Phil takes us down memory lane with his introduction to toy soldiers.
We’ve been feeling rather nostalgic here at the club recently – swapping stories of our early wargaming experiences and lamenting the numerous model and toy soldier shops that have fallen by the wayside.
Many of our tales seem to start with the phrase “I had a lot of Airfix soldiers when I was a child” and I was certainly no exception to this. I had loads of them – WW1, WW2, Cowboys, Indians and ACW. The HO/OO Assault sets and the 1/32 Combat Packs with the firing pillboxes.
But it is the four boxes of 1/32 Napoleonic soldiers that stand out from the rest for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, they were all painted. I was given them for my 8th or 9th birthday but before then my mother had spent hours painting them. They were all lined up on the dining table waiting for when I woke up that day.
Second, I kept the boxes. I’m not sure if it was a conscious decision, but I do remember from an early age being impressed with the artwork on them – probably the best toy soldier boxes ever designed. They’re a bit dog-eared, paint marked and have a few other dubious stains, but they all managed to survive for well over forty years.
A house move last year suddenly presented me with a lot more wall space for hanging pictures. So, I decided to dig out the boxes and give them a better life than languishing in the loft. A quick trip to my local picture framing shop and they now have pride of place on my dining room wall. A permanent reminder of those halcyon days.
And the little chaps themselves? They are still here – battered and missing paint but still ready to serve king or emperor as appropriate.