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Showing posts from December, 2009

The 3rd Squadron Is Almost There!!!

We are getting somewhere, ladies and gentlemen! Here's a quick snap of the final nine cuirassiers, almost all finished but for two more steps.


Just a quick update before I head off to bed. All painting on the 3rd squadron of the Anspach-Bayreuth Kuirassiere is done, save for a few touch-ups tomorrow, followed by two coats of Future/Klear. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures to show where we now stand, Enjoy!

And for good measure (And why not?), here's another photograph of the same nine figures and their mounts from a slightly different angle.


Last but not least, here is an updated version of the painting progress "chart" (more of a list, really). Touch-ups will follow this afternoon or evening and then the two coats of Future/Klear:

1) Black basecoat -- Done
2) Black undercoat on horses. -- Done
3) Flesh, hair, figure bases. -- Done
4) Drybrush horses with dark blue. -- Done
5) Brown girths and stirrup leathers on horses. -- Done
6) Metal bits on horse hal…

Another interesting new blog. .

Yes, I'm just t-h-i-s close to ordering 30 Hungarian Pandours and staff from the Dayton Painting Consortium! Rich sent me a sample figure just before Christmas, and they are so lovely that I'm not sure I can wait another year until the rest of the pile of lead here in Zum Stollenkeller has been painted. Well, I can rationalize to myself that a batallion of Pandours will provide a nice break after a large unit of infantry and another large unit of cavalry.It is a slippery slope indeed!


Just a quick note before I move over to the painting table to begin the final steps on those last nine RSM Austrian cuirassiers. Phil Olley has just started yet another blog -- Classic Wargaming by Phil Olley (see link at right). Only one post by Phil so for, but this one I'm sure promises to be as interesting and inspiring as both the Blasthof Blog, with which Phil is involved, and his mothballed War Cabinet website. I'm sure I echo many of you when I say that I can't wait to see…

One More Painting Step Finished!!!

Here's another "Kodak Moment" photo update, to show where we stand with the final nine cuirasseirs this evening.


Just a quick note, to update you on the third squadron of the Anspach-Bayreuth Kuirassiere. All of the red areas have been painted, leaving only the white areas, touch-ups, and varnishing left to do. Accordingly, I've updated the progress "chart" below:

1) Black basecoat -- Done
2) Black undercoat on horses. -- Done
3) Flesh, hair, figure bases. -- Done
4) Drybrush horses with dark blue. -- Done
5) Brown girths and stirrup leathers on horses. -- Done
6) Metal bits on horse halters, martingales, stirrups, and spurs. -- Done
7) White markings on horses. -- Done
8) Tan undercoat on officers' and troopers' coats. -- Done
9) White/Silver lace on saddlecloths. -- Done
10) White belts, straps, and cuirass lace trim. -- Done
11) Red facings and turnbacks. -- Done
12) Swords, sword baskets, scabbards. -- Done
13) Carbine stocks, barrels, firelocks. -- Done

A Cuirassier Update. . .

My wonderful, though accident prone wife, the Grand Duchess, has given me a couple of baby-free hours to paint this afternoon, so I was able to finish lots of small details on that third and final squadron of Anspach-Beyreuth Kuirassiere. And isn't it funny how so many things can come together relatively quickly if you just keep plugging away? No photo update just yet, since today's small touches are barely noticeable by themselves, but I've pasted in the painting process chart from the other day and made the necessary changes, which you can observe below:

1) Black basecoat -- Done
2) Black undercoat on horses. -- Done
3) Flesh, hair, figure bases. -- Done
4) Drybrush horses with dark blue. -- Done
5) Brown girths and stirrup leathers on horses. -- Done
6) Metal bits on horse halters, martingales, stirrups, and spurs. -- Done
7) White markings on horses. -- Done
8) Tan undercoat on officers' and troopers' coats. -- Done
9) White/Silver lace on saddlecloths. -- Done
10) W…

"Well, happy day after!"

