There have been, as you might expect, many changes in such a time. Some good some bad mostly it has to be said indifferent. Back in those misty days of Yore there was no internet and all business was done by letter or telephone or at shows. In the 1990s I was doing 26 shows a year and we had far far less competition than we do now. I've seen companies come and go . Who remembers Corvus? Nice minis where did they go? Gladiator? Tabletop? There are others devil a doubt, who have gone the way of all flesh. Looking back I find in those early days - before the untimely death of Dave Allsop- we had what seems now to be a tiny range- Some 30mm ACW- sold in regiental boxed sets- a new idea then. Some 15mm ACW - sold in bags of 100 at a tenner a go- another new idea from across the pond. I sold thousands of 'em, a few 30mm Napoleonics - also in boxed sets and just the beginning of 15mm Napoleonics.- Of course in those days 28mm didn't exist- so we called the 30mm 25mm to save confusion.That was it chaps
We were then and still are a soldier company rahter than a games commpany. The core business is little metal men and from the mid 1990s little tanks. We have dabbled in rules but its not my metier since games for and of themselves are of little direct interest. Its always been the soldiers that count
We didn't then tend to think in terms of games but rather of periods so you played Ancients or Napoleonics rather than FOG or Black powder. You might mention the ruleset subsquently but it was a given that period came first- or perhaps size- you might say 15mm Napoleonic or 15mm Ancient. You would not say 28mm anything as Bryan Ansell was yet to increase himself by 3mm overnight as a marketing ploy - that in 1992 was a few years ahead. 20mm was almost entirly the province of WW2 and Moderns-15mm had yet to make its appearence in the UK for those periods- though it did exist in the USA and would with Command Decision -shortly exist over here too. Plastics- except in 20mm were not really considered quite the thing really which probably explains my mild antipathy to them today. I can't. try as I might get rid of the feeling that plastic is for kiddies.
I have before me a sel;ection of magazines covering the 21 years I've been in the Biz. WI MW PW BG and WSS. All have their points but what is intriguing is the sterady lessinening of actual information in these magsand the increase of either infomercials for a specific product or scenarios for a specific ruleset. In 1992 the flavour of the month was DBA- there were lots of DBA variants published- all by individuals rather than companies so we had Napoleonic DBA and Crimean DBA to name but 2 . There were far more homgrown rules out there back then. Indeed this trend struiggled on until the present century.There were also a good few informative articles back then- they tended to be why I kept those particular magazines. A 2002 WI has 2 distinct sets of rules within its pages but there is also an artcle on Dutch Cavalry uniforms and another on Naval warfare. - so a good mix . Nevertheless 28mm is now the dominant size- even from those compaines whose figures were 25mm in the previous century and indeed were the same figures. This to me was the silliest developement of all, the most outrageous case of bandwaggon jumping and indeed fear and loathing I can remember. Its also funny and really rather odd if not a tad pathetic . These days if a chap is under 40 you'll hear "28mm" spoken in hushed tones of reverance as if it was some ancient litany - if only they knew that is was 1997-8 or thereabouts when that nonsense began. So many changes but overall the more things change the more they stay the same. Well heres to the next 21 years- aterall Dave and HIS Rich Mates have made sure I can't retire.