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Showing posts from December, 2008

Move Ten Continues. . .

The Action at Pickelhaubewicz is becoming fast and furious! Above, you'll note that Major vonHirschbiegel has ordered his remaining nine hussars into a double line. Three of those in the front rank are in direct contact with three dragoons.


Close by, the RSM of the Newts, Sergeant Major Horst Wuerst, joins his Irish allies in the double-townhouse, presumably to pour musket fire into the enemy dragoons.

Move Ten Begins. . .

At the start of Move Ten, Major vonHirschbiegel and Colonel vonGrundig rolled two dice each, to determined what, if any, random events might occur. Von Grundig rolled a 5 and a 3. Poor vonHirschbiegel rolled a double 2, meaning that a random shot killed the commanding officer of a unit not currently in melee. The good Major then rolled another die to determine which unit took the hit. Unfortunately, that unit was the GrenadierezuPferd, which had just suffered five casualties thanks to enemy musketry at the end of Move Nine! Badly shaken, the horse grenadiers turn tail and withdrew half a move to the rear, in order to collect themselves.


Meanwhile, across the battlefield, the StollenianJaegerzu Fuss withdrew a few inches, where they formed up in open order on the left flank of the vonLaurenz Musketeers.


The the northwest of Pickelhaubewicz, both squadrons of Stollen's 4th Dragoons are closing with Zichenau's 11th (Prinz Albrecht's) Hussars. Here, you'll observe Sqa…

Move Nine -- Musketry and Arillery Fire Resolved. . .

There was carnage all around at the end of Move Nine as the forces of Major von Hirschbiegel and Colonel von Grundig came to grips! On the southern edge of the battlefield, Major von Hirchbiegel's Irish Grenzers and Colonel von Grundig's Jaeger zu Fuss inflicted four and two hits on each other respectively.


And nearer to Pickelhaubewicz, the good Major's Grenadiere zu Pferd took five casalities thanks to a blistering volley from the Colonel's von Laurenz Musketeers, who are just off camera here.


Meanwhile, Colonel von Grundig's half battery of artillery managed to inflict three hits on the enemy grenzers, occupying the village church. For ther part, however, the grenzers did manage to score two hits on Squadron B of Stollen's 4th Dragoons.


Finally, the Zichenauer grenzers occupying the double-touwnhouse in the northwetern corner of Pickelhaubewicz also brought down one member of Squadron B, 4th Dragoons. So, for this turn at least, Colonel von Grundig's lu…

Move Nine -- The Musketry and Artillery Fire. . .

We are fast approaching the end of Move Nine! And things are finally getting really interesting in the ongoing Action at Pickelhaubewicz. After a month, most of the respective troops are all gathered around this key coach and postal stop along the road leading to the Greater Zwischen River and the Stollenian capital Krankenstadt beyond that. Many of the troops concerned are finally in a position to contribute something to the battle as well, a struggle which promises to be fierce.

With that aim in mind, my esteemed opponent in North Carolina, the good Major Wolfgang von Hirschbiegel, has asked me how many figures he has positioned within each building in Pickelhaubewicz, so we can determine the casualties from musketry and artillery fire. Judging from the photograph above, it seems that the Major has nine of the Newts occupying the warehouse on the lower left, eight more from the same unit in the pink coach stop/post office on the lower right. Moreover, there are eight grenzers in…

Move Nine Continued. . .

Major von Hirschbiegel moves some of O'Malley's Irish Grenzers into the building in the northwest of Pickelhaubewicz, meaning that all four buildings in the village have been garrisoned by Zichenauer troops.


Major von Hirschbiegel orders the 11th (Prinz Albrecht's) Hussars to wheel north to meet the attempted outflanking movement by Stollenian cavalry.


It seems that a cavalry clash on the northwestern corner of Pickelhaubewicz is likely.


Here, we see a general view of the situation, taken from the the northwest. Why, it's a scene that could almost come from the pages of Charge! or The War Game!


Here is a second panoramic shot, this time looking toward the southwest. All of the troops deployed on the table are now in play. You'll see that the Wolmar-Bock Regiment, near the top center edge of the photograph, has come up behind Zichenau's Grenadiere zu Pferd and is presently being held in reserve by Major von Hirschbiegel. Even with artillery support, it looks to…

Move Nine Begins. . .

