"It will be most unusual for wargamers to collect and paint armies of a particular period without an interest in the history and an understanding of the tactics of the troops and their uniforms."
For myself that is something of an understatement, all too often raising a new wargames army had been akin to taking a tiger by the tail - impossible to let go. Casually picking up a few 20mm figures for the Spanish Civil War because the Civil Guard hats were funny, resulted in a fifteen year study of the war (so far) and a couple of thousand painted figures, vehicles and buildings.
Perhaps that is the reason why I could never really come to grips with the 18C imaginations. I liked the idea well enough but frankly so much of it seemed to lack any substance or, to be honest, relevance to anyone apart from the author. I found myself very much more attracted by Peter Young's distinction between Imaginary armies and Fictional ones. Fictional characters and armies operate within the framework of a real world but one that is slightly skewed. Of course to do this it is necessary to actually know something of the world in which they are set, and I know absolutely nothing about the functioning of the Reichskrieg.
As a result I have spent much of the last month trying to come to terms with the Holy Roman Empire in general and the 18C Reichsarmee in particular. I now know how many Electoral Circles there were and which were ecclesiastic or secular. I can tell you the difference between a Landgraf and a Margraf though my spelling of either is pretty dodgy. I can list the rivals to Prussia as dominant states in the Empire at the end of the 17C. (Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover and Munster, since you ask. ... Munster????).
And how exactly does all of that enhance my wargaming? I don't know to be honest but the truth is that it does. I am looking forward to finally getting to terms with the period as next years big project. I have sorted out the figures that I wish to use and planned a painting style that will be quick and simple. I shall try to raise four small armies for the States of Hanover, Bavaria, The Ecclesiastical Circle of Munster, and Bohemia.Above can be seen the first rough drafts for Bavaria, Hanover and Bohemia. (spot the fictional one) And below the first finished recruits for the Bohemian Wenceslas Regt of foot. You may notice that one figure is black lined and one is not. I think that I shall not bother black lining this army, to my mind the difference is not worth the time required and when the figures are glossed to a degree that a Guards RSM could see his face in them then it will not be that visible.