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

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Not in the Plan at All

Classic Old School 20mm? - everyone has their own favourite figures - this is certainly
one of mine. Bill Lamming's Royal Scots Greys trooper, circa 1970. Off-hand, I
would also list the Minifigs/Alberken Brunswick-Oels, the early (20mm) Garrison
French infantry with the bayonet stuck up high in the air, and any number of Hinton
Hunts - the Old Guard and some of the OPC cavalry, especially the charging
French lancer. This must have a lot to do with all those hours spent gazing at the
pictures in the Featherstone and Charles Grant books...
I’ve got a lot to do to get my Spanish Army back on schedule, but, to my surprise, I find I suddenly have a distraction I really didn’t expect. However, I’m pleased with it.

A couple of weeks ago there was a batch of unpainted, vintage Lamming French dragoons up for auction on eBay, and I put in a bid, though I most certainly have more than enough French dragoons. It wasn’t a very serious bid, and it quickly became obvious that someone wanted these more than I did, so I watched the price rise away past what I would have paid for them – I was calm and not troubled at all, but it got me thinking about Lamming figures.

Lamming are an enigma – the early figures are very pleasing, and right on the old “true 25mm” scale, but later much of the range was remodelled, bigger and often uglier. Normally I shy away from Lamming lots in auctions because you never know quite what you’re getting – I’ve called a few wrong, to my cost. Then, this week, there were some painted Lamming Scots Greys on eBay, and I liked the look of them – the photo showed that the listing also include some Miniature Figurines cavalry, and confirmed that the Lamming Greys were OK for size for my armies.

I decided what I thought they were worth, put in a moderate bid, and was very surprised to get an email telling me I had won them. They arrived within about 48 hours, nicely packed.

Now let’s be clear about this – I used to have a unit of Scots Greys. They were lovely, they were Phoenix Model Developments figures, I converted the officer and the trumpeter from PMD helmeted British Dragoons, and – apart from the standard, silly Les Higgins horses – they really were most attractive. Problem was that I had no wish to fight Waterloo, the Greys were no use at all for my Peninsular OOB, and – as part of my commitment to replacing my heavy dragoons with proper, bicorne-wearing fellows, I was persuaded to put them up for sale on eBay – this must be 6 or 7 years ago, I guess. I was confident they would go for a decent price, but it all went a bit wrong. Maybe it was the week everyone was watching the cricket on TV or something, but my Gorgeous Greys went out with a whimper - sold for the opening bid of £11.99, to a lady in Sussex who had a gift shop.

I was upset! I never quite got over it – I didn’t really want the figures, but the low selling price was somehow insulting. Serves me right, anyway – a fool and his soldiers are soon parted – if Confucius didn’t say that then he should have.

So, as from Wednesday, I have a replacement for my unnecessary Scots Greys, and I am pleased with them, though I’m not sure when they will get into action, and for the time being they will live in the Allied Odd Bods box. I had several attempts to decide what to do with them – stick them in the spares box, and one day strip them and repaint them? – that was my first idea.

But you know what? – these are old figures, they have been together since about 1970, and someone painted them a long time ago, rather better than I could ever have painted them. I decided to keep them as they are – clean them up a bit and retouch here and there – in particular, put fresh white paint on the crossbelts and gloves and plumes. I even chose to repair a couple of damaged swords and keep them at the original strength of 12, which is contrary to all known house standards (all my other cavalry regiments have 10).

Here they are - some toys from another age - a little weathered, and a couple of
S-Range command interlopers, but they are the business, aren't they?
Twelve cavalry in two rows, on a heavy cavalry frontage of 25mm per figure, will fit nicely on one of my standard sized light cavalry sabots, as it happens, and I can decide later whether the extra figures will gain them any additional clout in action – I suspect not.

They are ready for a temporary home in the Odd Bods box now – the officer and the trumpeter are Miniature Figurines S-Range, though Lamming had both of these in his range – in fact the cornet with the flag is a converted Lamming officer (BC/6) – all the rest are Lamming’s RSG trooper (BC/2), as illustrated in the Gallery on the VINTAGE20MIL website. They are not beautiful, but I’m pleased to have them.


  1. I have bought loads of old Minifigs 'S' Range and (strangely) Garrison 20mm Ancients over the last few years. I admit my collection is OTT, but the fact is... wargamers don't value old figures. I can get a reasonably painted 'S' Range figure for about half the cost of a new Minifigs figure. These things should be worth a fortune but cost peanuts - if they had been 54mm toy soldiers ...

    So I can understand your pain at how little your figures went for, but it's only a little pain as I look at what I've managed to buy over the years...

  2. Well, allow me to rely on overstatement and say it. They look beautiful to me. Neatly painted, the men mounted on a variety of greys, and everything on bases that are painted just the right shade of green. Easily as evocative as Lady Butler's famous painting. Incidentally, some of us do place great stock in old figures.

  3. As I see it, sacrilegious as it may be, there is no good reason the Greys couldn't have been shipped to the Peninsula either as a reinforcement or replacement. Mere luck of the draw.

    Meanwhile, living it what is, to post offices and wargamers alike, a Remote, almost Inaccessible region, I get very dismayed at selling painted figures, not only for less than the retail cost of postage, but gor less than the cost of postage, even 54's whether new or antique.

    Melting down and recycling is getting to be a tempting option.

  4. Not sacrilegious to me Ross - sometimes I buy figures for less than it would cost to buy metal, and frankly if I needed the metal I would melt things down. But it's certainly a very sad state of affairs that modern OOP GW figures can sell for a fortune while the figures that come from the very beginnings of our hobby are so little regarded by the bulk of wargamers. Since Harry Pearson sold up I feel that I'm the only person left who's interested in 'S' Range or Garrison 20mm Ancients.

  5. Tony, those are really nice - I agree with Ross that they could easily have been shipped to Spain!

  6. Foy, those are wonderful. Deploy them immediately!

  7. They look great and it would be a shame not to use such a classy looking unit.

  8. They are rather beautiful Tony, the contrast between the scarlet, yellow facings and the cross belts makes them stand out.

    Your sad tale re the ebay auction is familiar to me, it really hurts when you see something go for far less than it's worth, seems everyone is looking for a bargain!

    Was also sorry to read of your experience with the painter Tony.

  9. Thank you all, gentlemen, they will be shipped to Lisbon with the next load of gin. They can make up for the fact that I have never added the Household Cavalry to my Peninsular Army - the reason being that they were a bit late in arriving!

    Lee - this is the second time this painter has let me down - they are astonishingly cheap, and usually provide a reasonable product, provided you know you are going to have some work to do when you get them back - what they are very bad at is coping with a dissatisfied customer - if you are happy, they ask you to put a gushy message in the visitor's page - if you are not happy, they just go quiet - no special offers, no apology. Nothing at all, in fact.

    Ach well - I'll get on with patching the dodgy Spanish regiment next week!