24 May 2015

Noodling around with Photoshop. . .

 Stollen's Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's Own) and the 3rd (Trakehnen) Dragoons on their way to support General von Tschatschke's right flank during the August 2013 refight of David Barne's Battle of the Elbow River.  The figures shown are from a number of different manufacturers.


Austrian, er, um, Zichenauer engineer officers in a heated debate about where under that nearby bridge might be the best place to place explosive charges.  Minden figures.


Meanwhile, the local aristocracy enjoys a picnic with dancing and frolicking in a wooded glen a couple of miles away.  Jackdaw figures.


Back on the battlefield, a unit of infantry, temporarily on loan to the Electorate of Zichenau from the Free and Hanseatic City of Luebeck and now part of General Phillipe de Latte's invading army, moves into place.  RSM95 figures.


Stollenian officers interrogate a captured Zichenauer officer.  "Tell us what we want to know, or for you it is. . .  the Comfy Chair!"  Minden figures with the addition of one each from Fife&Drum and Eureka.


Another shot from behind Stollenian lines with Revell plastics in the foreground, more RSM95 and Revell in the middle distance, and figures by Minden, Holger Eriksson, and RSM95 in the background.  The gun atop the hill at right is from the MiniFigs SYW range.


From a nearby ridge, von Seydlitz and ol' Fred take notes and discuss the developing battle. "No, no, no!  They're doing it all wrong.  His cavalry should be concentrated on the flanks of the front line, and his guns should be massed on that low heights over there!  Who on earth told these charlatans and poseurs that they had any tactical aptitude?"

23 May 2015

The Things I Love about Wargaming. . .

 Two companies of my own RSM95 and Minden Croats, painted in 2010 or 2011 and seen here in a solo game played out during early August 2013.

Please excuse the rather lengthy radio silence here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen!

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Things have been exceedingly busy the last couple of months here since my last post during Easter Weekend at the start of April.  Two trips to Michigan to nail down temporary housing, getting our current home in Central Illinois on the real estate market (no serious offers yet from potential buyers I fear), and preparing for the packers and movers in mid-June.  By the 18th of next month, we'll be in the East Lansing area catching our collective breath for 10 days or so before heading to Berlin for seven weeks where the Grand Duchess has a summer teaching position at The Free University.  However, there will also be plenty of time for us to do various kinds of sight seeing in and around the city and Brandenburg itself separately and together.  But what of the blog?

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Glad you asked.  In the "me too" spirit, I thought I'd ease my way back into the blogging chair here at The Grand Duchy of Stollen and natter on for a bit about the things I most enjoy about the hobby of wargaming.  In no particular order, here is what I like best about it:


1) The Figures
In their unpainted and painted states.  There is just something fascinating about military miniatures for any period, and I've had this consuming interest since I was about four years old and leafed through a book on the subject with my father while browsing a bookstore one Saturday afternoon in 1970 or '71.  That particular book just might have been one by Philip O. Stearns come to think of it.


A couple of Zichenauer officers exchange witty remarks about their game of Skat last evening while an errant Croat skirmisher takes pot shots at the enemy.  The two mounted figures and horses are by Minden, the fellow with the musket and broken down cannon are RSM95.  This particular vignette was painted and completed along with a host of others during the winter and spring of 2012.  Or was it 2013?


2) The Painting
Painting the figures, flags, and related what-not is an activity that for all of its hurry up and wait frustrations is another endlessly fascinating facet of the hobby given my artistic pretensions and tendency to try new things and attempt to improve my skills and technique with each new batch of figures.  I suppose it's akin to searching for the Holy Grail -- Bring out your dead! -- but half of the fun comes through trying to emulate the work in all of those great photographs that used to feature routinely way back in the 1980s in Military Modelling, Miniature Wargaming, and early issues of Wargames Illustrated.  I am referring, specifically, to Doug Mason's and Peter Gilder's Napoleonics along with figures from various other eras that were painted by the likes of Phil Robinson, et al.  The wonder, spectacle, and even beauty of tiny ancient, medieval, and renaissance forces arrayed across a tabletop battlefield is not lost on me even though my specific wargaming interests lie elsewhere.

