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Showing posts from July, 2008

A Reply to General von Drosselmaier. . .

Spiessburg31 July 1768My Dear General von Drosselmaier,Thank you for your communication of 30 July.As you are no doubt aware, the Grand Duke has suffered something of a relapse in the last several weeks while here at Spiessburg.His grasp on reality varies from day to day, and sometimes from hour to hour, though there are times where he seems quite lucid.His physicians Herr Doktor von Oetker and Herr Doktor von Eierdybe, while assuring us that no physical danger is present, seem neither able to discern the cause behind the Grand Dukes’ increasingly bizarre behavior, nor able to offer a possible cure.For the time being, the Grand Ducal household will remain in summer residence here at Spiessburg PalaceWe are also certain you know by now that the Principality of Pillau-Zerbst to our northwest has allied itself with Zichenau against the Grand Duchy of Stollen, placing us in the uncomfortable position of fighting a two front war with only very limited resources at our collective disposal.G…

A Dispatch to von Wilkewiczeske, Personal Minister to Irwin-Amadeus II

Pelznikkel, The Grand Duchy of Stollen31 July 1768My Dear Herrvon Wilkewiczeske,As the closest minister to our troubled Grand Duke, I write to you asking that you might intercede on my behalf.Currently, my small army is spread thinly around the town of Pelznikkel, just two days march from Krankenstadt.My forces consist of a regiment of musketeers, a battalion of jäger, the Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja’s Own) Grenadiers, a regiment of dragoons, and a battery of field guns.Most of these troops are good men but unseasoned and therefore of questionable value in a pitched battle. Alas, I fear they are not enough by themselves to stem the tide of Zichenauers now reported to be advancing northward.I beseech you to act on my behalf and request that the Grand Duke and his war ministry dispatch a veteran regiment or two of line infantry along with a regiment of cavalry forthwith, so that the Army of Stollen might enjoy a numerical advantage over its enemy.My officers would then be better able to r…

Princess Antonia's Personal Reply to de Latte. . .

30 July 1768My Dear de Latté,Thank you for your communication of the 30th instant.I am pleased to know that your plans do include actually advancing on Krankenstadt sometime before the current campaigning season ends.It is imperative that you do so as soon as possible!Irwin-Amadeus must be brought to justice!The Duchy of Schleiz must be returned to its rightful monarch. . . namely me.And it must happen before the winter snows drift across the frozen River Zwischen.Our territorial integrity depends entirely on you, de Latté.Do not let Us down!As for your other news, yes, by all means “groom” the young von Meckern.I am quite certain we can find some way to employ him beyond the fields of Mars.Summer is warm and tiresome here at my summer residence, Liebhaberinske, and I grow weary of the affairs of state.My ministers and staff all patronize me, and I have no real person to entertain me.It is a peculiar kind of ennui from which I suffer always at this time of year.Perhaps the young von M…

De Latte's Dispatch to Priness Antonia III. . .

30 July 1768My Dearest Princess Antonia,In a week’s time, I will advance my army to contact with Stollenian forces.An understrength, dispersed army is reported to be arrayed loosely around Pelnikkel , a small town two days march into the Grand Duchy ofStollen.I am most confident that my army can surprise and overwhelm General von Drosselmaier’s troops before they have a chance to concentrate and offer any real resistance.It will be easy to defeat von Drosselmaier’s motley collection of grenadiers, dragoons, and musketeers.We will then advance along the postal road into Krankenstadt, the capital of Stollen, and force Irwin-Amadeus II to return what is rightfully yours . . .The Duchy of ScleizI have received word recently of a draft of troops from our ally Pillau-Zerbst, which will augment our own already strong army.These men are on their way from Schmitten under the command of one Captain Ernst Licentius von Meckern.He is young, but sounds imminently corruptible if his correspondence …

A Reply to Von Meckern. . .