This post-Christmas illustration reflects how many of us must feel today.


The title of this post is something my maternal grandfather always said as he stirred his scotch and water with an index finger and flicked the moisture from it into the kitchen sink, and I always think of that and smile on the day after Christmas. Happy Boxing Day in any case!

I hope everyone on had an enjoyable day yesterday filled with family, friends, good food, and the odd wargamerly gift. Things here at Stollen Central were a bit trying to say the least. We spent Christmas night in the emergency room of our local hospital after the Grand Duchess slipped and fell down the steps to the basement, with scissors in her hand no less, hitting her head on the way down. She is fine now except for several nasty bruises and a big bump on the back of her head, but the visit required a cat scan and waiting around in a treatment room while they doctors and nurses asked her lots of head injury specific questions and ob…

Merry Christmas from the Grand Duchy of Stollen!!!

For our Christmas Day illustration, it's fitting to present an image of Great Britain's Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and children around their family Christmas tree. It was Prince Albert, of course, who is credited with bringing the custom of the tree to England from Germany. What the history books conveniently neglect to tell us that the rest of German-speaking Central Europe borrowed the custom of the Christmas tree from the House of Stollen-Meckerfritz. No doubt, Irwin-Amadeus II and his Aunt Agatha are enjoying a little late night eggnog beneath their own Christmas tree right now before retiring for the night!

It's Christmas Eve Here at Stollen Central!!!

And I imagine that Saint Nicholas will soon begin his yearly journey. So, I hope all of you have been well behaved this past year and are not expecting to find birch switches and/or lumps of coal in your stockings tomorrow morning. As for me, well. . . But, you never know. ;-) I've got to run now, to make us a big Christmas Eve brunch, and then I have a few dishes and pies to assemble in the kitchen for Christmas Dinner tomorrow. And the Grand Duchess is going to bake a second stollen since the first one was finished a few days ago. Have a lovely Christmas Eve everyone and be sure to tune in again to Radio Free Stollen during the Christmas Week when painting will return to normal and hopefully those cuirassiers inch along toward completion.

Betcha thought I'd forget!

This Santa Claus wears the red robes and white beard we've come to expect, but the small jewel box with shiny things inside is an unusual touch.


Oh, no, no, no! I've not forgotten the seasonal images for today. But I did return to bed for about three hours since Young Master Paul's 4am feeding made me unable to fall back to sleep for a few hours. But anyhow, here are a couple of bright, cheerful Victorian-era images of Ol' Saint Nick. And now it's time to head out and purchase my last few gifts for the Grand Duchess and Paul. No time to waste!

I think this old Christmas card must be my favorite from this year's pre-Christmas season since it features, to my eyes, just the right blend of simplicity and opulence. . . if such a things were possible. And I'm a huge fan of holly, which my family used to have a lot of when I was a boy. But in the U.S., you don't seem to see it used in homes for a seasonal decoration as much as once was the case. Of cou…

Ninety Minutes with Final Cuirassier Squadron. . .

Here is where we stand with the third and final squadron of those RSM95 Austrian cuirassiers.


I had pleasant hour and a half yesterday evening, to finish the white belts/straps and do the red turnbacks and cuffs, which really brought these figures to life, the considerable amount of work left notwithstanding. I've also nailed down my process for painting large units of heavy cavalry, which I'll share here. Certainly, it's not the only way to do things, but it seems to work pretty well for me, and you might spot something here that's potentially useful in your own painting. So, here we go:

1) Black basecoat -- Done
2) Black undercoat on horses. -- Done
3) Flesh, hair, figure bases. -- Done
4) Drybrush horses with dark blue. -- Done
5) Brown girths and stirrup leathers on horses. -- Done
6) Metal bits on horse halters, martingales, stirrups, and spurs. -- Done
7) White markings on horses. -- Done
8) Tan undercoat on officers' and troopers' coats. -- Done
9) White/Silver …

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

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 square, shouting loudly above the din of shoppers, their voices forming puffs of steam in the wintry air.

