Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Les Higgins Miniatures Catalogue - 1971

Struggling a bit this last couple of weeks to get any time at all, so this post is a bit of a cop-out. I obtained a decent first edition copy of the Les Higgins catalogue from 1971, so thought it might be of interest.

I find it useful because it clarifies the rather complicated range of poses which Higgins produced (some of which disappeared from the range after Les died - some of them probably should never have existed - British light infantry "battalion company" without wings, for example - Les was not an expert in the military aspects). It also gives a reminder that 1971 was a very long time ago.

Anyway, if this is the kind of stuff you like, you may like this.






















18 comments:

  1. An interesting piece of hobby history here. Thank you! While the sideburns on one of the gentlemen are question able, I do wish I could track down some of the 30mm civilians. The 'courtesan' would go nicely with my camp followers as would a few of the others. And the figures prices of the time would certainly be nicer to the old wallet of 2018 too.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. Hi Stokes - on the subject of prices, I got an email from one of my Google-free readers, Count Goya, who compared the present prices of SHQ figures with the 1971 prices for Higgins, and he calculates as follows:

      "Interesting read. I looked at the prices and thought that they were quite expensive in 1971 so I did a comparison with the RPI [Retail Price Index] and SHQ (it is a long train journey).

      SHQ are £3 for 4 and the RPI is 13.3 times higher so [that would be] 22.6p in 1971 money compared with 29p for LH. LH are pewter and a bit bigger but it looks like figures are cheaper today in real terms."

      So there you have it. Bear in mind that decimal currency was very newly arrived in Britain in 1971, and there were a lot of dodgy price conversions, so there may be an element of windfall chancer inflation included. I remember that a 7d (old pennies) Mars Bar was rounded up to 4p in 1971. Shameful.

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    2. Hi Tony, Stokes, I have used several of the 30mm 'Jason' figures with my 30mm imagin-ation SYW army, which is composed of Minden and Cran Tara figures. They fir in very well. Regards, Iain.

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    3. Iain - thanks for the photos - I've featured them in an extra post! Falstaff? Good stuff!

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  2. Thanks for this. Interesting to compare with my '73 Minifigs catalog with photos of painted figures.

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  3. Always nice to browse the old catalogues..."send cash only with order". I know that Andy Copestake, (Big Andy of Glorious Little Soldiers blog), has quite a number of the LH 'Jason' ECW range in his collection and they are lovely figures. Thanks for posting the scans Tony.

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    1. After Les died and Tim Richards became chief designer (and very good he was, though Brian Marlow's carousel cavalry horses were always a weak point) the scale crept up very slightly to keep up with MF and Hinchliffe (by this time LHM had become Phoenix Model Developments, of course), and then they gave up and quietly disappeared. Well, not quite - PMD are still making dolls' house furniture and fittings to this day, I believe, in 1/12 and 1/24, and very nice too.

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  4. For some reason I find Mr Pickwick slightly menacing whilst Hitler looks quite jolly. Mind you I have just been dozing in front of the TV so maybe it's just a dream?

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    1. They are an eclectic mix! Hitler spent a lot of time in the Munich beer halls, of course. I'm intrigued that the courtesans feature so prominently in the 30mm ranges - you could have battalions of them. I was also giving some thought to offering up a caption competition for the wargaming photo on p3.

      I understand that Messrs Higgins and Marlow started up as master makers for the old Mettoy company (if this is bollocks, by the way, someone please correct me!). The very earliest (and among the most interesting) of the LHM 20mm figures were the original "subscription" series of ECW figures, pre-dating this catalogue by a few years, which have a very slender build with small heads, and I think were gravity cast at the outset. I have a few of these - in particular, the extra Commanded Shot musketeers roped in to support the Horse of both sides on our recent Marston Moor effort were "subscription" LH figures which I obtained from Harry Pearson.

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  5. I picked this up some years ago, a wonderful picture of the hobby. Wish I could find some of the later 40mm Romans they released later on.

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    1. Hi David - I've never seen the 40mm figures - not even in pictures. I've never seen a Tim Richards-period catalogue for PMD either, come to think of it.

      There are some PMD mysteries around - Old John has what seems to be a set of PMD French horse artillery, very similar to the Guard Horse Artillery set which was produced later, but uniformed as Line Horse Artillery. Doesn't look like a conversion - maybe a prototype set of masters? I also have a cloudy memory of seeing a b&w photo of a French infantry command set - same sort of idea as Richards' British command set. I think I saw it in a wargaming magazine in the mid 1970s, but can't remember which one, and I don't know of anyone else who recalls it!

      When NapoleoN Miniaturas bought the LH/PMD Napoleonic masters and moulds from Bill Ray (maybe 10 years ago now) I believe there were various items in there which had never made it to production. Anything is possible!

      CHeers - Tony

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  6. Anyone recognise those gamers? Presumably the local club, I hope they bought Les Higgins figures! Some worry about the ageing of the hobby, but it doesn't look much more youthful back then..

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    1. I'm surprised there is no reply from me about this comment, David, since I replied a few days ago. More techno jiggery pokery?

      Can't find any trace of Mid-Northants Military Soc now - it has been suggested to me that the chap on the right with the specs might be Les Higgins - someone else suggested it might be Terry Wise, which would be a bit more surprising - regret I don't know what Terry looked like, though I had some dealings with him by snail mail in the late 70s.

      I would not like to see that big measuring stick anywhere near my troops, I can tell you. If that isn't an argument for gridded games then I don't know what is!

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    2. My turn to apologise for slow reply - just 'normal life' stuff.. I did wonder if it was Les Higgins, and spent some time peering at the caricature drawings in the catalogue, to no real conclusion!
      It can't be Terry Wise , surely? I think he was pretty much a Yorkshire chap, and he would have been only about 35 in 1971 - those chaps look older! There is a pic of Terry if you find details of his book on John Curry's website, and Henry Hyde did an obituary in Battle games, I think. That was 2010 - oh dear, time flies! As a teenager or student I wrote to him when he announced a big sell off of gaming stuff, ostensibly to get a list but really to say thanks for the childhood inspiration of his lovely book, and I got a kind and friendly reply; I also still have his ECW/30YW rules in typed/roneo format a la 1980-ish, and none the worse for it! Sorry this has sidetracked away from Les Higgins..

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    3. p.s. the big stick - macho gadget one-upmanship c. 1971? Nowadays he'd be posing with his top-end smartphone...

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    4. I had another look, but again I gave up on John Curry's blog/website/whatever since I have great difficulty finding anything on it. Unfathomable. I agree it is unlikely to be Terry Wise - it's probably a member of the MNMS from 1971 who wore glasses. Nice that you still have TW's letter. These things are good to hang on to, but I usually only realise after I've got rid of them.

      I was intrigued by the very serious sculpted terrain - this is no mere wargame, this is a serious demonstration of something, or a museum exhibit. That big wooden yardstick is probably less of a threat to the little soldiers than a spring-loaded extending tape measure in the hands of a nervous player.

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    5. I think every looked older in those days David. Or maybe now it's just that there are a lot more people younger than me?

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