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Showing posts from October, 2006

Thank you all!

Friends. Wargamers. Miniature Collectors. Imaginary Country Enthusiasts. Loyal subjects. It seems there have been about 1000 visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen -- 1768 since adding a counter several weeks ago. Thanks to everyone who regularly drops by, especially those of you who leave suggestions and comments behind. Feedback is always a good thing. Stay tuned in future weeks. There's much more to come!

Irwin Amadeus II -- Grand Duke of Stollen

Weekend Activites at Stollen Central

Well, I managed to finish most of the tasks I set out to complete in last Thursday’s posting.The Jaegers zu Fuss are all painted and awaiting a coating of Future acrylic floor polish to protect their paintjob.Not too many touch-ups were necessary.Mostly just some GW “Chaos Black” here and there to fix a few minor errors on gaiters and hats.The figures in question look pretty darn good.Or at least I am pleased with them.Photos will follow later this week.Stay tuned right here boys and girls!I next trimmed mold lines from the 25mm MiniFigs Prussian officers and their horses, following with fairly copious amounts of “super glue” gel to stick’em onto their horses.I also carefully cut out some heavy card bases to mount the horses on because their metal bases are a bit narrow for them to stand securely by themselves.Anyway, the two generals and an ADC are now awaiting a couple of black base coats.Third, I soaked and scrubbed 12 Revell SYW Austrian artillery crew and a mounted officer and se…

Groan -- Let's try again!

Well, for some reason yesterday, Blogger was presenting all kinds of problems each time I attempted to make a new posting. So, keep in mind that the following was intended to appear YESTERDAY -- Saturday, October 28, 2006. . .

Another, crisp breezy fall day – but the kind with sunshine, so it’s really pretty outside with orange and yellow leaves falling from the trees and formations of birds flying to the south. I wish we had a fireplace because there’s nothing like the sight, sound, and smell of a wood fire inside. Kind of makes me nostalgic for the days of my youth and adolescence when we lived with my grandparents in rural southeastern Pennsylvania. They had a 200 year old stone farmhouse with three fireplaces! Yep, nothing like a wood fire in a fireplace.So, what’s on tap here at Grand Duchy of Stollen Central this weekend? Well, numerous little things. First, in about ten minutes, I’m going to paint the final bits of the Jaegers zu Fuss – silver musket barrels and brass trigger g…

That's what I call service!

I cannot recommend the North American producer and distributor of MiniFigs enough -- Tom Dye and his small crew at Game Figures Incorporated are on the ball!I just gave them a ring a few minutes ago to check on the availability of Prussian and “German” Austrian infantry standard bearers.You might recall that I intend to replace the figures that came with the Revell 1/72 SYW sets with heavier metal figures, so I can use the wonderful standards from the WarFlag and NapFlags websites.Anyway, the man I spoke to, “Ted”, checked on figure availability immediately.He told me GFI had molds for both and, although my order is only for 12 figures, that they would “spin” enough to fill it.No problem.Best of all, he added that the order should ship early next week.Plus they already had my address and payment information at hand, so we were only on the phone for about 5 minutes.It was an impressive display of customer service.If all goes well, I might have the figures here in Central Illinois by l…

Fictitious Regimental/Geographic Names, Anyone?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006So, I had an ongoing and bizarre conversation with my wife, Sonja, last night about all manner of things while she was trying to read through student papers, and I was paging idly through the latest issue of Battlegames, examining photos of the refight of Sittangbad at last May’s Partizan.Two words came up during the course of our exchange that might have a place in my imaginary 18th century world centered on the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its arch enemy The Electorate of Zichenau.I like them at any rate.See what you think.First, we have the word “auflauf” which is German for something akin to a casserole made from all kinds of ingredients, often leftovers that are thrown into the pot.When you get a good auflauf, it’s quite tasty.My wife makes quite good auflauf if I do say so myself.Conversely, a bad auflauf is something to be avoided at all costs – much like Chinese take-out food in Germany!I think the word would make a good name for a ragtag unit of infantr…

In the Home Stretch. . .

