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 Interestingly Gilder is only mentioned as a collector - which suggests Garrat's information to be a few years out of date by the time of publication, either that, or Gilder's sculpting is overlooked as 20/25mm was not Garratt's primary interest.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.