My vintage K&L 20mm Civil War figures – a mini diorama

Back in the late 1970s when I was in the undergrad Paper Science & Engineering program at Miami University near Cincinnati, Ohio, my roommate Charles Reace and I used to enjoy playing all kinds of wargames. One of my favorites was a board game from SPI entitled Fast Carriers. We spent hours playing that game and munching on pizza from Student Delivery Service (SDS had some of the very best pizza that I have ever eaten). Charles and I also enjoyed marathon games of Risk with some of our dorm buddies.

We also got into miniatures, thanks to a grad student named George Nafziger. He invited my roomie and me to start playing 25mm Napoleonics, and we were hooked.

Charles starting buying and painting WWII miniature aircraft, and I began painting 20mm ACW figures I bought via mail order from K&L in Oklahoma. I saw an ad in the back of Civil War Times Illustrated and ordered some figures. Whenever I had some extra money, which for a college kid was not often enough, I ordered a few more figures until I had amassed more than 100.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

I painted the figures back in 1975 or so, the same year that Johnny Bench and my beloved Cincinnati Reds were finally going to win a World Series (the first of two straight titles). Gaming, the Reds, the Cleveland Browns, softball, and Campus Crusade for Christ took up a lot of my free time when I wasn’t studying, in chemistry labs, or enduring the long Greyhound bus ride back home to see my girlfriend and my family.

The K&L (also known as Thomas figures) wee warriors have stood the test of four decades without much damage, other than some scattered men who broke off their bases or lost their pinpoint swords. I primed them well; painted them with Humbrol paints picked up at a long defunct wargaming store near Kettering, Ohio; and sprayed them with DullCote to protect the finish. So far it has worked well, with no yellowing or cracking despite 35 years, many of which the figs were in my basement rec room in the long Cleveland Snow Belt winters.

There are a couple of figures mixed in here that are not K&L. The dead horse is from an Airfix 20mm set (I think it’s from the Custer / 7th Cavalry box IIRC) and at least one of the figs is also Airfix.

The base is a creation of Doug Kline of Battlefield Terrain Concepts that I picked up at Cold Wars one year when I spent a $50 gift certificate to BTC given to me by my lovely wife (who, by the way, was my girlfriend during college; my old roomie Charles Reace was best man at our wedding). Doug Kline does some nice work, and this piece made a nice backdrop for my K&L figures.

All Civil War diorama photos taken December 5, 2010, by Civil War author and blogger Scott L. Mingus, Sr.

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Categories: Civil War dioramas | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “My vintage K&L 20mm Civil War figures – a mini diorama

  1. Charles Reace

    Hey, Scott, great memories. What was the name of that store in Dayton: the Tin Soldier? I felt like a 5-year-old in a candy store when he had a chance to stop by there.

  2. Yes, the Tin Soldier. They moved a few times – Kettering and Bell Brook, perhaps one other location that I recall.

  3. Dirk Festerling

    Got here linked by Mannie.
    Great memories, just a small detail: The dead horse is from airfix, but “just” named
    cavalry, custerĀ“s last stand is in an atlantic box ;-)

    http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=36

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