Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Where have all the armies gone?

As the nights begin to draw in I get more time to think about wargaming matters that have been picking away at my consciousness for a while. The current thought that is disturbing my sleep is this; where have all the armies gone?
 By this I mean all the units and armies that have been painted over these last forty or so years that get sold on for various reasons. What has happened to them.
 As some wargamers will be aware I am currently [well will be when I've done these damned French ] painting English Civil War armies using Hinchliffe figures. My goal is to replicate the wonderful armies that my long suffering wargame enemy John Reidy had in the early 1980's which he inevitably sold. These armies were used at one of our very first exhibition games when we put on the Battle of Edgehill at Durham University.
 Obviously one gets nostalgic tinted glasses when one thinks of old armies, but John created two wonderful armies back then and they were an inspiration [to me especially] Sadly I couldnt afford to buy them when he sold them on. John has always been an annoyingly good painter and worse a very quick one., but because his first love was ECW these armies were particularly lovely.
 Another annoying trait he possesses are his wargames diaries which he has kept since the year dot.
  As a result I asked him to consult the 'volumes' and find out exactly who he sold his ECW armies to and when. Amazingly he has been unable to furnish me with the information, although he was able to provide details of what he bought at the Northern Militaire in 1982, which seemed very important back then but of no earthly use to a sane man.
  This lack of information started my sleepless nights.
  So just what does happen to the armies you sell?
  They never seem to surface again.
 Are never seen at shows or at club nights.
 They never seem to resurface on E Bay and the like.
 Basically they just seem to disappear into the ether.
 Given the vast increase in wargaming blog sites etc one would think I would at least see an odd image.
 Frustratingly I was able to track down and buy TWO! of the old ECW wagons that John had painted for the armies, but it was hardly a consolation more a reminder of just how nice the armies were.

 I now have an image of some nasty wargamer sat in a very large house packed with thousands of wonderfully painted figures, drooling over them and whispering 'my precious,' intent on no other person ever seeing or using them ever again. [Shaun Lowery are you reading this.]

 I can think of many other examples of wonderful armies that simply disappeared, our Napoleonic 25mm armies are a case in point, sold and never seen again period.
 I did manage to locate and buy John's old Turkish renaissance army but have never been able to locate our late Polish renaissance armies which contained lots of the old Campaign Miniatures figures. They have simply gone.
  Frustratingly, following a conversation yesterday I believe these ECW armies may have been sold to an individual called Andy Hardy? who was a member of the old Durham Wargames Group back in the early 1980's who subsequently disappeared.
  A common thread is developing here I think.
So is this the pseudonym of the arch villain who sits in a darkened room refusing to allow his purchases to ever see the light of day again? 

A case in point. Which lucky so and so bought this unit by the late great Peter Gilder and why haven't they been seen again? AND more importantly why dont I own them?







24 comments:

  1. I once saw a badly painted Napoleonic British Dragoon regiment I sold decades ago appear on Mr Hinds site a few years ago...

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    1. Well done that man.The only thing I have ever seen that I painted popped up last year on E Bay. I should have been flattered given the price the seller was asking. They said it had been professionally painted which I found quite hurtful. I thought I'd done a decent paint job on them.

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  2. Rob, terrifying thought, but your drooling monster would need a very big house.

    There’s an Andy Hardy Wargames on Facebook. He lives in Stanhope, or did. He even asked o come round and visit some years ago, possibly to scope out his next purchase should I be willing to sell. I think he was a financial advisor which says a lot. Keep living the dream 👍😁

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    1. That just might be the man. He apparently trained as a chiropodist but had been in some sort of insurance thing before that.

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    2. He’s mates with Andrew Wylie (of the Mexican cowboy costume at local Wargames events).

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  3. Robbie, I have occasionally picked up some fair painted 25mm figures in charity shops. The partners of the original collectors having decided to just dispose of them (divorce, confirmed by staff). Probably some of these figures are picked up by kids and handled in ways we would not appreciate lol.
    Michael

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    1. Micheal, its not a place I often drop into apart from leaving the odd bag of clothes. Thinking about it I suppose when wargamers shift this mortal coil it is a logical place to get rid. Sad really.

