Tuesday 20 February 2024

John Braithwaite, Forgotten Wargamers Three

When I was a young wargamer in the 1970's, ie. eons ago John Braithwaite was a well known figure in the North East of England producing a lovely range of 20mm and 25mm wargames figures under the Garrison banner based out of Thornaby in Cleveland. Although originally a cockney he soon realised the error of his ways and headed North.
My first ancient Persian army was made up of the Garrison Persian range. Anyway, after completing a few more Garrison knights for Lion Rampant I thought it appropriate that I provide the readers with some information about their sculptor.                                                                                                   

John Braithwaite taking a sledging from Peter Gilder during their refight of Waterloo, from the now legendary Battleground television series. Gilder could be a bugger and really gave John a hard time. 
John Braithwaite was a sales representative who lived in Eaglescliffe near Middlesbrough. In 1966 he attended the first ever wargames convention hosted by Donald Featherstone in Southampton. During the convention John produced some of his first wargames sculpts, 20mm ancient greeks which were apparantly admired by all the wargamers present.                                                                                   
 John soon joined Neville Dickenson and Peter Gilder in their early joint venture at Miniature Figurenes. John provided a small range of 20mm ancient figures, his first love. If anyone is lucky enough to possess any of this range, it is obvious where John obtained his 'inspiration' from, as it was pretty clear it was based upon Arfix conversions of the Robin Hood range. The association with Mini Figs was short lived and John began sculpting 20mm wargames figures for a shop titled the Garrison based in Harrow from 1968.                                                                                                                                                            

I own a small number of this range, 4 units of Persian immortals, and although I like them, they suffer from a degree of flatness, caused by the early production methods. I still wouldnt part with them although they are truly 20mm figures. John was an early member of the Society of Ancients founded by the late Tony Bath and he offered his services as the offical artist of the group as they producded the first Slingshot magazines.                                                                                                                                    

My newly completed Garrison Knights in all their splendour.


The 20mm range was redesigned in 1973, and became a proper 25mm range although there would be the odd larger figure amongst the range, ah the vagaries of the 1970's. The figures were now producded under the Greenwood and Ball name and eventually were based in Thornaby. It was at this time that Peter Gilder, a longtime friend of Braithwaite, convinced him of his televisual abilities, and the infamous Waterloo sledging then occured.                                                                                           


                                                                                         

As an aside, Greenwood and Ball had originally been a model soldier company formed by John Ambler Greenwood and Kathleen Ball, based in Scarborough producing a quality range of 54mm figures.                                                                


 John Braithwaite died in 1992 of a heart attack and the Garrison ranges passed through various hands before being obtained by Rob Young. Garrison producded some lovely figures and amongst my favourites are the Ancient Greeks and Persians, their English Civl War and their Hyboria range, all classic figures. During the time that John worked he also producded a number of lovely 54mm medieval figures and nights.                         


In the mid 1980's Garrison producded a small range of quality French Napoleonics, with seperate heads, these figures were in my opinion the best they made and were a joy to paint, sadly this range doesnt seem to exist anymore. I must have liked them because I entered a painted unit in a couple of painting competitions where they won, so they must have been pretty good figures.                                                                                                                                






 

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this history, a good read.
    You knights are beautifully painted.

    Willz.

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  2. Lovely work on your knights, they are quite superb. An interesting read about another of the heroes of wargaming history, Garrison figures have a real charm to them, I have a good few of the SYW range and lovely figures they are too.

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    1. Ah yes the SYW range. Ive got a couple of Prussian regiments, they are very nice.

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  3. Another nice slice of our hobby history and wonderful painting on the knights:).

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  4. Nice brush work on the old knights. I had some G&B ACW figures back in the day.

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    1. And you should have kept them Dave, that was a nice range.

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  5. Splendid work on your colorful knights. I have been enjoying your bios on these early wargamers. Fascinating history.

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    1. Thanks Johnathan, I do worry about the next generation not appreciating the early wargamers and designers.

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  6. Scrumptious old-school goodness!

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  7. A great history lesson and great old skool figures too?

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    1. Thanks Ray, you youngsters need to understand the history.

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  8. Enjoyed, thanks very much, sometimes I feel like I would like to return and travel back to those days, just to briefly soak up the joys of that early youthful and boundless experience of the hobby.

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  9. I have a few of the Plantagenet range of 54mm knights and they are the pride of my toy soldier collection. Beautiful figures and even better paint job. They are hard to find and once in awhile one or two of them come up for sale on eBay at around $300 per mounted knight!

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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