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Tuesday 2 June 2020

Is an army ever "Finished"?

More than once on various blogs and Facebook pages I see a statement that runs  on the lines of
 "Only 1 more unit to do and this army is finished"
 This seems to be quite a popular thing out in wargameland so I wonder - how do you tell when an army is finished?
 Personally I can't tell. As far as I am concerned an army is only "finished" when I don't want it anymore. This is usually because it has not been used for several years.
 This can happen for several reasons. Usually it is simply because I have moved on the other periods- other bits of history if you like. I don't always dispose of armies that I am temporarily bored with- so I will never sell my ECW for instance  but others lose their magic. However that is not really what I am on about here. I suspect my real question is more on the lines of-
"How do you impose limits upon your collection - assuming it actually interests you in itself.and is not merely an aide to the dice rolling?"
 Again using my ECW collection as an example I can't imagine NOT being interested in the period, after all I have a bookshelf full of books on the war possibly two bookshelves, so I am hardly likely to "complete" my armies for the period any time soon.
This army is not finished. It will remain part of my collection .

 My 15mm moderns are not complete either despite the fact that I have not added any new units for a couple of years or more. I still want a 120mm Mortar battery for the "Harraquis" and an Engineer unit for the Brits. the "72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade" need some more pickups.
 Perhaps I don't"finish" armies because I am not a rules slave. I expect nay even demand that most of my armies can be used with more than one set of rules. I do not share the obsession with rules that many games players have. The rules are merely the means to an end and not the end in or of themselves. If a mere set of rules imposes limits upon my collection then in the bin it goes.
 Of course I can see a finishing point if you are reproducing the order of battle for a particular campaign. So I know a chap who is doing Gettysburg in 15mm and another Austerlitz and a third Waterloo. When they will finish is anyone's guess but they do have a finite finishing point supplied by the battle they are studying.
 This lot are finished. All  my 28mm  painted Brooks mins Brits and Taliban are for sale. I shan't be using  them again.

 In theory my ECW Parliamentarians are Essex's army in about October 1642  and the opposing Royalists  actually about 6 or seven months later but the chances of my finishing both armies is pretty minimal as I like large units and paint quite slowly.
All of these armies have seen table action  so on that level they are "active" rather than those forces such as my Indian Mutiny and even more recent Sikh War  which are still under construction .
 Other table ready forces- Sinyloo and my AWI collection are still having items added to them 
 So Gentle Readers a question. Do you "finish armes ever? 


  1. Great posting and very true.

  2. Nope. Mind you, when we did our ‘Belbin Team Types’ 20 odd years ago at work, I scored lowest on Completer/Finisher, so I suppose it’s in my character. I do have vague plans when I start something, but I’ve never done competition stuff or army lists so I always consider any collection a work in progress. Which reminds me, I still need some OG2 Continentals...

    1. Yes have some of those in stock..... You may have hit on a point here. Perhaps it IS only the competitor and army list types who do the finishing thing. Period dudes might tnd not to because there is always somthing more they can find out about their chosen period.

    2. It’s my birthday on the 25th 😉. I’ll be in touch...

  3. Nope; although the main core of the army is done first I'm always adding a few things, the odd extra unit - and sometimes refurbish and rework the collection. Always something new to find out about a period and tweak the collection accordingly :)

  4. I game mostly historicals in 15mm, so currently all of the 1944-45 German Infantry is painted, but I always look to add another assault gun of flak gun. My levels are, concept, unpainted lead, in progress, table ready, lastly I think I have all the support needed.

  5. An army would be classed as finished if you had no intention of buying more figures. Perhaps reaching the projected unit/figure maximums in the rules, as sometimes happens

  6. Thanks for you comments chaps . I suppose it also depends on how much of a collector you are. For some periods/collections I am more of a collector than gamer- lets face it we can buy 'em faster than we can paint 'em . Personally I would never let a set of rules tell me how big- or small my collection should be.

  7. The Army is finished by unconditional surrender, and declaration of peace, or lack of a heartbeat* :-)

    Regards, Chris

    * as pronounced by someone qualified to do so.

  8. As a man who is constantly switching interest ( I love military history in almost all forms) id say from a historical perspective we continue to increase our knowledge on periods of history and through that no army is ever complete. Competitive players and those governed by a points system or set off rules in general will likely have completed armies for their own means.