As children growing up in the sixties my brother and I played with toys soldiers, mostly the early Airfix or larger Britains and Timpo figures. The games were simple but great fun and we progressed from firing matchstick cannons to rolling dice to determine the outcome of our battles.
One day back in 1968 my brother returned from school with a copy of Miniature Warfare magazine. This magazine had the strap line “The magazine for those who wish to recreate the tactical ability and weapon capabilities of armies of a chosen period”. This was a revelation – playing with toy soldiers was not just a kids game it was a real hobby! On the back inside cover there was an advert for Hinton Hunt Figures “…the largest range of high quality 20mm war game figures in the world.” – well, we just had to get some.
The catalogue duly arrived but with our limited knowledge of military history we were somewhat overawed by its contents. In the Napoleonic lists were exotic troops we had never heard of like ‘Mameluks of the Guard’, ‘Pavlovski Grenadiers’ and ‘Tirolean Jagers’. Eventually we settled on buying some 20mm Prussians - because we knew they had something to do with the Battle of Waterloo!
Over the next few years that army grew to over 250 figures, each one painstakingly painted and prepared for action. Ironically though, those troops never took part in any tabletop battles as by the time they were ready ‘growing up’ had intervened. They were sold off for £30 - I wish I had kept them…