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Step 6.2 Scarlet Highlights Completed. . .

The 36 Minden Austrian dragoons are really coming together now and quickly too.Fewer colors are more fun to apply to figures than a nice shade of bright red or scarlet!  It really makes 'em come alive.  Incidentally, red is my favorite color.  Let's skip what that might suggest about me psychologically speaking though and talk about this particular step in a bit more detail. 
Yesterday, during a couple of breaks from the computer and finalizing online courses for the fall, I sat down and applied dots, dabs, and dashes of Citadel Evil Sun Scarlet to the previously defined cuffs, turnbacks, and facings.  All managed quickly and this time without any mistakes to fix.  The painting gods were smiling on me I guess.  I went for subtlety, uncharacteristically,  and made sure to leave some of the darker red showing, already applied to these areas some days ago, to suggest shadow/shading.  I must come clean here and admit to observing carefully over the years how other painters and war…
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Step 6.1 Blue Highlight Completed. . .

Avoidance combined with slow internet speed at the moment are wonderful things indeed!
At last, the dragoons are beginning to resemble the various illustrations in my books and online that I've consulted.  As I always caution, there is still some little distance to travel before we can call everything done, but it's nice how the blue highlight makes 'em pop a bit.  At the risk of putting the cart before the horse, they should look pretty good galloping at an exposed enemy flank on the tabletop.-- Stokes

Step 6. 0 The Highlights. . .

The 36 figures and horses in question.  Look carefully, and you'll see that I've already applied highlights to the hair and scarlet to the cuffs in the front rank.  Still lots to do, but they're coming along reasonably well. Yes, I'm still kicking, but this has been the summer from, well, if not exactly Hell, then certainly a less than stellar summer by all accounts.   Besides everything affecting all of us around the world where the bug is concerned, the ongoing disruption that has introduced for all of us, the continuing and related political dog and pony show here in the U.S., work-related stuff, and concerns for ol' Mom, one of the cats took seriously ill this last week.  Extremely dehydrated for some reason, losing clumps of fur, and so forth.   When it rains, it pours as the saying goes.
A visit to the veterinarian and several days later, and Mr. Onyx seems to be on the mend, eating, drinking, gaining back the lost weight, and bothering his sister once more.  He…

Step 5.75 Dark Red Undercoat. . .

Slowly coming together here with the dark red undercoat applied and, where necessary, final dark blue touch-ups to cover any slops and clean up edges adjacent to other colors. . .  Or those areas earmarked for adjacent colors.


Just a quick painting update this morning since domestic duties and concerns call, but most undercoats are just about finished on the 36 Minden Austrian dragoons that have occupied so much of the late spring and summer.  The dark red areas, slated to receive scarlet highlights shortly, have been applied -- as and when time has allowed -- to coat tails, cuffs, and turnbacks.  So too have he black stocks been painted carefully at the bases of the figures' necks.  As if by some miracle, I managed to do that without getting any on the chins or faces! 

After that, a dark brown to those areas earmarked for hair/wigs on the figures, light gray for crossbelts, and tan for the gauntlets.  Then the highlighting can start, otherwise known as 'Step 6.' 

I typical…

Step 5.5 Black & Brown Undercoats. . .

Still quite a way to go, but we're getting there.  Dark red -- Citadel Khorne Red -- to the  facings and turnbacks next, followed by light gray to the shoulder belts.  Then, it will be time for sparing highlights.


As and when time has permitted this week, I've applied black and dark brown onto those areas destined eventually for a dab, dash, or blob of dark gray and medium brown highlights.  I've also looked carefully over the dark blue areas to make sure the white basecoat has been completely covered, remedying any situations where I've somehow not managed that given the extra time and care taken to avoid lousing up the already painted horses.  These areas will get a very sparing medium blue highlight when the time comes.

As noted last year (?) in an older blog post, or perhaps in an article somewhere, I find that you paint, paint, and paint for what can seem like ages with little apparent visible progress.  But suddenly, almost as if by magic, everything begins coming …

Step 5.25 Fleshtone. . .

Still a long way to Tipperary, but the addition of fleshtone to the faces makes 'em come alive just a bit more, eh?

A difficult day here at Stollen Central, but an hour or so in the painting chair early during the afternoon kept my mind off things for a little while. 

Ol' Mom decided this morning to share the results of a scan she had last week, and the results are not good if you'll excuse my oversharing.  Basically, cancer throughout her body, and from what she related, it sounds we are looking at palliative care sooner rather than later.  She does not want to go through radiation and/or chemo therapy given the extent of her illness at this point. 

A life-long smoker, Mom had a small stroke about a year and a half ago and came back after almost 20 years in Mexico to her house in North Carolina to see specialists in Raleigh-Durham.  She has been actually pretty good since then, but she, my sister, and I visited her attorney in March of last year, where she drew up a living…

5.1 Dark Blue Undercoat Finished. . .

Here are the initial 36 dragoons and horses, the former with their dark blue undercoat all done.

Here and there, I've managed to tackle two-five dragoons at a time whenever I can't stand staring at documents taking shape on the computer screen any longer and need 30 minutes or so to let the ol' mind go blank for a bit.  Even managed to apply all of this dark blue without any major brush mishaps.  A new #4 round was broken out for this step, and it made things so much easier though repetitive.  Very repetitive. 

Henry Hyde (or maybe it was the enigmatic Michael Button?) once mentioned something about the zen of painting large units many years ago in Battlegames, and I try to channel the spirit any time I sit down to for another one of these BIG regiments.  Actually, if one thinks of it as just three squadrons, it doesn't really seem that off the rails. 

