier post here on Vintage Wargaming has the Rene North "Paint YOur Own" cards with uniform information for this unit.

(I've just realised I've used the same heading for this as a recent post on the Hinton Hunt Vintage Wargames Figures blog - sorry Ian - so I have changed it0

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Mystery solved

Paul RH over on another forum after some internet sleuthing has identified these as Framburg recognition models (they seem to lack the wheels that might have meant they were the later Dale Company versions).

The information on Framburg is here.

Thanks to all who have helped with this, particularly Chris, Alan and of course Paul.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Tanks for the Memory...

Patrick has sent me these three pictures of two metal tank models. They are approximately 3 inches by 6 inches, and seem to be an M3 Lee and M4 Sherman 105mm.

(It has now been persuasively suggested to me elsewhere that the Sherman is not the 105 mm version but the T6 Medium Tank, i.e. the Sherman prototype. The photograph below is of the example built at Aberdeen and I think confirms this identification.) There seems little point in having identification models of the prototype much beyond 1942 when the production models were introduced. As the lee was also introduced in 1941, and there are clear similarities between the two models (the running gear), perhaps these could even have been models used as part of the prototyping process?

Patrick (and I) would be very interested in and grateful for any information on their likely manufacturer and date of production.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Something Old School - Grant on Minden

The Wargamers Yearbook 1966/7 contains this lengthy (ish) article by Charles Grant on a refight of Minden, which should be of interest to devotees of The War Game/Charge way of doing things.

I haven't been able to check but I think the "Visitor" will have been Brigadier Peter Young and his"local chief of staff" the young CS Grant.

I've always felt that, due to the sources I have available for Vintage Wargaming, Charles Grant is under represented on this blog and I'm glad to have the opportunity to redress the balance a little.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Wargamers Yearbook 1966 - Morschauser on Gridded Wargames

Quite a slight article but I hadn't seen it before, so posted here for interest.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Three Fathers

On Sunday a rendezvous in  a windswept motorway service station saw me taking possession of a package from Tim Gow of Megablitz and more containing various papers from the collection of the late John G Robertson of Dundee, who was well known in wargaming circles in Scotland. Chief amongst them was a copy of Don Featherstone's Wargamers Newsletter Wargamers Yearbook 1966/7, which I had never seen before.

It is a rich source of 1966 goodies and some of them will appear here in due course. However, the thing I have most been interested in is a long article by Don himself entitled The Early Days of Wargaming - The R.L. Stevenson story.

This reports research by one Karl G Zipple of Michigan into Stevenson's wargames at Davos in 1880-1883 and contains some sources I haven't seen before.

The reason it has caught my interest to so great an extent is in the context of George Keef and Georland, who got properly into his stride in 1872, eight years before  RLS at Davos. This shows the importance of George Keef as a previously unknown early proponent of wargaming with figures, and earlier than the previously accepted pioneer RLS.

Clearly, whenever people have had toy soldiers there have been people throwing things at them and fighting battles. However, reading Don Featherstone's article reinforced the view that George Keef is now eligible to be counted as one of the early fathers of wargaming, along with HG Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson.

More on this along with the text of the article can be found in these four posts over on the Georland blog.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Georland Soldiers

The photograph below have been posted on the History of Georland blog but I thought I would put them here for anyone who hasn't found their way over there yet.

It has emerged that most of the figures are demi rondes of around 30mm size for foot figures. Many were Franco Prussian War figures bought cheaply in around 1873 and repainted or otherwise converted. There are some flats in the collection as well - these are thought to be a later addition.

Any definite identification of manufacturers and subjects would be very welcome.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Blogger problem - search box

I have just noticed that the Blogger search gadget (at Search Vintage Wargaming at the right of this page) has stopped working. I have now replaced it with another gadget which seems to be working.

My apologies to anyone who has tried to use the search and was unsuccessful. In such cases it is always helpful to be informed by comment, as it is easy for me to miss.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Here we go...

This then is the promised news:

Following the showing of the segment on the Antiques Roadshow regarding the Keef family collection of figures and revealing a previously unknown chapter in the history of early wargaming, I have been working with the family on a transcription of the Journal The History of the Army of George 1 which describes the campaigns and battles fought between 1873 and 1894.

Originally this had been with the intention of possibly serialising the Journal here on Vintage Wargaming, but on reflection and with the approval of the family it seemed it deserved a web presence all of its own. This is really a web site using blogger as a platform, rather than a traditional blog, and it remains to be seen to what extent it will be added to in the future. I would hope some further historical notes on the collection itself and more photographs of some of the figures as they are today will be added over time.