30 July 1768My Dear von Meckern,Thank you for your dispatch of the 29th.I am pleased to tell you that my army awaits the arrival of your troops.We will place your company on the left flank in the second line of infantry in the order of battle.In a week’s time, I will begin moving the army northward, further into the Stollenian interior.Various reports have reached me, indicating that the Army of Stollen, under General von Drosselmaier, occupies a dispersed position around the small town of Pelznikkel.It is my intention to surprise von Drosselmaier and destroy his force before it can organize and offer genuine resistance. I have long known von Drosselmaier, and his capabilities on the field of battle do not worry me. Once we have defeated the Stollenians, the postal road into Krankenstadt will be open, and we can force Irwin-Amadeus II to sue for peace.Our Princess Antonia III will then reign over the Duchy of Schleiz again.Please inform me of your arrival immediately upon reaching Zol…

A Dispatch to General de Latte. . .

Schmitten, The Principality of Pillau-Zerbst28 July 1768My Dear General de Latté,This letter is to inform you that my force and I will join your army in several days’ time just north of its current position.In my charge is a company of the Wolmar-Bock regiment, operating independently of its parent formation.The men, though ragged and somewhat course in temperament, are eager to join your army and will perform well in battle as I had the chance to observe some years ago when my regiment fought the Prussians in Pemerania.We were then in the service of Sweden.Both myPrince and colonel have asked me to relate that they will send additional companies if and when required in the interest of fostering closer ties between the Electorate of Zichenau and our own Principality of Pillau-Zerbst.Your Faithful and Obedient Servant,Captain Licentius von Meckern

Happy Monday Everybody!

I simply can’t believe how rewarding the wargaming hobby is.This is what I always read in Military Modelling and Miniature Wargames (when I could find them) as a long-haired, teen-aged Stokes, but I didn’t really think it was possible.

Fast forward 25 or more years.The Grand Duchy of Stollen project is right about 2 ½ years old now.The related blog is slightly less (dating from August 2006, I think), but sometime in the night, we rounded the 30,000 visits mark.And it’s indescribably cool to be part of the worldwide network of friends and acquaintances that has developed thanks to this blog and others.Who would have thought this back in 1982 or ‘83? Certainly not me.

So, before going any further, I must give credit where credit is due and place the blame with Greg Horne in Australia for his article on blogging in one of the first issues of Battlegames.It was this piece and Greg’s Duchy of Alzheim blog that started me down the road all of us are traveling together.“Eccentric” is the te…

A flurry of painting activities. . . And all without a spill or drip!

A view of part of the Mollwitz re-fight at Partizan 2007.

Some weekends, everything just seems to go right! To paraphrase Michael Caine's Alfie, "Know what I mean?"I’ve spent about 16 hours so far working on those 21 RSM French musketeers, which are slowly becoming an independent company of the Wolmar-Bock Regiment, currently in the service of the Electorate of Zichenau.This time, I’ve experimented a bit and have tried the painting method described by Bob Barnetson in the current Battlegames.Not finished yet, but we’re getting very close.Really just muskets, hair, and flesh left -- plus the inevitable touch-ups.Then, it’s a coat of two of Future/Klear floor finish and attaching the flag, and then we’re all done.Afterwards, it’s back to that unit of plastic cuirassier conversions since my special soft plastic cement arrived a day or two ago.I took a break earlier this evening after dinner and applied two coats of Olympic “Grassy Meadow” to the underside of those 16 two fo…

Now, let's add a few buildings!

Two shots of the same town. Well, I just couldn't resist, could I?

"A Table to Play On"

The bare MDF board, cut into two foot squares, awaits.

Please excuse the rather oblique reference to the novel by E.M. Forster, A Room with a View!;-) At any rate, I have just finished applying the second coat of Olympic interior latex paint – “Grassy Meadow” – to one side of 16 two foot squares of ¾” MDF board.And I can’t wait to lay out some buildings, hills, trees, and figures for a small solo affair!
Funny how a couple coats of paint will transform mundane building materials into a thing of beauty, isn't it?