The colorful, gabled merc…

The small pleasures in life. . .

Here's another image in our series of antique Saint Nicks/ Santas/ Father Christmases. This rather subdued figure in green robes might be German given the German language greeting scrawled across the top of the card, though he looks my Eastern European to me. Perhaps, he's the Stollenian representation of Sankt Niklaus?


Ah, the small pleasures in life. Fresh coffee with the last of the Dresdner Stollen, a quiet couple of hours at the painting desk yesterday evening (photos to follow), marvelling at various old seasonal images, an ancient cat waiting patiently to sit on my shoulders, a bit of snow still on the ground outside, fragrant Christmas trees in the house, a brightly lighted star hanging in the front window, a sleeping baby, late breakfasts at the dining table, and whimsically knitted woolen stockings hanging from the mantle. Yes, it must be Christmas time.

Just a Few Days Left until the BIG Day!!!

Another unusual Victorain-era St. Nick with purple robes once again. I think one of the reasons that I like these older Christmas images so much is that they are fairly subdued relative to many, more recent seasonal images, and that fits in with my general aesthetic philosophy -- less is more!


Found a couple of hours for some painting last night and worked in a slightly different order this time. While my enthusiasm is high, during the early part of the painting process, I'm tackling the more difficult, smaller parts of the figures, i.e., lace edging, belts, facings, etc. That will leave the fairly large, mindless, and easier-to-do area (breeches, coats, and saddlecloths) for last, when I just want to finish the darn things and move on to something else. Filling those in with the requisite colors will be easy, kind of like coloring in a coloring book with crayons as a small child. So, yesterday evening, it was the lace edging on saddlecloths and the edges of cuirasses along wi…

A Quiet Sunday. . .

Yet another old-fashioned image of St. Nick, this time in the more usual red that we typically associate with him.


Not a whole lot to report for this, the 700th posting to the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog. It's a cold, quiet Sunday morning, and we have about 1" (25mm) of snow on the ground -- NOT part of the massive storm that hit the northeastern United States yesterday. So, it feels suitably Christmasy today. I accomplished nothing yesterday. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And it felt great. The Grand Duchess did finish a few real-life things in her office on the second floor of the house, and she later bundled up and went running, but yours truly managed to let the entire day slip by with nary a paintbrush applied to figures or anything else of consequence achieved. Of course, I'd intended to work on some painting after dinner, but I felt so pleasantly tired and full of nice food that those plans went by the wayside. Ah well! Maybe this afternoon or evening? In the meantim…

Another seasonal entry today? Why not!

Here is a Victorian-era Christmas card illustration of ol' St. Nick that is of particular interest thanks to his blue robe and yellow tunic beneath it. Typically, we see Santa Claus/Father Christmas portrayed in red, or once in a while in dark green, nowdays. But light blue and yellow? And presumably, those are switches in his left hand, to leave for the occasional naughty boy or girl.

It occurred to me a while ago that the sort of fourth anniversary of what has gown into the Grand Duchy of Stollen project has almost passed by without any notice. So, let me take a moment or two to reaquaint everyone with how the project began.

Back in the summer of 1994, I purchased a paperback reprint of Charge! from Caliver Books in the U.K. and fell instantly head over heels for those imaginary large units of 18th century miniatures that fought against each other across a minimally terrained table. "This is it!" I mused. Sadly, I was packing to leave Pennsylvania later that very s…

A cheerful pre-Christmas quiet settles over the Grand Duchy of Stollen. . .

Here's another great old Christmas card from years gone by. I really like the green robes and purple hat of this particular St. Nick. Hmmmm. Green and purple. Might look good together on a future unit of infantry or cavalry!