At the start of Move Nine, Major von Hirschbiegel orders Colonel von Finknottle's Newts inside the village buildings. You can observe them taking their positions in the photo above.It seems increasingly unlikely that Colonel von Grundig will be able to dislodge the Zichenauer menace from Piceklhaubewicz now.


Nevertheless, Colonel von Grundig orders his men into line before the village on its eastern side and the copse just to its south. Above, we see the remaining Jager zu Fuss in open order, the von Laurenz Musketeers in a close order line with Squadron A of the 4th Dragoons on their right.


And on the heights just to the east of the village is the Stollenian half battery, cooly awaiting the order to open fire from Colonel von Grundig, who sits astride his horse nearby.


Meanwhile, Squadron B of the 4th Dragoons has been ordered to swing around the north side of the village. So far, so good.


Finally, here is a general view of the battlefield at the start of Move Nine after initial m…

Move Eight Continued -- The Firefight. . .

When the smoke clears between Major von Hirschbiegel's grenzers and Colonel von Grundig's jaegers, we see that the former have inflicted four hits on the latter. . .


. . . while the jaegers have inflicted five hits on the grenzers! Could this signal a turn-around in Colonel von Grundig's heretofore poor luck with dice rolls? Might this apparent change in fortune suggest that the tide of battle is turning finally in Stollen's favor?Might von Grundig be able to send word to General von Drosselmaier at the end of the day, indicating that he has managed to wrest control of Pickelhaubewicz from the white-coated Zichenauer menace? Only time will tell, but "the colonel" did roll yahtzee in four consecutive games at the coffee table with his wife last night, and it seems that his lucky streak continues today -- at least for now!


Addendum. . .

Drat! "Major von Hirschbiegel" has just reminded me that we forgot to halve the number of casualties inflicted on …

The Action at Pickelhaubewiicz Is on Once Again!!!

It's near the end of Move Eight. And before musketry is exchanged and casualties determined, Major von Hirschbiegel has decided to withdraw his Grenadiere zu Pferd to a more easily defended position -- since the unit in question has half a move left -- thereby protecting his cavalry's flanks from close range Stollenain musketry on the right and a possible attack from dragoons on the left.

A Wet and Dreary Day. . .

Hard to believe that all of our snow and ice are gone, and the temperature outside is nearly 50 degrees Fahrenheit with rain and wind! So what better way to spend the day than inside here in Zum Stollenkeller with the boys. In the first photograph above are the eleven figures of the first batch of Flickenhoffer's Fusiliers that are entirely finished.

Just below, you can take a gander at the rest of the first company, which is awaiting the application of gaiter buttons and the usual two coats of Future/Klear acrylic floor finish later today. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the standard has been painted too. It features the checkered yellow and red Zichenauer eagle against a mid-blue background, which is the facing color of this particular regiment.


And in the third photo below, is a slightly closer view of said standard. I don't remember where I found the original design, but it is based on the Silesian flag carried by landwehr from that province during the Napoleo…

Happy Day After!

As my maternal grandfather used to say over his glass of scotch and water, "Happy Day After!" I hope you and yours had a delightful Christmas Day and are now enjoying the quiet of the immediate post-Christmas lull.

Things have been relatively quiet here at Stollen Central today. The Grand Duchess has been off visiting some distant family in Champaign this afternoon, leaving me free for some painting. With the few hours available, I have been able to just about finish the first company of Flickenhoffer's Fusiliers -- the final infantry regiment making up the Army of Zichenau.

The figures still need their moustaches highlighted brown, the colors of the flag must be gone over with paints to make it rigid and ensure that the computer ink colors do not fade with time, which will also cover up the white paper at the edge of the edges. Finally, the requisite two coats of Future/Klear must be applied, and then the first company of the regiment as well as the regimental sta…

Merry Christmas from the Grand Duchy of Stollen!!!

Today's first seasonal illustration is of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their family at Christmas time. A suitably cheery image for Christmas Eve, I think. The second picture, at the bottom of this entry, is also from the Victorian era, but a little later in the period from the look of it. Very different from that above, but I like it too, and I hope you enjoy it.

Things have been very busy the last few days here at Stollen Central. Very little of it has to do with wargaming and painting toy soldiers I'm afraid. Still, we have had time for some walks, coffee at a nearby cafe, and late-night glasses of eggnog with nutmeg sprinkled on it, or a couple of Clementines. It's been a wonderful way to slow down a bit and usher in the long Christmas weekend.

