Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Gathering Storm Part One - Scotland and the North

Solway Crafts and Miniatures have recently released their second source book for their alternative history setting 1938: A Very British Civil War. Originally intended to be a single volume they had so much interest that they decided to split it in two and so this is Part One covering Scotland and the North with a second part expected early in the new year.

This is a 50 page full colour production with 15 sections written by a variety of contributors interspersed with pictures of miniatures, flags and the the like. Six pages in the centre of the booklet are given over to a photo gallery.

The contents are as follows:
  • Introduction
  • The State of the War
  • Scotland's Own Civil War
  • The Northern Army
  • The Chopwell Communists
  • Yorkshire and the Civil War
  • War in the Lakes
  • Chester and the Siege of Liverpool
  • The Isle of Man
  • American Volunteers
  • The Photo Section
  • The New Model Red Army
  • Wynd-Grator and Joshua Force
  • The Court and Royalist Factions
  • Minor Fascist groups and the BUF
A couple of small scenarios are also included.

The layout and style is a little inconsistent with a mixture of two and three column formats with photos and text inserts. Each page has a coloured background (similar to that on the cover) with the text boxes being darker and the photos held in by simulated tabs.

The content is the product of enthusiasts who have taken the ideas in the original source book and developed them through research, their own inventiveness and tried to provide a world which allows them to use the figures available.

It was always going to be difficult for this booklet to make the same impact as the first. The whole concept of the alternative timeline carried the first source book and more than made up for its weaknesses. This volume just cannot compete on the same basis, it is simply fleshing out that original idea albeit in some interesting and inventive ways. The main advantage of the original was that it provided many creative seeds which you could develop to fit your own vision and, whilst this new volume does suggest the book is "a guide but not the final word", it does feel more limiting than the first.

This is an interesting read and there are certainly some useful ideas in it. Whether it is worth the £12 plus postage is really a question of whether you need those ideas.


  1. I can see a few interesting wargaming scenario/nights here.

    A few shall I say "past personalities" would have enjoyed the context.

    £12 postage ... eh? I am dumbfounded, so much for the season of goodwill

    I hope Santa brings you lots of toys ;)

  2. John - yes I suspect that non-BCW fans will probably find very little of interest in this book

    Geordie - £12 for the book plus postage on top...