In the late 70’s a brought myself my first war gaming table. It was 8ft x 5ft and it was made of 1/2 inch chip wood board. The only place that I could set this up was in the master bedroom which gave us plenty of space to move around. This was archived by moving the double bed into the centre of the room and taking the headboard off to lay the table flat on the base of the bed. This is where the club members of the CWA would come along to my house on a Sunday to play our campaigns and other battles.
I painted one side of the board grass green for summer and the other size white for winter. We could set up over 1,000 figures on the table with still plenty of room for them to move around. Unfortunately the board has long gone as I had no room for it in the house that I moved into and live in now.
We had to wait for another five years before any new Napoleonic figures appeared in the hobby/toy shops. In 1984 an Italian company called Esci made two new sets. The first was the French Imperial Guard and in the same year British Infantry mixed with highlanders. Then in 1985 they brought out two more sets the Scots Greys and the Polish Lancers. In the following year six more were added. A mixed box of Prussian/Austrians, French Line Infantry, British Hussars and Horse Artillery with no limbers and French Foot Guard Artillery again without any limbers and Russian Infantry.
All these sets brought new life to the club and many of the above sets gave the club members a wider choice of figures to collect. This is when I really started to paint up my figures and I would also help the club members to paint theirs on club nights. During the club years, we were able to purchase cheap figures from a toy shop in Welling, Southeast London, where we could buy boxes of figures from a company called “A-Toys” for a pound each. These were actually Esci figures in the box and they were very popular with the club members at the time. The last Napoleonic set for Esci to bring out was the French Cuirassiers in 1987.
So we now had figures available to us from two plastic companies A-Toys/Esci and Airfix, but in 1988 I had to pack up the club that I had been running for ten years as my work was taking over my personal life with working late on press night which was in fact our club night.
So I then became a solo wargamer and in 1992 Revell moved into Napoleonic’s and made two new Napoleonic sets. These were 02570 French Grenadier Guards in greatcoats and 02571 British Infantry. Now these sets were very more detailed than the old Airfix figures and better made than the Esci thin ones. So the 80’s was a really good year for our hobby but the 90’s was going to be even better.