The pre-Christmas festivities notwithstanding, however, I did manage to get in a couple of hours at the painting desk very late last night. I'm almost finished with the white coats, breeches, vests, and gaiters on …

How does Saint Nick do it all in just one night?

Why, with his team of special reindeer of course! And in honor of those reindeer, here is a long overdue illustration of these magical animals. I imagine that the team of elves in charge of logistics is making sure that Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Prancer, and Vixen -- oh, and that young upstart Rudolph -- are well-fed and ready to go at dusk tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, over in Shipping, another team of elves is surely making final adjustments to this year's cargo of toys and goodies before they are loaded onto the sleigh. Loading a sleigh is never an easy job, and every inch of space must be utilized somehow while still leaving room for the driver and several fur robes to go over his lap. This year, I've read in Mechanics Illustrated that the elves in the Technical Division at North Pole, Inc. have finally added a GPS unit to the sleigh, to track progress and help streamline the journey a bit. The Board of Directors at NP, Inc. decided earlier this y…

It's almost Christmas in the Grand Duchy of Stollen. . .

Ebeneezer Scrooge meets the Ghost of Christmas Present.


Picture this scene east of the sun and west of the moon.The ground is white with snow.Billowing, silvery drifts are piled throughout the country.The rivers and lakes are frozen solid.The woods are still but for the distant jingle of sleigh bells in the bracing air.The sky is slate grey and heavy. Coal smoke hangs over the villages and towns.It is almost Christmas here in the far-off Grand Duchy of Stollen, somewhere to the northeast of Frederick’s Prussia.

Stollenians bustle to and fro through snow-covered streets in the capital city of Krankenstadt, running last minute errands before the Christmas festival begins in earnest.The North German Gothic red brick storefronts feature special Christmas items and treats, and the happy faces of children peek in through the frosty windows at the cheerful seasonal displays.Street vendors peddle their wares in the town squares, shouting loudly above the din of shoppers, their voices forming pu…

I hope you've all been good!

And I hope none of you might be expecting a lump of coal in your stocking, or a Birch switch come Christmas morning. ;-) With a certain man's visit to good boys and girls around the world fast approaching, and I have it on good authority that the reindeer have been particularly frisky the last several days or so, here is yet another classic image of Saint Nicholas for your seasonal enjoyment.

For those of you with a more painterly frame of mind, I can report that I did get in about two hours last night to apply a couple of coats of Future/Klear to some more finished fusiliers. I also painted a bunch of bases green and applied flesh to a dozen more faces and twenty-four more hands. Christmas Day and a family visit not withstanding, I plan to slip into high gear with painting, finishing the Action at Pickelhaubewicz with Jonathan, and working some more on my languishing book project in the next week.

Finally, here is a better photograph of the Grand Duchess and me this past Satu…

It's a Jolly Day!

Today, it's -2 degrees Fahrenheit right now at 3:1o in the afternoon. And there is a stiff wind. Brrrr. With that in mind, here is another pre-Christmas illustration culled from the Internet. Today, it's a bucolic winter scene that I really like, especially all of the Cardinals sitting in the Birch trees that the family sleigh is going past. We have a small birdfeeder hanging from an apple tree in our back yard, and the Cardinals are stunning against all of the snow and ice when the sunlight hits them. Even the less spectacularly colored females are beautiful. Of all the songbirds in North America, I think the Cardinal is my favorite. It is the state bird of North Carolina, Illinois, and possibly others.


A slightly out-of-focus Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II and the Grand Duchess Sonja pose for a photograph at Lapham Peak Nordic Ski Area yesterday.

Yesterday was an excellent skiing day! Out of the car, clipped into the ski bindings, and on the trails by 10:35 that morning.…

Gone Skiin'!

The Grand Duchess and I have canceled class for today and have gone skiing in Southern Wisconsin. Following an early rise and breakfast, we hope to be on the trail by 11am this morning. Back soon!

Icy, Icy, Icy. . .

Here is a late-Victorian image of Father Christmas/Saint Nicholas. I like his chest full of old-fashioned toys that he is emptying out. Remember when people were satisfied with simpler items and found pleasure in simpler activities? Now, it's all about blinking lights, bells, and whistles -- Blackberries, I-Phones, I-Pods, Tivo, mobile phones, FaceBook, and MySpace. Or so it seems. My, how times have changed.

