To me, December is THE month for toy soldiers. Admittedly, this is perhaps a bit odd, when part of the Christmas message is one of peace and harmony. Let me try to explain.
The nutcracker/toy soldier association goes back to when I was a little boy, and my father put on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite for my sister and me early one December. I was about four and pretty taken with the March of the Toy Soldiers piece.
My start in collecting and painting wargame figures served to reinforce the association many years later as a teenager. My sister presented me with a small set of model paints for Christmas 1983, intended for an eventual soldier purchase. And I used some Christmas gift money from my mother or grandparents to finance that first purchase of figures a few weeks later in January 1984. It was a small order of 15mm French and British Napoleonics by Jacobite. Anyone among you remember them?
The toy soldier association became more firmly established when, several years later, my mother and stepfather returned to the
And, of course, let’s not forget that wonderful box of more than 60 RSM95 Prussian grenadiers from the lovely grand Duchess Sonja for Christmas 2006. So, it seems like there’s a firm link between Christmas and the nutcracker/toy soldier, at least in my universe. It’s also the time of year when the fall term ends and I suddenly have more time for preparing and/or painting whatever I happen to be working on in a given year. Once I began graduate school in the 90s, and now as a professor, there’s never as much spare time for soldiering as I’d like, so the slower Christmas period is a wonderful chance to catch up. I’m sure many of you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars understand what I mean.