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1938 : A VERY BRITISH CIVIL WAR – Part Two

February 19, 2013

1938 :  A Very British Civil War is a great ‘what if’ setting for wargames (see my previous piece for full details) and I was very pleased to track down some further volumes in the series. Those mentioned in my previous piece are those most useful and necessary for understanding the setting; these ones are ‘optional extras’.

The Army of Prince Albert, Lord Protector details the Albertine faction of the civil war, desperately attempting to restore sanity to a fractured and disunited kingdom, but finding it difficult to unify the anti-Edwardian factions. The usual mic of background information and wonderful colour plates illustrating troops and personalities are supplemented with some uniform details.

The County Forces, Militia and Yeomanry is a two-volume look at the uniforms of the English militaries during the Civil war (Scotland and Wales are not yet covered). Part One covers the counties upto M, and Part two covers those from N onward, as well as cavalry. These two volumes are purely uniform guides intended to provide uniform details and inspiration to model painters. Their scope is, thus, rather restricted and not for everyone, although they do what they set out to do very well. Personally, I would have liked actual information about the different forces – but, even though I am not currently modelling figures for the setting, and probably wouldn’t have sought out the volumes solely as a guide if I was, I found looking through these two volumes strangely compelling and fascinating. Certainly not a necessity, but potentially useful and fun, too, although those willing to put the effort into their own research might prefer to actually look up and details of period uniforms themselves and extrapolate for fictional units.

A Guide To Tanks and Military Vehicles does just what it says on the cover, with some general details on the development of armour in the period, along with copious photographs of models to inspire the gamer to create their own weird and wonderful contraptions, as well as colour plates and an article on converting a die-cast vehicle into an AFV. It is a fun volume and full of inspiration, but it will not be of much use if what you actually want is hard data.

The North Somerset Campaign is one of the meatier volumes in the series. As the title suggests, it details the campaign of the Somerset Freedom Fighters in the north of the county. It provides an enjoyable write-up of the background and events and some basic rules for replaying the campaign (originally held as a convention event). Although in no sense essential to understanding the setting nor for playing battles in it, it could prove useful if you need help setting up a campaign game or would like a ready-made campaign without having to research the terrain and politics of a local area.

As with the previous volumes, the £8 cost for each slim A5 volume is steep, especially for the uniform and vehicle guides, although the lavish use of colour and the wonderful photographs and plates readily justify the cost. Although it didn’t seriously bother me, there are quite a few typos and the grammar and spelling are not great, which is a shame. Whilst I enjoy the series as a whole and did enjoy these particular volumes, I would not recommend any of them particularly highly unless you specifically require the information for a project, although completists will satisfied with them.

1938 :  A Very British Civil War is a great idea that the sourcebooks don’t quite do justice to. I would love to see all the information compiled into a single, high-quality volume with the text written to match the quality of the photos and colour plates. It has proven successful so far, but I think it deserves an even wider audience. being an absolutely brilliant idea for a wargame.

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