In view of a current discussion going on over at OSW about one's favorite old school battle reports, I thought I'd join in here. Of my regular visitors who "tune in" here regularly, what are your favorite "old school" figures and why?
Here, I mean specifically figures by older firms like Spencer Smith, Suren, Willie, Tradition, Holger Eriksson, Les Higgins, et al. Even older MiniFigs might be counted as far as I'm concerned. And how long have the RSM95 figures been around? Since at least the early 80s, I think, albeit under a different name at that time. If you know, please pass on on the information to me.
Unfortunately, I have no firsthand experience with any of these lines myself, but I've certainly drooled over the photos of others' collections and games at OSW, Battlegames#4, and elsewhere. Someday soon, I mean to buy enough metal Spencer Smiths and RSM95's for a couple of respectably sized infantry units, but I digress.
Any of you regular viewers have some personal favorites? If pressed, I'd have to go with the 30mm Prussian Grenadiers by Suren, those fine fellows who make up the famed Erbprinz Regiment in Young and Lawford's Charge! John Preese did a fine job recreating the unit in the recent refight of Sittangbad at Partizan 2006 last May too.
Anyway, I like the idea of larger figures with human proportions. No massive hands, squat legs, or Humpty Dumpty-sized heads. And, in fact, this is one reason the plastic Revell figures that I am using are so attractive to me. They look like humans! In any case, if the war treasury were suddenly bottomless here at The Grand Duchy of Stollen, I'd avoid figures by more "modern" manufacturers like Front Rank, Foundary, Essex, etc.
On a separate yet related note, who are your favorite old school authors? Do you have a particularly treasured book by one of wargaming's early luminaries? Think about it for a moment.
Like many of you, I suspect, mine are (in no particular order) Charge! by Peter Young James Lawford (I own two copies of this one), The War Game by Charles Grant, and Donald Featherstone's Battles with Model Soldiers. I also periodically revisit Featherstone's Complete Wargaming, which I purchased during a visit to family in Southampton, UK in December 1988. Good stuff!
Generally, I find myself reading and/or browsing through these 3-4 volumes again and again, often for hours in the evening. It's a great way to unwind before turning out the bedside lamp and drifitng off to thoughts of seried ranks of brightly painted model soldiers. The books are appealing to me thanks to the engaging way each author presents his subject. Young, Grant, and Featherstone manage to stimulate my own imagination repeatedly and without fail, much like a close friend who is good at conversation. Few modern writers on wargaming topics seem to acheive the right balance in all of this. Beyond that, it's hard to put my finger on "what" it is about these books exactly that (re)captures my imagination.
As a nod to my fellow enthusiasts over at OSW and at several blogs similar to this one (you know who you are, guys), I must say that many of the topics discussed stimulate my thinking in much the same way as Young, Grant, and Featherstone. Well done gentlemen!
So what about you now? What is your favorite old school figure range? Who is your favorite old school author? What is your favorite old school title? Why? Remember, as you cast your vote here, please be sure to include a few lines explaining why a particular figure range, author, or title grabs your imagination. Why does X, or Y, or Z appeal to you?
Ok, off to get in a bit of painting!