Sunday 9 June 2024

Jack Alexander of Jacklex Fame and a Tale of Two Bobs

ACW Buildings - Jack Alexander built these with the large one being based on a building from, I believe, Gettysburg itself. They need a little tidying up around the edges but other than that are pretty much good to go straight into action!

I am sure that most readers of this blog will have seen the news recently of the passing of Jack Alexander, a veteran wargamer and designer of the 20mm 19th century Jacklex range of figures. To cut a long story short Jack was, leading up to his death, building a 28mm ACW and Colonial French set up (I believe with the Mexican adventure in mind at some point) using a mixture of Perry plastics and metal figures.

Bob Kett (of 20mm Crimean War Wargaming and Other stuff fame) is a good gaming friend of Bob Black with the latter being one of the celebrated ABC wargamers - Jack Alexander, Bob Black and Alan Cook - with the latter having sadly passed away a couple of years ago. Bob Kett mentioned to me that Bob was working with Jack’s family to dispose of his various collections and that would I be interested in taking the 28mm stuff? To be honest I had no need for this but suggested instead that if it was donated to the club it would mean that more gamers would be able to make use of the material and thereby help to extend Jack’s memory. Bob Black contacted Jack’s family and they were delighted with this suggestion and so last week I drove to his home in North London for a flying ‘grab and go’ style visit.

Bob Black is a top chap, very much an old school veteran gamer and he had all the items duly packed and ready for transport. I would have loved to have been able to spend some more time with him but sadly had to get back. Bob told me that Jack was fond of having units in unit sized boxes and so this was pretty much how they were stored, along with rules, scenarios and four buildings including one based on a building that featured in the Battle of Gettysburg. There was also a single sprue of 28mm plastic AWI Militia which I am sure will be put to good use by, in this case, the club chairman. 

The rules and a cavalry based scenario book. There are also a whole pile of the Long Road North downloadable scenarios included - Mr Fox will be delighted with these methinks!

Bob admitted that Jack’s painting of this latest project was not the best but as he was in his late 70s when he started it he could be readily forgiven. Having said that the figures could be easily refurbished up to a more amenable tabletop standard with some TLC - fortunately the figures are based individually which is handy as the intended rule sets - bear in mind we are looking at the ACW, the Mexican Adventure and even the Franco Prussian War, all of which are gamed by the club (not the Mexican Adventure to the best of my knowledge) - are the various ‘Rampant’ rules by Dan Mersey: Rebels and Patriots and The Men Who Would Be Kings. 

I was surprised at the amount of French - Foreign Legion, Zouaves, Turcos, Senegalese Tirailleurs and Chasseurs D’Afrique along with artillery and machine guns - and reckon that there is the makings of a good Colonial set up along with elements that could be readily used for the Franco Prussian War. As mentioned, the paint job on pretty much all of these is very basic but the models are very nice and so with a little of the aforementioned TLC some very nice units could be added. 

There are also a smattering of unpainted Perry plastics - the original ACW infantry set (roughly two boxes worth) and the artillery set (again, roughly two boxes worth) - which I may well find a use for despite my aversion to painting - surely even I could manage to paint some plastics? 

Maybe, who knows?

In closing then it only remains me to thank the two Bobs - Bob Kett for thinking of me and to Bob Black for facilitating the transfer. I am confident that the denizens of SEEMS (South East Essex Military Society) under the able stewardship of the redoubtable Mr Fox will produce something worthy of Jack’s legacy - be it ACW, FPW or Colonial or more likely, all three!


Stryker said...

I think the one back left may be the Trostle House and the big one the Rose House as I recently painted both in 6mm. Lovely models I hope the get some use!

David Crook said...

Hello there Stryker,

They are certainly impressive looking and once they have received a little TLC they will look suitably imposing on the tabletop. More than that, they represent a piece of gaming history.

Best of luck with your 6mm project!

All the best,


Donnie McGibbon said...

Great that the collection will continue to give pleasure for more years to come.

David Crook said...

Hi Donnie,

It certainly will that’s for sure!

All the best,


'Lee. said...

Hello David, I hope that you are beginning to recover from the recent work related trauma?

That was an interesting read an it's wonderful how this old wargaming stuff still turns up now and again.

I looked through the Jacklex catalogue quite recently and was struck at how good the ACW range looked. The 20mm ranges continue to be cast and sold by my painting customer Mark Lodge of course.

All the best,