Sunday, December 17, 2017


 Aly Morrison's Shiny Toy Soldiers (STS) from the Spencer Smith Website

The talented Aly Morrison, of Aly's Toy Soldiers fame, and I had some small correspondence recently concerning our mutual interest in the wars of the mid century, specifically concerning my "Chocolate Box Wars" project.  Aside from posting on the topic on this blog, I also wrote about it in the Foreign Correspondent (#116, Oct 2016): a version of that piece can  be found in a previous post on this blog.  Gentleman that he is, Aly had contacted me asking for permission to use the term "Chocolate Box Soldiers" in something he was working on (an ongoing project).  Of course, I agreed: far from feeling infringed upon, I found it extremely positive that we were sharing a term along parallel lines. 

Now we come to the exciting revelation.  Several weeks ago, fellow blogger and friend Mark N, of the Come on My Brave Fusiliers! blog presented me with a fine gift: a small stack of back issues of the Foreign Correspondent, Newsletter of the Continental Wars Society. In the July 2007 issue, I ran across a piece entitled,  "Shiny Toy Soldiers" by Aly Morrison (text available by clicking on the title). 
In that piece, Aly uses the term "Chocolate Box Soldiers." The conceptual framework he describes and the one that I present in my ruminations are consistent with each other. So much so that one could easily imagine that I had co-opted (to be nice) his concept and turn of phrase--we both invoke the Prisoner of Zenda, for instance.  Incredible as it may seem, this was not the case. As a matter of fact, had I seen his Tiny Toy Soldiers (and also Little Britons) on the Spencer Smith site before I had embarked on my own project, my figure collection could have taken a very different turn.  Even now, with a half completed Hungarian infantry contingent on the painting table, I am still tempted to dabble in the STS line...but that way lies madness. No more of that! 

So, dear reader, to set the record straight and to give credit where it is due, Aly arrived there nearly a decade before I did, and it is I who should have been seeking permission from him (which he has since graciously granted).  More than that, this is a happy parable of the community that blogging enables. 
An Image From Aly's Blog
For a treat I heartily recommend checking the "A Gentleman's War"  reports on Aly's blog. There you will find Chocolate Box Soldiers on the march, doing H.G.W. proud.



  1. Fine story, Ed! We all stand on the shoulders of those going before.

    1. Thanks, Jonathan, I was thinking of adding a car chase and explosions to the tale, but left those for the film version :)

  2. Gosh! Ed...I am almost at a loss for words ( people who know me with vouch that this is indeed an unusual event ).
    Thank you for your kind words... they are very much appreciated.
    I do have to add that this is a two way street,and your blog has re- inspired me to delve in to the Chocolate Box Wars once more...
    I intend to release my wargames butterfly on the subject next year...
    I am not even sure of which particular war... I may just shut my eyes and point...;-)

    All the best and once again thank you...Aly

    1. My pleasure, Aly, to acknowledge "Patient zero" of the Chocolate Box Wars pandemic. Looking forward to seeing where your butterfly alights next.


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