The Shed: Into the (almost) completely unknown

Regular blog readers will know about my garden shed. About ten years ago I put a load of wargaming stuff into the shed ‘temporarily’ … and it has been there ever since.

During that ten years I have opened the door a couple of times, looked at what was inside … and then shut the door again. At one point the shed almost completely disappeared from sight thanks to the neighbouring laurel hedge, but earlier this year I began the process of cutting back the hedge. The shed now became visible, and I promised my wife Sue that as soon as we had a longish period of good weather, I would remove everything that was in it … and sort it out.

Yesterday I opened the shed door …

… and looked inside again for the first time in many years. It was stacked high with plastic storage crates, and my first task was to remove them.

The first batch of crates looked like this, …

… the second batch looked like this, …

… and the final batch (which had had the benefit of having lids on each crate) looked like this:

I have already begun the long, slow process of sorting out the contents of each crate, and it looks as if it is going to take me quite some time. To date I have found a crate containing a box in which were stored a number of very old painted and unpainted figures (including some Crimean War figures by a Minifigs and Hinton Hunt), …

… a quantity of die-cast Dinky Toy metal aircraft that are approximately 1:200th-scale (these include several Hawker a Hunters, a Supermarine Swift, some English Electric Lightnings, a Hawker Fury, a Gloster Meteor, an F-80 Shooting Star, and a Bf 110, all of which have been painted matt grey), …

… and quite a lot of Lone Star N-gauge push-along railway track, locomotives, and rolling stock. (These have now been cleaned and placed in a new storage container.)

I have also discovered another crate that is full of HO-scale plastic model buildings from a variety of different European manufacturers …

… as well as an A4-size file box that contains some painted 20mm-scale German military vehicles, including a Pzkpfw III and a Pzkpfw IV.

My final ‘find’ of the day was my old tin-plate fort, which was in remarkable condition considering it was not new when it was given to me in the mid 1950s!

Since I started to write this blog entry, I have now found some more die-cast Dinky Toy metal aircraft. These are:

  • An Avro York transport aircraft
  • A Gloster Javelin fighter
  • A Vickers Viking transport aircraft (which is showing signs of damage to one wing root due to the use of poor or low quality zinc during the manufacturing process)

In addition I also found some other die-cast model aircraft from unknown manufacturers, and these include:

  • A MiG-17 fighter
  • A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber
  • A Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter

30 Comments on “The Shed: Into the (almost) completely unknown”

  1. Jim Duncan says:

    This makes Smaugs hoard look a bit shameful…

  2. Jim Duncan says:

    I think you need to pretend you are not yourself and look at each item and say 'what should I really do with this', no room for sentiment, it is all clutter unless you can actually use it in a reasonable timescale.

    If you can't use it, move it on!

  3. Its always interesting to see what people store away, I sorted mine out recently and as Jim said I had no room for sentiment

  4. Jim Duncan,

    From a wargaming point of view, that is probably very true!

    All the best,


  5. Jim Duncan,

    Some things will be kept for sentimental reasons … but I am limiting myself to only one crate for that.

    As to everything else … well if I am likely to use it, I will keep it, otherwise it will be given away or sold.

    All the best,


  6. Andrew Saunders,

    I will be writing blog entries about anything of interest that I find, and if I am not going to keep it, I will sell it or give it away,

    All the best,


  7. Ah but can you ever be certain that clutter may not become pure gold in the blink of an eye. Three weeks ago I took 30 years of wargames magazines (some of which I had forgotten even existed) and put them into a very large crate ready for final extermination. YESTERDAY I realised that one of them had a battle orbat I couldn't live without and spent 2 hours looking for it. Bear in mind I hadn't looked at that mag in 30 years.. heheheheh

  8. An Aladdin's Cave of treasures indeed!

  9. A fascinating horde indeed.I look forward to hearing more…

  10. Pete. says:

    An impressive find- can you remember what games you had planned for it all when you bought it originally?



  11. Robert De Angelis,

    I will be cautious (having given away stuff in the past that I could now use) BUT I have to get rid of some of it. Some of the things that I have found will be put to good use, especially some of the older, painted figures that I have rediscovered.

