Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Collecting to an Order of Battle

When I am thinking about collecting historical miniatures I like to pick a battle, research the order of battle present, then collect towards that.  It gives me structure and form.  Of course I'm willing to deviate from that when a unit is just too cool to leave out.

I will be picking up the Black Powder rules some time this year.  It is, after all, the Year of Rules.  I do not foresee playing any BP this year; too many other projects on the go.  I would, however, like to buy a few boxes to get things started.  The main eras that I plan to game with BP are Napoleonic and the American Civil War.

For ACW I will build a force for Gettysburg.  This is the battle I know best, having lived there for a summer.  There are plenty of characterful regiments and it has a bit of everything.

For Napoleonic gaming I'm looking at Salamanca.  This fight has always struck me as a brilliant bit of generalship.  I've also, always, been struck by the fact that the two armies were marching a few hundred yards apart.  That is something that my modern brain just can't grasp.

Battle map of Salamanca

Beyond that I'm looking at a couple of other periods as very low priority, but again, perhaps a box or two.  American War of Independence will probably be built around Cowpens.  Again, another brilliantly fought battle.

The last period would be Thirty Years War/English Civil War.  For this period I'll pick up Warlord Game's new rule set, Pike & Shotte.  This is a very low priority period, except that I really want to build some pike blocks.  I'm not sure what is causing this desire, but from long experience, the only way to scratch the itch will be to buy, assemble and paint a couple of regiments.

For the ECW I'll be doing Marston Moor.  It had all three sides of the war there and a lot of the personalities.  It took place in Yorkshire, which is where I lived when I was in the UK.

I'll hold off on the TYW as ECW should scratch the itch.  When I do get to it the battle will have to be something involving the Swedes.

So, does anyone else build their collection this way?  Choosing a battle and building to that?


  1. Depends on what I am wanting to do with my models in the long run. When I started moderns I looked at TO&Es first and then looked at some actual battles and scenarios and sort of bought for both. A standard TO&E usually covers most of what I want to do. For historical games I usually collect to a specific battle as I can connect with my miniatures more. The Battle of Salamanca is one of my favorites. It is actually something I contemplated collecting for before. Packenham's 3rd Division is one of my favorite British Divisions (Picton takes it over after Packenham gets sent to America for the war of 1812).

  2. The first "proper" army I collected was Nikephorian Byzantine in 15mm for WRG's 6th Edition Ancients rules way back in 1982/83

    I bought everything that was listed on the Army List as I thought that was done thing and guess it is no surprise that some of these guys are still in their little bags unpainted.

    I wish I could say I've learnt my lesson.....

  3. Nick, I have to admit that I'm a sucker for TO&E. It's all those years of studying the Warsaw Pact OB. It just gives me a warm feeling inside. With the Sci/Fi, and my contemplation of moderns, the second thing I think about, after the models, is the TO&E. I have to develop the units and figure out the equipment. It just doesn't seem right without that.

  4. Kingsleypark, I find it hard to limit myself as well. I want to have one of every unit (or seven, I have issues). I'm trying to limit myself to purchases that fit into a certain list, with a couple of options to change the way it plays. I'm not sure how successful that will be (not at all based on past performance).


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