3) The Reading and Book Collecting
I'm a dyed in the wool horse and musket man, and  for me, it has always been late Napoleonics and, after 20 years or so, the 18th century along with the mid-19th century European wars following closely behind.  Oh, and a smidgeon of early First World War on the Eastern Front too.  Consuming reading militarily, politically, and socially by all counts with ample room for fictitious pursuits set against a quasi-historic backdrop, something that is, you might have guessed, right up my alley  And then there are the figures, past and present, available for the various conflicts that took place during the relatively long horse and musket era.

4) The Scratch-building 
The opportunity to try my hand at making various houses and scenic items is yet another feature of the hobby that keeps me going.  Not much else to say other than that I love getting my hands dirty with pencil, glue, and paint as I whip up a new small batch of municipal structures every couple of years.  And so far, no fingertips have been inadvertently pierced or lopped off in the process!

5) The (Occasional) Games
Ah, the BIG one!  Would that I had more time for more games, either solo, or with a few like-minded enthusiasts.  As I have lamented here before at The Grand Duchy of Stollen, striking the right balance between painting, gaming, and (occasionally) writing about all of it seems to be the problem.  And then there is real life and work.  How in the world did the late, great Donald Featherstone, a very busy gentleman in both his professional and his hobby lives, do it?


General Pipeclay Higgenbotham-Bulling and aide observe a battle as it unfolds in the valley below.  Fife & Drum figures painted in early 2013.


6) "The Look of the Thing"
On rare occasion, when the stars align just right, however, and a game is laid out and played, the appearance of everything on the tabletop is that mythical carrot at the end of the stick.  Even with a fairly low-tech, old school kind of set-up like I and a few others have adopted in recent years.  There is just a certain indefinable something about hundreds of brightly painted toy soldiers lined up in ranks and marching across a table laid out with the appropriate terrain and scenery.

7) The Daydreaming
Ah. . .  another one of the delights of the wargaming hobby!  You know.  The thinking, the planning, the ideas, the doodles, maybe the pencil sketches, and mulling everything over after the fact.  Preferably with an old-fashioned pad of paper and a pencil or favorite pen -- I have a crazy mid-blue Cross ballpoint that I use -- to jot down everything on paper and then flesh out the basic ideas in more detail.

8) The Writing
Besides, the blogging, yet one more side of the hobby I really have enjoyed has been the opportunity, once in a while, to write something for publication.  A fun mental exercise as I discover and nail down exactly what it is I want to convey, and then of course there is the thrill of seeing an article appear in print several months later.


A generic North German church, completed in July 2011, based on the half dozen or so red brick churches in the old section of Lübeck, Germany.  Vastly underscale and certainly not museum diorama quality, of course, but it looks like what it is, and I'm still rather tickled pink by how nicely it turned it.  As with all of my Charles Grant-inspired structures, the outer shell lifts off to reveal a ruined base which holds seven or eight infantry figures.  The man in pink waving his sword around is General von Tschatschke with the yellow-coated General von Buttinski giving his unsolicited input in the background  All visible figures here are from RSM95 (ex-Pax Britannica).


9) The People
I've met a lot of interesting, fun, and funny people via blogs and online discussion groups who share this love of military history and toy soldiers over the years.  The Internet has certainly aided and abetted this aspect of the hobby.  Years ago in the mid-1980s, I attended a few model soldier and wargaming events as a young rocker in the Philadelphia area including two Historicons.  Chatted with a few vendors at the time when I purchased some uniform books and figures, but, as I recall, most people were either too wrapped up in their games to speak in anything more than monosyllabic grunts, or visibly rattled by my outlandish appearance at the time (big 80s rocker hair and tight, brightly colored clothes).  Oh, allow youth!  In any case, the online wargaming community has been a welcomed addition to the hobby for me in the years since I emerged from my grad school cave in 2004-2005 and once more began to enjoy other parts of life that were, largely, shelved when I decided to get with the program and return to school in the early 1990s.

