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


Monday, 22 November 2021

Another Old Wargaming Video - Southern Television

 This seems to me to be the sort of video that everyone with any interest in the subject will have seen, but it's new to me, and I thought it might be worth an airing here.


This was posted on Youtube by Caliver Books a couple of years ago. It looks like a clip from the early 1980s, and it features a brief potted history of (local) Southampton manufacturer Miniature Figurines, followed by a "how to play wargames" section featuring a very young Iain Dickie.

Pick the bits you like; I was impressed by the very weird opening sequence, of lead castings being melted, run backwards (which is satisfyingly surreal, and will be a big hit with all entropy fans), and by the presenter in the end section, Fred Dinenage, whom I vaguely remember as the host of kids' science programmes, including an explain-everything show entitled How?, which ran in various manifestations from 1966 to recent times. Also, of course, Dave Higgs working on 15mm figure masters with a soldering iron is pretty compulsive viewing.

The Bold Fred visits wargaming matters such as "why?" (which is a relative of "How?"), the role of dice in the game and the important issue of how wargamers' wives are likely to be hostile to their hobby.  

29 comments:

  1. As a solo gamer, maybe I should dig out my suit, waistcoat and tie to impress as my usual opponent is so scruffy and casual.

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    1. Excellent - I think there is seldom an excuse for slipping standards, so go for it.

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  2. Vaguely recall seeing this, all good stood when you look back Wargaming hasn’t done too bad in getting on the tv saw a video re Hinchliffe nor so long ago fascinating. Yes dress standards have slipped over the years I still have my Teesside Military Society tie - must think of an excuse to wear it!

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    1. I used to be impressed by Peter Gouldesbrough always wearing suit and tie when he played wargames, but I think Peter probably wore a suit and tie in bed. Even in another age, Peter was from another age.

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    2. Not sure how the 'woke' brigade would react to this nowadays , I find old videos/pictures of wargaming fascinating - a bygone era .

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    3. "Yes dress standards have slipped over the years"

      I wear very nice dresses when I wargame, thank you very much!

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    4. Dress standards noted! One thing about these old vids which intrigues me is they are almost always sort of apologetic. Men playing with toys! - our cub reporter investigates. Next we'll find that women have hobbies too...

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  3. An enjoyable video flashback Tony…
    There is indeed a certain lack of sartorial elegance in the modern wargamer.
    When my father took me to my first model/wargame show when I was but a lad…he made sure I had a nice fresh shirt on and I seem to recall that at that time he would have gone casual with a tweed jacket and corduroys…
    I am quite tempted by the tweed and corduroy ensemble myself…

    All the best. Aly

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    1. When I first started work (in the finance industry, Gawd bless it) the standard dress code was suit and tie, but you could wear a sports jacket and "slacks" if you worked on Saturday. In my particular office it was a big help if you wore a Watson's or Heriot's old school tie...

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  4. Remarkably, Fred Dinenage is still around and has only recently announced his retirement from broadcasting at the age of 79.

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    1. Thanks for this - I'm surprised Fred is as young as that. Good for him.

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  5. Phil Mackie once the UK end of the SYW association and now a leading light in Devizes WG club being the other interviewee. 15mm SYW - a mix of Minifigs and FK15 on the table.
    Neil

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    1. Well spotted - Phil is a little tense, I feel, but it's a brave effort.

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  6. I always wear a bow tie when playing games on a Sunday, nothing else mind, just a bow tie. In the week I don my lucky gravy stained string vest. I think it’s important to set an example to the non wargaming world. Lol.

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    1. For an instant I was going to ask how you wear the bow-tie, but thought better of it.

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  7. An excellent post, I have shared it on the Fife and Drum forum. Giving you due credit, keep up the good work.


    Willz Harley

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    1. Thanks for this - it amazes me that these old items keep cropping up!

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  8. Excellent. A classic of local TV as well as wargaming history.

    I thought it was a bit later than early 80s. More like 1990 judging by the hairstyles and clothes. One of the comments on YouTube reckons it was post 1993 as that was when Meridian took over the Southern ITV franchise.

    I still peel oranges the way I learned to do them courtesy of Bunty James on How in the 70s.

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    1. Only thing I really remember about "How!" is the majestic Jack Hargreaves - one of the absolute greats of British TV. Your fashions-of-the-day analysis is probably correct, I think. Caliver could have given us a little more info when they posted it on Youtube.

      Here's a quick How! on How!...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlGgz6n9how

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    2. That’s excellent! Thanks for putting the link up.

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  9. Excellent! Not seen that before, although my backs aching just looking at the very low table!

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    1. You've reminded me that for a while (many years ago) I had my wargaming table supported on 2 children's play-pens (why I had 2 I can't remember). It wasn't a bad arrangement - the best thing about it was that it looked brilliant when standing next to it - a great wide view of the battlefield. Bad things were that it was tiring (and these were the days when I could still bend down easily - and often stand up again) and that people tended to lean on it when reaching across, which caused frequent table-sliding and occasional soldier-crushing problems. Overall it is not recommended, but for a while I wondered about playing on the floor, HG Wells style.

      I can't remember ever wearing a suit and tie for wargames, though I'm confident I probably wore a kaftan on occasions...

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    2. The point I completely omitted in my comment here was that the playpens were about 2 feet high, so the table was very low...

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  10. Amusing and interesting in so many ways. I was particularly taken by the politeness of the interviewer at one level, but that he did not seem to listen to any of the answers!
    Iain's explanation of wargaming in fewer than 30 seconds is suitably confusing, even to me as one who (thinks that) he understands the caper a bit—not that I'm surprised as how hard would that be to do unprepared, on film and spontaneously?!
    Interesting that they sculpted from a base 'dolly' and with soldering iron, rather than with wire-frame and putty.
    Regards, James

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    1. Hi James - for such a short clip, it was quite well put together. The "on film and spontaneously" bit is maybe debatable - they obviously spent hours setting up the game and putting their waistcoats on, so I guess the questions weren't a complete surprise!

      As someone who trembles at the mere sight of a soldering iron, I have complete admiration for the sculptor's talents here. Taking a big bastard rasp to the grenadier's hat is a bit whole-hearted, too.

      Interesting to hear Neville Dickinson. Since he doesn't say anything about copying the figures of his usual supplier, I guess that must have just been a rumour.

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  11. Just noticed this post Tony, very enjoyable watch, not seen it before. The skill of the sculptor from a metal dolly never ceases to amaze me. I notice that Fred still pops up now and then as I flick through the early evening channels, could be Meridian or other local news programme. Thanks for sharing that and love the comments re dress code :)

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    1. Hi Lee - I'm certainly having thoughts about smartening up the sartorial aspects of my games in future!

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  12. Excellent stuff! Having stopped wearing a suit to the office about 3 years ago ( and I was one of the last few ), and in fact now having no office to go to ( the new normal ), I have been wondering what to do with the suits. I think you may have given me the answer - I assume messrs Young, Featherstone, Grant et al would approve..

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    1. Back after absence due to weather...

      When I took (early!) retirement, I found I had a ludicrous collection of smart suits, many of which I would not choose to be seen in at all, so I ditched them and I believe that (apart from a very expensive linen one for my White Planter days) I now have one serviceable suit, which I am aware I only wear to funerals these days, so maybe a spot of wargame duty would change its associations a bit!

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