Earlier this afternoon, the Grand Duchess and I visited our local Home Depot (big box DIY store) where I purchased two 4’x8’ sheets of MDF, a gallon of paint, a couple of cheap paint rollers, disposable roller pans, and paint stirrers.One of the guys at the store even cut the sheets into uniform two foot squares for me.Our poor little Toyota Corolla sure looked weighted down with all of that in the trunk (the “boot” to UK and Commonwealth visitors).
So, after 25+ years of drea…

Presenting Stollen's New General of Cavalry!

Gentlemen, meet Count Pavel Petrovich von Butinski – commanding general of Stollen’s cavalry arm.Of ethnic German and Polish-Russian heritage, von Butinski (a dragoon by training) has served in the armies of Russia, Saxony, and Denmark before finding his way into Stollenian service following the conclusion of the Seven Years War.

A vain, dandyish character, rumor has it that Count von Butinski does not get along well with his immediate superior General von Drosselmaier.Indeed, a junior officer, on condition of anonymity, has suggested that the two actually suffer from an intense dislike for each other.Apparently, the bad blood between von Butinski and von Drosselmaier can be dated to the fickle affections of a young lady in Krankenstadt society some 20 years ago.

How might the icy relations between the two senior officers affect the army of Stollen in its future campaign?We’ll just have to wait and see!

An Earth Shattering Realization!!!

Early this morning, while I was having coffee and waiting for a service man to drop by for a storm door repair, I posted the following question over at the Old School Wargaming Yahoo group:

In the order of battle for the Imperial Army at the Battle of Sittangbad, a "Coy Waldeck Regiment" is listed. Several pages later, in the account of the battle, reference is made to an independent company of that regiment defending the redoubt constructed just outside of the town.

My question is to you is: Is "Coy Waldeck" the name of said unit, or is it an abbreviated form of this: 1 company, Waldeck Regiment? I'm trying to figure out whether I need to paint an entire battalion of four companies (80 figures), or just a single company (approx. 20 figures).

Maybe I've missed something elsewhere in the book that provides the key. Would those of you who might know the answer please assist in unraveling this mystery?
Within the hour, several members leapt to my assistance and pr…

A Couple of Questions. . .

Two questions were asked here in the last few days, so let’s address each in turn.

First, the Future floor finish (Klear (sp?) in the U.K. I believe) that I use to finish the figures I paint dries very quickly once it has been applied.I’d say 20-30 minutes before you can touch the figure without sticking to it and leaving a finger print.An open window or other air circulation will obviously help speed things up.It just so happens that I had a 20” box fan moving air around here in Zum Stollenkeller when I did this the other day.A nice side effect of the Future is that it smells nice and, since it is acrylic-based, there are no noxious vapors killing millions of brain cells each time I use it!

Next, I use one of the readily available free hits counters that are available all over the net, which, for the Grand Duchy of Stollen, is placed all the way at the bottom of this blog.This is due primarily to my own ineptitude with technology in general and HTML code more specifically.But I got ev…

Thank You!

Just a brief post this afternoon to say thanks to everyone who has left comments of encouragement, congratulations, and, well. . . comment, here in the last week or so.It’s always rewarding to find that others think more or less in a similar way and appreciate things like toy soldiers and imaginary countries/characters.

By the way, we have just rounded the 29,000 hits mark here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog too.So, thank you again everyone for your continued interest and support.Here’s to exciting developments in the next several weeks and coming months!

On a clear protective coating day. . . You can see forever!

A company of O'Malley's Irish Grenzers in close order as they go through maneuvers in the town square of Kaiserschmarn.


Another company of the same unit, this time in skirmish order under the watchful eye of the company officer and his drummer.


General von Kallweitschen and his ADC Anders Gedacht observe the machinations of their smartly turned out troops. Will they perform as well in the field against Stollen?

This afternoon saw me get to work with a big, soft paintbrush and the Future floor finish.The result?O’Malley’s Irish Grenzers, General von Kallweitschen, his ADC Anders Gedacht, and the battalion of Freiherr Wilhelm’s Pioneers received their protective glossy coatings.This type of post-painting treatment is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am pleased as punch with the results.The RSM figures, in particular, look like little porcelain figures.I can now retire to bed for the night with a clear conscience and dream about those cuirassier conversions.Sleep well, men!