At any rate, the color used for the undercoat is one of my two remaining bottomless bottles of Ral Partha color purchas…

5.1 A Dark Blue Undercoat Underway. . .

A rather Citizen Kane angle, but it shows off the regiment nicely, I think.  Six horse grenadiers are on the way from Minden, but I'll tackle them as well as the officer and trumpeter at left in September once the initial 36 are finished.

Snatching a few minutes here and there as and when spare time presents itself.  As planned, I finished basecoating the last twelve figures yesterday evening before turning in, and I have begun applying the very dark blue undercoat today, three after breakfast before starting work for the day, and another four a little while ago after lunch before returning to work and the world of real life.  It ain't all it's cracked up to be, is it?
-- Stokes

Step 5.0 Basecoating Dragoons. . .

About two thirds of the way through base-coating the dragoons themselves and awaiting the addition of six horse grenadiers in bearskin bonnets.

All work and no play makes Stokes and even duller boy.  So, I've played hooky for a couple of hours this morning after breakfast by applying a coat of the usual white acrylic gesso very carefully with a worn out #4 round brush. 

Thus far, no mishaps with the brush to spoil the horses.  Hopefully, I'll be able to return this evening to complete applying the white gesso to the last dozen dragoons before fleshtone and a very dark blue undercoat to just about everything tomorrow. 

But time now to get back to some real work before The Young Master has his online Tae Kwon Do leadership class later this afternoon here in Zum Stollenkeller

-- Stokes

Sunday Quality Cavalry Time. . .

The 36 Minden horses have been peeled from their temporary cardboard painting bases, and I'm now carefully checking the fit of everything on the permanent Litko 3mm ply bases which measure 60mm across, by 50mm deep.

A little quiet time to myself this afternoon here in Zum Stollenkeller.  And what better way to spend it than by sitting down to the painting table for some more work on those 36 Minden Austrian dragoons?  Since the horses are all done, it seemed like a good idea to fix them to their permanent bases, which was accomplished in fairly short order. 

I'll leave painting the green onto them until the riders are all finished and everything has been glossed.  Previous experience demonstrates that even with careful handling of the green permanent bases, considerable touching up is necessary post-glossing.  So, I've decided this time to leave that -- painting the wooden ply bases with Citadel Warboss Green to match the bases of the horses that is -- until the very last s…

And Now the Dragoons Themselves. . .

Yes, we've been here before.  But I am especially fond of this painting by David Morier (1705?-1770), which shows a grenadier of the Batthyani Dragoon Regiment with a few different details from those given elsewhere online.  I might give my own officers red breeches and saddle cloths.  You know.  Just to keep things interesting.

Well, things have been a little quiet here at Stollen Centrale the last few weeks.  Nothing virus-related, thank goodness, merely the usual intrusion of real life into normally free summer daytime and evening hours.  Lots of professional development this year in the form of two online courses all about. . .  Wait for it. . .  teaching courses online.  I am also going up for promotion in the fall, so there has been lots of time consuming activity gathering all of the materials into a portfolio and writing a teaching narrative, which has proven surprisingly difficult.  All of which is to say that there aren't enough hours in the day for the fun stuff.
But,…

Battle for the North Gate with Phil Harding - Lockdown Lectures

Happy Waterloo Day. . .

The Royal North British Dragoons and some members of the 92nd Highlanders  get stuck in with the French on the fateful day in June 1815.  I believe that's the eagle and standard of the 45th Line off to the left.

Lately, lots of lawn, garden, and real life -- in the form of recasting existing courses for online delivery come September -- getting in the way of any appreciable toy soldiering, but there we are as Bertie Wooster might put it. 

When I have been able to escape the computer and online training, it's been lots of marigolds, Begonias, Hostas, and edging of beds with the spade.  And then there is the grass, which must bee mowed twice a week to stay looking ship shape.  It's been pretty dry since mid-May though, so it's no longer as lush and green as ear;ier in the spring.  No amount of organic fertilizer  or biochar seems to help with summer dormancy during drier periods.

But enough of all that suburban dad stuff!  At the painting desk, I have been adding very dar…

Dragoon Mounts Step 4.0 Bits and Buckles Finished at Last!

The obligatory close-up, which shows some of the metallic bits nicely.

The last two evenings, after back-breaking garden games (edging beds with a spade and removing the cut sod), online course development for the fall, with the usual family and real life stuff, I've managed to get my seat back into the painting seat to wrap up the metallic bits.  I used silver acrylic for the bits, but oil-based gold for the tiny buckles since I really wanted them to catch the light and sparkle a bit given their small size.  So, the herd of 36 horses is nearing completion, and it's time to begin tackling the 36 dragoons themselves.  Although I am toying with the idea of sparing dark gray highlights on some of the horse tack.  I know, I know. . .

-- Stokes



And the entire herd.  You've got to look very closely, but the bridle buckles and bits are all there.

Step 3.75 Basic Tack (Almost) Done. . .

Two shots from different sides of the monster herd of horses with basic tack almost finished except for the tiny, shiny metal bits and buckles.

Just about finished with the horses for the planned large Austrian dragoon regiment of three squadrons.  Only tiny metallic bits and buckles to dab on the bridles now, which shouldn't take too long relative to all of the various straps and belts.  Whew!  Still, not quite a month since I began these, which isn't bad at all for yours truly given my typically laid back approach to painting output these last several years.
-- Stokes

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…

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 …