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Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Blitzfreeze to Humbrol: the descent of a man, 30 Jan. 2007
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This review is from: Achtung Schweinehund!: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat (Paperback)
This is a book for the sad kind of people who keep a reference sheet of Humbrol colours around. It shows the gradual deterioration of obsession - first with weapons, then with ever more miniaturized versions of the same. Airfix and Frog 1/72 kits, then HO plastic soldiers, then (after a brief detour with Action Man) 20 mm metal figures. On and on it goes, with exhausting detail and the protagonist's mania only thinly veiled behind a historical treatment of the various subjects. From designers of Nurenberg figures to the games the biographer of Baron Corvo played, from Bowie's lyrics to the two types of boardgame on escape from Colditz: it is covered, and it is great. The cover tells us the book is classified as "memoir/war". This is only slightly true; yes, there are a lot of memories in here (and nicely told ones, too), but in a way this is more of a good description of a certain type of addiction. The addiction that takes place in a shed, or a little back room, on one's own; though linked, through conventions and internet chatgroups, to others with the same obsession. And it is not about war either, but, as the author says: "War runs through the story of mankind like a spine. But it attacts me only in the same way that a deck of cards or a greyhound attracts a gambler."

This is a lovely book - though I'm not into wargaming, there was a lot of me I recognized in here. Towards the end of the book the writer asks his mate TK if they should not do something a bit more grown up. The correct answer is "Like what? Fishing, golf, scientology?"

In a way, this is a treatise of how to escape, like Colditz. And you only have to read the papers to realize there is a lot to escape from. Not that you can escape reality; but it can be fun to try.
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