Well, the Grand Duchess Sonja and I got a late start yesterday afternoon, but we managed to pick up the Christmas trees and decorate them last night. In fact, we sat up until almost 1am drinking egg nog and talking about this and that by the light of the trees and our Swedish Advent star that hands in the front window. Young Master Paul stirred at about 4:15 am and drifted easily back to sleep after a bottle and a change of diaper. But this time it's Dad who can't go back to sleep! I've been awake ever since, finally giving up the ghost and rising about an hour ago. And it's 6:50am on a Saturday, darn it!

So, what better way to start the day than with a quiet cup of fresh coffee and a bowl of oatmeal (porridge) while some light snow dri…

The March of the Tin Soldiers. . .

40mm Prinz August figures painted as an Irish regiment in the French service. Aren't they lovely? The photograph is borrowed from the Online Toy Soldier Gallery.


No painting time yesterday evening. The Grand Duchess and I ordered a pizza and worked on a puzzle together at the coffee table instead while Young Master Paul dozed and cooed nearby.

However, I did have a few minutes before the pizza arrived to do some quick assembly of cannon and attach the mounted Garrison artillery officer to his horse with a big blob of superglue. While that took hold, I then stuck the dozen Garrison artillery figures on foot to the usual temporary plastic bottlecaps. We are picking up our Christmas trees later today and decorating the house this evening, but if there is a bit of extra time somewhere, I'll try to slap two coats of black acrylic gesso onto these figures as a base coat, so they are all ready to go later.

A couple of small gifts arrived yesterday afternoon from Wm. Britain's…

Looking Ahead. . .

A battery of those delightfully old school Garrison Prussian artillerymen that I purchased from Rob Young last summer, manning their Holger Eriksson cannon.


While looking after Young Master Paul this afternoon, I've had considerable time to think about what's next in the painting queue. And as promised a few weeks ago right here, two guns and crew -- a battery of guns according to the rules laid out in both Charge! and The War Game -- will follow that final squadron of the cuirassiers.

And here they are, thirteen Garrison figures and two Holger Eriksson cannon. Besides the officers and spongemen, I'm using a number of the porte fire figures, though I'll trim away the porte fire, leaving these open-handed. I'm doing this because I want a bunch of more or less identical figures to man the guns. And for the mounted colonel, I'll use a Garrison Prussian dragoon officer.

I have another thirteen such figures, for which I'll use MiniFig guns, to provide the…

Just a quiet day here at Stollen Central. . .

I really like these old, simpler Christmas cards from years gone by.


Nothing terribly exciting going on here today, which is not a bad thing. So, a well-deserved quiet day for all here. Finally finished my grading and submitted course grades yesterday before painting for a while in the evening and then taking over "Paul Duties" for a good part of the evening and very early morning. The Indras, my 1950s rockabilly, rock and roll, and R&B band has practice this evening -- Check out our latest recordings by visiting our MySpace page link at right, entitled On Fire in Der Stollenkeller -- and maybe, just maybe Paul will permit some painting later in the evening. Shopping is almost finished, we'll get and decorate the trees tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on BBC Radio 4 come Christmas Eve next week. We also have a ginger bread house to assemble for Paul at some point in the next week. It is indeed truly a wonde…

Applying the Tan Undercoat. . .

Here's Mr. Hand, in the midst of applying the tan undercoat to the final nine cuirassier coats. Anyone out there remember the old Mr. Bill Show on NBC's Saturday Night Live? "He's going to be mean to me. Oh, nooooooooo. . ."


And here's the third squadron of the Anspach -Beyreuth Kuirassiere, all nice, tan, and ready for the next step of the painting process.


A spare hour or so late this afternoon saw me up to my eyebrows in Delta Ceramcoat "Trail Tan", which I use in a two part process to paint white coats. The tan undercoat provides some shadow and added depth for any figures wearing white uniform itemss. It's a bit less stark than black and, I feel, approximates pre-industrial age white uniforms, made from undyed wool, more effectively. Next step? Painting in some of the boarders, edging, and smaller details first before adding the pure white on top of the undercoat. Yep, that's right boys and girls. I said BEFORE applying the white.…

Cuirassier Horses Almost Finished. . .

