Tuesday 17 November 2015

Full Orders of Battle

Since the Pils-Holstein Campaign project began, I have been running to an outline Order of Battle. You may remember I had all the Prussian and French infantry flags painted at the outset, with this orbat in mind.
Well, since then, it's grown arms and legs a little. Sheaves of paper could be found sticking out of my wargames notebook, with additional notes and changes to the lists. The inclusion of the Astrovian army, for example, is a recent development, which was merely on a scrap of paper, hastily penned whilst in an airport lounge waiting for a flight to be called (you know how it is)!!

 Above and below: gratuitous candy shots from recent tabletop outings...

So the other evening, I sat down to log the "definitive" orders of battle for the main nations involved - namely, Pils Holstein (and Allies), Prussia, France, and Astrovia.
Now, this is not to say the orbat won't be subject to minor amendments and adjustments over time, but at least it's something to work to. It helps me plan the casting of the figures, the painting schedule, and provides an idea of which games I will be able to tackle, and when. Of course, as specific scenarios demand, I may yet decide to add militia/ garrison troops, engineers, and other types, but the main battlefield units are there, for now.

I have uploaded these lists to separate pages here on the blog
... links to which you will find on the right...

You will note, I'm keeping track of those units I've completed, and those yet to be painted.

All of this got me thinking. Do other wargamers and collectors set out a planned order of battle like this to follow, or is it a case of simply picking whichever unit you fancy painting next?
There's no right or wrong way, of course, and I rather suspect most people will have settled (consciously or otherwise) somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but I would love to hear how others approach these things...


  1. I do it the same way Phil: write down the projected forces in my Moleskine journal book and then start the planning for figures, painting times etc. this gives me an idea of how long the project will take and it helps me have realistic expectations of how much time ( years) will be involved. It keeps me from thinking that I have to get everything done in 6 months when I know full well that it will take me two years.


  2. I've done something similar when I assembled forces similar to those of the Emperor and Elector in Charge! a few years back. Once those were completed, I have been slowly and surely adding civilians, personalities, supply, and the odd additional unit as and when time permits, Not much of the latter lately I fear, but hopefully that will chage before too much longer.

    Best Regards,


  3. Phil,

    Your post got me thinking, which is always dangerous.


    You'll find my response here.



  4. I don't have the discipline to stick to a plan as I constantly flit from one period to another. I paint up a regiment of foot at a time in order to achieve a quick critical mass. When I get to three regiments I take a break and go back to do the command/colours etc for them as I find these more enjoyable to do and take more time with them. After that I'll add some cavalry and artillery for balance, then another foot regiment or two and some specialist units as game scenarios require, so it all builds into an army rather organically over time. This is all in 54mm by the way.

    Best wishes, Brian

  5. Phil

    my albeit prolific painting/planning is about as organised as a box of frogs! I just go with the flow and aim for at least one unit a week.

  6. Phil,

    I keep a list on paper in a little project folder. List of units with tick a box next to it - which is duly ticked when done; in some cases I may make up a uniform template to get a look and feel of the unit.

    Units being worked on and pending I keep up on my project whiteboard.


  7. Interesting comments. Thank you all.
    Allan T - you're taking things to new levels with a Project Whiteboard!!

  8. Hi Phil,

    An Order Of Battle for both sides is always a good starting point for a new project/period of interest. It is very useful to be able to refer to it as time passes, so a balanced force can be raised, painted, and fielded. (No gimmicky loopholes like, "My entire army is composed of Guards!", kind of thing!) It can sometimes be interesting to see how far the original vision compares with the final result.

    All The Best,


  9. Hi Phil,

    When Chris Gregg and I started on the 1:3 madness of Waterloo for La Haye Saint and Hougoumont I created an xls spreadsheet that included all the ORBATs from both scenarios, with the number of figures per unit. This was essential as there were 6 contributor painters allotted to the task of painting figures for both the wargames and each then had an opportunity to choose the units they wished to create. This then provided the painter with the total number of figures they had to produce in the timeframe.

    I, for example, knew I could paint 60 figures a month therefore worked out how long it would take me to paint at this rate allowing for work pressures, holidays etc. Once all were committed to particular units we already had in mind game dates so nobody went beyond individual production capabilities. Once units were completed they were then noted on the spreadsheet. This sheet was available to everyone on Dropbox so they could see at an instant how they were doing on the road to completion! The requirement was some 4,800 figures. My content showed I provided x1700 figures, Chris x700, Paul x1200 plus other contributors as well. Whilst some may find this a bit extreme, I found it particularly helpful as it was over a 2 year period and kept my momentum going. I knew I couldn't slack! Naturally there were changes along the way but it helped us see how we might manage them........all figures painted on time - a spreadsheet definitely ruled on this occasion!



  10. Agreed Martin. There's always a temptation to go all out on the fancy regiments and end up with all-Guard armies!

    Thanks for your contribution Kevin. Your Waterloo project with Chris G is a magnificent sight, and testament to great planning and superb execution, not to mention persistence in sticking at it with such huge units!

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