Wednesday 22 June 2011

Almark Publications

Almark was a company that was hard to get your head round - prolific publisher, of books and the short-lived (I think) magazine Almark Modelworld; producer of the plastic and metal Charles Stadden designed World War 2 wargames figures (see my The Old Metal Detector blog here); and other interests including 54mm figures.

This post is mainly about the books - published in both hardback and paperback versions. With the passage of time the wisdom of investing in the hardbacks has become clear - the paperbacks were produced in the format laughingly called "perfect bound", with individual pages glued into the spine - not a good recipe for frequent use as a painting reference.

Authors included Emir Bukhari, Rene North, Alan Kemp, Michael Head and David Nash. The format included line drawings, colour plates and photographs. They could vary - the Prussian Army volume has delightful line drawings of gnome like figures who look like either children dressed up or early prototypes for Wargames Foundry figures.

I haven't been able to locate anything like a complete list of Almark titles, so have illustrated this post with some of those I have in my library (below). The three advertisments above are all taken from issues of Almark Modelworld.

The Books

Thursday 16 June 2011

Blandford Forum

In the pre-internet days uniform information was at a premium and could be hard to find. Articles in magazines such as Military Modelling, Almark Modelworld, and Airfix Magazine helped, as did a small number of well-thumbed and loved books.

One very important resource was the series of books published by Blandford Press, typically with 100+ colour plates in the middle of the books, bracketed by introductions and text notes. The quality of the artwork could vary from book to book, but included artists such as Carman, Cassin-Scott and McGregor. The archetypal book for me is the Preben Kannik Military Uniforms of the World in Colour.

As well as books on uniforms, there were volumes covering badges and insignia, military flags, tanks and AFVs. Other subjects included ships and aircraft.

This format comprised the Blandford Colour Series. The original editions were small hardbacks; there were later, slightly larger paperbacks. I have provided a list below - this is not supposed to be comprehensive, but I've included the titles I think might be of the greatest interest, along with those I happen to have. The illustrated covers are a random selection from my bookshelf.

Blandford Colour Series

Warriors & Weapons 3000BC-1700AD, N Saxtorph
Medieval Military Dress 1066-1500, C Rothero
Military Uniforms of the World, , Preben Kannik & W>Y Carman
Infantry Uniforms of Britain & the Commonwealth 1742-1855, R & C Wilkinson-Latham
Cavalry Uniforms of Britain & the Commonwealth 1742-1953, R & C Wilkinson-Latham
Uniforms of the Seven Year War 1756-63, J Mollo & M McGregor
Uniforms of the American Revolution, J Mollo & M McGregor
Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars 1796-1814, J Cassin-Scott
Uniforms of the Peninsular War 1807-14, P Haythornwaite & M Chappell
Uniforms of the Retreat from Moscow, P Haythornwaite & M Chappell
Uniforms of the Battle of Waterloo, P Haythornwaite, J Cassin-Scott, & M Chappell
World Uniforms & Battles 1815-50, P Haythornwaite & M Chappell
Infantry Uniforms of Britain & the Commonwealth 2 1855-1939, R & C Wilkinson-Latham
Uniforms of the American Civil War, P Haythornwaite & M Chappell
Army Uniforms of World War 1, A Mollo & P Turner
German Uniforms of the Third Reich 1933-45, B.L. Davis & P Turner
World Army Uniforms since 1939, A Mollo & D Smith
Army Uniforms of World War 2, A Mollo & P Turner
Naval, Marine & Air Force Uniforms of World War 2, A Mollo & M McGregor
Army Uniforms since 1945, D Smith & M Chappell

Military Flags of the World 1618-1900, T Wise & G Rosignoli

Tanks and other Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1900-1918, B.T. White
Military Transport of World War 1, C. Ellis and D. Bishop
Artillery in Colour 1920-63, I Hogg
Tanks and other AFVs of the Blitzkrieg Era 1939-41, B.T. White
Tanks and other AFVs 1942-45, B.T. White
Military Transport of World War 2, C. Ellis and D. Bishop
Tanks and other tracked vehicles in service, B.T. White

Horse-Drawn Vehicles since 1760, Arthur Ingram

To follow: Almarks, and Rene North

Sunday 12 June 2011

I just liked this....

I am very wary of claims to the spirit of wargaming (you know who you are) but something about this reminded me of the innocent pleasures of Charles Grant's Battle: Practical Wargaming.

Rapid Fire may be a little recent for Vintage tastes, but it has shared DNA with John Sandars rules and that is good enough for me.

The Big Battle League: Et in Arcadia Ego

THE INVASION OF ARCADIA 1975 by the Big Battle League

This article was published in Battle Magazine May 1976 and has been mentioned on the Society of Gentleman Gamers forum.Terry Mutlow and Neil Roberts were the driving forces behind the project and asked Terry Wise to umpire the game by the War Department, a wargames club based in New Malden Surrey.

Other clubs involved were the North London Wargames Society, South London and the Whitehall Warlords and the Hampton and the Wandsworth Wargames clubs.

The game was played on a hall floor 48 by 24 feet over 1100 square feet of battlefield. There were more than 40 players and used models from WWII to 1975, including 4000 infantry, 700 AFVs and 200 aircraft, 40 landing craft and other naval assets.

Tyberius, who posted about the article, is interested in finding out the following:

Is there anyone out there who participated in the original game, or who knows of those that participated in this game?

Is there any more information about this game - who played, any pictures, highlights etc.

Did the Big Battle league organise any other games?

Any comments or further information would be welcome.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Searching Vintage Wargaming

In my recent quest to make it easier to find what you are looking for here, whether you know it is there but can't find it again, or if you haven't seen it here before but wonder if something might be here, I have added a search facility (at the top of the right hand column of the blog).

Don't forget you can also use the labels systems or the blog archive at the bottom of the page.

Steve Hezzlewood, Pax Britannica, RSM and X Range

This post is by way of being a bit of a place holder and statement of intent, as I try to pull together some material of interest about this complicated character. My defining moment of contact with him was being blown away in around 1985 by adverts for a lovely new range of 20mm Colonials under the title Pax Britannica. Having sent off a largish order, I heard no more - it was only a few years ago realised I was not the only one to have had this experience.

Steve Hezzlewood designed some of the best, anatomically proportioned figures - in 20mm the Pax Pritannica and RSM Colonials, Napoleonics and American Civil War figures, now available from Dayton Painting Consortium in the States; the RSM 25mm Seven Years War Range (also available from DPC); and the Hinchliffe X Range American War of Independence - now available from Ian Hinds.

If you have not seen any of these figures, you really should take a look at them. The 20mm figures are what I would call small 20mm - think Newline.

For more on Steve Hezzlewood, including his Raid on Boucharde article from the Wargames Manual of 1983, can be found over on DC's Unfashionably Shiny blog.

There is also a history of Pax Britannica on Vintage20Mil.