A crisp, chilly Sunday morning here in Central Illinois -- Finally, it feels like October!Well, I managed to get in two separate sessions with the Jaegers zu Fuss yesterday.First, I painted all halberds and the walking sticks of two officers brown, followed by silver swords, pike heads on the halberds, lace on the mounted colonel’s light blue saddle cloth, etc.Then, I painted the reins and harnesses of the colonel’s horse and then the horse himself – A lovely light bay stallion with a white blaze on his muzzle and white socks on three of his legs. I must admit that I enjoy painting single horses for generals and mounted offices.However, as Jeff Hudelson (The Duke of Saxe-Bearstein) discussed on his blog and at the OSW group a few weeks ago, I get bored painting multiple horses in my cavalry units.Nevertheless, it is very useful to have some kind of reference work on horses in one’s wargames library.I’d recommend Horses by Elwyn Hartley Edwards, one of the Smithsonian Handbooks series.…

A Halting Charge to the Front. . .

October has not been a kind month so far.First, I contracted another nasty head cold that kept me in bed for most of last weekend with a slight fever.For the second time in five weeks!That cleared up by the beginning of last week, but then I woke up on Thursday morning with a case of Conjunctivitis (or Pink Eye in everyday language), which required another visit to the doctor, time spent waiting around filling prescriptions, and a day of cancelled classes.Seems that the college where I teach is a veritable playground for germs and viruses.One would think I was teaching drippy-nosed preschoolers.And from what I have observed of the young “adults” to whom I teach writing and composition, few parents seem to have instilled habits like covering one’s mouth when one sneezes, yawns, or coughs.Is it just me?Or do many people below a certain age seem to lack even the most basic manners?Anyway, this means that I am somewhat behind schedule with my Jaegers zu Fuss because I have been dealing wi…

"Welcom to My Verbosity" (With Apologies to Alice Cooper)

Currently enjoying a coffee break after completing the white belts, small straps, and sword knots on one company of the Jaegers zu Fuss.After I finish my mug of java, it’s back to do the same on the second company.Then, depending on how time is going, I want to finish painting the white musket straps for the rest of the unit.I painted six of these the other night.Finally, I’ll touch up the “GW Goblin Green” bases, before moving on to the musket stocks.Where is all this time coming from?Well, my wife left for a four-day conference in Colorado Springs today, so it’s just me, the kitty, and the beta fish.This means there’s some extra time.What better way to use it than to sit myself down at the painting desk and get cracking!Right?I spent a little time looking through some books and magazines after I got home late this afternoon.Another favorite book of mine is Peter Young’s The War Game (1973).You know -- the one where ten famous battles from history are reproduced in miniature.My perso…

Any Favorite Old Magazine Articles?

I was thinking about yesterday's post during the drive to school this morning and realized that I also revisit certain favorite articles from time to time. Yes, there are a few pivotal articles in my collection of old Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated magazines that fire my imagination (thank you Mick and Keith) again and again. Surely, it must be the same for many of you.

Off the top of my head, there are two articles that appeared in Minature Wargame #6 and #7 by a guy named Mark Clayton called "Tolstoy and Morale". Any of you remember these? In a nutshell, Clayton used his reading of Tolstoy's War and Peace as a basis for simplified morale rules for Napoleonic era games. At the time, I found these so stimulating, that I decided D&D was no longer that interesting (I was about 16-17). Within days, my new passion became Napoloeonic figures, gaming, and history, and I've never looked back.

Never ended up actually using Clayton's morale rules in a g…

What and Who Are Your OSW Favorites???

In view of a current discussion going on over at OSW about one's favorite old school battle reports, I thought I'd join in here. Of my regular visitors who "tune in" here regularly, what are your favorite "old school" figures and why?

Here, I mean specifically figures by older firms like Spencer Smith, Suren, Willie, Tradition, Holger Eriksson, Les Higgins, et al. Even older MiniFigs might be counted as far as I'm concerned. And how long have the RSM95 figures been around? Since at least the early 80s, I think, albeit under a different name at that time. If you know, please pass on on the information to me.

Unfortunately, I have no firsthand experience with any of these lines myself, but I've certainly drooled over the photos of others' collections and games at OSW, Battlegames#4, and elsewhere. Someday soon, I mean to buy enough metal Spencer Smiths and RSM95's for a couple of respectably sized infantry units, but I digress.

Any of yo…

Jaegers zu Fuss at the Gallop!