10) The Related Travel and Sight-seeing Opportunities
Time and money permitting, my interest in military history and wargaming has been tied to a number of different visits to historic places over the years, for instance Gettysburg, Bull Run, Valley Forge, The National Army Museum in Great Britain, the Sans Souci Palace in Germany, and the Waterloo battlefield in Belgium, and so forth.  Sadly we'll be knee deep loading our household possessions into a moving van for the 200th anniversary of that particular battle.  Sigh.  I always used to entertain fantasies for many years of returning to Brussels -- I visited the area in 1986 and again in 1990 -- for this once in a lifetime event.  But you meet someone, marry, have a child, and, strangely, priorities change. . .  Or get buried under a pile of stuff at the back of that metaphoric hall closet upstairs.

11) The Photography
This is a recent addition to my wargaming activities that I really enjoy.  Taking pictures of newly painted batches of figures as well as the occasional encounter on the tabletop.  Learning about lighting, backgrounds, exposure, aperture settings, shutter speeds, depth of field, timers, editing and cropping the "raw" photographs, and the like has been a fascinating journey thus far.  I always meant to learn how to develop actual film, but the rise of digital photography sure makes things easier.  Less caustic and corrosive too.


Zichenauer infantry (in white) prepare to wade across a river during while under fire from Stollenian artillery and musketry during a solo battle, waged during August 2013, that was based on the Battle of the Alma River.  The figures shown are from various metal and plastic ranges. 
 

12) The Sheer Range of Possible Activities
And I don't simply mean scales, sizes, and historic eras here, but the various and sundry related branches of the wargaming hobby, something that should be readily apparent from the remarks and observations above.  If you're in a painting slump, pick up a book and read about that new (or favorite) period.  Need a specific battlefield feature for that tabletop refight of Leuthen you and your Seven Years War buddies around town have been planning all year?  How about building it yourself with a sharp hobby knife, a metal ruler, some heavy card, balsa wood, or foamcore board, glue, and poster paints?  Want to share a few photographs online of your recently finished Late Roman legion cobbled together with vintage 20mm Hinton Hunt or Greenwood & Ball figures?  How about taking a bit of time and making the effort to take some (almost) professional grade pictures that will show off your handiwork to its best advantage?  You see my point.


There really isn't much that I dislike about the hobby, you might be happy to learn, other than these three points:

1) The continually rising metal and by extension, figure prices.  But that just sort of goes with the territory.  The sheer choice and ever-expanding ranges of realistically proportioned 18th century figures, however, offset this particular issue for me.  I manage to find enough extra "pocket money" to indulge myself and purchase some new figures a few times a year with my wife and son making up any omissions for birthdays and Christmas.  There are, after all, many in the word who struggle to eat and exist day to day, so how can I complain in good conscience about figures and shipping charges going up every two-five years?  Figure manufacturers are not just in the business to dole out scads of free stuff, you know.  Come on, guys.

2) The lack of free time and how "real life" invariably and inevitably interferes with painting and staging a game or three.  We need 30 hours in a day instead of a mere 24 I think.

3) Packing everything for occasional moves.  Once again, you can see where I'm coming from given current events in our lives here at Stollen Central.


A Stollenian suttleress vignette, completed in late November-early December 2014.  The ladies shown were culled from various 30mm Willie ranges (extremely useful for vignettes and dioramas), the foodstuffs and cashbox on the table are left over bits from the Eureka French Napoleonic vivandiere cart, and the other crates and bundles are either Foundry, or Old Glory items.  The table and tent were scratch-built by yours truly.


So, there we are.  The likes far outweigh the dislikes for yours truly, and the hobby continues to entertain and engage me just like it has for the last 30+ years.  No grumbling here about kids today and walking 20 miles in ten feet of snow when I was young just to buy three small bottles of hobby paints.  At the very least, wargaming in all of its permutations enables me to learn new things all of the time and also practice and perfect various painting and/or hobby skills as I plod along and muddle through.  Speaking broadly, then, it is one hell of a lot of fun.  I only wish I could find a bit more time since the hobby helps me relax, focus my thoughts on other things for a while, and, in so doing, reduce the stresses of everyday life.

