For the regulars who stop by the warren blog, some have noticed the lack of recent posts since March. Even gaming was curtailed for pending miniature projects. Well, the WR has simply been overwhelmed project wise, some of which have caused many evenings of planning, organization of units, glued fingers, worn brushes, trips to the local hardware store, and shipping orders arriving on the doorstep, eagerly adding to the patio pile of tabletop confusion (photos below). Slowly the process became streamlined, the process showed progress, and completion showed the effort involved. What is all this chatter about?…..it is the dreaded basing, re-basing, organizing and formation structure of WR’s ancient Chariot era armies plus some other smaller projects. Five chariot era ancient armies finally had their day under the patio roof…. on hot days, on cold evenings, and the occasion of rain twice.
Clash of Empires (COE) Egyptian, the Assyrians, the Indians, the Chinese, and the Steppe-Nomad armies are the Chariot era armies for this project. After these armies are completely inventoried, the Classical era Greeks, Republican Rome, Imperial Rome, Persians, Macedonian, Successor period, various minor eastern states (like Palmyra), Barbarian regional huge hordes (various), Carthaginian, Picts will follow with their own projects. Then as time permits the Dark age nations (various), early and late medieval, War of the Roses, and medieval Scots will see work next year…. if WR is still alive.
For many years these stored armies have seen limited service on the tabletop. WR hopes the army collection organization, identify what miniatures are painted and based, form units to standard Clash of Empires (COE) organizational unit size, and inventory the unpainted lead (some plastic) miniatures with spreadsheets (.xls) covering all the collections, will lead to more ancient games with the local ancients gamer group. That is the hope and target future goal for this effort. Plus identity what needs to be painted!
So the Clash of Empires army organization basing and inventory project process had a multi-step (1 to 10 stage) format done for each Chariot era army:
(1) Lay out the miniatures and form Clash of Empires (COE) ancient army units based from the rules and list parameters. Typically infantry are 20-30 miniatures for three rank massed formations, cavalry 8-12 miniatures for single rank formation, and skirmisher units 8-14 miniatures formed as loose formations.
(2) Base or glue the loose individual miniatures on their 20mm x 20mm bases (infantry), 25mm x 50mm (cavalry), or larger sizes for special units like elephants, field artillery, or chariots. Most of the basing is standard for the common rules sets in print, including WAB, Hail Caesar, and other non element rules. The individual miniatures are maneuvered on the tabletop using textured sabot trays sized for the formation footprint. Basing included gluing the miniature to the base, then apply putty to build up the base and hide the miniature base footprint. Note that complete miniature units stored in pre-determined sealed OEM bags or boxes are not opened and based pending their actual scheduled painting. Just the loose unpainted miniatures are based for this stage.
(3) Paint… really stain the putted base to a common brown background look.
(4) Dip or brush on a brown or black wash to give some depth and contrast to the miniatures. Only the painted miniatures has this treatment then allowed to quickly dry (except on the rainy days).
(5) Glue a light dusting of fine Woodlands Scenics green or earth blend flocking material with additional fine stones or other color textures to each painted miniature base. The unpainted miniature omitted this step pending their paintwork.
(6) Apply a texture clump of flocking material to decorate the basing. Glue a small piece of Woodland Scenics clump material to roughly half the painted infantry bases or all the painted cavalry and artillery bases. WR did only half the infantry unit bases to avoid a look of massed “bushes” in the unit miniature formation.
(7) Create an excel spreadsheet (.xls) for each army (example spreadsheet below). The spreadsheet has unit numbering slots 1 to 100 with pre-grouped numbers for each type of general unit. The numbering somewhat organizes the unit numbering across all armies. the numbers are assigned out in groups: 1-10 Leadership or Icon units or single miniatures, 11-30 close order cavalry units, 31-40 open order or skirmisher cavalry units, 41-50 chariots, elephants or unique cavalry / infantry units, 50-80 close order infantry units, 81-90 skirmisher infantry units, and 91-00 artillery etc.. The actual unit identity number in reality doesn’t matter in theory as the number is truly a unique number for each unit.