I think that one of the unstated (and perhaps unrealized) little tragedies of our age, and I'm guilty of this myself to some extent, is that many of us, regardless of our age, have lost the ability to find pleasure in simple things. For example, sitting quietly with a book, or a walk in the country/park. Well, I hope the coming holiday period will see many of you Stollen regulars being able to do just that. Or perhaps playing a game of toy soldiers with other enthusiasts. Or maybe a few productive afternoons or evenings of painting? Or just a nice conversation w…

Ah, coffee and stollen. . . Does it get any better?

At the risk of sounding silly, I think the stollen that the Grand Duchess baked recently gets better everyday. It must be all of the butter and sugar in it. And combined with some fresh, strong coffee, well, it's just darn good. And apparently, cats think so too, or at least ours does!

Today's Christmas illustration is of uncertain origins, but it does date from the late 19th/early 20th century judging by appearances, and as all of you will know by now, I enjoy all of these old images of St. Nick, Christmas trees, and the like. Hard to believe that the big day is only about a week away now.

Good news! The Midwest here in the U.S. is supposed to have another big winter storm today. While we are probably going to have ice, or maybe a little snow here in Central Illinois, they are predicting about a foot of snow north of here in southern Wisconsin -- right smack over Delafield, where our Nordic skiing area -- Lapham Peak-- is located. So, the Grand Duchess Sonja and I will h…

Battle of the Toys. . .

No, not the long (and sadly) defunct wargaming magazine from the 1970s, but the battle between the Nutcracker and the Rat King. Isn't it called the Battle of the Toys, or something like that? At any rate, I looked around for a picture of said battle some weeks ago when I compiled all of these illustrations and photographs that I've been featuring here, but I wasn't able to turn up much. However, I finally found the above picture by typing simply "rat king" and lo and behold. . . Here we are! I like this picture because the Rat King and nutcracker look suitably ferocious and determined respectively.

Christmas Trees for Jeff!

As requested a few days ago by Jeff Hudelson -- the Prince of Saxe-Bearstein -- here are a couple of quick photographs of the Christmas trees here at Stollen Central. I tried using no flash at first, but the pictures came out too dark for you to see anything, so flash it was. Still, you can see some of the little white lights, so it's not too bad.

The top photo is the 8' plus tall tree in the library at the front of the house, and the lower photo is the 31/2' tree to the side of the dining room table. This is the "family tree", which has mostly ornaments made by Sonja when she was a girl as well as a few decorations given to her through the years by her mother and father.

The taller tree is the "fancy tree", which has all kinds of shiny glass and metal ornaments on it as you can see. Just out of sight in this picture are the gifts already beneath this tree thanks to Sonja's mom and sister really getting on the ball admirably early this year and wr…

It's snowing -- Yea!!!

A little early, sure, but why not? A pre-emptive Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you Stollen regulars the world over!

After getting the translation off yesterday morning and some of my final grading submitted, I treated myself to a long lie-in this morning. In fact, I finally got up a little while ago (11:45am) to some light snow outside. And at the moment, I am enjoying some Dresdenerstollen with coffee. Delicious! It's a nice way to start the day.

While I will finish tallying and submitting the rest of grades online tomorrow morning, today is reserved for some fun activities, including writing a few Christmas cards and maybe working on another couple of those fusiliers. I do need to vacuum and swiffer the first floor later this afternoon since we are having four dinner guests this evening if they venture out in the snow.

The French couple concered was just here for the party the other evening, so I wish we weren't doing this again quite so soon, but the Gran…

A little snow and ice this morning. . .

Well, the translation is finished and sent, so now all there is to do is wait until the publisher gets back to me. So, it's on to the next big task for the season. No, not gift purchases, which are almost finished anyway, but tallying and submitting final grades for my students this past semester!

Grading is a thankless and tedious task if ever there was one. Lots of calculator use with checking and double-checking of numbers (groan). However, it is tempered by the fact that cold weather has returned, giving us a slightly more wintry outlook this morning. The house is decorated, there is a fresh stollen upstairs in the kitchen, and neither the Grand Duchess nor I need to go out anywhere today. Life is good!

Now, above is another pre-Christmas graphic culled from the internet. This time, it's an illustration of Tchaikovsky's nutcraker come to life. Honestly, it's a bit weird, but I like the hussar garb of Herr Nutcracker and his readily apparent self-assuredness.