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"Phillip O Stearns--The Wargame edited by Peter Young" Topic

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1,733 hits since 8 Jan 2013
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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floating white bear08 Jan 2013 5:02 p.m. PST

I had the privilege of meeting Phillip Stearns at a Manitoba Model Soldier Society show (if I recall correctly) in the late 1980s. He was kind enough to autograph my copy of "The Wargame". He was the primary photographer, and I believe Peter Gilder did the terrain (Hinchliffe Models gets the nod in the book).
He was a great fellow and conducted a painting clinic at the show. Phillip's comment when he realized the figure he was helping me with was "Ch---- it's Cromwell!"
I was trying to promote the idea that scale didn't matter, whether 54 model soldier scale or 25 games scale the artistry was the same.
Appears he was a very colorful fellow. A Google search shows:


Which proports to have a bio of Mr Stearns, and leads to a soft core pin-up site. Which is not a problem, but is definitely not work-safe, and I sure couldn't find any biographical information( I am easily distracted.) He was a skilled photographer of the ladies as well as model soldiers.
At the MMSS show he had two magnificent large scale figures of Vegas Show-girls, combining both his interests.
On the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) he has a credit for a 70s T&A movie as photographer. Phillip O Stearns II (son?) is also listed as an actor but there are no photographs of either man.
At the time I met him he was based out of the New York/New Jersey area. The book notes say he was a WW2 veteran so he would be getting on in years.\Can anybody add any more biographical information? It anyone here knows him, please let him know he is fondly remembered. Thanks, Rob.
(Sheperd Paine was the other guest judge that year. I was deeply embarrassed when, while trying to show me a technique, one of my 10 cent paint brushes fell apart in the master's hands. "Something has died here," Shep deadpanned.)

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2013 5:26 p.m. PST

T&A = Time and Attendence ? They make movies about Time and motion studies ?? evil grin

lgkmas08 Jan 2013 6:34 p.m. PST

The book notes in that link say that he died in 2000.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Jan 2013 6:47 p.m. PST

He photographed all of the miniatures in the Blum book that featured Imrie-Risley 54mm soldiers. I-R were located in Saratoga, NY so I would imagine that Stearns did not live too far away.

VonBlucher08 Jan 2013 7:12 p.m. PST

For a photo of Phil Stearns you'll probably can find one in an old Militery Modler or even possibly in an early issue of Campaign. I remember seeing a photo of him for a Sealed Knot get together in his English Civil War outfit.
Though not a member of MMSI (Military Minature Society of Illinois) I've never missed a show since inception and Mr Stearns was there at most of shows in the 70's and 80's and took most of the photographs for the show also.
I was honored to attend one MMSS show as a guest judge with Joe Berton in the early 90's and was a guest at my friend Doug Bedford's house. Great group of guys in Winnipeg.
I'll look to see if I can find a photgraph of him, if I do I'll let you know. You can also reach out to the guys in MMSS as they might also have photographs of him also.


floating white bear08 Jan 2013 9:31 p.m. PST

Thanks Igkmas, I did get distracted! A colourful man and a life well lived. Rest in peace.

unfashionabledc09 Jan 2013 3:28 a.m. PST

Stearns seems to have been the toy soldier snapper in the 1970s, and apparently knew anyone who was anyone in the hobby e.g. he wrote this article on Ted Suren for Campaigns:
He was also involved in the Callan movie – providing the large scale figures featured, including those oversized commanders used in the wargame. His photography appears in a number of model soldier books and IIRC he wrote a couple himself.
Given his history and day job, he certainly was a colourful character.

floating white bear09 Jan 2013 7:18 a.m. PST

From the link for those who do not care to look at nakkid ladies:

"Philip Olcott Stearns was an American photographer who was born in Detroit in February 1917. The rather patrician Stearns attended the private Brooks School, in North Andover Massachusets, and then Princeton, where he was a successful rower. It was during his time at Princeton that he developed an interest in sculpting. He graduated with a degree in art and archaeology. During World War 2 he was based in the UK as a Captain in in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services; the precursor of the CIA) working with the French Resistance for which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He was a great collector of model soldiers and was also very involved in the early days of The Sealed Knot; the English Civil War re-enactment organisation.
He took the photographs for many books on model soldiers and even wrote his own: How to Make Model Soldiers (1974). Along with this interest he was a top photographer; taking this cover picture for Sports Illustrated in the 1950s, for example.
Another of his books Six Nymphets (1966), is more appropriate to the work he did for Penthouse and, indeed, many other mens' magazines in London, where he lived in a lavish flat in Mayfair. In addition to being a photographer Stearns was the Photographic Director of Penthouse. After he left Penthouse he went on to be editor of miltary history magazine Campaign. He died in February 2000, two days past his 83rd birthday, in Vermont. Interestingly, his death notice (paid for by his family) mentioned his interest in military miniatures and historical societies but didn't mention his photography at all!"

Midpoint09 Jan 2013 10:34 a.m. PST

This is my new hero.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2013 11:03 a.m. PST

I knew him to some degree, meeting him through Shep Paine. They were quite good freinds. Besides the miltary miniatures in common, Phillip and I also had dude ranching in common.

He had been a wrangler at least one summer at a ranch in Montana. Dude ranch wranglers always have funny stories from their experiences. Phillip did too. Unfortunately I do not recall the story but know it involved a visit to the ranch by his mother while he was working there. Next time I talk to Shep, I will have to see if he remembers it.

Phillip was friendly, intelligent, charming, sophisticated and talented.


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