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Finally, and on a completely unrelated note, the Grand Duchess and Young Master have been away for 10 days or so visiting grandparents in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., so I've had a bit more free time during the evenings than has been the case lately.  As you might imagine, I have been catching up on old films noir from the 1940s and 50s -- definitely straying into less than stellar B-movie territory with a few of them -- and looking at some other kinds of movies too.  

For instance, I watched an interesting film last night via YouTube, by Faeroese director Katrin Ottarsdottir, which I plan to use as part of my upcoming Scandinavian and Nordic Cinema course this fall at MSU.  Bye Bye Blue Bird (1999) is an interesting (and subdued) take on the road movie genre.  It is, in addition, one of the very few examples of a movie from the Faeroe Islands that I have run across.  See what you think if you have a spare 90 minutes or so.

-- Stokes


Three squadrons (and command) of Minden Prussian hussars, painted in late 2010 (???) in uniforms based on those worn by Lauzun's Legion during the American Revolution.

04 April 2015

Happy Easter. . .



Some of you longtime visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen might recall that I am a fan of old Victorian and Edwardian Christmas and New Year's greeting cards.  Well, I've recently stumbled across a few similar Easter cards, and thought I might share one here for your enjoyment in lieu of a soldier related post.  

Not much painting occurring here at the moment what with getting the house on the market and beginning to tackle the gargantuan task of sorting various things to discard, donate to the charity shop, or be packed into moving boxes even before we have visited out new area to look for a suitable home and lined up a company to transport our stuff to the East Lansing area.  

In any case, Happy Easter from all of us here to those who actively celebrate the holiday, and a peaceful, calm, and happy long weekend to everyone, observers and non-observers alike.

-- Stokes

24 March 2015

BIG Changes Underway at the Grand Duchy of Stollen. . .


"Well, Sir," as my maternal grandmother used to begin the occasional statement, good fortune has smiled on us again here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen.  Thanks to lots of hard work and crossed fingers, not only has the Grand Duchess been offered a plum position at a Big Ten University, but they have also offered yours truly a full-time lecturer appointment, which seals the deal.   Generous compensation, moving allowance, excellent schools for the Young Master, further opportunities for professional development, more interesting service possibilities, and so on, and so forth.  The kind of opportunity that does not come around very often you might say.

We will sell up, pack up, and leave our digs of the last seven years here in Central Illinois (where the Grand Duchess has been since 2001) come mid-June for snowier environs (and much better skiing conditions) in East Lansing Michigan where we'll both join the faculty of  Michigan State University -- following a teaching stint in Berlin at the Free University this summer for the Grand Duchess -- in mid-August. 

Lots to think about and take care of before then, however, including the current batch of Minden pioneers, but we are pleased as punch and terribly excited.  Giddy even, which is something to chuckle about given my sometimes rather dark Scandinavian soul.  Even I see the humor here.

That same giddiness is a good thing too.  It is daunting when we settle down for a moment, and then realize that an entire house will have to be packed up in about 2.5 months, movers arranged, the house put on the market, another one found at the other end, etc., etc., etc.  In the meantime, to the painting table!!!

-- Stokes


P.S.
Special thanks to Paul Robinson in the U.K. for his kind and encouraging words yesterday.  You were correct, Paul.  It sorted itself out.

20 March 2015

Slooow Progress. . .

Here's where things stand with the pioneers at the moment.

Things have been slow on the painting front the last month or so thanks largely to lots of student papers, conferences the week before Spring Vacation, and so forth.  You'd be surprised how much time it can take preparing for and conducting these post-Topic Proposal Paper interviews in which I try to coax most students through the process of actually narrowing their proposed topics and deciding what it is they want to say about them.  This particular task should have been accomplished and/or articulated within said papers, and there were explicit written directions circulated well in advance of the assignment due date, but there you are.

