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Step 3.5: Blocking in the Horse Tack. . .

The first two horses with their black bridles, reins, and so forth all blocked in.  Blast!  I see a few areas in need of a bit more green around the hooves.


Well, I finally decided on tackling a pair of horses at a time, simply painting the bridles, reins, and other tack to completion before moving to the next pair.  Some visible progress is a good thing.  Painting just one item at a time assembly style, by contrast, is murder even when working with, say 10 or a dozen horses. 

Painting tack is sort of like riding a bike up a very long, steep, arduous hill.  I'm thinking, in particular, of the brutal Ramsey Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota and the equally nasty hill out of Stillwater, Minnesota.  Even in cooler weather, you feel like your head and lungs will burst well before the halfway point.  Talking to your fellow riders is out of the question.  Instead, focus, concentration, and steady peddling in a relatively low gear.  But leave one or two in case the situation gets even more dire…
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Step 3: Girths. . .

A close-up shot of two trumpeter's greys with completed girths.

After a Saturday working outside all day to finish edging and weeding the third garden bed in as many days, I managed to steal away for about 30 minutes down here to Zum Stollenkeller -- after dinner and The Young Master's bedtime (He read for 30 minutes to me.  A self-authored and illustrated book all about various monsters found around the house, in the attic, under the bed, etc.) -- to finish the final eight girths on those 36 Minden mounts intended for three squadrons of Austrian dragoons. 

Yet again, my 20+ year old bottle of Ral Partha leather did not let me down.  It just keeps on going and going and going.  Easily one of the longest lasting bottles of hobby paint I have ever possessed in almost forty years of painting first fantasy and later historical miniatures.  ABout once a year, I add 4-6 drops of flow enhancer, shake it well, and it's like a new bottle of paint with good flow and coverage. 

Next u…

Step 2.5 Hoof Highlights and Green Bases. . .

A close-up of two of the many Chestnut horses -- about 2/3 of the 36 mounts -- comprising this batch of figures.  A whole herd, really. 


After another few painting sessions of varying lengths the last two or three days, remote work and child permitting, the many hooves have been highlighted (Yes, I know.), and the bases given a coat of Citadel War Boss Green (ex-Goblin Green).  Sessions in the painting chair seem to be between about 30-90 minutes lately, some evenings a bit longer, but when the ol' eyes start to grow tired, it's time to stop for the night.  My old 000 sable was again used for hoof highlights while an old #4 synthetic round that no longer has a good point was fine for greening up the bases.  A few touch-ups here and there, of course, but it's about time to begin painting in the reins, bridles, and other assorted straps and metal bits.
-- Stokes


And once again, the obligatory shot of the whole batch, which is actually starting to come together nicely I think. …

Step 2 White and Pink Markings. . .

A nice close-up of two of the Bay horses.

A few short painting sessions later, and the various and sundry white markings on the ankles, legs, and muzzles have been completed. 

First, all of the black areas on the 36 horses were first painted a mid-gray.  I then applied a wash or two of Citadel 'Abbadon Black' thinned with Liquitex Flow Aid, which provided some very attractive variegation on the castings and subtle highlighting as it settled nicely into lower areas.  I was trying to create that dark gray, velvety look that so many horses exhibit around their noses, mouths, and chins.  I used an old #3 and #4 round brush for these steps.

Next, I used an off white craft paint called 'Buttermilk' rather than Hollywood Smile White. which seems to give a nicer, more realistic looking result.  The muzzles went quckly, by the ankles and lower legs took a bit more time and care.  Still, not too many errant blotches to remove before they set.  My trusty 20+ year old sable 000 c…

Step 1.75 Bays and Greys. . .

A wider shot of all 36 Minden dragoon mounts where you can observe the darker brown manes and tails I've added to a few of the Chestnuts as well as the Bays and Greys in the front row.

Plugging away, as and when I am able, with the current herd of 1/56th horses, which are shaping up reasonably well I think.  Next up, white markings on the muzzles and ankles.  A fairly easy step.  I'm calling the three greys done.  They look pretty good, so why risk messing things up by continuing to to tinker with them?  Sometimes, you've gotta say when and move on.
By the way, anyone out there have any idea how to ensure that one's photos actually show up larger when people click on them?  The recent revamping by Blogger has made that particular feature less readily accessible than used to be the case prior to several days ago.  How in the world are any interested visitors supposed to enlarge the photographs now?  

-- Stokes


And the obligatory closer in shot of the front row.  I'm pl…

Step 1.5 Basic Horse Coats. . .

Time now for the detailing to bring these 1/56th horses to life.

Well, over the last several days and a couple of evenings, I've been able to finish applying the basic horse coat colors (oil glazes) over the acrylic basecoat-undercoat, which was a combination (applied in one step) of white acrylic gesso with mixed a generic tan or, in the case of those intended to become bays, Yellow Ochre.  The three eventual dappled grays were base-undercoated in a gesso-light gray blend and then washed in a darker gray thinned with Liquitex Flow Aid last night after all of the brown horses were completed late yesterday afternoon.
Now, it's time for the detailing: white markings on most muzzles, around quite a few lower legs and/or ankles, and black on the lower legs, manes, and tails for the bays in the front row.  The three greys at lower front right are due for dappling at some point during the next few days too.  I've already picked out a couple of older, stiffer brushes that I'll …

Painting Preparation. . .

