The family and I spent 3 wonderful days with my parents in the mountains of North Carolina near the little town of Brevard. Whenever we visit, we always make a trip to O. P. Taylor's, the coolest Toy Store on the Planet. I usually spend most of my time checking out the trains, race sets and of course - the toy soldiers. The O. P. Taylor store in Brevard carries several ranges of 54mm scale figures, including a well stocked inventory of W. Britain figures.
The figures are nicely displayed in the store with terrain accessories; I just wish that I had brought my camera. Thank goodness there is an internet so I can share these beautifully painted miniatures.
Though fun to look at, the figures are out of my price range for collecting and gaming. That didn't prevent me from getting a catalog though!
As I looked at the figures in the catalog and online, I started thinking about the "first" wargaming rules published - Little Wars by the famous author, H. G. Wells. The full title of the book is: Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books. Wells, a known pacifist, published these rules in 1913 and they were played with 54mm W. Britain figures. The full text is a delight to read as Wells provides his philosophy in his writing and gives a description of the game from the view of one of the Generals in the battle "relating" his memoirs. Little Wars can be found on the web at Project Gutenberg.
Though I am not interested right now in purchasing and painting 54mm figures, I did find a great site that has affordable miniatures in 54mm: All The Kings Men. Their current ranges are the Napoleonic Wars 1812 - 1815, The War of 1812 in America and The American Revolution. They also have a set of rules, appropriately called, All The Kings Men (ATKM) available free for download on their site or available for $10.00 for a hard copy set with summary card. All the King's Men Toy Soldiers, LLC is owned and operated by Ken Cliffe. Ken is a regular at conventions - I have seen many photos of the great games he has put on that showcase his figures and rules.