Here's another old-fashioned image of St. Nick making a midnight delivery to some, presumably, well-behaved, pleasant children. Have YOU been good all the year long?


Worked for a little while last night on finishing up those nine cuirassier horses, but Young Master Paul decided that he required attention and feeding, and it was my turn to attend to that. . . So, I'll try to wrap up this step tonight and move onto the troopers and squadron officer. Hopefully, I'll have a picture or two to post here as well.

By the way, I managed to find a hardcover copy of Mollo's Uniforms of the Seven Years War in very good condition via Amazon and at a resonable price (not always easy to do), so I've purchased an early Christmas gift for myself. Should provide some interesting and inspiring reading once the book arrives. Maybe in time for Christmas? In any case, the title will be a good addition to my growing book collection.

Ok, I've got some final grading to do (term …

A Little Drybrushing Last Night. . .

Careful dry-brushing of black horses with dark blue produces subtle blue-grey highlights on the raised areas of the horses, picking out the musculature of the miniature animals as well as the strands of hair in the manes and tails.


Had a little time for dry-brushing those final nine horses last night. So, I dug out an old brush and got to work. Don't use your good brushes that still hold points for dry-brushing. Nothing kills a good brush faster! So, dip the tip of you bristles in the paint, brush most of the paint off onto a handy folded paper towel, and then quickly apply the remaining paint on the bristles to your figures. Dry-brushing is actually a much easier thing to do than it is to describe.

Anyway, here are a couple of photographs that will hopefully illustrate the benefits of this step for painting better looking black horses. Of course, you can skip this step if you like, but I prefer the extra subtle difference that careful dry-brushing with dark blue brings out. …

Christmas Goodies. . .

One of the nicest, most delicious parts of the Christmas holiday period has to do with all of the various cookies and foods that we make and consume during these few weeks in December and early January. With that in mind, today's Yuletide illustration shows a Victorian-era Christmas pudding. Once about 25 years ago, my maternal grandmother, whose parents came to the United States from Cornwall in the U.K. during the late 19th Century, made a Christmas pudding. It looked lovely, but the pudding was a bit scorched (and tasted that way) after it was flambeed. Haven't had a Christmas pudding since then. Hmmmm. I wonder if the Grand Duchess might. . .

Stollen, stollen, stollen. . .

Here's another old image of Santa Claus/ St. Nick/ Father Christmas for you. Oddly, his coat seems to have a distinctly rose hue to it in this illustration. It seems General von Tschatschke was the start of a discernible trend. . . even in non-military circles!


Fresh, crumbly Dresdner Stollen, hot coffee, and some time to paint soldiers. It was a lovely weekend indeed! Yes, the Grand Duchess baked one of her famous stollens yesterday evening, and we enjoyed a few still warm slices along with fresh black coffee late in the evening as we watched a bad romantic comedy (aren't there a lot of these?) on DVD while Young Master Paul dozed between us.

Yesterday afternoon, I had a few hours to myself -- the Grand Duchess and son attended a ladies only pre-Christmas beading party -- to begin work on the remaining cuirassier figures. So, it was faces, hair, green bases, and another black undercoat for the horses. If time and child permit today, the horses will get their dry-brushing…

For Swedes around the World. . .

Yes, it's Santa Lucia Day! Traditionally, so the story goes, parents are woken before dawn by their children, who bring some sort of saffron buns and coffee to Mom and Dad. And if they are lucky, there is an entire train of children dressed in costume and singing Santa Lucia. And at their head, as my Swedish language teacher explained it -- and she grew up in Sweden during the 1940s and 50s, long before political correctness deemed that EVERYONE be chosen to play Santa Lucia -- was the local school's prettiest, blondest girl, who was secretly hated by all the other girls, who were not chosen to play Santa Lucia. I'll have to ask my Swedish-speaking friends if this was/is, indeed, the case.