I managed to get in another couple of hours painting last night.Only six figures left waiting for their light blue turnbacks to be finished.That was a tedious job and my hands were not particularly steady last night.Too much coffee after dinner?Hmmm, I wonder ;-)

So, I changed tack and moved to something larger and easier.I decided to complete all brown shoulder packs, followed by the khaki-colored haversacks hanging just below the shoulder packs.Well, the Jaegers zu Fuss look very nice now.Most large areas requiring color of some kind are finished.Here’s a rundown of the remaining areas in need of paint:1)Turnbacks on last six figures2)Musket stocks3)Musket Barrels4)White Shoulder Straps for Shoulder Packs5)Khaki Shoulder Straps for Haversacks6)Small White Straps on Brown Should Packs7)Brass Plates on Cartridge Pouches8)Brass Pommels on Swords and Tips of Scabbards9)Small Dashes of Yellow Lace on Cuffs and Exposed Right Side of Coats10) Brown Colonel’s Horse and Black Reins/Harnesses1…

Cookin' along on the Grand Duchy of Stollen's Jaegers zu Fuss!

Just concluded a nice painting session on the Jaegers zu Fuss.The drum shells are a light blue and the hoops are bright yellow.This matches the yellow coat lace and blue facings I painted on the drummers’ uniforms yesterday afternoon.Although nothing is completely finished yet, my drummers look striking!Last night, I completed the lace around the top of each tri-cornered hat, gold for the officers and NCO’s and bright yellow for the enlisted men.Since it’s plain which figures will function as the NCO’s, I’ve decided to leave the gaiters for all ranks black in this particular unit of infantry.After all, I’ve not been able to find any pictures of historical units of 18th century jaegers who had white gaiters in my Funcken, Mollo, or Men-at-Arms sources.Oh, and I’ve also painted the brown shoulder packs on seven of the figures too.It’s always neat once the faces, hair, and headgear are finished – a group of miniature figures really starts to look like a real unit of men – at least to my …

So, what is "old school" wargaming anyway?

A good question and one that has been mentioned several times over at OSW for the last few days with regard to “what” is appropriate for posting at that group and what should be addressed elsewhere.Can anyone provide a fairly succinct answer to the question though?Many at OSW have, no doubt, pondered the subject already.Mike Siggins offered his take on the matter of the “old school” approach in a recent issue of Battlegames.And many of my own questions are similar to his.For example, what is it about the idea of “old school” wargaming that so many find attractive?Dissatisfaction with recent/current wargaming trends (rules, figures, behavior of gaming opponents, etc)? Why exactly? And why are wargaming authors/personalities like Bruce Quarrie or Paddy Griffith (prominent, at least, in my wargaming library and milieu) not necessarily considered old school and largely omitted from discussion in forums like OSW or TMP?

Continuing along, what constitutes an "old school" approach …

Passionate about Pefectly Productive Painting Poetic Hyperbole?

Well, well. Lately, my painting conscience isn’t hurting me as badly -- I’ve managed a few short painting sessions over the last couple of evenings on my Jaegers zu Fuss.Each man now has a “British Rifle Green” jacket, light blue facings, turnbacks, smallclothes, and breeches, and the bases are a uniform coat of Games Workshop “Goblin Green”.What a great color for bases, and how nice the battalion now appears on parade.Yes gents, another batch of digital photos will be here shortly.Rest easy!
Way back in the mid to late-1980s, I used to paint the bases of my Napoleonic troops a fairly similar shade of green, and I had forgotten the pleasing appearance this method yields.Have to say that “old school-style”, unflocked figure bases -- that are simply painted a nice shade of green -- look more pleasing to my eyes than the most expertly flocked/landscaped bases out there. And I've done it both ways over the years. When I eventually resume painting and modeling 15mm Waterloo-era Napol…

A Few Examples of Hanseatic (North German Gothic) Architecture

In response to Jeff Hudelson's request (and who among us can refuse the Duke of Saxe-Bearstein himself?) , here are a few examples of what I termed the "Hansa Style" in my Saturday post -- A style of architecture left to us by the North German (and Flemish) merchants who were active all over Northern Europe for several centuries from about the mid-1100s to the mid-1700s (this is very approximate).

I'll use these structures as models (is that a pun?) for the 6-10 miniature buildings I'll make to go along with my imaginary mid-18th Century armies. I plan to create things like a church, a town hall, several houses with "gabled" end walls, a warehouse, a tavern, and maybe a farmhouse plus barn or two. All structures will be slightly scaled down, so that they don't take up inordinate amounts of table space, but I'll lavish enough construction attention and painting detail on them, so that they are not simply symbolic pieces like those seen in the …