24 April 2008

Let's Get Back to Business!

Zum Stollenkeller A: The computer/writing desk, where hopefully I can begin getting back to the old school wargaming book project -- 1 or 2 hours of writing a day for 4-5 days a week, during the next several months.

The painting/radio desk where the forces fighting for the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its arch enemy The Electorate of Zichenau take shape.

The national flags and banners (blue and orange, emblazoned with a red lobster) are flying in Krankenstadt this morning! Finally, a few spare hours this morning to sit down and write a proper update for the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog. The Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II is enjoying an extra large cigar, brought to him a few moments ago by his valet ‘Hives’.

In real life, my friend in British Columbia, Jeff Hudelson, was indeed correct when he mentioned this passed winter that it might take longer than I expected to get things up and running in the new house. Whew! We’ve been in the house three weeks as of today, and only now is it starting to resemble “home” -- to look like civilized people live here in other words.

We now have most of the first and second floors unpacked and put together save for a few things, which we can take care of in the next several weeks. My parents will also pass on a few nice things to us later in the summer, including several very formal pieces that belonged to my grandparents. I’ll bore everyone with some photos this weekend just as soon as I finish hanging curtains later today.

In the meantime, you can make do with a couple of photos of Zum Stollenkeller until then. I still have some sorting, organizing, and putting away to do, but by and large, this is the new set up: Photo #1 -- computer desk on the right side; Photo#2 -- painting/radio desk on the left; built-in shelves on the west wall; and two small book shelves (not pictured) on the north wall just to the right of the door into this hallowed room. If you look carefully at the photo of the painting desk, you’ll see the RSM95 French musketeers in firing position (courtesy of my in-laws, Mom and Pop Fritzsche) all lined up and awaiting their basecoat of artist’s acrylic gesso, which I hope to apply Friday afternoon.

Behind the RSM figures stand a battalion of Prussian musketeers in marching position, part of a bunch of Revell 1/72 SYW figures generously presented to me by Bill McHenry last fall. Thank you again, Bill! These particular figures will become "Freiherr Wilhelm's Engineer Battalion" later in the summer.

The future gaming room just next door -- Zum Stollenkeller B -- where I hope to have a simple, yet funtional, wargaming table ready to go by late summer along with some shelves on which my painted troops might reside. We'll see. . .

Finally, the third photo above shows the adjacent room of Zum Stollenkeller where the actual gaming table will be set up. Right now, it’s a dumping ground for my bike, cycling clothing, and bass amplifier/cabinet gear. I’m thinking either a 5’x7’ or a 6’x8’ table with one end pushed up against the wall, so that there is slightly more room to move around the other three sides of said table. I’ll enlist the help of the lovely Grand Duchess to work out what the best table dimensions might be with the aid of a tape measure and, perhaps, some newspaper table-top sized templates. Might any of you regular Grand Duchy of Stollen visitors have any table suggestions to make?


Snickering Corpses said...

It's starting to look very nice, Stokes. Grand to see troops out and waiting on the painting desk.

I need to clean off the workbench area and motivate myself to start some painting, too.

Is that spotlight on the writing desk going to cause any heat issues on the wood paneling or nearby objects? Or does it burn pretty cool?

Byrhthelm said...

Re table: The bigger the better, say I!

My favourite table was a 9' x 7', but you do need room to manoeuvre around it!

Poruchik said...

Years ago I had a room with a pingpong table in it. We placed homemade 2.5' x 2.5' modular squares on it and produced a very nice 5'x 10' table. That seemed to be the perfect size for all manner of games. At the time modern microarmor, 15mm ACW, 15mm FrancoPrussian War, 15mm Italian Renaissance, 25mm Ancients and 25mm Nappies.

I have often thought if I get a gaming room again it'll feature a 5' x 10' table.

Glad you are getting settled Stokes.


Bill McHenry said...


Two ideas: (1) Quick and easy with some flexibility, find a folding Ping-Pong table, used preferably (college town, try Craigs List). They are 5 X 9, have folding legs, and then the whole table folds in half for vertical storage against a wall. I also had a friend who removed the connecting hinges and used the two 5 x 4 1/2 foot sections so he could play a half-table skirmish game or with 15's or ships. (2) If you still have some cash, but two sheets of 3/4" ply and some screw-on table legs at a DIY store (Lowe's, Home Depot). They will usually make simple cuts for you for free, cut each 4 X 8 sheet into 2- 3 X 4 pieces and 2- 1 X 4 pieces, attach bases for legs to the corners of the 3 X 4 pieces. Pick up some of their stamped metal, screw-on shelf brackets. You now have 4 3 X 4 mini tables and 4 new wall shelves with brackets for storage. Arrange the mini tables however you wish, a 6 X 8, a 4 X 12, use just 3 of them for a 4 X 9, whatever. If you don't need one, just unscrew the legs and store flat against the wall or in a closet. The 3 X 4 size also comes in handy if you have extra company for a special function, throw a couple up as side tables, cover with a throw-away cloth from a party supplier, and there you go.


Bluebear Jeff said...


First, congratulations on your new home; and thank you for the first few photos.

As for the table . . . do you plan on everyone standing or sitting down? It makes a difference for how much clearance you will need if there are chairs.

Next, how long are your arms? I would have liked a 6' wide table, but found that I can't comfortably reach the middle of such.

(Note that those who might suggest that it is my substantial belly that prevents me reaching that far are somewhat wanting in the social graces.)