At any rate, I've got to head to the kitchen and fix a late breakfast for the Grand Duchess and me. No singing or costumes though, unless you count pajamas and a bathrobe! ;-) Some things to do around the house this afternoon and a letter of reference to finish for a student, …

Von Tschatschke and Von Pfeffernuesse Arrive. . .

Here they are -- Captain von Pfeffernuesse and General von Tschatschke, all glossy and ready for the table!


Newly appointed Stollenian General von Tschatschke (at right) has arrived in Krankenstadt, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Stollen, from his family estate somewhere in Courland. Accompanying him is his ADC, Captain von Pfeffernuesse (at left), whose family also hails from the Baltic region. The two will meet briefly with General von Drosselmaier tomorrow morning, before the three leave to join the Stollenian army in the southwestern part of the country. While von Taschatschke's tactical abilities remain to be seen, he and the young von Pfeffernuesse will undoubtedly be the subject of much discussion as they make their way through various small towns and villages during their journey to the Stollenian frontier.

Getting in the Christmas Mood. . .

The Grand Duchess is baking a stollen this weekend!!! Can't wait to enjoy a slice or two of warm Dresdner Stollen with some fresh coffee later today. Yum! But now to our seasonal image for the day.

Here's a Christmas picture for all of you Scandinavianists (That's a mouthful!) out there. It's the Swedish "Tomta" -- or the Norwegian "Julenissen" -- depending on which side of that l-o-n-g border your sympathies fall. In Norway, the nisse lives all year long out in the barn with the farm animals. And on Christmas Eve, families need to put out a bowl of warm porridge for him, to keep their nisse happy and content, ensuring good fortune for the year to come.

Julenissen is also the figure who brings toys and goodies to small children around Norway on Christmas Eve. Now, I'm not sure, mind you, but I suspect that the spirit of the Julenissen/ Father Christmas/ Santa Claus/ Weinachtsmann will also make a stop at our house late on Christmas Eve, …

Von Tschatschke and Von Pfeffernuesse Near Completion. . .

Still a little bit to do with Captain von Pfeffernuesse in the foreground, for instance some silver trim on his coat and/or waistcoat, but it's nearly time for the usual two coats of Future/Klear. And then I'll be free to gallop through those final nine cuirassiers. Charge!


Only Two Weeks until the Big Day. . .

You can almost hear the tin soldiers marching to do batttle with the Rat King and his minions.


No painting to report his morning as it was just too cold in Zum Stollenkeller yesterday evening for a sedentary pursuit like that. Odd that a cellar would get so cold, but there you are. However, temperatures are supposed to moderate somewhat during the next few days, so hopefully the weekend will see me back at the painting table, at least for a little while.

In the meantime, here's a cheerful Christmas image for you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars -- a nutcracker version of The Rat King from, you guessed it, The Nutcracker! I have a similar wooden, puppet-like ornament, depicting the Rat King, which I must get from my mother before next Christmas. Mom still has a couple of boxes of Christmas tree ornaments and decorations from our younger days (my sister and me) in storage that I need to claim when I rent a truck and pick up several family pieces of furniture next summer.

Anyway, the…

Brrrrr. . .

Here's an old-fashioned image of Santa Claus that must be attributed to the United States. . . notice the tiny American flag in his pack.


I heard on the radio late last night that Des Moines, Iowa received 16 inches of snow yesterday and Madison, Wisconsin (where I lived and studied for five years in the 1990s) had 19 inches!!! There ought to be a law. The entire time I lived there, we never had more than about four or five inches at a time, and that was always gone after a day or two. Wait, there was one really cold, snowy period in February1996, but that was before I learned to ski. Sigh.

We had only about an inch of the white stuff here in Bloomington, Illinois yesterday, but it sure is cold this morning. Only seven degrees Fahrenheit when I checked a short while ago. Brrrrrrrr! It's days like these that make me wish for a wood-burning fireplace. Nothing like that aroma! When I was a boy and teenager, living with my maternal grandparents in Eastern Pennsylvania, ou…

Von Tschatschke Photo Update. . .

