An EBay Find Of Old Magazines .
Tin Soldiering On
Wednesday, 25 July 2018
By the Blogger The Good Soldier Svjek
I have recently acquired some old wargaming magazines from 1968-69 off EBay , which nobody else seemed interested in and I was the only bidder .
The are the journal of the Horse and Musket Society , it was the time I started wargaming but I have never heard of the society nor this publication . A quick Google search doesn't bring anything up about the society so I'm not sure how long it lasted .
The layout and quality is definitely pre-electronic media , they are slim but full of period feel , an era when gamers turned Airfix Guardsmen into any army or uniform using razor blades and Plasticine and nail varnish (I never did track down the 'banana oil' you were advised to use). We are so lucky now when it comes to uniform information with the mass of books and the Internet at our finger tips , in one of them is an article on Austrian Napoleonic Hussar uniforms (very basic) but you can imagine people seizing on this and start converting American Civil War cavalry into Hussars .
On the back of several of them is a advertisement for Miniature Figures , I remember posting off orders to this address enclosing a Postal Order (no cheques for me, I don't think I even had a bank account then), They had a strange way of working out postage - and if you didn't send enough money the deducted figures from your order (usually the most needed figures !) and it took for ever for the parcels to arrive - you could easily wait a month or more , it's much easier now to spend money ! (luckily ?)
I knew Hamish Fraser!
I was put in touch with him Easter 1968 by none other than George Cush a Lecturer from Tunbridge Wells and part time leading light of the Tunbridge Wells War Games Club. I was desperate to join a War Game Club since discovering Don Featherstone’s book War Games in 1965.
George in a kind letter put me in touch with one Hamish Fraser of 27 Ramsgate Road, Margate, Kent.
I wrote to Hamish about my situation Re: War Games and the American Civil War with Airfix figures I had collected. He suggested that we could meet at his house at Margate Saturday as that was his day off.
I was remember climbing the imposing steps and knocking at the door.
I didn’t know what to expect, the door opened and I was enthusiastically welcomed in by a fizzing bundle of energy that was Hamish. He immediately invited me to meet his mother who lived upstairs. Hamish made some coffee in the kitchen and opened a can of Guavas! At this point a little white haired lady walk to the kitchen and greet me with the South African Scottish accent. Hamish and his mother explained that they had a fondness of Guavas and tin cream whist living in South Africa.
Having sampled the delicious dessert, we took our coffee downstairs to Hamish’s sitting room overlooking the road. I noticed the Franco-Prussian 1870-71 figures in a glass cabinet immediately. Upon closer inspection I could see they were converted from Airfix WW1 German infantry. That was Hamish’s interest I later learnt. A somewhat novel period compared with my run to mill standard Airfix American Civil War figures.
The room was like Aladdin Cave crossed with Leonardo da Vinci workshop! There were two printing presses, duplication machine, an old fashion typewriter and reams of paper, plus old copies to Bayonet the official Journal of the Horse and Musket Society.
I very soon learnt that Hamish was “doer”
and all round human dynamo, that worked to the Margate Town Council in the reprographic department. I was 13 at the time and I gauged Hamish to be 16 or 17. I later unofficial confirmed this when I went him to meet a friend of him at 4 o’clock. I recognise the friend to be Alan Rushworth whom had just left school last year in 1967 (Leaving age was 15 at that time).
The meeting over we went back to Hamish’s bedsit/workshop and continued to discuss Bayonet and stuff the latest issue into brown Manila envelopes. I course helped whilst he looked up the addresses in a primitive index file of 300+ handwritten cards.
Thus begun my association with Hamish Fraser and Bayonet. I did various jobs; drew the odd illustration, wrote the odd article, and help him generally with a lot of stapling!
That summer in Jersey I chanced upon a set illustrated French books on the 2e Empire of Napoleon III which I gave to Hamish. He had the illustrations redrawn for Bayonet.
1969 he handled over editing of Bayonet to Spencer Ede? of Bleak house, Broadstairs of Charles Dickens fame.
Summer 1969 we traveled as a nascent war games group to the the First National War Games convention in Worthing.
In 1970 Hamish went on to found the Thanet War Games Society together with Pete Howland and his brother. I had many hours playing war games with Hamish and friends particularly Franco-Prussian War, the Zulu War and later on the Crimean War.
I continued war gaming with the group until 1971 when pressure of school work got too much.
In 1974 I got reports of Hamish as Students’ Union representative of the South Eastern College, Broadstairs and still printing a student magazine.
Blood is thicker than Water: Hamish was that big brother I never had. Perhaps I now know why?