However, spurred on by General de Latte's own impressive recent efforts with a fine looking batch of SYW Prussians (???) at The Duchy of Alzheim, I sat myself down at the start of this week to get going again.  Enjoyed a couple of evenings applying oil glazes over my usual white acrylic gesso basecoat, and had visions of getting almost everything finished during this delightfully free week.  All well and good.  Some nice early progress made over two evenings when what do you think happened?

Yep.  First, the flu came on and knocked me for six as they say in Great Britain and, perhaps, elsewhere in the Commonwealth.  None of this should be a surprise, really, since the Young Master has been home from school most of the week with something similar, and I have been the one to care for him.  Sigh.  I'm only up long enough now to drink a glass of fruit juice and send a couple of documents on this computer to the Grand Duchess, who is currently at work in her office on campus.

Speaking of the Grand Duchess. . .   In more exciting news, she has had an incredible offer from a much larger university to assume a full professor/administrator position there in mid-August.  She has not given her decision yet, but the compensation they are offering her to take the position borders on the obscene. Naturally, we are very pleased and still a bit nonplussed.  Ok, dumbfounded even.  

While there is talk of a spousal hire for yours truly, it is not entirely clear what there might be for me to do however.  Looking through the current job postings online has neither yielded anything for which I am remotely qualified, nor anything in which, if I am frank, I am interested.  The examples of spousal hires I have observed from a distance here, with our current employer, so far have not always been ideal, so I must admit to some misgivings as well. 

In any case, it looks very like the Grand Duchess will accept the offer and things will need to be packed up rather quickly here for a June move.  Hopefully, once the influenza subsides, I can finish this current batch of figures and then think about how to pack up everything here in Zum Stollenkeller, so it survives the indignities of a house move two or three states away.  Ok, enough fever-induced prattle.  Back to bed.

-- Stokes

22 February 2015

Pioneers Finally Underway. . . Sort of. . .

The Minden pioneers currently in progress with one coat of white acrylic gesso applied.  One more coat, and the painting can commence.

Some weeks.  Sigh.  Started off with a nasty cold and fever, which came on Saturday night last week and required cancelling two days of classes last Monday and Tuesday.  As much as I wanted simply to pull the covers over my head, tell the world to go to hell, and sleep though, there were about 50 undergrad papers to read, consider, and assign grades.  Then, the Grand Duchess left town midweek for another conference, or consulting gig (I can't keep 'em straight anymore), which meant that yours truly became solely responsible for coaxing the Young Master through his daily activities, taking him to and from school, meals, etc., etc.  I already do quite a bit of this everyday anyway, but when one becomes the only parent overseeing all of this stuff for several days, well. . .   Let's just say that single parents have my deepest respect.

Which brings us to Sunday morning.  Still seven student papers to read and grade (agh!), which normally would be easy as pie on a Sunday afternoon.  But -- and there is always a 'but' lately -- the Grand Duchess, who was supposed to come home yesterday (Saturday) midday, has had flights cancelled not once but twice with very few other options available to get her from Phildelphia to Chicago, where she could at least catch the shuttle bus home (maybe), or rent a car and drive the three hours between there and here.  Everything is either overbooked already, or cancelled for one reason or another.  

In short, this means that her rescheduled 10:35am arrival this morning has come and gone.  She might -- might -- be able to get onto a flight that gets her closer to home by 5:30pm, or 8pm, or later this evening.  We'll see how that goes, since the airline is not being particularly helpful, the automated airline hotline keeps hanging up on the Grand Duchess each time she calls to attempt rebooking, and it is a Sunday skeleton crew at the airport in Philadelphia. Glad I'm not a businessman on the road each week since commercial air travel has deteriorated so much in the 30+ years since my maternal grandfather did this kind of thing when he worked for a large building materials corporation out of New York City.

Anyway, the worst of it is that the Young Master and I must attend, by ourselves, a (potential) kindergarten open house this afternoon at 2pm.  Fine.  There are much, much worse fates that many around the world are forced to confront on a daily basis.  I understand how cushy many of us in the West/ First World/ Developed World/ Global North have it, and how terribly spoiled we are.  I get it. . .  and see myself for the spoiled, overly educated jerk that I am, thank you very much.  

