13 January 2009
Leavin' on a jet plan. . . and a New Look for the Grand Duchy of Stollen Blog!
Well, I put the Grand Duchess on a plane this morning, and returned home for the final day of my Christmas/Winter Break (my classes begin tomorrow). She's on the way to Seattle, by way of Chicago O'Hare, where she'll be visiting her parents and sister for ten days. So, it's just me and the grand ducal feline, Princess Rannveig, until next Thursday evening. That means painting and gaming galore -- get ready Jonathan-- it's John Wayne starring in Back to Pickelhaubewicz! So, I have a few things to take care of today, along with a phone call to an old friend from school (we've known each other 30 years as of last September), and then the decks are clear for more idle pursuits like painting and rolling handfuls of dice.
I made a big order to Amazon.com this morning, using a Christmas gift certificate from my mother and step-dad, and there are some good titles on the way, including the double CD set that I've wanted forever, The Beatles: Live at the BBC, which features the band performing all of those great old rock and roll covers that made up their sets in Hamburg and Liverpool before they ever had management. Of particular relevance to the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog, though, are three recently published titles: The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships, and Planes by John Bobek, The Armchair General: Wargames with Historical Miniatures by K. Mike Hill, and Achtung Schweinehund by Harry Pearson. Everything should be here in the next week or so.
In the meantime, I am still enjoying the Table Top Teaser special put out by Henry Hyde of Battlegames fame and The War Game Companion, which has already inspired me to construct a pontoonier battalion and train. For these, I'll use some more Revell Austrian infantry and two unused Revell Austrian artillery limbers and riders along with some balsa wood, glue, and paint. It will probably be next fall before I get to this particular project, but I've already looked over what I have in the old pile of plastic and made some long-term mental notes. The two-company battalion will also double as an engineer and/or sapper unit for the Grand Duchy of Stollen -- or the Electorate of Zichenau -- depending on the particular scenario. And I've also made some notes on their eventual uniform: yellow coats, dark blue facings, with red breeches and waistcoats. The Gaiters will be black with belts and straps a natural tan. If I use figures wearing the Austrian bearskin, that will be black with a light blue bag.
On the developing book front, I've been busily examining what remains to be written and organizing everything into 7-8 sections along with an introduction and a select bibliography at the end. There are a few other things I have in mind and, hopefully, a special surprise. But I'm playing things close to my chest at this point.
Musically, our demo is just about done. Thanks to the enthusiasm of our guitarist/recording guru Steve, there is just a little bit of tinkering to do with the final mix of each track, and we might even have everything burned onto CD by Thursday. I've listened to early mixes online, and, by and large, things sound pretty darn good. Not excellent by any means, and there are certainly some rough edges to work out, but in general I'm very pleased. As soon as we have the final product, I'll be uploading the seven songs to our group blog. Stay tuned. The songs provide a pretty good idea of how we sound live, which is all it's meant to do. For practice this Thursday, we've got three new songs on tap and some fine tuning of other songs already in our catalog. More later as things develop.
Finally, I've decided to revise the look of the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog -- updating the brand in marketing speak -- primarily so that I can add the "followers" widget to the template I use. But fear not! You can expect the same quirky variety of content you've come to know and love since August 2006, but with a more visually dynamic appearance. I especially like the birght red banner at the top. As Charles Grant Sr. mentioned in The War Game, "the look of the thing" is key. Enjoy!