(8) Write down each unit to the army spreadsheet with identifying color, # of painted miniatures in unit, # of unpainted miniatures based in present unit, required miniatures to complete the unit (future purchase), and generic notes including the miniature company manufacturer if known.
(9) Write the unit number with a gold fine marker on rear base edge or bottom side of base (larger bases). By doing this action every unit has an identifying unit number and ease of returning the individual miniatures to the original unit formation, and more importantly, anyone can return the miniatures to the correct labelled storage box location (slotted space in storage apple boxes) without WR direct involvement. Complete unpainted miniature units still in their box or plastic OEM bag are still labelled on the box or bag with black marker unit number.
(10) Lay out the ancient army into the storage cut down apple boxes, construct cardboard gridded zones for each unit based upon unit size. Then label each unit storage gridded zone to match the previously determined unit identifying number. Finally create a unique nationalistic box label to identify each nation’s storage boxes for quick visual locating in the storage shed.
Examples of the cut down standard size apple storage boxes. In this case two of five storage boxes for the Ancient Indian army shows the unit storage and cardboard grid separating the units. Still have to fully label the storage zones for each unit.
The ancient era miniature unpainted ancient armies lead mountain collection is tall, dense, and heavy…. sufficient to tilt the planet Earth thinks WR. There are still the 25/28mm napoleonic, French Republican era, the SYW, the WSS, the 15mm ECW, the 15mm ACW, 20mm WWI, WWI aerial, 20mm WWII, 1/3000 modern naval, and finally the ultra modern Battlefield Evo 28mm unpainted collections to organize. Some already have spreadsheets covering the collections, especially the napoleonic, French republican, WWI, and WWII collections.
Once the Chariot era army completes the ten stage organizational, basing, and unit inventory numbering process outlined above, the 25/28mm miniatures were displayed on a background tabletop drop cloth for a photographic record. In general, the foreground row is skirmishing infantry, behind the front row are the missile units, then the massed infantry ranks in one or two rows. Finally the rear ranks include the chariots, cavalry, elephants, or other units including the artillery.
First up is the COE Assyrian army consisting of 591 painted and 443 unpainted miniatures (1034 total). Each following army has three or four photos showing the frontal view, two side edge photo views, and a rearward view. A more detailed discussion (and unit photos) of each of these Chariot era armies is future planned after WR clearly identifies the units (some paint 30+ years ago), paint the unpainted miniatures, thus complete the inventory spreadsheet with more detailed information. A bonus…. the inventory spreadsheet will help the family estate handle the job of dealing with the vast miniature collection on the demise of WR.
Next up is the Biblical era army collection consisting of 354 painted and 286 unpainted (640 total). These units include Hebrew, Canaan, Philistine, Hittite, and other states of the Biblical era.
The Chinese states army displayed. WR’s ancients collection has another Chinese army (Han) not pictured as almost the entire unpainted 25/28mm miniature collection is found in the original manufacturer plastic bags or boxes (641 unpainted miniatures). The pictured Chinese collection below has 738 painted and 315 unpainted miniatures (1053 total).
Next up is the COE Egyptian army. The painted miniatures count is 447 miniatures, the unpainted 296 for a total of 743 miniatures.
Ancient Indian COE army comes up. The ancient Indian army has 589 painted miniatures and 150 unpainted (749 total). WR’s loves to play with his massed elephants on the tabletop… till they scatter in all directions causing massed tabletop confusion everywhere it seems.
Last for the early Chariot era armies, WR worked on his Steppe-Nomad army of the horsemen of Asia. This army was added as many of the units can be used with the Chinese armies…. they didn’t change that much over the time of history. The Steppe-Nomad army has 205 painted and 321 unpainted miniatures (526 total).