But these kinds of open houses are almost always excruciating to sit through and observe, and I don't relish time in the company of large groups of small children and their parents.  Nothing personal, you understand.  That's just not me.  Some people love that sort of thing, and while I enjoy my time with the Young Master one-on-one, large groups of small children and their parents are like hell on earth to me.  That's just how it is.  I am well aware of this huge flaw in my character and accept it.  Sorry for not being sorry about it, but there you are.  No nasty comments or e-mails, please. 

If public schools (not the same thing as in the United Kingdom mind you) in the United States were not so questionable, or just downright bad in many instances, we wouldn't worry about it and would send the Young Master to the neighborhood elementary school next August.  However, the Young Master requires some occasional extra attention and handling at school -- he is quite bright, but "spirited" -- which the much smaller class sizes and better pupil-to-teacher ratios of private schools permit. . .  if the price is within the realm of possibility, and an application is approved.  So, this little necessary trip for Dad and YMP will take a nice chunk out of Sunday afternoon that might be more pleasantly spent (reading and grading hastily written, less than coherent undergraduate papers).  Thus spake the Grand Duchess.  Sigh.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that it seems very doubtful I will get the second coat of white gesso onto the pioneers above today given that I absolutely must finish the last seven undergrad papers, read and prepare for tomorrow's classes, and pick up the Grand Duchess somewhere in there.  For the time being, at least, the pioneers will have to wait given this most cruel interference by real life.  Calgon, take me away!

-- Stokes

13 February 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen. . . Start Your Engines!

The Corps of Pioneers, all ready for base-coating and then painting.

Well, I managed to get the various tools and things glued into the hands of the two dozen Minden pioneers yesterday, as mentioned previously, and I'll apply the white gesso basecoat (two thin coats) on Saturday.  With any luck, I might be able to apply green to the bases, fleshtone, and gray to the eventually black hats on Sunday.  The reading and preparation for classes on Monday is a bit lighter this weekend, so completing a bit more at the painting table is a distinct possibility.  We'll see how things play out.

Look very closely, and you'll spot those scratch-built facines in the hands of three figures in the right-hand company.  You'll also observe that I decided to give one company digging tools and the other wood-cutting implements.  Each company also has a wheelbarrow of appropriate 'stuff' to help set the scene whenever and wherever the Corps of Pioneers is deployed.  

The Crann Tara mounted officers in the rear are due to be painted in Hanoverian engineer officer uniforms, of which there is a very colorful example somewhere on the Kronoskaf: Project Seven years War website.  The mounted Austrian German officer to their right -- yeah, the guy whose head was inadvertently lopped off when I cropped the photograph in a hurry -- will be painted as, you guessed it, an Austrian engineer officer in the red and blue uniform worn by these men.  I painted a vignette of arguing Austrian engineer officers on foot and on horseback two or three years ago, and I've been a fan of the uniform ever since.

Finally, you'll also have spotted four of the six Foundry gabions that have been cluttering up the Box o' Bits for a couple of years off to the side of the picture.  Well, if you're going to paint up some pioneers or sappers, you might as well give them a redoubt or flèche to construct, right?  So, using a couple of Charles S. Grant how-to articles from the 2011 and 2012 Wargamer's Annual, respectively, as a guide, I will also take a stab at building something passable in modular sections to represent the gradual construction of the envisioned emplacement over a certain number of turns, or simply to have in place well before the opening shots are fired.

But I'm putting the cart before the horse as usual.  It's best to get the pioneers themselves painted up first before diverting my attention elsewhere.  Gotta keep those butterflies in check, you know.

-- Stokes

12 February 2015

Von Scheither's Freicorps Pioneers. . .

My Minden figures lack the dashing headgear worn by the fine pioneer fellow above, but the colors of his uniform are extremely pleasing to the eye.  When I came across this particular illustration a few evenings ago, I knew at once that I had found my inspiration as far as colors are concerned.  And by the way, the grenadier to his left also sports a most attractive uniform.  Hmmm. . .  I might just have to add a unit of those at some point.

