My name is Gary Wright and I have been painting miniatures since 1982. So how did this all begin? Well I shall come on to that shortly taking you through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and right up to the present via this blog and links to my Youtube channel.
Well… I was born in 1963 and one of my earliest memories was of my dad bringing home some lovely Britains Coldstream Guards Band. There was a fantastic old fashioned toy shop in Hexham, Northumberland (next to the Bus Station) that had thousands of model soldiers displayed on shelves and to me (aged 5 or 6) it was wonderland!
My dad wasn’t in a well paid job at the time so there was no way he was going to buy me lots of them so he did the next best thing, he bought them in installments. So I think he bought me 2 or 3 first time and then over the next few months and years he would bring home one or two more until I had probably the full set. I remember lining them all up on the carpet in front of the coke fired fire every time he brought some more back and that, I reckon, is where I first got my love for model soldiers.
I have no idea whatever happened to them as now they would be worth a few bob, ( a quick search on eBay shows the set goes for over £200) I suspect my younger brothers chewed them to bits but I LOVED them and one day I’ll have to replace them.
Later on I recall having this set that probably was a birthday or Xmas present. Then again my parents were very good at finding these sort of things in Jumble sales so they may have got them from one of those
The shop is still there but very much to my chagrin it is no longer used for that purpose, its a take away shop called ‘Amigos’ as you can see below.
The outside of the shop hasn’t changed at all though and those long windows displayed rank upon rank of soldiers, Dinky and Corgi toys, How wheels… all sorts to tempt in the inquisitive boy or girl and relieve them of their pocket money and dads of their spare wages.
I vaguely recall having a few of the Marines as pictured below, wish I still had THOSE! All I have left of those formative days are the fading memories.
So now if I see any bargain lead soldiers in an antique shop, jumble sale etc I snap them up. A couple of years ago I spotted this fella and bought him on the spot for a fiver. Bargain!
You can NEVER have enough soldiers.