Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Ten Thousand Little Men

A couple of years ago I was having trouble keeping track of the number and type of units I had in particular collection so that when I wanted to put together a particular game I had to consult some rather imperfect lists or would simply go to the storage boxes or trays and count the units. So I set up a simple database to keep track of things.

 

From this I can pull out a list of the entire collection, by era or by individual army. It has become a very useful tool since my collections are now quite broad and there is no way I can remember what I have in each collection.


The report also counts the number of foot and mounted figures, along with guns and pieces of equipment (limbers, wagons, ships, etc). 

 





As I completed Spanish gun set above and punched the information into the database I noted that the number of foot figures had exceeded 10,000. In truth I struck the total a while ago, but have only just updated the database with this new unit, and the actual count is 10,126 foot,1,626 mounted 223 guns and 165 pieces of equipment. Now you could argue that the 10,000 mark was reached quite some time ago if you count foot and mounted as a single entity, but do you count the rider and horse as one or two figures? For me the benchmark is the number of foot figures.

 

I was astonished at these numbers. The first thing I did was look at all the storage boxes. There didn’t seem to be enough boxes for that number of items, but that was only because there are so many boxes now that they are stored in three different locations in the house. So I put them all together in one place and when I saw them thus grouped it all started to make sense.



To give some sense of scale to the image above, the stack measures 2 metres (6 feet 7 inches) on the base and 1.9 metres (6 feet 3 inches) at the highest point.

 

I have known for some time that the numbers were getting up there because storage space was running low, but I hadn't run the count report for a while. I mean 10,000 figures! And all 28mm! If space was not the problem I would probably say "20,000 here I come", but all this has made me think a little about where I go from here. I have a few projects to complete – the Spanish Napoleonics, a small expansion of the Carlist Wars, the even smaller project to complete the Heavy Brigade for the Crimean War British and a more moderate expansion of the War of 1812, but I think I may need to curtail forays into new areas of interest in the future. This may mean stop drooling over figures on the internet or in magazines – although restraint is a word for which I have never had much respect.

 

Maybe I just need to play more games with the figures I have.

12 comments:

  1. I think a lot of wargamers arrive at the position you now find yourself in. I did several years ago and to be honest I frightened myself. My long term opponent also had the same experience. He came to an extreme solution and sold most of his armies and kept three or four main armies that he intended to fight with.For me it was a much harder decision to make. In the end I very reluctantly sold a lot of peripheral armies, ie ones I hadnt fought with for several years and attempted to concentrate on my main interests. It failed to be honest as I started new projects which have now grown into big armies. I dont know what the answer is. Is it an affliction? Is it worse? I did find that selling on some armies wasnt a pleasant experience and deeply regretted getting rid of them. It was like a personal loss. Best of luck with this conundrum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Over the years I have sold many armies, a couple of them very significant sizes, and some of them I do regret selling. I think the goal now will be to collect more reasonably sized forces, maybe 10-20 units maximum. But then again I could win the Lotto this weekend...

      Delete
  2. Lovely looking Spanish gun and crew, it's all very well playing more with what you've got but if ,as we have discussed, painting figures are your(and mine) way to de-stress and unwind at the end of the day then surely for the sake of your health and well being you need to continue drooling over magazines and painting, you really just need another shed! Luckily for me I don't paint as fast as you so it's less of an issue!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Iain. I can't see a time when I will ever stop painting, but next year will certainly slow down.

      Delete
  3. Mark, this is a beautiful gun and crew. Fine job!

    As for the threshold just crossed, you have a wonderfully large collection. No other way to track all of this outside of a database. I have been tracking my painting output since 1994; almost 25 years! I am of the belief that you cannot manage what is not measured. Well, i have been measuring...

    In those 25 years, I have logged about 7,000 painted 25s. This represents about a quarter of my painted totals. Sometimes, I feel that I am only a spectator as my pile of painted figures continually rises.


    Like Robbie, I have sold only a very collections. Every time, new projects step in to take the place of armies mustered out of my service. We must be kidding ourselves.

    As Iain mentions above, for some, painting is a relaxing pastime. I agree. Perhaps, it satisfies some megalomania? Regardless, it is a satisfying hobby.

    Great post. Perhaps this is a the beginning of a Painter's Anonymous Chapter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jonathan. I agree the gun and crew are very nice, although my rather harsh lighting does not do the model justice in the images. I may start the second gun set over the weekend.

      I am perhaps fortunate in that my main focus lies in the 19th Century and that I now possess collections in most of the significant conflicts of that period. This has helped me to constrain my megalomania. Had I an interest in 20th Century (after 1914) or earlier than Wars of the Roses then I would be in real trouble.

      One of the plans (I should say many plans) over the Christmas//New Year break is a big tidy up and reorganisation in the garage and this may provide some additional storage space - in fact if I can find alternate storage for the garden tools and the lawnmower I can probably double the amount of figures storage there...of course I will need to steer her indoors away from finding other purposes for that space...

      Delete
  4. Wait, is that 10,000 painted miniatures? It’s a very impressive number. Your storage system is also very well organized.
    As long as you’re having fun, that seems to be the main point. ­čśÇ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes that is right...with more to come. Those plastic trays were a great discovery...I need to get some more so that all those figures in cardboard boxes can have a proper home.

      Delete
  5. I blame Michelle, she obviously is not watching you carefully enough - doesn't she know how many toy soldiers all these plastic boxes represent - although I suspect assembling them all in one place to photograph was done when she was elsewhere! Seriously though, I have more figures than I can ever play with - many armies I have had for 15+ years and only had on a table once or twice - think WW2 15mm FoW armies - British, Russian AND German! Others are part completed and have NEVER been in action - EG mid 19th century British for India/Afghanistan (they are OG Sikh War figures)..but I agree with others, the collecting and painting is half the fun of the hobby - added to this in recent years is the blogging, which is another dimension I quite enjoy. Maybe a bit more cooperation/synchronization with the rest of us would remove the need to collect both sides in so many conflicts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No you are quite wrong, I am quite open about my spend as she is about hers. But you are right that the assembled collection was done when shecwas offshore recently. At least I can say that ALL my collections have seen action on the table at least once.

      Delete
  6. I say find extra space - selling them is never a good idea! Luckily I don't have this problem as I only average 100 or so per year...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Selling is never going to be an option. Additional storage and better use of the existing collections is the answer.

      Delete