SOLDIERS squared off and armies clashed for a day of conflict and combat – on a miniature scale.

Wargaming fans gathered at an Oxfordshire college at the weekend for a battle of wits and strategy. But while the hunger for victory was formidable, those doing the fighting were no bigger than you thumb.

Attracting enthusiasts from far and wide, the Overlord show at Abingdon and Witney College on Sunday, March 24, saw players face off for skirmishes themed on campaigns throughout history. Gamers enjoyed intricate reproductions of scenes and struggles evoking everything from Roman Europe to feudal Japan, and Napoleonic sea battles to the Spanish Civil War.

Others fought frays in Tolkienesque fantasy worlds of goblins and dragons, in post-apocalyptic wastelands or in outer space.

Oxford Mail: Overlord, Abingdon Wargames ClubAnd it all looked tremendous fun.

The annual show, organised by the Abingdon Wargames Club, also featured displays of intricate models and gaming sets and scores of stalls at which aficionados stocked up on figures, rule books and the fine craft equipment which allows devotees of this secret world to fashion their fabulously detailed creations.

Oxford Mail: Abingdon Wargames Club, Overlord show. Picture by Tim HughesModel kits offered accurate depictions of warriors of every era. Ancient Athenians and Spartans sat beside Dacians and Thracians, Vikings, Vietcong, Yugoslav Partisans and combatants from the Malayan Emergency.

Everything, it seems, is in the detail.

“Overlord is a shopfront for the hobby of wargaming,” says show organiser Steve Evans, who has been battling for 50 years.

“The club has been going for 30 years and is going strong. We put on the show to bring traders and wargamers together and to put on games for them to enjoy.”

He welcomed the variety of games on offer and the huge imagination and creativity on show.

Oxford Mail: Abingdon Wargames Club, Overlord show. Picture by Tim Hughes

“You can think of any conflict from history – from land, air or sea – and some one will have made models and games representing it. And everything is rule based, relating to how each side would have acted.”

Devotees came from as far as Wales, some just to pick up figures or new games.

“The show attracts people from all over the place,” he adds. “Some play, others come to collect.

And, he says, it brings in funds to help support the club, which boasts about 40 members.

And what is the attraction of the pastime?

Oxford Mail: Abingdon Wargames Club, Overlord show. Picture by Tim Hughes

“Imagination and creativity,” he says, adding: “But it’s also about interacting with people with similar interests – and the chance to keep on learning!”

  • For more details on the club and details on how to join, go to