Saturday, January 20, 2018

A MILITARY GENTLEMAN

A major project at work has consumed much of my energy and time for the last few weeks, so not much time for blogging. However, things should be reaching equilibrium again. Despite being busy, there has been some hobby related news that might be of interest. Last year, I picked up John Ray's magnum opus, A Military Gentleman of the 18th Century (pictured above)--known to those in the know as AMG.  This week, I took the time to run a much-anticipated errand to fetch the book from my local bookbinder, where it had been since before the holidays (more on that in a bit)...

For those not familiar, this tome is a labor of love (obsession?) in which the author, John Ray, and his collaborators (artists, figure sculptors, painters) tell a story illustrated by glossy, full color photographs (hundreds of 'em) using 18th Century figures (hundreds of 'em--maybe more) in tabletop settings, complete with custom terrain. The author is extremely protective of his material, so I won't put up images. For a full (and better) description, along with selected images, I would direct you to the first post on John Ray's AMG blog. The book has a limited run of 500. 

Although the AMG blog page says that all available copies are sold, there are books that were sold through  Ken Trotman Books, which is where I picked up mine (and they seem to still have some availability there now).   Checking on Amazon will also turn up some copies  (right now, there several there, but more costly than the Trotman, depending on the exchange rate). 
My book is #362 (stylishly late to the party); it came with a nice thank-you note from John Ray tipped in. For those who may not know, there is an AMG community, initially promoted in part by a discussion group that owners of the book had access to.  I didn't come by the book through the community, per se, nor have I tried to gain access to the forum. Nevertheless, I find that I come across references to AMG among many blogs I visit--birds of a feather, it would seem. 
My AMG, With Slipcase
The AMG was/is a production that clearly was done with an eye towards the ends and not the costs.  This was a book intended for enthusiasts, and price did not seem to be a factor in marketing (and obviously not a barrier for those who purchased it).  Given all of this, the absence of a slipcase jumped out at me once I started handling the book. It just seemed to call out for one, at least to me (this may just be my problem, given my bibliophile tendencies).  [Note: John Ray has left a note in the comments indicating that a slip case or some other similar addition was considered, but was found to be cost-prohibitive: I stand corrected--thanks, John, for the information!]. Fortunately, I have a trusted local bookbinder that I have brought other books from my collection to for restoration and binding.  It occurred to me to  take my AMG there and have a slipcase made.  This week, I brought it home, and it's just the thing! Not a bad after-market addition (and it does not modify the original).
Images from the 2017 AMG Weekend, from the excellent Carryings On Up the Dale Blog

Speaking of associations of like-minded folk, the idea of the annual AMG meeting is a temptation--a trip across the pond to the UK, with some sort of gaming included in the itinerary, is always percolating in my mind. Until I translate that thought into travel, I'll still have the book to peruse and the virtual AMG (and AMG-minded) community in the blogosphere to associate with. Speaking of which, I would be interested to know if there are any "AMGers" who have stumbled across this blog.  
 Excelsior!

21 comments:

  1. Ed,
    Thank you for the kind comments appertaining to the book. I hope you enjoyed the contents. We did design a protective cover but the cost of the book by then was well over budget.
    When you visited my Blog you will have noted that there are a further 130 pages on PDF's that I must make available at some point.
    Your book 362 was one of a small number that Ken Trotman Books were selling on my behalf, so you are the first owner. I have a journal which I keep a record of who purchased each book and I have now added your name against book 362.

    Once again thank you for your support and I do like that slipcase.

    Kindest Regards
    John


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    Replies
    1. Hello, Johh, Thanks for the information on the sales and the slipcase. I've revised my post accordingly.

      I should have added that eye candy aside, I have found the story quite engaging. As a matter of fact, I am deliberately pacing myself and taking in small stretches so as to extend the reading experience: something I've not done with other books. I think it is the rare combination of the visual and the textual, along with the niche appeal, that causes me to savor it as I do.

      Looking forward to the sequel.... :)

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    2. Oh, let me add an appreciation for being added to the record as the proud owner of #362

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    3. Ed,

      No sequel yet....sorry....however, a 1000+ photographs ready.
      If you are interested I could send a few of the PDF's when you are ready, but I would need your email address.
      Regards
      John

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    4. Thanks, John,

      A few sample pdfs would be splendid:
      edmuel -at- hotmail -dot- com

      Best,
      Ed

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  2. Book number 172 at your service...

    My copy is an almost permanent fixture on what I call my writing desk...
    And a constant inspiration...

    All the best. Aly

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    Replies
    1. You bring up an interesting point--I have found myself reluctant to shelve it and tend to keep it more to hand (in my case, it is a fixture on the side table by my chair in the library).

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  3. Oh, that looks a fine addition to your wargaming library.

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  4. Welcome to the club Ed ;-)
    There are a few of us around.
    Keep up the good work here, you'll find plenty to inspire you in John's wonderful book.

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    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you, Stuart, and thanks.

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  5. Replies
    1. Noodling around on the AMG blog will take you into it a bit more: just in case one needed the distraction :)

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  6. Replies
    1. Looks are not deceiving in this (slip) case.

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  7. Glad you enjoyed the book. AMG has been a game changer for me and completely changed the way I approach the hobby.
    I recommend you join the forum when John reopens it. A source of constant inspiration and a joy to belong to.

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  8. Thanks for the note, Graham. I'll keep an eye out.
    Ed M

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  9. It is very late to join this conversation, but here is another one!

    Nice blog you have here!

    Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Jim, Welcome, and well met!

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  10. Another latecomer. I purchased my book in 2013 I think (must check what number I am) and it is a joy to behold. But I love the slipcase idea - maybe you should agree with John the rights to make it available to a wider audience - I bet I would not be the only AMG fan to want one.
    Marc
    Anyway, glad I found your blog - I shall peruse at leisure

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    Replies
    1. Hello, Marc. I just noticed your comment (moderation is on for posts older than 30 days, and I have to check periodically: no notices sent by blogger any longer). There are a few places online where they’ll fabricate a slipcase if you send them the dimensions of the book—for those who don’t have a book binder handy. Hope you find the blog of interest.

      Best,
      Ed M

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