Finally managed to find a copy online of the illustration, which I found originally in one of my books on Prussian and Hanoverian SYW-era freikorps, and on which I'll base the uniforms for my own two dozen Minden pioneers.  Speaking of which, I just spent an enjoyable hour or so carefully cementing digging and chopping tools into their hot little hands as well as a ladder, a couple of balsa "boards," and a few scratch-built facines in miniature.  

Yes, yes.  It has been a fairly idle afternoon here at home with not much of consequence achieved beyond a few mugs of coffee, a quick trip out to pick up some Valentine's Day cards for wife and child, picking up the Young Master from preschool, and finally making his lunch.  I am indeed a weak and filthy shirker.  A morally and ethically loose cannon. 

Kidding aside, fear not since I will be inundated with a fresh batch of student papers over the next few days, followed by another 10-day (or so) period of reading grading, and providing written feedback to the students in question.

-- Stokes

11 February 2015

The Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Contingent Is Glossed!

 The halfway point, more or less, of the gradually mustering 80-figure regiment has been reached.

After various batches of student papers sucking up most available free time during the last couple of weeks or so, I have at last managed to apply the usual two coats of glossy acrylic varnish to the Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach contingent.  They don't look too bad if you'll pardon me saying so myself.  

But now, it's time to address those two dozen or so Minden pioneers for the next two+ weeks before returning to the monster 80-figure regiment and the third batch of 20 RSM95 Prussians, slated to become the white-coated (with red facings, turnbacks, etc.) Saxe-Coburg contingent that was also part of the Ernestinisch Sachsen Regiment during the SYW period. 

The Minden pioneers, for their part, are waiting to have various tools and implements cemented into their hands once I purchase a new tube of superglue gel at some point on Thursday, followed by the usual basecoat of white acrylic gesso planned for Friday evening and a second coat on Saturday morning.  With any luck, I can start the actual painting on Saturday evening or Sunday and get them done before too much time elapses.  

On that note, I've found a very pretty green, yellow, and tan uniform -- apparently worn by the pioneers of Von Scheither's Freicorps -- on which to base my own pioneers.  But more of that anon.  It's late, and I'm wiped out.  Time for some Z's following a glass of chocolate milk in the kitchen.

--Stokes

And here's a close-up of the completed and freshly glossed Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach boys.  I'm pleased with the way the drummer and his drum turned out this time.  A light touch and a steady hand enabled me to finish up both with very few mistakes to touch up later.  That's not always the case with musicians, as I'm sure you'll agree.

05 February 2015

Minden Pioneers Stand at the Ready. . .

All ready and waiting for their basecoat of white acrylic gesso. . .  two companies of pioneers and a mounted officer, complete with loaded wheelbarrows and a bucket!

Just  a bit of time this morning before getting the Young Master up for preschool and then getting to work on some student papers and admin stuff myself.  There might be some skiing with the Grand Duchess this morning too on the fresh, powdery snow we had yesterday, but my lower back is giving me trouble, so we'll see.  

Strained something yesterday morning while rinsing my face after shaving at the bathroom sink, and YOW!  It just goes to show you that even  with routine exercise and stretching, sometimes you turn or bend just the right way, and the unexpected pain takes your breath away.  It's much better this morning, but the skiing just might have to wait a day or two.

Anyway, I spent a couple of hours at the painting table yesterday evening, preparing the Minden pioneers for painting.  You know.  Taking a break from painting the Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach boys before the final push to complete the drummer and officer along with glossing.  The pioneers were stuck onto bases two evenings ago, so last night I concentrated on providing them with some tools and  equipment with which to perform their imagined missions, things like demolition, assaulting prepared defenses, digging in for their allied brothers in arms, clearing ground for and establishing camps along with related camp facilities, and perhaps giving the pontoniers a hand from time to time with bridging creeks as well as larger rivers.  

The final step before painting will be to super glue the various impedimenta shown into their hands.  I would have done so yesterday evening, but, of course, my remaining tube of super glue was dried up, wasn't it?  And naturally, there was no more to be found in the house.  Grrrr. . . 

-- Stokes

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