Friday, 23 March 2012

How it all started for me - Part Three


The last time that I talked about how I started this great hobby of wargaming on this blog, I started to tell you about a film that changed my hobby from stamp collecting to wargaming.
It started back in 1970 and I was 14 years old when the film “Waterloo” came out. I can still remember this great film even though it is not historically correct. I remember that my dad took the family to see this film in London at the Dominion Theatre in Tottenham Court Road. I still have the ticket for that day and the colourful programme that I brought with all the information about the actors and how the film was made. The film lasted for over 4 hours and that was edited down from the original 5 hours. Although there was a small break half way through the film, the hours flew by and when I returned home all I could think about was all of them wonderful colourful uniforms and masses columns of soldiers.
This was the film that changed me, but up till then the 1964 film Zulu was my best film ever but is now my second best, the reason being that Airfix did not produce any Zulu War figures which was a great shame. But even by 1970, Airfix had only produced two Waterloo sets of figures and it was not till 1971 that they brought out the French foot artillery set again in cream coloured plastic.


So my French army had Heavy cavalry and now Foot artillery. The poor old English had just the Highlanders but that was all to change in the following year.
But before then, I really started to enjoy the hobby as it was about this time in the summer school holidays that me and a group of friends began a campaign of 20mm Airfix soldiers out in my back garden in Eltham. The two armies had about three generals a side, one being in complete command. Two maps of the garden were given to the two commanders with the path around the garden being a large river. The figures were mainly WWII but I included my Waterloo figures and even my WWI soldiers that I still had for my army. As the campaign grew some started to get really serious about the game and started to buy up loads of Airfix soldiers and their plastic complete lorries and tanks sets that were around then. It was great fun and for a long while after the game, my dad used to find soldiers now and then when he was digging in the garden.
In 1972 it was a boom year for Airfix and for us Napoleonic wargaming/collectors. For it was in this year that Airfix brought out four new Waterloo sets. The first two to come out was the British Hussars and French Line Infantry. At least the armies are now beginning to look even on both sides. The British Infantry were next to come out followed by the British Royal Horse artillery. All four sets came out in their famous cream coloured plastic.