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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Sunday, 20 May 2012


... and a HG Wells related question.  Recent postings on two of my favourite blogs got me thinking (quiet at the back!). Firstly, today's post on His Grace's blog exhibited a new addition - a band from Wittenberg. This re-awakened an old enthusiasm of mine. Why do we not see more military bands on the tables of glory? They must surely be worth additional morale points, they most certainly offer the most marvellous uniforms, for the Eighteenth century wargamer in particular, but other periods too. Sadly, apart from the odd musician in random scales, my various armies boast only one band:

A small Confederate band in 15mm (so, small in both senses) plays stirring music while their comrades from a Zouave regiment march past. The Band Master has realised that an exalted one rides alongside, and has turned to salute:

Nice, old school look about him, even in 15mm - Minifigs, I think.  

Now, that brings me to the second inspirational set of postings, over on Funny Little Wars - Garden Campaigns, where the Padre has recently provided an after battle report on an American Civil War/War of the States action. As readers of this blog will know, I have a Funny Little Wars 'Army Black' in the making, conscripted from Armies in Plastic's value for money 54mm figures, with a few, much more expensive Tradition 54mm toy soldiers added to the pointy headed mix. The combination of FLW and the ACW set me to parading some of my ACW toy soldier style figures that I had collected a good few years back for an earlier attempt at H G Wells' inspired gaming. Here are some of the chaps. First, the Blue Bellies:

Note the Iron Brigade in reserve in the far background.

And, the Rebs. First some colours:

Good Lord, what is Scotland's flag doing there! (I wonder when the National Museums of Scotland will run an exhibition about the very deep, formative ties between Scotland and the southern states? Religion, flags, morality, bigotry, self-reliance, violence... Odd how the SNP don't make more of it). And Johnny Reb's firing line:

While, below, the famed Cavaliers of the South ride through an abandoned Blue Belly gun line. (I say, Cuba has got into the picture again!).

Now the point about this never-completed project is that these marvellous toy soldier figures (which were a joy to paint) are in 42mm, not 54mm. At the time (about 10-12 years ago) I understood that the figures that H G famously used and photographed were, in modern usage, in 42mm. So, my question is, were the original H G Wells' chaps in 42mm or 54mm ?

The second question (which I have just remembered) is does anyone else remember, or, indeed, have a copy of, the wargames magazine that the revived H G Wells in 42mm article was in ? It was either Miniature Wargames or Wargames Illustrated, probably from the late '90s, and involved beer mats and wine corks.


  1. Very nice looking ACW figures there, and I agree with the point you make about marching bands, not enough companies make them (except in 54mm which suits me). I always understood that Wells used 54mm Britains figures, but I could be wrong.

    1. Oh no! Now look what's happened - the prospect of 54mm bands... No, no, not another scale!!

      Yes, I thought Wells was a 54mm man, but aren't the 42mm figures 'S' scale or something, which were the slightly cheaper figures that Britains made? I'm not sure.

  2. The figures used in the pictures of the Battle of Hooks Farm in Little Wars are 54mm, Britains did make a 40mm range but it was quite limited. In his previous book Floor Games, Wells pictures show 54mm Britains but also 40mm Heydes, I don't think he got too worked up about scale. In my games I use figures from 45mm up to 60mm so long as you don't mix them in the same unit you can get away with it.
    Best wishes, Brian

    1. Many thanks for this information, Brian. That clears it up. I suppose the Heydes - like the Irregular Miniatures in my post - were solid cast? The 42mm are very nice little castings, and look rather fine in a gloss finish, so I may well treat myself to some more.

  3. As Brian mentions, the figures in the pictures are standard 54mm however, he recommends the smaller 1 1/2" figures for wargames. That makes them good enough for me. (Esp since my favorite ones were sculpted by Erikson who did the classic Spencer Smiths that gracs so many of the 1960's wargame books.


    1. This is interesting - what a lot of knowledgeable fellows out ther! I didn't know that the classic Spencer Smiths were by Erikson. I have quite a few of the as well - plenty of 'spirit' in their animation.