A couple of nice shots of horse with 'bay' coloration, basically black manes, tales, and lower legs.



And two of so called 'chestnuts.'

Getting everything ready on the ol' painting desk to begin applying the basic horse flesh colors this evening.  I've dug out my preferred tubes of Grumbacher and Winsor & Newton oils: Sepia, Burnt Sienna (erroneously referred to in a previous post as Burnt Umber), Van Dyke Brown, and Light English Red.  Most of the 36 horses will get a reddish chestnut coloring on bodies, manes, and tails.  Burnt Sienna and Light English Red are idea for that although I'll need to be careful with the Light English Red as it is very orange, so perhaps a bit of toning down with Van Dyke Brown will be in order before actually applying it to the model horses.  But looking at photographs and illustrations of horses will immediately show that variations abound. 

I also recall reading somewhere years ago, and it was about Napoleonic cavalry, that…

And They're Off!!!

The 36 horses in question all base- and undercoated, just waiting for their oil-based glazes.  Just under 2.5 hours of time at the painting table over two days.

Tally ho!  I've actually started the Minden horses, slated to become the mounts for three squadrons of Austria's Batthyany Dragoons.  The human part of the regiment will be clothed primarily in dark blue with red distinctions.  As far as their mounts go, and in an effort to combine the two steps of base- and then undercoating, I have mixed white acrylic gesso with acrylic tan, yellow ochre, and gray paints, which were applied liberally with an old #8 round brush.  While the three grays at lower right will be given a slightly different treatment, the rest will next get the old Peter Gilder treatment, more or less, with oil-based Sepia and Burnt Umber. 

Bridles, reins, martingales, etc. will be applied next before finishing with white markings on muzzles and leg.  Then, it will be time to focus on the 36 riders.  The aim …

A Most Enjoyable Zoom Chat. . .

A David Morier painting of a mounted grenadier from the Batthyani Regiment of Dragoons, circa 1748 or so.  I think I may give my officers red breeches and saddlecloths just to distinguish them a bit more from the enlisted men.

Up and at 'em early for a Saturday this morning (6:30am) to join The Virtual Wargames club organized by Phil Olley in the U.K. and presented via Zoom.  Terrific fun to finally see some faces and hear voices of quite a few wargamers whose names and blogs I've known and enjoyed for, in some cases, going on close to 15 years!   I believe this will become a fairly regular meeting of the minds, so if you would like to join in, visit Phil's blog -- Phil's War Cabinet --  and let him know of your interest, so he can send you an invitation and Zoom link as the next meeting approaches.  I feel safe in saying that we had an enjoyable (and very funny) chat all around.
It's funny how some things will be just the kick in the seat of the pants that you need …

Hurrah for The Young Master!!!

Hurrah!!!  The Young Master just passed the test for his green belt in Tae Kwon Do about 30 minutes ago via Zoom.  Once again, I am just bowled over by his determination. 

Since The Grand Duchess is usually the one who gets our son set up each afternoon and Saturday mornings with the computer, and often supervises from nearby, much of this was new to me.  I have not really witnessed him in action since the last belt test at the end of February.  His increase in skill, coordination, focus, speed, and form in just a little over two months is head spinning.  He has practiced six days a week for 1-2 hours a day since the end of March when everything went into lock-down mode, so I should not be surprised, and he has indicated that he wants to help teach the martial art once he turns 14. 

That's just 3.5 years away, by which time I expect he'll have his black belt, or be just about there.  Anyway, we pick up the belt in a drive-by ceremony early Sunday afternoon.  Wow.…

Glossing Over a Few Final Things. . .

The Minden Bosniaks mid-glossing, after the first coat.  Hmmm.  Mid-glossing.  Sounds like a village just up the road from Badger's Drift on Midsomer Murders.

Well, we are nearing the end of the Bosniak tunnel at last.  I've spent the afternoon applying the first coat of acrylic gloss with #3 and #5 rounds.  Pretty spiffy if you'll pardon my saying.  

As always, gloss varnish makes the colors pop even more.  I am especially pleased with the black kaftans highlighted in very dark blue, the red with scarlet highlights, and the horse coats.  Not quite Doug Mason ca. 1983, but they'll work well enough for me.  

What's that?  About 800 Minden Austrian dragoons thundering toward the painting table, you say?  Come, come now.  It's really just 36 riders and horses to paint.  There will be times, I am certain, where it FEELS like 800 of them.  

Ok.  Enough chit-chat, everyone.  Looks like I've got my work cut out for me.  Chaaaaaarge!

-- Stokes


An Easter Sunday P.S.
A seco…

Almost Finished. . .

Black lance stripes done?  Check!  Not too bad if you'll permit me to say so.  Just a few touch-ups and glossing left, and then I can begin in earnest with all of those Austrian dragoons shown here a few days ago.

