Friday 3 May 2019

Looking Back for Inspiration

I'm starting a new project (more on that in a later article) and am beginning the process of gathering information, buying books and tracking down old magazine articles. The Internet is a fantastic resource for this and of course, it also opens up the possibility of buying long out of print books and magazines. I recently picked up an old copy of Wargames Illustrated for a single article that links to my new project but I have found myself thoroughly enjoying the whole magazine, and not necessarily for the reasons you may imagine. 

I have pretty much stopped buying paper copies of magazines now. Those that I do subscribe too I receive as electronic copies and when I do buy a hardcopy I usually pass it on to friends or family, simply because I don't have storage space for more than a handful (it's surprising how quickly the pile grows when you get three or four magazines a month). I have also come to realise that if I need a particular issue the internet makes it fairly easy to track down to purchase. Not surprisingly eBay is filled with back issues of magazines for sale and there are plenty of digital copies available on publishing websites like Issuu. It was to eBay that I turned to for this copy of Wargames Illustrated from December 1990.

My magazine arrived in the post yesterday and considering its 29 years old it is in pretty good condition. The article I bought this issue for was very informative and I even found a second article relating to one of the other periods I collect, so the small price tag of just a few quid was money well spent in my opinion.

The surprise for me though was that I have also really enjoyed flicking through this magazine from 'another era' and especially remembering our wonderful hobby from before the advent of Internet shopping! The adverts are particularly interesting, many for companies that have long since ceased trading or have been absorbed by other companies. The whole Magazine (bar the cover) was black and white and none of the traders advertising had a website (the web was 'invented' in 1989 but the first publicly available browser wasn't available until 1991). Nearly every listing included a variation of "Send an s.e.a. for a catalogue". When was the last time you had to send a self-addressed envelope to anyone?

It's been a fascinating look back at another age, and boy do I feel old because I remember it vividly! Having said that I'm not one to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses and while I have a fond nostalgia for my early gaming years I am glad to be living and gaming in an internet-enabled golden age of wargaming.


  1. I love looking back at old magazines, especially Airfix, as it brings back so many happy memories. I do miss the anticipation of receiving an order that might take 28 days plus to arrive. Now I can often get it the same day, which is great, but that arrival in the post...

    1. Some companies I buy from still take that long! Especially if I order from the US, it always takes longer. The main thing nowadays is the ability to track a parcel, so you always have some idea when its due to be delivered.

  2. I've been going through back issues recently too as I continue to unpack my hobby but the rats have been busy!

  3. I hadn't heard of Issuu before - what a fantastic resource. There goes my weekend!

  4. I have a stash of these old wargaming mags in the loft all the way back to Issue 2 of Wargames Illustrated. I even remember when and where I bought that one, which was the very first Wargames magazine I owned. It's probably the reason I got into the hobby in the first place.

  5. I've probably got that mag in my shed!


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