Welcome to the Harold’s Rangers blog. I’m Jamie Delson, a life-long toy soldier collector and wargamer. My brother, Eric, introduced me to Avalon Hill board games, such as “Tactics II” and “Gettysburg”, when I was in grade school back in the 1950s. Up to that time I had been satisfied with setting up huge battles with 54mm toy soldiers on my floor. But playing the board games with Eric influenced me to stop throwing golf balls, darts and pencils at my soldiers in favor of trying to find a set of rules which would allow me to use soldiers, instead of cardboard counters, to play out games with my toys.
Over the next two decades I tried out rule sets by H.G. Wells, Donald Featherstone, Joseph Morschauser and the team of Brigadier Peter Young and Lt. Col. J.P. Lawford. Influenced by their works, I wrote my own set of rules for 54mm figures, which continued to be developed as they were played and replayed through high school, college and adulthood. But it wasn’t until the 1980s, when I met Armand van Ingen and John Monteith, that the full rules of “Harold’s Rangers” were developed.
Since then, I, along with Monteith, van Ingen and David Dougherty, plus scores of fellow hobbyists, have been playing an ongoing series of games. I titled the game “Harold’s Rangers” after the ill-fated English King, Harold Godwinson, who is the leader of my own forces. He, and many other characters in the game, such as John Nicholson, are real historical figures, but our armies also include fictional characters such as Richard Sharpe, Sergeant Harper and Suzie the Samurai.
This blog offers me a chance to share the saga of our 30-year gaming history. “Harold’s Rangers” is as much a series of stories, or movies, as a game. Each time we play we add a new chapter which can be viewed and re-viewed in the many photos we have taken of every game, and I and my friends hope to recount our adventures for your enjoyment. By wandering the site, you will also find articles I have written about the hobby, practical advice and how-to documents on painting, animating and collecting, and much more.
My day job is running The Toy Soldier Company with my wife, Jenny. We sell plastic and metal toy soldiers, in scales from HO to 70mm, through our website and print catalogs. My aim is keep the focus of this blog on fun, not work, but as the two are inextricably linked in my life I will apologize if commerce rears its ugly head from time to time.
I have been a professional writer, of screenplays and newspaper and magazine articles, for 40 years. But this format is new to me, so please bear with me as I feel my way through this new adventure. I welcome your comments and look forward to sharing my passion for this hobby with you.