By Rob Morgan
“I’ve got something here might interest you,” said my friend in the Oxfam charity shop: a pile of magazines from the late 1960s and, as they say on the TV antiques programmes, immaculate. Most were model railway and railway enthusiast stuff, but there were a handful of Airfix Magazines (got the lot) and a few others, of which I bought just two, Issues 1 and 2 of Scale Models, dating to October and November 1969. There were no other issues, sadly. Somehow, probably due to University, girls and beer, I don’t recall seeing them before, and I would certainly remember buying a Number 1.
The launch of the magazine was international, sold at three shillings in the UK, and 70 cents in the USA and Canada. What surprised me was the amount of wargame-useful material this publication contained. Issue 1 had articles on German aircraft camouflage, colours and markings in World War I, a very good piece on Red Army tank markings 1941-45, the insignia of the British Army in World War II, and a scratch-building set of drawings for a 1485-period War of the Roses warship. Excellent stuff, continued in Issue 2 with articles on the most numerous aircraft ever built, the Soviet Polikarpov Po-2 (40,000 of them), on M-109s on Israeli service c. 1948, and more late medieval warship models. A wargames scale c1900 armed steamboat too.
Nostalgia corner? Yes, if there’s one thing I enjoy it’s reading the reviews of long ago, and the adverts too. Whatever happened to Bellona AFV prints? Did the 1969-70 Model Engineer Exhibition in London really have wargames? There’s a warning on page 58 of Issue 1 that Airfix HO-OO scale figures (and the AFVs) were now on sale at an increased cost of two shillings and nine pence a pack. What are they now?