A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 23 April 2012

Oh Crikey - In at the Deep End

A little apprehensively, I went today to see if I could help with getting a handle on a private collection of military models and books. The collection belonged to a friend of a friend of a friend, a poor chap who recently died after a lengthy battle with cancer. His wife wishes to raise money from his collection to go to cancer-related charities, so I'm happy to help with that. My reluctance is only that I can hardly claim to be much of an expert. Still, all hands to the pump.

Astonishing - the late Alastair was an expert on military planes and vehicles - especially of WW2 and later. I have never seen so many books in one house - also boxes and files of all sorts of aviation and scale modelling monthlies. I attach a couple of snapshots to give an idea - this is only the smallest tip of a very large iceberg indeed. He also was an enthusiastic plastic kit builder - again, mostly planes and vehicles, and most of those I think are stored in the loft and haven't been brought out yet.

I also saw a sizeable collection of Historex Napoleonics. An important factor here is that Alastair stopped building models some years ago, but forgot to stop buying the kits in - intending to get around to building them all some day, I guess. Sadly, the day never came. There are - quite literally - cubic yards of boxed, unbuilt plastic kits.
The sheer impossibility of making any impression on this astounding pile of stuff became apparent very quickly. The family lawyer is speaking to a couple of auction houses about putting the books for sale at an appropriate event. Similarly the vehicle kits will require a specialist dealer to move them.

My small effort today consisted of taking the Historex stuff away to attempt to shift it on eBay. Again, there is a mass of unbuilt kits which he was getting around to, and it is clear from the price stickers and the long-defunct model shops which they advertise that some of these have been around since the early 80s at least.

The completed Historex Naps are nice enough - built to a decent standard - though there is evidence of their having been on display for a while. They need a little dusting and a little touch-up, and a couple of plumes and stirrup irons have come adrift, but this was a very thorough and very organised collector - basically they are beautiful, if you like Historex, and as far as I can see all the detached pieces (and there are very few) are carefully kept with the correct models. Certainly if I attempt to glue any bits back on they will not be improved, so I'll leave them as they are.

The unmade Historex kits are mostly straightforward and still sealed, but one or two, at first glance, look a bit sparse - it looks to me as if a few of the bags contain the parts left over for an alternative pose - particularlly for personality generals - I'll try and check this out.

Today has been a fantastic experience, if a little sad because of the circumstances, but my head is definitely spinning. I need to set out all the built Historex models to see what is there, and attempt to match them up with the things which I suspect are spares packs. If/when I put these on eBay, I'm going to do it in a small number of big lots, simply because I don't have time to do it any other way. Interesting, but an intensive exposure to a world which is unfamiliar to me. If I find a model which I really can't identify, there may be the odd squeal for help here.


  1. Wow! That's some collection! It'll probably raise quite a bit of cash.

  2. Hi
    I hope you can raise a good amount to help fighting Cancer. It is a good cause to fight for

  3. Wow, that's quite some undertaking but well worth the effort for a good cause and it's nice to think that your friend's work will continue to be enjoyed by other collectors.
    Good Luck with the auction, Brian