The campaigns and battles in the Journal are profusely illustrated with maps and plans.These have been reproduced within the posts on the blog. However, as the Journal is foolscap in size it is not easy to scan on a standard A4 scanner, and I have been working from photographs of pages rather than scans, so these are not as well defined as I perhaps would like. Over time it is hoped that these pictures can be replaced with higher resolution scans, but they are included as they are to provide visual interest and illustration.

As Graham Lay, the expert on the Antiques Roadshow, pointed out the importance of the collection is that it substantially predates what is generally thought of as the first documented example of wargaming with figures, the  Lloyd Osbourne article "Stevenson at Play" in Scribners Magazine of 1898, describing Robert Louis Stevenson's wargames.

Additionally, it is remarkable not only the extent to which it is documented, but the extent to which this documentation, along with the collection, has survived, thanks to a family which never threw anything away. In addition to the Journal there are a number of other sources of information including the letters home of George Keef while overseas on military service, and notes written by other members of the family.

The full text of the Journal is now available in a series of posts on the new blog, The History of Georland (click to follow the link). Visit it, bookmark it, comment on it, and keep an eye on it to see if further material of interest is added in the future.

I would particularly like to thank the Keef family for their willingness to make all this material available to a wider audience and the considerable trouble they have taken to make this possible.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Teaser - some big news soon

Just to say - there will be some interesting news to follow up the Antiques Roadshow posts, coming soon.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

That Terry Wise article

Thanks to Matt and indirectly to old John, here is a scan of the Airfix magazine article by Terence Wise from Airfix Magazine July 1978.

I'm afraid the quality of the scan isn't so good though I have put it through Paint Shop to sharpen up the text (the photos are particularly poor though)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Request - Airfix magazine article from July 1978

I have had an email from Adrian in Germany who years ago produced a Napoleonic Austrian army from Airfix conversions inspired by an article by Terry Wise in Airfix Magazine July 1978. He no longer has the army or the article, but inspired by Matt's Airfix Wargames Blog he would like to recreate the one with the help of the other. If anyone has access to a copy of the article please could you email me using the Contacting Vintage Wargaming button at the head of this page and I will pass it on.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Mike Blake War of Independence Uniform, Weapons and Equipment 3: German Figures

The third part of the series from Almark Modelworld February 1973.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Mike Blake on War of Independence Uniforms, Weapons and Equipment 2 German Infantry from Almark Modelworld January 1973

The second of four articles in the series by Mike Blake, from Almark Modelworld January 1973.

As the article on German Military Semaphore Signals 1939-1945 doesn't run over the page, I have left it in as a bonus.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Mike Blake on Airfix AWI conversions, Almark Modelworld November 1972

First of a series of four articles (the rest to follow) by Mike Blake on converting Airfix figures for the American War of Independence.

Ground breaking stuff for the time, in one of my favourite magazines.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Antiques Roadshow update

The family of Colonel Oliver Keef, the gentleman who appeared with the collection of soldiers on Antiques Roadshow, have now published on You Tube a six minute video shot in May 2013 of him telling the story of the collection and how it was made and used.  I was particularly interested to hear that his grandfather George had been buried at sea in 1901 with a battery of artillery and some infantry in his coffin. There are also some further pictures of the figures themselves.

Monday, 30 September 2013

More News from the Antiques Roadshow

A further email has landed from Graham Lay - he thinks the figures may have been 30mm but can't be sure. He has also been reading your comments here.

He writes:

Thank you so much for your further e-mail. I had no idea that Donald Featherstone had died recently, what a loss. However he has left behind a huge legacy of which we can all be grateful.

I am truly sorry that I cannot recall the size of the figures as I know how important this is to the identity of the makers. I have viewed again all of the recording we made including that which was left out. As you will no doubt understand, we often take up to 30 minutes to record all that is needed, which is edited down to about 4 minutes. Much of the remainder is no more than repositioning things and video that we can use in editing later (what we term 'cutaways'). These consist of close-ups of a finger pointing, or a minute of me nodding and suchlike. However the day is incredibly hectic and it is difficult to remember all things. Even so I am pretty sure that I recall 30mm, although I may be mistaken. I hope you will be able to discuss this with the family perhaps.

Having read some of the other comments one of the things that I recall was that 'miniskirt' highlanders were felt to be repainted French figures and not moulded as Scots at all. I think it is important for you to discuss this with the family really. Will you let me know if you do so and what progress you make please? I would be truly interested to know your thoughts once you have gone deeper into it.

Best wishes

If any further progress is made, I will let you know, but timing may be dictated by the wishes of the family, should they make contact.