Do you find that when you are playing a wargame at someone’s house where they have their other armies in display cases or on shelves, your eyes are continually drawn to their arrayed troops? Whenever there is a break in the play, I love studying other people’s miniatures collections, no matter what the era.
Often the most interesting display cases are not the ones with the owner’s main armies, but the cabinets that store all their extraneous bits and pieces. I particularly like it when there is an element of clutter, where you just can’t predict what units will be sitting beside each other, or what individual figures, bits of scenery or even non-related items get tossed into the mix.
So that is what I want to show off on the blog today: my ‘bits and pieces’ display cabinet. I’ve photographed it exactly as it is, without any attempt to tidy up or re-arrange. So, let’s take a look (and, as usual on my blog, don’t forget to click the pictures to get a closer view!):
[above] Well, here’s my bits and pieces display cabinet opened up for you. Later we’ll explore what’s in each of the shelves. But for now, in this photo you can see that on top of the cabinet itself are parts of the 28mm Spanish town and some 40mm houses I made a few years ago. A 1:43 diecast Swiss ‘Polizei’ VW Beetle seems to have made it up there, too … not sure why I put that there! And there’s also an old board game called Campaign that I’ve never played (and is missing some of the pieces anyway).
On top of the drawer unit lies part of the overflow from my bookcase, my beloved Sharpe DVD set, a couple of 1:72 Italeri houses and a lovely resin La Belle Alliance inn from Waterloo. Also a baby picture of one of my children seems to have migrated from the dresser in our lounge. The little parcel on the right is an old one from Minifigs – a friend sold me some cannon still in the box he got them in years ago.
I can’t recall where I got the American flag that hangs to one side – I’m a New Zealander, not from the USA. But the flag looks splendid hanging there, anyway.
[above] OK, let’s start with one of the top shelves of the cabinet. This one contains a selection of 28mm Napoleonic British and Spanish command bases. There are also a few British and Spanish figures based singly to act as ‘Big Men’ for the Napoleonic skirmish ruleset, Sharp Practice.
In the background there’s a resin house and also a couple of hangovers from my days of collecting model police cars – a 1:43 Citroen H van of the French ‘Gendarmerie’ (isn’t that shape of van so Gallic?!) and a Dutch ‘Rijkspolitie’ (State Police) Shorland armoured car.
[above] This shelf contains my 28mm Napoleonic French command bases, along with a unit of voltigeurs that there isn’t room for in my main display case.
The houses in the background are low relief ceramics that my wife and I bought during our honeymoon in Paris some 20 years ago. They were quite expensive compared to wargaming scenery, but do look nice, and oh so French!
[above] This shelf has a really eclectic selection. First, more 28mm Big Men for Sharp Practice, both on foot and mounted. On the right are several colonial New Zealand wars figures by Eureka Miniatures – Maori warriors and also NZ Armed Constabulary in their distinctive blanket-wrapped bush uniform. In the background are some units from the small Warhammer Empire army, which was the first army I painted on my return to the wargaming hobby about ten years ago.
In the left background is a diorama made up of German 30mm flats, showing the poet Schiller reading to some of his friends – even the tree is a lead flat. I bought these flats on my trip to Europe in the late 1970s, in the tin figure museum at Kulmbach (Germany) if I recall correctly, and painted them on my return home.
[above] Another rather odd mish-mash of figures. On the left are some 28mm Spanish civilians by the Perry twins. Front centre are a quintet of cowboys I painted for use in Western games – though sadly they haven’t walked the dusty streets of Laredo yet. Behind them is one of my favourite pieces, but one that again hasn’t seen a tabletop as yet: my Brittannia Miniatures armed longboat. Off to the right are a couple of Napoleonic French vignettes, including a rendition of the famous David painting of Napoleon crossing the Alps.
Sitting at the back are a couple of Napoleonic French vignettes (including a lovely Foundry cantiniere), some of my British rocket troops, and a miscellaneous Front Rank cart. There are also a few other little odds and sods if you look carefully, including a Front Rank conversion to the Scarlet Pimpernel (wearing a natty yellowish coat), and another conversion to his nemesis French policeman (in a rather fanciful black outfit).
[above] This shelf contains my entire collection of 40mm Napoleonics, made up of a number of makes such as Sash and Saber, Perry Miniatures, Trident Miniatures and the Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company. You can see French on the left, British on the right (including the ubiquitous Sharpe and Harper figures) and even some sailors at top right. At the back are a few Spanish guerillas. The resin windmill is a 28mm Grand Manner piece that really sets the scene for any Peninsular War game.
[above] The final shelf is again a real mixture of periods and pieces. Most of the miniatures are 28mm American Civil War by Redoubt. In fact, this is my entire ACW army! While it is a period that I like, it is not one that has enthused me enough to continue collecting the armies. The banknote is an obvious fake! Also shown are some Conflix resin carts, and a well by the same maker.
Finally, yes, some more police vehicles: a Cadillac Gage armoured car of the Los Angeles Police Department (sadly the long ram on the front has snapped off – on the real vehicle the ram was used to smash into crack houses, and was adorned with a smiley ‘have a nice day’ face!), a tiny German ‘Polizei’ BMW Isetta, and a Dutch ‘Rijkspolitie’ Porsche 911 – particularly meaningful for me as I did a police exchange to the Netherlands in 1992 and actually went on patrol in one of these iconic and ultimate patrol cars!
So, there we have it … my bits and pieces display case as it stands this cold and rainy weekend in late May 2010. I hope you’ve enjoyed the browse round, and do leave a comment if you can.