Here's a picture showing my progress on General von Tschatschke as of earlier this afternoon before I had to break to give Paul his bath. There are still a few things I need to paint, and a few other items I'd like to touch up before the two coats of glossy "varnish" (Future/Klear), but this is where we're headed. It's almost time to start thinking about the uniform to issue the General's ADC, one Captain Alphonse von Pfeffernuesse. Charge!

It's a Frigid Wednesday Here at Stollen Central. . .

A rather simple, but pleasant old image of Father Christmas/Santa Claus. I like the wreath of holly around his head in particular.


Sigh. All of the snow was well to the north and west of us yesterday and last night. We had only cold rain here in Central Illinois for example. In our old Minnesota stomping grounds, however, the picture is rather different with business and school closings a plenty. I'm actually listening to all of this from a Twin Cities radio station online right now. Parts of southern Minnesota could see as much as 16" of snow before the storm finishes along with blowing and drifting snow. People across the southern part of the state are being advised to stay off the roads.

Clearly, the Grand Duchess and I left Minnesota too early. Only skiers and winter enthusiasts like us would say something like that, but there you are. Not that we'll be doing much skiing this winter season I'm afraid. Time to set up those bicycles on rollers in another pa…

More Snow and Sleet at Stollen Central. . .

A few days late for Saint Nicholas Day, but the image is nevertheless suitably bright and cheerful. And it points the way to even greater things to come in the next few weeks.


A slight headcold sent me to bed mid-evening yesterday without any painting done. Grrrr. But when you feel slightly run-down, it's sometimes best to put on some clean pajamas, fix a cup of tea, and retire to the second floor with the rest of the Sunday paper, which is what I did. It never seems to fail, but one of us usually succumbs to a cold in early December just about the time the academic term ends. It must have something to do with final and utter mental exhaustion after 15 or 16 chaotic weeks, leading to a somewhat weakened constitution, which paves the way for a minor bug to take hold. Aah-choo!!! Gesundheit!

Today, it's suitably dark and grey outside. Much of the American Midwest is in the midst of a large winter storm, stretched across several of the plains states. We might see as much as …

Mystery solved. . .

The uniform worn by the Regiment de Loewendahl Infanterie, one of many German units in French service, during the Seven Years' War period.


Those of you with long memories might remember a post here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog from March 2009 in which I ruminated about possible historical uniforms to "borrow" for my own fictitious armies. One thing I mentioned in that post was the veritable plethora of non-Prussian, non-Austrian German units in the French army and Reichsarmee of the SYW-era. Many of those units, if not most, had rather colorful uniforms and unique standards.

You might also recall that I mentioned the Loewendahl regiment (shown above) in particular thanks to its relatively simple uniform, which I think might lend itself to more rapid painting than is usually the case here at Stollen Central. Fine and dandy. I put the thought of all this on a mental back burner and forgot about it for several months.

But a few days ago, I began thinking ahead to the…

Our First Snow of the Season!!!

Wish we had a scene like this one in our backyard. This is very similar to the woods in Norway, about five minutes from where I lived in Trondheim, where I learned to ski ten years ago.


Relax. Just a dusting. Maybe an inch/25mm or so, but it was beautiful when I peeked through the blinds at the still dark street (it's just after 6am here) a little while ago. Just what we need to kick off the week here at Stollen Central.

Speaking of which. I had a serious talk with the Grand Duchess yesterday and laid down the law. Told her I surely wouldn't make it to Christmas without some of her delicious Dresdner Stollen. So, I finally was able to extract that most important of promises from her. . . Stollen baking to commence next weekend. Hurrah! The clouds lifted and I retired to bed a happy man.

On the soldier painting front, I took a wee bit of time after dinner, while Young Paul slept close by, and began work on the flamboyant General von Tschatschke. So far, a chestnut hors…