Sometimes, you just have to shut your mouth and get on with it.  Taking my own advice for a change -- Go on!  A little mockery and derision is good for the soul.  The Grand Duchess would likely suggest I deserve it. -- I slipped into the painting chair for just over an hour yesterday evening for the sole purpose of painting lots and lots of black stripes onto and around all but two of the lance shafts pictured above.  I just finished the  remaining pair a short while ago (Tuesday afternoon about 14:30 EDT), and here is where things stand with those 14 Minden Bosniaks at long last.  

We're almost there, folks!  Just a few small touch-ups and the two coats of acrylic gloss.

Interestingly, I am always of two minds as the end of a painting project approaches.  On the one ha…

Back to the Painting Bench!

36 unpainted Minden Austrian dragoons stand ready for summer painting.

Many of us in the wargaming world are familiar with those two maladies associated with the hobby.  Do I refer to painter's elbow or deteriorating eyesight?  No.  I'm talking about those other two afflictions.  Come on.  You know what I mean.  Well-laid plans and butterflies.  Please allow me to say just a few words about each.

As far as plans go, some in the hobby -- those rare creatures -- make detailed plans and carry them out without a hitch.  Masters of focus, project management, and sheer painting output.  God bless 'em, those lucky so and so's.

Then, there are those of us, who despite the best of intentions, never quite manage to see their plans come to fruition.  At least not as rapidly as we'd like.  Which leads us to our next related point for today.

Often, it is those wargaming butterflies that complicate whatever picture we might carry in our minds (the almighty mental list) of the aforem…

Wargaming in the Time of Corona. . .

Florence Nightingale, The Lady with the Lamp, was an early proponent of hand-washing and better personal hygiene as a way to stem the spread of communicable illnesses.

Has it been more than a month since my last update?  Why, yes.  Yes, it has.  Funny how that happens sometimes.

Following a wonderful week visiting ol' Mom and dogs in Pinehurst, North Carolina, it was back to work for two days before my university sent everyone home and decided that classes would be conducted remotely through the end of the semester and Final Exam Week.  

All well, good, and completely understandable, but it has had the added effect of making free time less common than everyone thought initially.  I am online even more now in connection to my work, responding to student emails, and the like than I was before 'The Blight' came along.  Factor in the help I have been giving The Young Master with some online schoolwork since he has been at home for the last two weeks too, and it's easy to see …

We're In the Home Stretch. . .

Needless to say, the white piping along the edges of the red tunic collars was murder to get right.  I fear it's time to have the bifocal discussion with my ophthalmologist at the next exam later this spring, blast it.

Time in the painting chair earlier this Sunday afternoon finishing up the red tunic collars piped white, and then starting on the black horizontal stripes along the scarlet lances carried by 12 of the 14 Minden Bosniaks that comprise this large squadron.  

Once that step is done, just a few touch-ups, and then onto the two coats of acrylic gloss.  I am off to visit ol' Mom and dogs for a few days at the end of the week though -- Spring Break next week -- so, let's see how far I get before the 5:30am flight Friday morning.  

I did splurge for First and/or Business Class all the way this time though.  A bit more forgiving for the knobby, middle-aged knees you understand.  With any luck, I should be in Pinehurst, North Carolina before Noon on the 28th.

-- Stokes

Painstaking Piping Preparation. . .

Painstaking piping preparation continues. . .  Whew!

Well Sir, the Minden Bosniaken are not quite finished, but I bit the bullet and sat down for three (or as it four?) painting sessions during the last couple of days: a hour or so Friday evening, another stint on Saturday afternoon, and again that same evening to apply the white piping c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y along the edges of the red tunic cuffs, black kaftan  sleeve edges, and kaftan lapels behind each rider's neck.  I've also gone back and cleaned up a few wobbly white edges with either scarlet, or black depending.  Both, of course, cover white nicely.  Just the collar piping on the tiny red tunic collars to tackle today followed by the decorative white piping 'round about hip-level on the black kaftans.

Still nowhere near finished -- and let's not even speak of the horizontal black stripes that will need to be applied to the lances -- but the 14 figures and horses really are coming along nicely at this point if I may be …

Painting Continues Apiece. . .

Nowhere near finished, but I managed to make a bit of head way with the white lining yesterday (Saturday) evening and this afternoon.

Besides all of this foolish talk of morale rules, I have managed to keep the painting on those Minden Bosniaks moving forward.  Just barely.  Sat my you-know-what down the the painting chair and worked on white trim on the black kaftans for about 90 minutes or so yesterday evening.  Not too many mishaps with the brush although there were a couple of notable errant white splotches that had to be fixed after the fact.  Still, it is this particular stage that helps the figures start to look like something other than the finely sculpted castings they are.  

Still a long way to go, of course, but I'm pleased with the way things are coming together.  Besides the white piping on the red tunics and trousers, I need to finish the white piping on the black kaftans than runs behind each figure's neck and the highly decorative piping in the vicinity of the hi…

Further Thoughts on Morale. . .

Another old Knoetel illustration from our period of focus.