Friday, 14 September 2012

Rose Model Soldiers catalogue 1957

I never really got the bug for painting the white metal Military Models that proliferated during the mid 1970's, I dabbled of course but never really developed the skill or patience for all that shadowing and highlighting which became the fashion so beloved of the international modelling magazines. Some people painted them sumptuously in oils others went for the ultimate in authenticity by using vegetable dyes, for me, that path would ultimately have led to madness so I stuck to my tins of Humbrol gloss enamels and did them in Old Toy Soldier style.  Probably my favourite manufacturer of this time was Rose Models sculpted by Russell Gammage so I was delighted to discover this:

I recently bought up a selection of old magazines and while flicking through them what should fall out but this rather quaint Rose Models Soldiers catalogue from 1957.  It is an A4 sheet folded into A5 and printed on one of those old Roneo reprographic machines that we used in school before the advent of the photocopier, the sort that you fitted a carbon sheet to and turned the handle.  The smell of solvent filled the room so you felt high as a kite by about page 15, then the paper feed went askew but you didn't notice until about page 60 so every sheet had to be amended by hand where it had misprinted.  They were great days.

It's not a great document in the scheme of things but it gave me a moments amusement so I thought I would share it for anyone with a memory of Rose.  I never realised they'd been in business since the 1950's (never gave it a thought really) so I was interested to see the prices - 5 shillings (25p in today's worthless coinage) for an unpainted foot figure, in the late 1950's that would have bought you at least 5 pints of beer, today that would make the castings £17.50 each (all figures based on London beer prices).

There is no mention of Gammage's smaller scale wargame figures so I guess they didn't come out until some years later.  Since publishing this post Rob (Xaltotun of Python) has kindly directed me to a post on the Old Metal Detector blog showing that the first two Rose wargaming figures were listed in the 1956 catalogue and I subsequently noticed that what I have here is a supplement to that list.

Posts to this blog have been rather sparse of late because we recently suffered a burglary, thankfully little was taken (causing Mrs C. to observe that our electrical goods are so big and obsolete as to be not worth nicking) but the haul included my camera, and as my web/blog philosophy is to be big on images while short on text this loss has had a very limiting effect on me.  Even greater disruption has been caused by the subsequent fallout - dealing with Police and Insurers (both very helpful) changing locks, adding locks, raising the height of fences and installing an alarm system (the latter a neat piece of kit based on wireless technology which will even send me a text if the miscreant should return for a second round!).  Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as the insurance claim is settled, in the meantime I am reduced to the use of my scanner and whatever stock photos I can dig up.


  1. Most vexing to hear of your burglary!
    I collected Rose 54mm figures in the 1970's and remember them with great affection .Sadly they have long since gone.Thanks for an enjoyable post.

  2. I think I still have a couple in the back of the cabinet! I couldn't afford too many so they were picked up as special treats.
    Sorry to hear of your troubles, it is not only annoying, but you have it in the back of your mind ever after.

  3. My first 54mm models were Imrie Risley but I was onto Rose by 1972. Still have a few of them on the shelf, and a catalog with lots of illustrations. Then I got into wargaming.....

    There is a something to be said for owning dogs that bark and old electronics. Bloody annoying things break-ins. TG it wasn't a toy soldier enthusiast/burgler.

  4. Autumn 1956 catalogue:

    7th December 2009 post. So a couple were around then. My own collection of Rose catalogues only goes back to 1960 :(


  5. My old Rose figures have also long since gone to that great swopmeet in the sky, save a few heads languishing in the spares box awaiting suitable conversion opportunities.

    Fortunately no toy soldiers were affected by recent events and nothing of sentimental value lost.

    Many thanks for the link Rob, this post subsequently updated.

  6. My sister and I worked for Mr Gammage around 1966, all of Rose Miniatures painted models were her work. Those were the days, all painting was done in a shed at the bottom of the garden.

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment, It's always nice to hear from someone who "was there at the time".
      Best wishes, Brian