News Release

Freshly gloss coated, in the very best 'Old School' traditinon, Freiherr Wilhelm's Pioneers drill in the town square.

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Katrina Bettina von Heffelfinger, Political EditorDie Krankenstadt Tageblat73 Flickenhofferske Square, Krankenstadt, Grand Duchy of StollenArmy of Zichenau on the Move Northward!Previously Disgraced Stollenian General von Drosselmaier Recalled to Active Service Zollamtstadt, the Grand Duchy of Stollen – 20 July, 1768--Recent reports by Stollenian officers along the frontier indicate that the Army of the Electorate of Zichenau, under General de Latté and General von Kallweitschen, is on the move north along the post road from the small town of Zollamtstadt where it defeated a small Stollenian force under General von Drosselmaier in late December last year.Since that time, the army of Zichenau has trained diligently in the country around Zollamtstadt.Army of Zichenau Augmented by Newly raised Battalion of PioneersMost recently, …

So, where do we stand now???

“To err is human,” as one of you noted in a comment yesterday.Or should it be “air”?Or maybe it’s “heir”?Oh, the English language is making my head spin.Please, make it stop!;-)Ok, enough messing around!So, where do we stand now with the painting for the Grand Duchy of Stollen project?Well, let’s take a look at the painting progress charts and related statistics below.
Project Start: Mid-July 2006Anticipated Completion: December 2010Painted Units As of July 18, 2008. . .
Grand Duchy of StollenRegimentUnpaintedIn ProgressPainted2nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers (60)

xJäger zu Fuβ Battalion (32)

x(Grand Duchess Sonja’s Own) Leib Grenadiers (60)

x6th (Princess Nene’s) Infantry (60)x

9th Frei Infantry Regt. (60)x

4th Sapper Battalion (32)x

Grammar Addendum

Well, this is embarrassing.A little bird has told me quietly that I’ve made some recent errors regarding use of the words “past” (indicating former time) and “passed” (past tense of the verb “to pass”) in more than a couple of posts here.<Insert choice language here>!

So, time to own up.We are nothing in the Grand Duchy of Stollen if not brutally honest and forthcoming about our faults.Let me assure those of you Stollen regulars who notice such things that I do know the difference between these two words. Even worse, this is a point I hammer into my writing students during the school year!

I figure that one of three things has happened in each case.Either I have been too hasty in typing my posts and have typed one when I meant the other, or I’ve depended too heavily on spell-check, which will sometimes change a misspelled word to another one that’s close to it, not necessarily the one you intended.Or, three, I need to beef up my editing skills before “pasting” (not “passeding”) a…

A Couple of Painting Tips You'll Want to Try!

Another scorcher here in Central Illinois today!So, I’m in the semi-darkened cool of Zum Stollenkeller, letting the cool, dry air of the central air conditioning system drift over me.The Grand Duchess finally relented and turned in on a little while ago.Hurrah!

Today was one of those mornings when you just wake up super early and can’t return to sleep, so I brought a big glass of iced coffee down here for some early morning touching up of the Revell pioneer battalion featured here in recent weeks.Also added tiny bits to finish the mounted colonel’s horse, the drummer’s shoulder belt, NCO’s canes, and the three field officers’ gorgets.With the exception of the protective coat of Future, these figures are well and truly done now.

On a similar note, have you ever made a glaring error when painting, dripping paint on a figure where you don’t want it, or inadvertently making a mark on a part of the figure you’ve already done?Right.We all have.But there’s a quick way to fix these mistakes wit…

Alllllllmost finsihed with Freiherr Wilhelm's Pioneer Battalion!

With the exception of a fewtouch-ups to some black lining and the protective coating of Future floor finish, which I’ll do this evening, may I present: Freiherr Wilhelm’s Pioneer Battalion, which is named for Bill McHenry in Texas, who generously gave me these Revell Prussians (and a few others) last October.More pictures to follow once the glossy coat is added. In the meantime, enjoy!