The War Game … edited by Peter Young

A recent comment that the terrain created by the late Peter Gilder for the film CALLAN was also photographed and used in the book edited by Peter Young and entitled THE WAR GAME made me look out my copy of the book … and reminded me how much it had inspired me when I first saw a copy.

The book was divided into ten chapters (each of which covered a major battle and was written by a different author) and two appendices:

  • THERMOPYLAE BC480 by Charles Grant
  • AGINCOURT 1415 by Philip Warner
  • EDGEHILL 1642 by Peter Young
  • BLENHEIM 1704 by David Chandler
  • LOBOSITZ 1756 by Charles Grant
  • SARATOGA 1777 by Aram Bakshian Jr
  • AUSTERLITZ 1805 by David Chandler
  • WATERLOO 1815 by James Lawford
  • GETTYSBURG 1863 by Clifford C Johnson

  • EL ALAMEIN 1942 by Donald Featherstone

  • Appendix 1: The Principles of War Gaming
  • Appendix 2: Model Soldier Suppliers

THE WAR GAME was edited by Brigadier Peter Young and illustrated with photographs taken by Philip O Stearns. It was published by Cassell & Company Ltd in 1972 (ISBN 0 304 29074 2).

In the acknowledgements at the back of the book it states that the figures came from the collections of David Chandler, Peter Gilder, Charles Grant, Lieutenant Commander John Sandars, Ed Smith, John Tunstill, and Brigadier Peter Young, and that the terrain was specially made for the book by Hinchliffe Models of Huddersfield.

Some more scratch-built/modified model vehicles

Back in early January I featured some of the scratch-built/modified models that John Sandars’ had inspired me to build. At the time I thought that they were the only ones that I had left … and then I began sorting out the figures I used for my Winter-ish War mini-campaign and remembered that they weren’t!

Here are some of the Russian vehicles that I scratch-built/modified.

These heavy artillery tractors were built on the chassis of broken ROCO Minitank Pzkpfw IVs. The cabs came from Bedford trucks from the Airfix RAF Airfield Firefighting Set, the engine bonnets were made from Plasticard strips, the engine grills were from Airfix Matador kits, and the rear bodies were made from Plasticard and the sides of railway wagons.

The light artillery tractors were built on the rear halves of the chassis of Airfix US Half-track kits. The cabs came from Airfix Matador kits, the engine grills from Airfix US Half-track kits, and the rear bodies were scratch-built from Plasticard.

The supply tractors were also built on the rear halves of the chassis of Airfix US Half-tracks, and their cabs came from Bedford trucks from the Airfix RAF Airfield Firefighting Set, with engine grills from Airfix US Half-track kits. Like the light artillery tractors, the rear bodies were scratch-built from Plasticard. They are towing trailers from the Airfix US Half-track kits.

Some scratch-built/modified model vehicles

I recently wrote a review of MINIATURE WARGAMES WITH BATTLEGAMES ISSUE 393 in which I stated that Richard Marsh’s article about John Sandars’ wargames was the ‘stand out’ article in that particular issue. I also wrote that ‘it is because of him that I built quite a few dodgy-looking World War II-era vehicles based on various ROCO Minitanks and Airfix kits, none of which would stand too much scrutiny as to their accuracy nowadays.’

When I wrote that I thought that I no longer had any of the models that John Sandars’ had inspired me to build … but I was wrong. Whilst looking for something else, I came across three of those ‘forgotten’ models.

The two trucks started out as broken ROCO Minitank SdKfz 7 half-tracks. The front ends and the chassis of the models were kept, but the original rear bodies were replaced by scratch-built bodies made from Plasticard sheet and the side panels from the body of a couple of Airfix Matador kits. The wheels also came from the Airfix Matador kits as did the main part of the tilt on one of the lorries. The rest of the pieces came from my spares box or were made from Plasticard sheet. The finished models were supposed to resemble the sort of 3-tonne 6 x 6 or 6 x 4 trucks used by the Wehrmacht … and I think that they past muster when seen on the tabletop.

The 15cm sIG 33 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf) began life as the chassis and tracks from a broken ROCO Pzkpfw III. The original wheels were carefully cut away from the tracks and replaced by the wheels from an Airfix StuG III that had been turned so that the backs rather than the fronts of the wheels were visible. The rest of the body – with the exception of the front glacis plate and driver’s compartment – was scratch-built from Plasticard sheet, tubing, and girders or using pieces from my spares box. I was pleased with the result, which looks reasonably accurate from a distance.