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Touching History

United Kingdom

Napoleonic Peninsular terrain book
As Delivered

Long Review: My first thought was, perhaps, a little negative. After all, what good is yet another "how to make xxx terrain" publication when there are so many free articles available on the web?
I must admit to a receiving a pleasant surprise when paging through the first issue of Touching History. The publication is more of a magazine than a book, especially considering the paper, but it is a really nice bit of reading. Paul has, however, said that future publications will be hard-cover.
The style of writing, and the manner of construction described, is very reminiscent of the old Ian Weekley articles in Wargames Illustrated when he still submitted articles. This could be seen as high praise, as Ian Weekley had a great influence on model-making for many years.
The content consists of 17 chapters detailling references, tools, several step-by-step articles on individual terrain articles, some info on the 95th Rifles and information on where to buy certain parts and items of use in the construction of the items described in the magazine.
Paul has decided to split his knowledge into themed chunks. The first (and the subject of this particular issue) is the Napoleonic Spanish Peninsular War. While the official theme is this war, the buildings and methods can easily be applied to any period of Spanish history after about 1400.
The instructions are neat and clear, with great "before", "during" and "after" photos, and even someone as ham-fisted as I can learn from them. The illustrations chosen to go with each article are also well-chosen, displaying the items from all the neccessary angles.
The specific items covered are the base-boards, a church, walls, houses and towers, a statue, a windmill, wheat fields, a fortified French blockhouse, and a set of instructions for making thatched roofs. The useful thing is that these buildings, while labelled as Spanish, are generic enough that they will work for any of the northern Mediterranean countries. There are also several galleries of work Paul has done previously.
I wholeheartedly recommend this publication (especially for the Spanish Civil War and Napoleonics). I must say that, considering that this is a soft-cover publication, I felt that the price is a little steep, but having had the opportunity to read through the booklet several times now, I think it is actually not that expensive.
Historical Accuracy: Average.
Sources: I "borrowed" a friend's copy for this review. Thanks, Pete!
Shortly after posting the review, Paul sent me a personal copy.
Author: Paul Darnell.
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