When I saw The Encyclopedia, then, I was naturally intrigued. This was relevant to my interests, and did it ever deliver. Many a day was spent pouring over the color photos, reading about the histories of model kit and figure manufacturers, and the instructions for creating detailed dioramas.
This was right before I had my first experiences with The Gaming Hobby™, and it's easy to see how this prepared me for it. Step-by-step instructions are given for scratchbuilding models, conversions, creating molds and casting. I studied the two-page spread on model scales when I started to look at what kinds of military model kits I could use for my own Warhammer 40K conversions.
I had a little story about the photo that I made up in my head early on. I got the sense that the gent in the suit jacket and tie is measuring the distance to move his unit of figures, while the fellow next to him is pointing out a place in the rules that counter-acts what the first is trying to do.
"I'm going to move this unit 15cm forward!"
"Hmmm... according to the rules, that unit can only move 12cm!"This matched up with what I saw on our own 40K tables at various times.
I also love the "British-ness" of the book, if you will excuse the term. It uses those spelling conventions of course (influential on a young impressionable American lad) and mainly covers the military modeling hobby in England, reinforcing my idea about it being a place where everyone took part in intellectually stimulating hobbies like military modeling and wargaming. The Encyclopedia of Military Modeling, along with Warhammer 40K, White Dwarf Magazine, 2000AD and others ensured that my early days in the hobby were heavily influenced by the British gaming scene.
The South London Warlords are still an active group and run Salute, the largest wargaming convention in the UK (the 40th anniversary show is later this month). You can read a short history of the club, with more great photos, on their blog.