Scruby catalog from the ’90s now on-line

James Camilli has provided a copy of a catalog from Jack Scruby’s Soldier Factory dated  1997. It’s interesting to note the changes from older Scruby catalogs. The later one is focused almost entirely on larger-scale figures, such as 54mm, rather than the variety of smaller scales in the earlier days. Mr. Camilli has also provided some further observations on Scruby’s endeavors:

“As for the Scruby/Soldier Factory catalogue, I remember that it was basically the same from year to year (circa 1990s), with only minor additions or subtractions. For example, one item that appeared only temporarily was Jack’s Nile River Gunboat. This apparently was made by the same carpenter that made his wooden toy soldier castles. It was beautiful to look at, over two feet in length, and had an upper and lower deck with metal fittings and railings. It came with artillery pieces and Gatling or Gardner (machine) guns, and Jack suggested to customers that they crew it with some of his hollow-cast W.M. Britains reproductions. These might be Royal Army, Royal Navy, or Royal Artillery figures, wearing either Sennet (straw) hats, sun helmets, or standard navy caps.

“Generally, what I liked about Jack Scruby is that, although he was a very knowledgeable military historian, nevertheless I think he knew that this hobby is basically about playing with toy soldiers and having fun. And this attitude is reflected in his figures, which have a Victorian charm to them and were often finished with a high-gloss coating and were posed often in non-combat positions, such as ‘standing at attention,’ ‘standing on guard,’ ‘marching at the slope,’ etc. These are the same sorts of figures that you see in Dylan Thomas’ famous ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’ story, and are different from today’s matte-finish ‘blood and guts’ all-action figures. It’s too bad that Jack’s toy soldier business came to an end after his death. But the good news is, we still have toy soldiers and we can still have fun with them!”

The catalog can be found on the Reviews page.

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2 Responses to Scruby catalog from the ’90s now on-line

  1. Richard V. Barbuto says:

    In 1967 I acquired my first Scruby figures – 25mm Napoleonics and 1-inch Franco-Prussian. Airfix had started producing HO scale Napoleonics, but too slowly. An army of highlanders and cuirassiers was quite limited. Over the years, I purchased and painted many hundreds of 25mm French, British, and Prussian figures. I can look up from my laptop right now and see them arrayed on shelves. I have as many as 250 still unpainted. Many, many great hours of wargaming back then when I had wargaming buddies in college. I still have catalogs and copies of Miniature Parade. Extracts can be seen in the Review pages. In 1984 I spent 6 months in California testing the Sergeant York Air Defense system. I visited the Soldier Factory. By then, Jack had moved on to 40mm and 54mm figures. All this to say, it does me good to revisit the figures of one of wargaming’s great personalities. Thanks James, for the memories.

    • james camilli says:

      Thanks for your nice words, Rich. I remember the first figures I ever bought from Scruby, a set of three “Sailors, British Royal Navy, On Guard” Authenticast reproductions. They came in a flat white jewelry-style box,and when I lifted the lid you could see something glistening beneath the plastic bubble-wrap. It was the three sailors, carefully tied in place with string and shining like wet lollipops due to their gloss coating. I find it interesting that Britains recently put out a similar figure, in exactly the same pose,for their Collector’s Club. But the difference between the two is like night and day. The Britains guy is rounded and finished in flat finish, but Jack’s Authenticast sailor was square and robust-looking,just like the Rock of Gibralter. A mere glance at him would put you in mind of Churchill’s famous speech,”We shall fight them in the streets, and in the hills …. we shall NEVER surrender.” Holgar Erikson’s figures managed to capture this kind of spirit. Hope somebody decides to bring them back!
      — James Camilli

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