By Rob Morgan
I’ve suddenly woken up to the fact that 10 years have slipped by without my noticing, and that this ‘SWA blog’ of course has an anniversary to record, even if the circumstances we live in at present prevent us from holding a decent celebration! We are thriving, you’ll have noticed that. Members do write in and share ideas, discuss problems and offer suggestions — never enough of them, but I hope that might improve. I had my doubts at the outset, the lack of a catchy name, and the fact that we are separated by a bit of an ocean and different habits and customs for instance. Still, we have managed and managed well, thanks to George’s efforts. I thought at the beginning that it might become a sort of ‘Letters Page’ or ‘Query Corner.’ You know what I mean … ‘I’ve found a 28mm model of a Sims 1898 Dynamite Gun, and added it to my Royal Artillery. Anyone know of a set of rules which includes dynamite guns?’ Or ‘What colour do I paint my 1804 Saxon Jager’s shako plumes?’ That sort of thing.
It hasn’t become that, well not to any great extent. But since we’re on the subject of letters and questions, does anyone know of a decent 1/600th or 1/700th scale model of the 1893 US Ram Katahdin? If they do, please write in! I’m desperate for a ‘sea-green’ man of war in my Ironclad fleets.
There are lots of things that we haven’t seen in the blog of course. I did honestly expect to see the sort of thing that used to crop up years ago in almost all of the many Wargame Society newsletters. A crop of photographs of this month’s chosen table-top battle, lots of those, and a photo or two the 25mm unit which was painted up during the recent snowfall. Ask yourself the question … what did I wargame in the past month? What happened? Who did I tell about it?
Why didn’t you?
It’s oh, almost 50 years since I saw in the Cardiff Wargames Society newsletter a photo of an Airfix Universal Carrier, with one of those reduced bore taper guns from the Afrika Korps set mounted on it, I’ve still got the version I built as a result, though it probably shouldn’t be manned by a truncated Rommel figure from the same Afrika Korps set, Erwin was an infantry officer, and not a gunner after all. Yes, I think if there’s something I’d like to see it is a lot more in the way of photos. Jim Rohrer, lately, has dripped in a lot of valuable images, obviously, and I’m often surprised by the scratch-built models I see, but let’s have more. Please.
Oh, go on then, I’ll slip one in here. This is part of my 1/1200th Italian WWII surface fleet, and at this point I’m about to start wargaming an aircraft and submarine attack in early September 1943; historically, made on them as they headed for Malta. You’ll remember that the battleship Roma was sunk during that short voyage by a Luftwaffe glider bomb.
The recent outburst of nostalgia over banana oil (can you remember the sickly smell, Brian?) and on using different boards as gaming surfaces reminds me that though this is a developing hobby with, arguably, less than a century of civilian play behind it, the war game has been around a very long time, and has grown immensely. Don’t forget either, that though some people might regard many of our comments and discussions as just nostalgia (huh!) German Imperial kriegspielers were re-fighting Austerlitz and Mollwitz across the map-tables of Potsdam, Konigsberg and Lubeck in the 1850s! English language journals like the 1870s pamphlet publications of the RUSI, and later military magazines like The Navy chewed over and debated Waterloo, Trafalgar, and Hampton Roads for decades. Has any US member ever reviewed Proceedings for the SWA? Lastly, I simply cannot believe the utter gold mine of research and of inspiration and yes, fine, of sheer, bloody nostalgia which the addition of the entire (it is the lot, isn’t it?) collection of Don’s Featherstone’s Wargamer’s Newsletter the blog has provided.
I had intended writing a paragraph or two but as it is, I’ve drifted into a couple of pages. I’d better stop here, otherwise I’ll just go on and draw in more of the odd reasons for responding, the memory jogging comments, and the ‘why didn’t I think of that’ remarks which have cropped up in the last 10 years. Yes, I was sceptical at the beginning, but now, well I’m sold on it. I’m going to write a short note on a research article which has cropped up in The Mariner’s Mirror, the naval and nautical research journal. Look out for mention of its comment, it’s relevant to what goes before.
Well done, George. Happy anniversary. On we go!