Sunday, 17 April 2016

Gilder's Games Wargamer's Newsletter April 1964

The internet is a double edged sword in my opinion, it allows some very dodgy people 
[ including me] to put some pretty unpleasant stuff out there for anyone to read, it does however also allow people with a genuine interest in something to communicate freely, passing information to each other very quickly. So this time I will accept the internet has its uses, I would like to thank Chris Gregg for kindly sending me a scan of Wargamer's Newsletter's piece from April 1964 regarding Gilder's Games. I love it when a plan comes together. What was of particular interest is the information that Peter Gilder started wargaming in early 1963 after a motorcycle accident, which confirms what I had earlier wrote as regards how he started, but not when he had started. 

What is Gilder Up To These Days? Wargamer's Newsletter September 1963

Again Clive Smithers sent me a scan of the 1963 article which I believe may be Peter Gilder's first real contribution to Donald Featherstone's magazine. Anyway here it is for your perusal.

 Some early Peter Gilder figures, I believe painted by the great man himself.

'Do You Live Up North Wargamer's Newsletter September 1970

Well I'm just back from my weekend at London/ Salute, tired and very emotional, but I felt I should put some downloads that I have generously received from Clive Smither's of Vintage Wargaming fame straight onto my blog. I requested if any person had the Newsletters that contained Peter Gilder's first contributions to the Newsletter, well Clive came up trumps.

 One should remember that in the Wargamer's Newsletter, most contributions were very small, lengthy articles were a rarity, and Peter Gilder's were no different.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Wanted , Wargamer's Newsletter April 1964.

Actually the title is a little misleading, although if anyone out there has the copy and any other's around that period that would like to sell them to me then brilliant. Somehow, I think the opportunity has gone for me to complete my collection of Wargamer's Newsletters, mores the pity.
 Anyway, whilst reading a later copy of the Newsletter last night, [that's how sad I really am] Donald Featherstone alluded to travelling to Sleaford in Lincolnshire to wargame with Peter Gilder which was where he was living in 1964.
 Featherstone then went onto explain that there was an article in the April magazine called 'GILDERS  GAMES' which apparently explained how Peter Gilder got started in wargaming.
So to me I think a copy of the article would be of great interest to any internet searching Gilderite's.
 I am therefore making a plea to anyone who would be happy to either scan the article and send it to me, or better sell me the copy so I could then scan the article and then read the remainder of the magazine.
 Additionally in the September 1970 issue of the Wargamer's Newsletter, Peter Gilder wrote a small piece entitled 'Do You Live Up North' which again I feel would be of interest and therefore a scanned copy would be of great help for posterity.

So making a bit of an assumption, and if anyone knows different, let me know, this photograph of Featherstone and Gilder wargaming,  was taken at Peter Gilder's home when he lived in Sleaford in 1964. The dominant hill nearest to Featherstone and made by Peter Gilder, was given as a gift to Featherstone after the weekend.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Obituary for Peter Gilder.

I managed to correctly scan the obituary of  Peter Gilder which featured in issue 40 of the Wargames Illustrated 1991, and felt for completeness sake it should have its own post. Peter Gilder sadly passed away on Sunday 25th November 1990, after succumbing to Motor Neuron disease. [ I believe.]
 Hopefully this blog can give a more rounded account of the activities of Peter Gilder.

A Tidying up of things.

The centre spread from Charles Grant's book Napoleonic Wargaming, published 1974, and featuring the terrain and figures of Peter Gilder. [I am sorry about the quality of the scan] Even in 1974 Gilder's terrain was far in advance of any other wargamer, and I would argue better than the majority of today's wargamers.
 Now that I have decided to create a blog solely for all things Peter Gilder, I thought it logical to transfer my post that I wrote on my main blog, Independent Wargames Group, and place it where it should belong.
 Just to show any readers that I havent forgotten about the Peter Gilder ambition to create some sort of readable record of the great man, I thought I should start the damn thing.
 I would like to thank, Doug Crowther, Harry Pearson and Clive Smithers, for their time and patience in attempting to provide me with some information and potential starting points.
 If the idea falls flat on its face, at least I have had a couple of pleasant hours talking to some wargamers that I have wanted to actually speak to.
 But I digress.
 I would also like to state, that this initial outline, is made up of secondary sources, because frankly the great man seemed to have a transitory early wargame career.
 I can confirm that Peter Gilder was employed as a pie machine salesman for a company known as Alberken who were based in Newark Nottinghamshire. [ Its strange that even then, Newark had a wargames connection ] Gilder was working for the company from about 1964, and was employed by two men, called Albert Horsefield and Ken Watkins. [ For those of a younger age, every cafe and canteen used to have a glass fronted display in which pies were put. These were heated by lights, and were a hazard to any greedy boy who decided to touch them.]
 For some reason, Alberken decided to diversify into making painted toy soldiers which they sold in wonderful red coloured boxes, obviously emulating Britains.