Do remember to leave enough "maneuver room" around the table.

I ended up getting two 8' banquet tables (they are 30" wide) so two side by side make a 5' x 8' table. However, depending upon how tall you are, this might not be a good height for you.

I think that the newspaper template idea is a good one, by the way. But once done, place chairs or boxes or whatever on the corners and sides and then see how easy it is to get around it.

Remember a smaller comfortable table is a better choice than a larger table that makes feel cramped. If it is only a 4' x 6' table that fits comfortably, then that's what you should get.

By the way, I ordered my banquet tables (they come in 5, 6 and 8 foot lengths) from STAPLES online and they delivered them right to my house with no delivery charge . . . which was a nice bonus.

Hopefully my nattering away hasn't completely bored you. Anyway I've tried to give you a few things to think about.

Good luck!

-- Jeff

tradgardmastare said...

Great to see the place at last! All the best to you and the Duchess in your new abode!
Why not go with the 6 by 8 !
I look forward to the set up developing and seeing it provide many happy hours of gaming!
cheers Alan
p.s Are there plans in the pipeline for additions to the armies soon?

Der Alte Fritz said...

Stokes: the Stollenkeller looks very nice, especially with the nice touch of the wood paneling. I would recommend what Jeff says, ie buy the folding tables at Staples or a similar store. I use 2-1/2 by 6ft tables and set them up so that I have a 6ft wide table. I can add more tables to extend the length out to 14ft if necessary (anything longer requires a visit to Brown Deer, Wisconsin). This gives me maximum flexibility. With your large units, I would recommend 6ft wide wargame table.

Ed Youngstrom said...

See what happens when you ask wargamers for an opinion? You certainly have a number here!

May I suggest my friend Ray's approach. He used inexpensive bookshelves as the "legs," therefore expanding his shelf space.

See http://xraysvision.blogspot.com/2007/11/my-game-table-on-cheap.html

Ed v. H-F

Bluebear Jeff said...

Just an added note. I also have a 5' long banquet table which I could use to extend my 5'x8' table to 5'x10.5'. And, as Bill suggests, you can use these modularly . . . and since the legs fold up, you can even move them outside for family picnics or such.

If you DO have the room and CAN reach the center of a 6' table, I do suggest that you consider it . . . but if either of the above isn't there, get a narrower one.

Further notes . . . if the floor is carpeted, buy some of those "footers" to help spread out the table leg footprints so that they don't cut into the carpet.

-- Jeff

Grimsby Mariner said...

Stokes good to see you settling in. Don't beat yourself up about the time you've been in the house and how much is unpacked. We've been in our house fifteen years and there are still boxes in the attic from the previous move that we know should either be sold or disposed off.
As for the table make sure you consider the height. If you leave it at normal "dining" table height and stand a lot you will develop back ache. The table at our wargames club are all 800mm in height.
Good luck & have fun.

tidders said...


congratulations on your new home, the painting desk and the rest of the Stollenkeller looks really nice.

table size - as big as you can get !! Or 5'x 8' plus.

I'm stuck with 3'x8' and for some battles have to use cm's instead of inches for measurements, if I want to fight 'across' the table.

Keep the height of the desk up to avoid too much bending over.

-- Allan :)

guy said...


I would also go with the idea of a raised table and have some bar style stools to sit on. This does mean that the table has to be fairly sturdy as you tend to lean on it especially is the stools have foot rests. Also it means a maximum width of 6ft but it does save all that horrible back ache leaning over a low, normal sized table.


Frankfurter said...

If it weren't for our current civil war, Frankszonia would also gladly send you a few bits of porcelain for your ducal establishment ... however, the wife says she only approed the money for figures!

MurdocK said...


Looking great!

Now that you are settled in the new digs I shall have to get on with my 'thank you' for the book you sent on.

For the table, if the space is not dedicated to gaming and you are on a tight budget then the folding ping-pong table is a great option.

Otherwise I advise purpose building it, possibly following the example of the drunk-dwarves. (sadly their link to the full set of plans is now not functional).

My own next table will be something similar, with a modular top design and set at a height comfortable for bar stools to be sitting at and not too wide (so likely 5' max). Though I have some planning ideas that involve having 'extensions' available so that minis do not 'hang over' the edges...

Anyway, great that you have started to settle in, you will have all summer to get things sorted out right.

Steve said...

Hi Stokes - I envy you the choice - the best I can do is 4' wide though I have extended to 8' long... if I had the choice it would be 6' x 8' for sure because I'm a great fan of the TSS terrain tiles that come in 2' squares... having said that I like Alte Fritze's approach - all you need to do is decide on the width as the length can be as long as you can fit in.. :o))

Martin said...

Hey Stokes,

Great looking digs. How long will your painting area stay that organized? Ha Ha.
If your wargame table can be a permanent set up, don't overlook the storage potential underneath the table. Home Depot has a series of stackable plastic boxes on rollers that would work well for troops, scenery, paints, etc.
The slightly taller tabletop and barstools is the way to go. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.



Der Alte Fritz said...

Stokes: things look too organized and neat on your painting table. I expect you to do a thoroughly good job of cluttering it up.

One more thing about tables, they inevitably attract clutter. I can't believe all of the junk that I currently have on my wargame table. None of it is wargame related. Yikes!

Giles said...

Looks good, Stokes. Nice to see you back.

Best wishes



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