EXCERPT 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, March 20, 2018

A Noteworthy Centennial

Happy 100th Birthday to the late Don Featherstone! (The link will take you to the wiki page where you can learn more about Don if he is unfamiliar to you.)

(Thank you Man of Tin! for the notice and tribute on your blog!  which alerted me to the occasion.)

A sight to inspire a lifetime of figure conversions!
It was at some point during the winter of 1970/71 that I spotted a copy of Battles With Model Soldiers on the shelf at W. Smith's in Montreal and was lost.... or perhaps was found.

Although he provided the rules for my first wargames, by 1973 I'd been nabbed by WRG and was off looking for a different sort of wargame for a few decades. However, by then, he had already gotten me hooked on two vital aspects of our hobby and in life really.

The first was to build on the foundation laid by Henry Harris and to confirm me as a lifelong converter of toy/model soldiers. How long did I spend identifying just what was done to which Airfix figures in the photo above and trying to figure out just how it was done?

One of the shots of mysterious, magical, metal figures that one couldn't buy in shops where I lived! 

The second is reflected in the header to this blog. He helped instill in me an appreciation for the value of doing my own research, making up my own mind and modifying rules to suit or even writing my own rules. The real importance of this though was that Doc Ruddy, my mentor at college, built on that foundation as well as my Dad's example to lead me to take the same attitude to life in general. Blessings on all three men!

I never really understood why he had so many pictures of unpainted Airfix figures in the book when he obviously had so many other painted figures, but I DID understand that one day I would pit British in khaki shorts backed by an armoured car against North West Frontier tribesmen.
This just may be the year!


But in particular, on this 100th anniversary of the birth of Don Featherstone, thank you Don for the inspiration that led to hours and years of pleasure and learning and friendships .




13 comments:

  1. I believe Don't was an investor in Airfix, and they supported his "Wargamer's Newsletter" with many ads. In turn, Don provided many reviews of the figures and featured them in his books.

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    1. Yeah, I always assumed there was an advertising angle and back then they were nearly the only wargaming suitable figures I knew of first hand but with all his articles on painting and converting you'd think there would have been even more pictures of painted ones.

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    2. It worked! The Airfix troops / conversions were what attracted me, that even a child could take part for pocket money and a borrowed library book.

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  2. The Great Man of Wargaming (well for my money anyway)

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  3. Thank you for this nostalgic look. Truly a man who changed my life!
    Chris
    http://notjustoldschool.blogspot.co.uk/

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  4. Talked to him a few times at conventions back in the 70s - quite an influence on the hobby.

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  5. I remember the 8th Army as interwar colonial troops. I too really wanted to do that as a game!

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  6. Drinks all around and three cheers for Mr. Featherstone!

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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  7. Ross,
    My first ever wargame was way back in early 1983 -a Viking Skirmish- to the rules by Donald Featherstone...that was my introduction- I found the activity most enjoyable and very sensible and have been involved ever since. Regards. KEV.

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  8. While Morschauser's book was my gateway drug, I subscribed to Don's Wargamer's Newsletter from the late 19670's on until it ceased publication. I was thrilled to meat Don, then in his late 80's, at his last trip to the US. Jim Getz knew of my desire to meet Don, and did me the favor of introducing us. I recall Don observing that in his later years he was a rather more popular figure in the US than the UK!

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    1. I would say 'more familiar' Back then wargaming was a smaller hobby and most people on the convention circuit knew most of the people in the hobby - which sets up for a certain, well, won't say lack of respect - not true - but you didn't think 'wow! he's one of the greats'. You thought it was just someone you talked to every now and then, half the time you didn't even know who you were talking to. Which is true of the first couple of times I spoke him - he was just a nice friendly guy who seemed to know what he was talking about.

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  9. A great tribute Ross, arguably he changed so many of our lives for the better! I still find that page of Airfix conversions inspiring. Good to read so many other's Featherstone memories. Sadly I never met him and never wrote to him either, never having realised (doh!) until too late that his address was in the back of his books in the club listings.

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