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  4. I recall my painting skills of old and doubt that I would own up to being any part of my own ‘older’ figures collection.

    Having regard for common hoarding behaviour, I am guessing that most old stuff that was sold on is in anonymous lofts and garages, waiting for the owner to expire and unwitting family trying to decide whether they are for the charity shop or the refuse centre.

    The charity shop panic because the word lead has been mentioned and they are glad to have a wily wargamer, wearing industrial grade rubber gloves, offer to take the figures off their hands for a pound!

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    1. Norm, you are a realist when it comes to the fate of wargaming collections! Probably not far from the truth.

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    2. Norm,
      Im now going to become a regular attender at my local charity shops.

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  5. A very good point. Where have all those painted armies gone?

    I remember that last picture of the gendarmes. I think it was a cover on one of the magazines. Military Modelling? Maybe a very early Miniature Wargames. I can remember studying it a lot. Not surprised to learn it was Peter Gilder’s work. It was pictures like that which were, and I suppose are, my wargaming inspiration.

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    1. I loved these gendarmes and used to study these images in an attempt to copy them. I never could.Never bettered. There are some absolutely wonderful and gifted painters out there but for sheer colour I would rather have Gilder's collections. Anyone who possesses the figures is a very privileged person and should think about giving them to me.

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  6. This could be the catalyst for a Great Philosophical debate. My answer to this question is to rarely sell anything. For my past wargame paraphernalia and collection sales, I now wonder what became of those? Would I like some of them back? Yes, I would!

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    1. Currently I am wrestling with this problem, amongst others. Do I down size my Napoleonic book collection? Do I sell my Napoleonic armies? The books I have read [ well most of them] my armies have not been used for several years. So much stuff that you collect and then struggle to use regularly.

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  7. If you ever track that bloke down can you ask him what happened to my 1974 Hinton Hunt Prussian army because I want it back!!!

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    1. Strangely enough I understand he has some of Dave Jarvis's stuff as well. A bit of a theme emerging here.

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  8. I have never had a desire to reaquire armies that I have sold. Once they are gone, they are gone. I do know where a lot of them went ( to a local friend) so I can still play with them without owning them.

    I always figure that I can paint replacements and that the new figures will be better painted simply because my painting skills have improved over the years.

    Maybe Gerry Elliot might know what happened to the Gilder Italian Wars armies ( were they passed on to Mark Freeth?).

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    1. Jim,
      I admire your pragmatism. It could explain your love of Frederick. Much later John and I attempted to sell our armies to wargamers who we knew and on the proviso we could always buy them back at the original selling price. A naive idea. Of course it didnt work. As for the Gilder collections, well when Mike Ingham died [ God bless him] the collection was split somewhat and scattered. I know Mark possesses the wonderful Italian buildings as for the figures a lot went to various collectors, and that is the issue really. They are in the main collectors and the figures never re surface to be seen by mere mortals.

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  9. For those of us of a certain age who have sold on numerous armies over the years this poses an interesting if somewhat unanswerable question. I have only ever come across one of mine being resold, some Medieval figures appearing on a trade stand at WMMS of all places! I have seen an entire collection on someone else’s display game passed off as their own. When we commented loudly about it we were pleased they subsequently disappeared from the circuit.

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    1. Its a quandary David. So many wargamers have come and gone. So many large collections of some very decently painted armies sold. Where do they go to?

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  10. I have never sold painted figures,I am clearly a hoarder, I've got rid of unpainted lead but there is no emotional attachment which there appears to be with painted!
    Best Iain

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    1. Iain,
      Sadly you fall out of love with some armies only to re discover the interest much later. As regards the English Civil War, nostalgia has its part to play in my interest.I would have loved to have kept all my painted stuff but reality creeps in as you grow older and realise that you have too much stuff to cart about.

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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating