In praise of Peter Laing Miniatures: Part 7

Barry Carter is also an avid collector and painter of Peter Laing’s figures, and Ian Dury sent me the following photographs of some of Barry’s figures.

They include French troops from Napoleon’s abortive campaign in Egypt, …

… some of their Turkish opponents, …

… and some wonderful Indian elephants.

The elephants certainly don’t look like frightened mice to me!

In praise of Peter Laing Miniatures: Part 6

One of the vignettes that Ian Dury produced for the Continental Wars Society display at SALUTE2013 was a coach carrying the Commander-in-Chief.

Ian has also painted figures and equipment for periods other than the Crimean War and the Colonial period including World War I artillery …

… Bavarian Infantry and cavalry, …

… as well as French Infantry from the late nineteenth century.

In praise of Peter Laing Miniatures: Part 5

Here are some more of Ian Dury’s collection of Peter Laing figures … this time from the Colonial range.

The first group of photographs show the figures on Ian’s superb PORTABLE WARGAME terrain …

… whilst the second group are examples of some of the other figures from the Colonial range that Peter Laing produced.

I really love the look of these painted figures … and only wish that I had more of them myself!

In praise of Peter Laing Miniatures: Part 4

Ian Dury has sent me some photographs of his Peter Laing Crimean War figures … fighting a battle on his PORTABLE WARGAME terrain board! He has kindly given me permission to share them with my regular blog readers.

The Battle

The British

The Russians

A very impressive collection … and great looking terrain as well!

In praise of Peter Laing Miniatures: Part 3

The Continental Wars Society put on a display of Peter Laing Miniatures at SALUTE2013. They display took the form of a military parade located in Germany towards the end of the nineteenth century. The figures were all painted in parade uniforms and the various formations were labelled using large flags.

PS. The images of the Continental Wars Society’s display were kindly provided by Ian Dury.

In praise of Peter Laing Miniatures: Part 2

In my recent blog entry about Peter Laing Miniatures I mentioned that he produced a very wide range of 15mm-scale figures. Ian Dury kindly sent me a scanned copy of one of the later catalogues, and I have converted it into PDF format so that anyone who is interested can download it from here.

The following is a section from the contents page of the catalogue, and it helps to give some idea of the range of figures produced by Peter Laing Miniatures.

In praise of Peter Laing Miniatures: Part 1

When I first started teaching in 1973, my pay was just over £1,300.00 per year. After I had paid my rent and bought food and the other essentials of life, I did not have a lot left to spend on hobbies. What money I did have bought me a few plastic kits and figures and the occasional metal figure.

As time went on and I got promoted, my financial situation gradually improved, but never to the extent that I was able to buy metal wargames figures in the numbers that I wanted. Furthermore the range of what was available was limited to a few manufacturers (Minifigs, Hinchliffe, Hinton Hunt, Jacklex, Les Higgins, Douglas Miniatures, Tradition) who worked in a variety of scales from 20mm to 30mm. It should not be too difficult, therefore, to imagine my surprise – and pleasure – when I saw the earliest version of the following advertisement appear in the few wargames magazines that were published.

Here was an answer to my prayers! Peter Laing produced metal wargames figures that I could buy IN BULK at a cost that I could afford. Not only that, but the range of figures that he eventually produced covered all the main historical periods one could think of … and many were useable – after a very simple paint conversion – for even the most esoteric wars a wargamer could think of!

The figures had many advantages over their larger brethren. They were anatomically in proportion (no massive heads and hands here!) and had the minimum of detail necessary moulded onto them. This actually made them very easy to paint, and I used to turn out painted figures by the score each week … something that I would find difficult do now with modern 15mm-scale figures. They were also cheap, and Peter Laing produced them to order and posted them out as soon as they were ready. He would also listen to requests for specific figures that could be added to his existing ranges as well as ideas for new figure ranges.

So why are they now almost as rare as hen’s teeth? Well they have been out of production for a very long time. (Peter Laing gave up producing the figures, and sold the business and the moulds to John Mitchell. He continued to produce the figures for some time … but after he sold the moulds they seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. There are numerous rumours as to where they are now … but who knows?) In addition they are probably not to the taste of many modern wargamers, who seem to prefer 15mm-scale figures that are almost caricatures. There are, however, a small band of faithful fans of Peter Laing’s figures (including myself, Ian Dury, John Patriquin, Barry Carter, Richard Brooks, and Ian Drury [the latter Ian is not to be confused with the former one]) who all still own and use Peter Laing Miniatures when they can.

This series of blog entries will hopefully encourage more people to become fans of Peter Laing Miniatures … and you never know, it might just help to get the original moulds ‘re-discovered’ and the figure ranges put back into production!

PS. The image of Peter Laing’s advertisement was kindly provided by Ian Dury.