Thursday, May 6, 2010

British Miniatures Gaming, 1956

Among the emails I'd neglected were several pointing me toward the video below, which shows Peter Cushing painting wargame miniatures -- called "toy soldiers" in the voiceover -- for use in playing H.G. Wells's Little Wars. I have to admit it's a really fun piece of history and one about which I didn't know. I don't usually get excited when I see that some famous personage shares a hobby with me (not that Cushing did), but I can't deny that I was more than a little pleased to see that Cushing, an actor I've loved since childhood (mostly for his Van Helsing but also, of course, for Grand Moff Tarkin) was, in some sense, a kindred spirit.


The original site of this video can be found here.

14 comments:

  1. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing! I love his battle setup in his room. That hill looks like one I made. I also think its great when they pan his shelves of books. I have shelves with gaming books on them that look just like that.

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  2. Wonderful - I've always thought Cushing was awesome. Now he's double-awesome.

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  3. That is pretty darn cool! Thanks for sharing that!

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  4. And he finishes with a cigarette. That's one of the memories I have from gaming with a group of elders in my younger days...their battle cigarettes.

    Haven't seen one of those in twenty years.

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  5. Fantastic period piece, thanks. Who wrote that backing music, so integral to 50s documentary/instructional movies? I have a sense that there's only half a dozen pieces that everyone used over and over again.

    Don't forget Cushing's Dr. Who...

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  6. Thanks a lot for sharing that! I'm off to cross-link it...

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  7. Cushing, already high on the Cool List, just jumped to a whole new level.

    Oh, I bet he would have made a graet DM. :)

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  8. That rocks. :)

    It's a little strange that he's showing playing Little Wars. There were other rules by 1956, weren't there? The Little Wars rules are so light as to almost not be there... I wonder if he was really playing something else, and the reporters wanted him to show of Little Wars because it was more familiar to the audience.

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  9. This is WIN of such epicness I cannot describe.

    "These toy soldiers are now the ultimate power in the universe..."

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  10. Peter Darley - I don't think there were any other published wargames rules in the UK at the time. The number of active wargamers in the UK was probably less than a dozen - Granville and Angus Bantock, 'Bish' Iwaszko, L/Col. J.B.R. Nicholson, Ed Saunders, Charles Grant, Tony Bath, Lionel Tarr, Archie Cass and Charles Reavely are the only ones I can think of. Captain J.C. Sachs, who had adapted Little Wars by adding tanks and small arms fire to produce rules for the British Model Soldier Society Tactical Championship, died in 1956 after a couple of years inactivity caused by illness.

    Brigadier Peter Young was still commanding the 9th Arab Legion in Jordan, Charles S Grant had yet to be introduced to wargaming by his father, and Don Featherstone was a couple of years away from his meeting with Tony Bath which led to his books that were a major cause of the explosion of wargaming interest in the 1960s.

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  11. Hey, Van Helsing was good, but his Dr. Frankenstein was the absolute epitome of "soulless science." The man was a class act, all the way.

    I felt the same way when I saw the clip. His painting area looks like mine, but better organized, and more tastefully decorated. Downright felt a kinship, there...

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  12. "that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books"

    i chuckled

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  13. hm, i suppose just hearing it, it could be "that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys, games, and books"

    but i doubt it.


    captcha: rehaha. to haha again, obv.

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  14. Wow... thanks for sharing that. Funny how these things were once so mainstream, sort of.

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