    All the best,


  12. Paul oftheManCave,

    Judging by what I gave just found in one crate (about which I will write more tomorrow), it is going to be a real treasure trove!

    All the best,


  13. Tradgardmastare,

    So far I have had a serious look at three crates (there are quite a few more that I haven't looked at yet) … and have found loads of stuff that I will be able to use, sell, or give away. Very little of it will be thrown away.

    All the best,


  14. Pete,

    I suspect that the contents of the shed will be the subject of quite a few blog entries over the next week or so.

    One thing that I did find an hour or so ago was my pair of 1:300th-scale Spanish Civil War armies (all converted from Ros & Heroics figures). I used them when I was developing and demonstrating my ARRIBA ESPANA! rules nearly 30 years ago.

    All the best,


  15. WarRaptor,

    I do my best to surprise my regular blog readers every so often.

    All the best,


  16. What a trove! That tin plate castle looks very familiar. I should post a picture of mine, my gatehouse looks very similar to your towers but my towers were only small square ones, too small to hold a figure.

    Happy exploring.

  17. Tim Gow says:

    Some astonishing finds there Bob!

  18. On the subject of those magazines. Whilst sorting the piles of old mags I found my collection of wargamers newsletters. (almost a complete collection) Needless to say I forgot completely what I had been doing and sat enthralled by stuff I found so exciting all those years ago. I was especially excited by an article by a fourteen year old schoolboy on making armies from matchsticks and other items which was I believe the inspiration for my adventures in matchstick and eventually haircurler armies. Considering this must have been written some 40 years ago, I wonder what the schoolboy would think of my serried ranks of matchstick and curler armies?..

  19. Ross Mac,

    So you owned one as well? That is a wonderful coincidence, even if yours had square towers and not round ones. The latter would just support a small figure on top of it … but none too steadily.

    I would love to see a photograph of your tin-plate castle.

    All the best,


  20. Tim Gow,

    There is a lot more to come!

    All the best,


  21. Robert De Angelis,

    If my memory serves me correctly, the fourteen year-old schoolboy was none other than Andy Callan! He was a founder member of Wargame Developments … and is an occasional reader of my blog. Perhaps he will read your comment and reply for himself.

    All the best,


  22. I'm not sure if the original article was by Andy. He certainly got me started on hair curlers when he turned up at the second CoW with his ACW game. Interestingly enough I came across a article by Andy in a much later newsletter in march 1978 where he outlined the way to make matchstick cavalry blocks that I adopted for my 7 years war troops.Until now I hadn't connected that article with the Andy that demonstrated the use of hair curlers to me. Very interesting and certainly brings back memories. heheh I later used them to demonstrate the use of computers to control table top games.. heheh a quids worth of troops and a two thousand pound compaq computer. no wonder it didn't catch on..

  23. That looks so much more like a treasure trove than a junk pile… Can't be much there you won't find a use for…

    I thought I'd look up matchstick armies, and found this: Most impressive.

  24. Good grief, it's Aladdin's Shed!

  25. Robert De Angelis,

    As far as I can remember, the article was by Andy Callan. He demonstrated his hair roller and matchstick armies at the first ever COW in 1980 … and they were an eye opener for quite a lot of people.

    I have vague memories of you running a session at an early COW about computer-assisted wargaming, and I think it was as a result of that that I bought my Sinclair Spectrum.

    All the best,


  26. Archduke Piccolo,

    You are spot on. It is turning into a real treasure trove … and the blog entry that I will be writing later today will give some indication as to the range of stuff I have rediscovered so far.

    All the best,


  27. Michael Mills,

    I wish that the door had opened as easily as Aladdin's cave did!

    All the best,


  28. Arquinsiel says:

    I'm starting to consider a similar cleanout. I've come to terms with the fact that I will never want to use my GW toys again, and they may as well be passed on to someone who will.

  29. Arquinsiel,

    There is a cathartic element to doing this sort of clear out … but I still find it difficult to throw stuff away. Giving it away is preferable, and quite a lot of my 'surplus to requirements' stuff will be passed on to people who will use it.

    All the best,l

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