In recap the Chariot era 25/28mm miniature army collections show the following data stats:
Assyrian: 591 painted, 443 unpainted for total of 1034 miniatures
Biblical era: 354 painted, 286 unpainted for a total of 640 miniatures
Chinese: 738 painted, 315 unpainted for a total of 1053 miniatures
Chinese (Han): 641 unpainted miniatures… total is same 641 miniatures
Egyptian: 447 painted, 296 unpainted for total of 743 miniatures
Indian: 589 painted, 150 unpainted for total of 749 miniatures
Steppe-Nomad: 205 painted, 321 unpainted for a total of 526 miniatures
Grand total: Shows 2924 painted, 2452 unpainted therefore 5376 total miniatures for the Chariot era armies. WR wonders what the entire COE ancient era and later armies would total…. as the Carthaginian and Roman armies, for example, are huge with twice+ the number of storage boxes already in the storage shed compared to the largest listed army above (Chinese 1053).
Still….. progress has been made towards the actual inventory of the ancient armies collection. Now back to gaming reports for Arronches 1801 AAR and the Remagen bridge project updates. Stay tuned.
Cheers form the warren.
My God! Amazing collection!
And here I thought I had a lot of 25/28 mm figures.. Hah! No where near your most impressive totals. The primed but unpainted units have the look of “ghost” units 🙂
I have been pretty compulsive about tracking my painted armies from the very beginning, originally in spiral bound notebooks, now on the pages of my blog. The one exception is my Renaissance era armies, which seriously need a head count, organization, and listing.
As far as Ancients era gaming, have you had a look at To the Strongest? I know there is a substantial cadre of TtS! players in the LA area, because I hooked them on it via my Historicon games, LOL! You could do some really impressive looking games a la Simon himself with your awesome collection.
Final thought – I think you need one of those robotic “pickers” like Amazon uses to manage inventory and pull stock! 🙂
All the best, and may it be a great many years before the estate management potential of your spreadsheets is needed!
The ancient collection even surprised me with its size. Looking in the storage shed the Carthaginian and Romans will rule the collection totals….. but still a future Classical period inventory project. I am spent with the last Chariot era effort. Love the Renaissance era but I must hold back from another period collection. The closest I will get is late medieval and WOTR.
Love to see a “To the Strongest” game if found. But never have seen one here in Southern California gaming conventions and don’t know any of the ancient gamers who play the game. I go to all the gaming conventions and major gaming stores locally. Maybe up north in the Bay area with KublaCon and others. Maybe there is a sub culture of ancient gamers who lurk in a different universe dimension to me.
Robotic picker…. maybe but I have a powered car lift to rise my corvette up two feet and work underneath…. does that count? It doesn’t pull stock…. just electrical load.
Plan to drop dead with dice in hand…… the final crap out roll to pass a morale test during a game. Till then hope for many gaming years and wish you the same…. especially more of the Snappy Nappy campaigns. With our basing/unit size for the napoleonic gaming it is a straight over, no issues, to use that system. But the group are diehards to their present system….. so I am the outlier.
Rome and Carthage make sense as being the biggest – but those chariot armies were pretty massive all by themselves!
TtS! is in many ways and ideal convention game, but thus far I am the only one to have run games with it at Historicon, which surprises me.
In the Bay area I know Jeff Grein, Freddie Avner, and Ray Latham play TTS. I think Clif Castle and his group is in the LA area, and they’ve really enjoyed TTS. Clif just wrote to me about For King and Parliament, the TTS based rules for the ECW.
No Renaissance armies? Well, that’s good – at least I have ONE era that you don’t, LOL!
Snappy Nappy works fine for set piece battles, but it’s forte is the multiplayer, multi table “Campaigns in a Day”. You are correct, your smaller units would work well with those rules. Wish me luck with the Historicon event!
Regardless, hopefully we will both be rolling dice/playing cards, painting etc for many years to come! Salud!