Since the end of my PBEM campaign my wargaming has slowed down. Consequently I have had more time to ponder and reflect. I thought it might be interesting, at least for me, to record my early wargame influences. So over the next few weeks I will write a blog about each major influence.
As a child I was no more interested in toy soldiers than my friends. Two things stick in my mind. When I was about 8 years old my uncle bought me a large box of Britain’s metal toy soldiers. They were British guardsmen. They were the first present I can remember getting really excited about. I played with them for years but never added to them, they were much too expensive.
My second memory is seeing a large collection of model soldiers in the window of my local newspaper office. No idea what make or size, but I remember how colourful and impressive they looked.
In my early teens I made a few Airfix models but never bothered with the soldiers.
In 1967 I painted my first model soldier. I was in the army at the time and saving to get married. To pass the long evenings I decided to make my nephew a diorama of the Trooping of the Colour. I bought the Airfix Guards Band and a dozen boxes of the Guards Colour Party. The painting was pretty basic, but acceptable. I made a wooden box and stuck the figures on the bottom. My nephew was very pleased.
In 1968 I found a copy of “Charge or How to Play Wargames” in the garrison library. I had never heard of wargames before and was fascinated by the glossy photographs. The text was easy to read and understand and the rules simple and easy to follow.
My wife was also interested and read the book after me. I did not find this at all unusual, although I now realise that it was by no means normal. We had played cards and board games so it seemed quite natural to try wargaming together.
I did not realise what a profound influence it would have on our future.