EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Setting the scene

Back before I really got "into" wargaming, I did some military modelling, both single figures and vignettes as well as 3 dioramas.

I don't remember if this was spring or fall of 1966 so I might have been 10 or 11 but I remember that Giant supplied the British & American Regulars for this school project, a diorama  of the Battle of Queenston Heights. It was of course a few years too early for Airfix's Waterloo ranges but their ACW range supplied the militia. My partner was Jim Doake, fellow boy scout and the only one I have ever played Little Wars with. He had a box of Britain's with an abbreviated set of the rules on the back of the box. We also played at least one Featherstone game in later years.




Then there is the diorama I made of the construction of the first fort at Saint Jean by the Carignan Salieres Regiment in 1665. It was one of the display's the museum club had to get ready for the official opening  of the museum at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean in 1974. It started life as a 54mm diorama using Segom Acetate figures but I realized I had bitten off more than I could chew and down scaled late in the project. (some things never change


One of those 54's who didn't make it into a diorama but did make it onto the museum business cards  and into Wikipedia (anonymously).

As I recall, I press ganged a prep into doing some of the figures, not at random,  Simon was not only  a museum club member, he and I were already playing WRG Ancients with fictional armies created from Airfix figures. I suspect someone has refurbished this but its hard to be sure, it was a few decades ago and its the figures and over all idea that I remember.  I'm amazed that it still exists at all after 39 years! The other diorama I made at the time showed a sortie by the Royal Fusiliers against the Americans in 1775, this time using Airfix figures more or less straight up but it does not seems to have survived. 

Doubtless many of you can recognize the source of most of the conversions. 


   The photo was taken by Eric Ruel, the curator of the Fort Saint-Jean Museum in Feb 2013.

As long as I'm indulging in nostalgia, Dr. David Ruddy was the founder and Director of the museum while the curator was a cadet, me for 2 or was it 3 years? Here he is with me in 1776 when the Museum Club, or for practical purposes, Dr. Ruddy, Simon MacDowall and I helped co-ordinate the visit of the Brigade of the American Revolution on their way to recreate Montgomery's attack on Quebec. Simon & I  painted up Rose Miniatures of British officers as gifts for some of the organizers and I am about to present them.



Not only was Dr Ruddy a marvelous history professor but he became a mentor and inspiration whose influence has been life long. The last time I was in contact with him was in the 80's after I had left the navy. It finally occurred to me this week to use the internet only to find that he passed away in Victoria in 2011. May he rest in peace.

11 comments:

  1. A most interesting & enjoyable post accompanied by splendid photos.Thanks for sharing them with us.

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  2. Very cool Ross. Reminds me of my modeling days as a youth (tanks, ships, aircraft etc.) I did the boy scouts thing and tried navy cadets but never actually joined. We had the HMCS Nonsuch as our dry land naval base in Edmonton to practice drills etc. My friend Peter Simonson joined and made it all the way to Captain in the Canadian Navy. He served out of Comox conducting naval patrols along our coast. I am glad you served though.
    http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/navres/nearestUnit_uniteLaPlusPres/hmcs_ncsm_NONSUCH/noh-history_historique-eng.asp
    Jeff

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  3. What a delightful post! A very interesting glimpse into your murky past...

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  4. Thoroughly enjoyed the post, Ross. My original gaming group, formed back in High School, and continuing for 20 years thereafter were all scouts. and just about the same time period.

    Peter

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    1. Thanks Peter. Scouting was a good foundation for many things, hopefully still is.

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  5. Thank you for this Ross. Pictures of a life well spent. Dr. Ruddy was truly a scholar and a gentleman.

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    1. He was indeed. Did you know him, out in Victoria perhaps?

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  6. Ross, your interview appears in this week's edition of e-veritas, the alumni journal of the Canadian Military Colleges. Interviews with other former cadet curators and current mil col war gamers will follow.

    Eric Ruel, current curator, intends to profile the former curators and directors at the Fort St Jean Museum as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations. He came across a nice photo of the museum circa 1970s.

    E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003)

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  7. I enjoyed this post, Ross. I'm four/five years younger than you, but it's nice to see how much there was in common between lives on different sides of the Atlantic - Airfix, of course; Scouts; and cadets (Combined Cadet Force, in my case); and shared history.

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