Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Organising Your Imperial Guard Army

I've been making a real effort to organise my Imperial Guard army lately, so I thought I'd share the fruits of my labour.  Organising is one of those things people often tend not to focus on, particularly when it involves spending time or money.  Our hobby taxes them both pretty well already.  But I find a small amount of time and effort pays off, and makes deploying and using your army a lot easier.

Painting and Buying Chart

A lot of people use these, but the best I've seen is by Admiral Drax.  This is simply a chart to keep track of all the models you own, and what stage of completion they're currently at.

Here Drax has done a simple Excel spreadsheet with colour codes for models which are bought, built, and completed.  You might assume you'd know this stuff if you're collecting an army, but it can really help to visualise it and more than once I've bought a duplicate of a model, forgetting I've already got one.  It's also really helpful for building army lists - you know instantly what models you have and what they're equipped with, and it saves you digging out every model to check if that sergeant has a bolt pistol or a chainsword.


I'm sure if you email Drax and ask him nicely, he'll share the template with you.

Fluff and History Chart

This one is more niche.  It's for players who like to keep track of their army and its characters during a campaign.  It shows at a glance the timeline of your army, all the previous commanders, and any medals they've earned.  This is vital for me because I run a strict 'Dead is Dead' system for my officers, so it's hard to know who fought when and where.

Regular readers may recognise the format - it's copied from my Battlefleet Gothic admin chart.  Down the left are the different units in my army, and across the top the different battles I've fought (the blue names are hyperlinks to writeups on the blog, too).  Cross-reference for a given officer's contribution to a battle and what medals he won.  Light red bars show the career of an officer who has died in battle, dark red are careers for officers executed for cowardice, and blue is for the current commander.

If you'd like the above as a template, email me and I'll send it along.  My address is at the top of the right sidebar.

Model Admin

This is the main section that will be relevant to all Guard players.  How do you transport your entire army of 50+ models?  How do you keep the squads together?  What about all the special and heavy weapons?

This is where I believe money is well spent.  Boxes and cases are not cheap - my current setup of one BattleFoam bag, one small GW case and two large ones cost me the better part of £150 over the years.  Always check Ebay for alternatives to the proper GW cases, as you can usually pick up the smaller cases for around £20.

The big cases are the most expensive, but the best for me as the foam trays are are 10 x 4, allowing me to store one platoon of 40 men in one tray.  The first 'column' are the sergeants, the second is the assault weapon, the third is the heavy weapon, and so on along the 'rows'.  This saves me having to mark the models themselves with squad and platoon markings.

The 'pluckfoam' cases are absolutely ideal for storing tanks and keeping them secure in transit.
This is a Battle Foam case and stores six tanks, three sentinels and several heavy weapons (as well as my WW2 tanks)
 
Halfway through the reorganisation.  I'm cutting some foam trays to make
them large enough to accommodate 40mm bases.
As described above - ten wide makes these GW trays perfect for storing whole platoons easily.
All my officers and Thargadd's Thumpers have their own tray.
Artillery and mortars are in a GW pluckfoam tray.

The inside lid of the GW tray has these plastic wallets with 'maps', so I can quickly find any model I need.
Spending £60 on cases is a tall order; I have a £10 per week 'admin budget' I've been saving up for ages to spend on these.  And of course the advice is free!  Do email or comment if you have any more tips on organising your army, and I'm happy to share the electronic templates if you need them.

Thanks for reading,

Ed

14 comments:

  1. Always better to see a well organised collection.

    You're attention to detail yet again impresses.

    Just wish you weren't so cut-throat with all those poor officers..... Maybe try giving them a roll on a table post-battle to see if they truly expired or merely took a "flesh wound"? :)

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    1. It does hit home seeing them all in the tray like that ... to be honest I think I get the best of all worlds - I can re-use the models later on for new characters, and if their fluff personas die then it makes the survivors all the more impressive. Perhaps one or two might end up in the reserves or something, or maybe a chance to be augmented with bionics perhaps.

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  2. Organisation is the bane of the creative.

    That's what I tell everyone anyway.

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  3. Thinking about it; you would need multiple Drax sheets if you had more than one army. Which is why I don't have any (yeah, right.....). My iggies (of all flavours) are all packed by type; ie trays of riflemen, trays of sergeants and special weapons etc. So that's one basic concept rolled out across multiple different storage media. Still, always good to see how others manage.

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    1. (Drax Sheets is now the official name). That's an efficient way of sorting them, particularly when you have so many different flavours I suppose, I only have six sergeants altogether. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Tum-te-tum...

      [I believe I'm right in quietly noting that the 'Drax Sheets' (I like it - even if it does sound like a dressing for herpes) painting charts were genuinly first debuted on my blog. I think it's the one thing I've usefully contribute to the hobby blogs...]

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  4. I don't track my completed stuff - I'm only now getting to the point where I have enough for that to matter.

    For in progress work, there's the burn down chart and Kànban board - I've talked enough about those in the past.

    For storage, I have to say I'm KR Multicase all the way - the custom cut in particular is just genius.

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  5. Both of those are good ideas I've never applied to wargaming - I'm already using the Burn Down Chart now to monitor progress on short-term goals like painting a platoon for an army - thanks for the idea.

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  6. I absolutely love few things better than a well organised Guard collection. Thanks for sharing!

    (I love the carrycase maps, too!)

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    1. Thanks mate - if there's one thing I like more than wargaming, it's tidying things up into nice straight lines.

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  7. I love when people show of the admin side of the hobby - Drax is rightly famous for leading the charge (or at least raising its visibility) in the past.

    While I have followed Drax's buying/painting chart process myself, I cant say I have gone to your extreme of fluff tracking your models lives and deaths - but as a concept, and how it weaves into your hobby philosophy I applaud it.

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    1. Thanks FM - seeing models, painting and batreps is of course a massive part of the blogosphere but it's things like this that can really make practical differences to people's hobby, so I try to do those once in a while.

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  8. How Do you store the models that have the bayonets on their guns so that they do not get ruined in transit? Is there a particular layour or size area in pluck foam to use?

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    1. Hi Robin - it depends on the model. GW Mordian bayonets are very sturdy and do not break easily, so they can be wedged in to a slot. They are usually a few millimetres larger than the tray slot, but they can be squeezed in, I wouldn't worry about them.

      Non-GW bayonet models can be tricky, particularly historicals. The best way I have found is to stick the bayonet in the floor of the tray, then close the lid. This stops them rattling around, although it's not a perfect solution and it largely depends on how sturdy the sculpt is.

      Does that answer your question?

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