21 May 2008

The Grand Duchess Returns (and Some Photos)!!!

Here's a second shot of the entire battalion in-progress. Lots of smaller (but somewhat faster) details once all red jackets are finished. In the distance, you'll observe the recently arrived Colonel O'Malley and his small staff supervising the training if his men.

Here's a tighter shot of those figures whose redcoats are finished -- slightly more than half of the "1st Most Honourable Grenzer Battalion". Painstaking work to apply the three coats of red, but the results are pleasantly rich and bright in appearance.

Well, there has been much going on lately here in Stollen Central. The Grand Duchess arrived home last night via the shuttle bus from Chicago-O’Hare. I met her at 12:55am, drove us home, fixed Sonja a little midnight breakfast, and then she collapsed into bed. Has air travel always been so stressful? I don’t think so. In any case, the Grand Duchess is home, and all is right with the world. Both the Grand Duke and Royal Feline are happy!

In other areas, I’ve been up to my elbows teaching my usual May Term course on film noir – all those great old, gritty ‘B movie’ crime dramas from the 1940s and 50s. Good students always seem to gravitate to this one, so it’s a real pleasure to lead class discussions and hear what the young men and women who make up my classes think following a film with its associated reading assignments. Contrary to the popular impression of this generation, these students are intelligent, curious, engaged, and even sophisticated in their thinking. In short, I’m enjoying myself immensely.

On the flipside, the course meets daily for almost a month for three hours at a time. Coupled with the daily reading, it’s pretty intense and occupies a lot of time. But, as the saying goes, you pay your money and make your choice. . . or something to that effect. I really ought to get a fedora to go with my London Fog trenchcoat. Imagine, Humphrey Bogart in Cowboy boots!

We have a chilly, but sunny day here in Central Illinois today, so guess what time it is? Yes, it’s time to mow the front lawn again this afternoon. I don’t think I have ever been as conscious of how quickly the grass grows before we moved in here last month. Oh, the front yard isn’t that large, and it’s really not that big a deal, but it’s funny the things that enter one’s mind after purchasing a home. Anyway, I’d better take care of it before more rain moves in because you know that cutting grass when the ground and vegetation are wet doesn’t work too well.

Finally, I managed to snatch a couple of hours late last night to complete another six red coats on those RSM French musketeers. They are, as my British step-father would say, looking “smart”. Only a dozen remain, and then the red part of the painting process is finished, and I can begin on the shoulder belts, haversacks, muskets, swords, and the like.

Oh, and Colonel O’Malley’s horse will be either a nice chestnut or a light bay this time instead of a grey. The latter are dramatic, but there is no sense in overdoing things and giving one to every single mounted officer. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the two photos depicting my rather slow progress with this latest body of troops.

Ok, guess I’d better see what film is on tap for today and review my notes and lesson plan before heading over to campus. Enjoy the day wherever in the world you might find yourself.


Fitz-Badger said...

Very nice! Great job on the red coats!
Oh, that film class sounds very cool... :-)

Snickering Corpses said...

Always a pleasure to see your work, Stokes.

Which unit are the two Revell companies in the background?

Don't forget my last email either, though with your film noir schedule I understand it'll be hard to find time for a bit :)

tradgardmastare said...

Give you joy of your figures!
They lok great - keep up this most excellent work!
best wishes

guy said...

I am most impressed with the richness of the red coats. The unit will look splendid when finished.

Things are on the up here. We have a bank holiday weekend here in England ie no work on monday. The girls and the dog are going for 3 days to see the parents-in-law so peace will descend. I'm off with a friend to a model railway show on saturday really to see what buildings/scenery I can commandeer. The builder has gone and I have my soldier room back.


Steve said...

...so what's the film for the day?? :o))

A J Matthews said...

Marvelous paintwork, Stokes. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished result.

A J - Another survivor of Chicago O' Heck...

Der Alte Fritz said...

It is good to see that the Royal Photographer is back in the Duchy. He was greatly missed. Your RSM figures are looking very nice.

Have you ever seen "Footsteps In The Dark" with Errol Flynn? It's one of my favorite films - good detective yarn and it's nice to see Flynn in a role other than as a swashbuckler.

Bluebear Jeff said...


The unit is coming along very nicely. I'm also glad that your Grand Duchess has returned safely from those European environs.

Is it true that she was scouting out the terrain for a Stollenian campaign?

-- Jeff

Grimsby Mariner said...

I like the red. You're right about the three layers being more work but the result is a reward in itself (I use three layers of red and am pleased with the end look, using a white base makes the red too bright - GW reccommend white for painting gems).
Somehow your photographs always make your figures look taller than is my experience of RSM.

tradgardmastare said...

the tents in the background are superb - can you remind me of where they came from or how you made them?
many thanks

Snickering Corpses said...


I think part (thought not necessarily all) of the reason the RSMs tend to look taller than you recall is two-fold:

1) Stokes takes photos closer to eye level than most that I see.
2) As often as not, the background of the shot includes a batch of Revell plastics, which are shorter still :>


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