Monday, October 26, 2009

Organizing and collecting miniature armies

So... thanks to a recent comment about collecting armies and my own particular way of going about it, I thought I would post a little something about how I collect armies.

I have three basic rules when I plan a collection:

1) Plan it all out from the start
2) Make sure it is nicely proportioned
3) Make sure it is symmetrically planned

Okay, first to alienate all of the blog readers... ... I believe a wargames army can be done.

Ahhh! There, I said it!

I know there are many people who will see this as a total sacrilege, but to me one of the GREAT pleasures at the start of a collection is simply planning it out and knowing, from the very start, where the end line is! I usually try to buy the whole thing in one go, and voila!

I also try to make my collection nicely proportioned. For example, my regular line infantry should greatly outnumber my guards and lights, but I often like my lights and guards to be roughly equal. Cavalry should be a nice mix of the different types, but they should be equally represented. Artillery, officers... I like it all to be nicely proportioned.

I also try to make sure the army is balanced in terms of numbers and is... well... for lack of a better term, symmetrical? For example, take a look at the French army in this post... when making it, I wanted it to neatly divide up. Four line infantry regiments and two guard regiments and two light infantry regiments... three cavalry types (light, medium, and heavy) that both split in half. Two batteries of artillery. Two groups of foot officers. Even with the army officers, there is one mounted one for each "half" of the army. I am not sure WHY this is so satisfying to me... but it is.

Here are a few examples from my current and planned collections. My 25mm Napoleonic Russian army is, for me, a "major" collection. This means it will be larger and will feature full support in terms of limbers and such. My 25mm Russian army will consist of...

1 group of mounted officers

4 Line infantry regiments (x32 men each)

2 Light infantry regiments

1 Guard regiment

2 regiments of cuirassiers (x5 men each)
2 regiments of hussars
2 regiments of cossacks

2 batteries of artillery with limbers and supply wagons (x3 guns each)

2 groups of foot officers

2 centerpieces
(which will include a small unit of Pavlov Grenadiers)

This was my planned army from day one, and bought all in one go. I don't really plan to add or change anything here... although, I have to admit, two units of militia might be nice:)

My 25mm Napoleonic Austrians, however, are a "minor" collection. "Minor," like "major," doesn't refer to any real set idea; it simply means a collection that I intend to be smaller in scale than my "major" collections. As such, they will have smaller units and fewer of them.

My Austrians will consist of...

4 regiments of infantry (x24 each)

1 regiment of light infantry (x24)

1 regiment of grenadiers (x24)

2 regiments of cuirassiers (x5)

1 battery of artillery (x2 guns)

1 group of foot officers

1 group of mounted officers

1 centerpiece

While not as large as one of my "major" collections, it allows me to put together what I consider to be a nicely balanced army with all of the major branches represented.

So... those are my basic thoughts on collecting a wargames army! I find that planning ahead not only ensures a nicely balanced army, but it also gives me a set point to aim for AND keeps me from the dreaded "I'll just buy this... oh, and this..." and instead allows me to FINISH a collection and move on to something totally new!

If you feel like sharing your OWN thoughts on collecting, please do!


Indiana said...

I like this. I totally agree that an army can "be done".

I tend to try and buy both sides of any period I get into, so that there is only a need for an opponent, not one that also shares the same period passion. Two smallish armies allows for some nice engagements without becoming a bottomless pit of buying.

CWT said...

Thanks for a whole post in response to my comment - I feel spoiled!

I see that you do much the same as me, as I also plan a finishing line, obsessively plan and price beforehand, then try to buy the lot in one go.

It's good to see you just try and balance things to your own satisfaction - I sometimes get bogged down with organising an army to fit various scenarios in rulebooks, which usually requires a huge army in the end!


Yitu said...

Great Army!

Regards from Germany,


Anonymous said...

What is this 'finish line' of which you speak?

Author said...

*laugh* There is the typical wargamer!:D

Yeah, I know it is considered some vague form of treason to have a point where collections are "finished" but I just feel like they DO have that point... or at least, creating that point increases my enjoyment of collecting them:)