My local pet shop which seconded as a model shop did have the odd Miniature Warfare magazines but I couldnt afford to subscribe to the magazine. Once I had a job I would buy the odd Military Modelling and then the excellent Battle but they only offered small morsels of wargaming and I wanted more.
Then in 1983 this magazine appeared like a bolt of lightening. Even now I paw my way through this original issue to enjoy each image and article. So for me I would like to highlight the wonderful work Duncan Macfarlane did for wargaming.
He was editor of this magazine for 48 information packed issues before he lost control of the magazine but I remember eagerly waiting for the release of each issue wanting to enjoy each coloured photograph and dream of having massive armies like Peter Gilder, Phil Robinson, Mac Warren and other talented collectors who seemed to be centered around the Hull firmament. My favourite articles in this magazine were many and varied although I always enjoyed the poetic descriptions by Wally Hearl of various battles I knew nothing of, and then there was the most excellent Andy Callan and Gilder himself. The magazine seemed to be bursting with all sorts of wargaming goodness.
Duncan was not new to wargaming and also had the honour of being the first wargaming guinea pig to be seen on television fighting a wargame for the viewing public to watch. His appearance re fighting Edgehill for the legendary Battleground series whilst hardly riveting viewing for the general public but was jaw dropping for yours truly.
He had also been a keen competition wargamer and a member of the Society of Ancients during the period when members included Peter Gilder, Tony Bath, Charles Grant and Ian Dickie. He clearly knew his stuff and was lucky enough to own ancient armies painted by some of the best in this country.
Whilst editor of Miniature Wargames I would bump into Duncan at various shows carrying his wares in a large holdall, willing to talk to any saddo like myself. It was Duncan that introduced me to the excellent MWAN magazine which he sold me in large numbers. Im embarrassed to say I was always badgering him to photograph my armies which he sensibly declined.
I am probably wrong but I attribute the success of the Partizan show down to the knowledge that if one staged a wargame at the show it would inevitably appear in the magazine.
John and I finally managed only one image courtesy of Duncan, but even now I am proud as punch for having made the magazine albeit as a filler and not at Partizan.
We also received our first acknowledgement of wargaming existence in an early issue of the magazine courtesy of a show review by Gary Norman. Fame at last.
I once managed to get a few minutes with Duncan where he explained how he had been virtually press-ganged into becoming the editor of Miniature Wargames by Peter Gilder. He was picked because he had once worked in a library, such was the professionalism of wargaming press back then.
After losing control the magazine Duncan produced the excellent Wagames Illustrated magazine which for me was a great magazine but somehow lacked the life that had filled the early issues of the Miniature Wargames.
Yes the images were still wonderful but somehow it wasnt the same. We all know where the magazines have progressed to nowadays and although I still collect them, the magic has simply gone, but that might be nostalgia spoiling that viewpoint.
But in the period 1983 to 1987 Duncan and his magazine fueled my enthusiasm and gave me ideas probably way above my wargaming station as I struggled to balance a real life and a time consuming and expensive hobby.
For anyone to edit a magazine it is clearly stressful work and I would imagine relying on wargamers for you content it must have been doubly stressful, a bit like herding cats I assume.
But each month Miniature Wargames would appear crammed full of brilliant articles and images courtesy of Gilder. So I would like to thank Duncan for all his efforts and all the pleasure he gave to me.