Having now seen some of these figures in the flesh, they were a little crude but have a charm of their own. They measured about 22mm tall [ early 25mm figures?] and were a tad stiff, but then this was the early 1960's.
 Although I cannot confirm the assumption, I think it would be fair to say that Peter Gilder helped design the castings. I do remember an early interview with him in a wargames magazine, where he stated that because he had injured a leg and was in hospital,so he turned his hand to making soldiers as he was bored.
  From the excellent Vintage20mil site, the figures are described as similar to the Hinton Hunt Napoleonic's of that time. Knowing a few anecdotes about Peter Gilder I think it would be fair to say he may have plagiarised a couple of figures from Hinton Hunt, prior to him developing his own style. But then without being too judgmental, there wasnt that many figure ranges about so an aspiring sculptor would want to check out the opposition.
Albeken Figures didnt exist for too long, due to a fatal accident of one of the owners, and in 1965, they were taken over by Neville Dickenson who founded Miniature Figurines based in Southampton.
 It was the original intention for Peter Gilder to continue sculpting the Miniature Figurines ranges, but Gilder never produced the figures that were expected, and the pair parted company. [ I believe acrimoniously.]
 In 1967 Peter Gilder began designing wargames figures for the legendary Frank Hinchliffe, who was making wonderful metal scale models of artillery and the like.
 Hinchliffe however could not sculpt the human form and Peter Gilder stepped in to start their wargames ranges.
 A common thread running through our early wargaming beginnings, is how feuds and acrimonious disputes flared up amongst the pioneers of wargaming. There seems to be two clear camps about Peter Gilder, one is that he was a generous and brilliant friend, and the other which seems to be he was a bit of a chancer. Personally its not important, hell even Peter Young used to cheat when wargaming!
 Anyway, Hinchliffe was formed selling the new wargames figures ranges, and lets be right, anyone who wargamed in the early 1970's would either buy Mini Figs or if they were lucky Hinchliffe. Their rivalry was pretty intense as they jockeyed for the growing market. 
    I hope to get a lot more detail when I visit Salute in a couple of weeks, where I intend to blag some time with Duncan Macfarlane et al. I also hope to get permission to use all the images that featured in the original Miniature Wargames magazine, that Gilder was instrumental in founding.

A badly scanned photograph from the Grant book, again showing just how good Gilder's terrain and overall look of his wargame  was. This is some 42 years ago.

 I now know that this wonderful image shows Gendarmes painted by the great Phil Robinson who was and is still in the Hull Wargames Club, that Peter Gilder influenced . As I have touched upon, I hope to travel and talk to some of the founder members of the Hull group.
 Phil conatcted me yesterday and we had a natter about several things. He explained that when Duncan Macfarlane set up Miniature Wargames magazine, his famous camera was static at Peter Gilder's original wargames holiday centre in Pickering, so all the units photographed by Duncan, were mainly wrongly attributed to Peter Gilder, although he invariably obtained the units, especially if they were Napoleonic's.

 Some kind people have offered to send images of the Gilder collections that are now scattered across the world. I think that it would be a great idea now I have started this thing. So send them to

Acknowledgements, Thanks again to Doug Crowther, Harry Pearson and Clive Smithers for their time, also check out the great Vintage 20mil site for a potted history of the early wargames ranges.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A new beginning.

Welcome, to my Peter Gilder, In the Grand Manner blog, and first introductory post. Having wittered on about the great man on my other blog, Independent Wargames Group, I thought it made sense to put everything I have and intend to get on a separate searchable blog of its own.
 I intend to post new images of all things Peter Gilder, and also over a matter of time build up a comprehensive history of him and his work.
 I would ask if anyone has figures from the great mans collections, to kindly consider sending them to me so that I can place them on what I hope will become a searchable record.
 This should include, anecdotes, meetings, conversations, in fact anything that will be of interest to all wargamers both young and old.
  I first truly appreciated Peter Gilder with the publishing of the first Miniature Wargames which contained images of wonderfully painted wargames units, on beautifully made terrain.
Prior to that I had admired his work only in black and white photographs in the Military Modelling, when Charles Grant wrote his wonderful monthly series on the Napoleonic Wargame, which later became a book.
  A lot of photographs of units attributed to Peter Gilder were in fact painted by a large number of very talented individuals that Gilder met via the vaunted Hull Wargames Club. I dont think this detracts from what he was about, as Gilder clearly inspired many young talents who were very keen to paint units for him in exchange for large numbers of new castings that he was designing all the time.
  I hope to provide a more detailed explanation of the Hull wargames group in the very near future, when I make my way into deepest Humberside for a talk with some of the people who were very closely associated with the great man. Anyway, from tiny acorns, and all that.