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Showing posts from January, 2010

Painting Commences on Regiment of Huzzah Miniatures. . .

The 10th (Grand Duke Paul's) Regiment of Infantry -- known in the Stollenian army as the Fightin' 10th -- starts to take shape on the painting table. Obviously, they are named for our son, Young Master Paul, who was born late in the tenth month of 2009.


Just a quick post for now. Above is a photograph I took last night, showing the first company plus all officers, NCOs, musicians, and standard bearer glued temporarily to plastic bottle caps. They have been base-coated with black acrylic gesso, undercoated with black acrylic paint, had all fleshtone applied, and all green bases painted.

For added stability, I glued the mounted officer and his fleet-footed steed to a lozenge-shaped piece of thin plywood from an assorted bag of craft bits and pices of, well, thin plywood that I purchased a few years ago at Michael's, a chain of craft stores here in the United States that smell like cheap cinnamon scented candles and bayberry poupurie when you open the door. If you can stoma…

The Cold Has Returned to the Grand Duchy of Stollen!!!

This late Christmas gift finally arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon, but it was well worth the wait. Wow!


Yesterday's mail brought the above title to my hot little hands, and I can't say enough about it after a delightful evening spent in bed with a cup of coffee and the book in question. Suffice to say that the writing and quality of Wargaming in History: The Seven Years War raises the bar considerably for all wargaming literature. Neither does it seem an overstatement to suggest that the book is just as engaging and charming as those two classics, held in such high regard by many of us, namely Charge! (1067) and The War Game (1971) . On a personal note, I think Charles Grant even surpasses those two works here. If you have not yet purchased Wargaming in History: The Seven Years War, do so at once. It is an amazing read and a feast for the eyes. Enough said.

On another note, I've just learned of a new blog, which might be of some interest to many of you visitors…

Finished Cannon and Crew. . .

Holger Eriksson Charles XII cannon crewed by Garrison Prussian artillery figures, whose uniform here is based on that worn by the Von Kleist Freikorps artillery contingent.


Just a quick post this morning. I finally finished varnishing and touching up a few places on those two Holger Eriksson cannon yesterday evening and had time for a photograph. I didn't feel too pleased with these guns until I applied the usual glossy Future/Klear acrylic floor finish. Suddenly, almost as if by magic, they looked much better! Next up, it's the first 20-odd figures in that unit of Huzzah Miniatures. Chaaaaaarrrrrge!

Various and Sundry Things. . .

All of our wonderful snow of the last moth has finally gone thanks to warm temperatures and heavy rains last night. It looks bleak outside this morning, and I think we need a new covering of about 6" of snow, to brighten up things. Even more new snow would be better, but I'll settle for half a foot. Sadly, despite all of the snow we've had around here since before New Year's, I've only managed about an hour on skis this year. Some new snow would enable me to right that wrong, or at least dream about skiing in years to come.

Here in Zum Stollenkeller, I managed to get the Holger Eriksson cannon almost finished yesterday evening. Just a wash and some touching up to apply today, and then it's time for the usual two coats of Future/Klear acrylic floor finish. The cannon look pretty good, but I think the HE molds need to be refurbished, because the castings are not as clean as they ought to be. If I had it to do over again, I would have ordered some more 25mm…

A Slight Change in Painting Plan for Those 60+ Huzzah Miniatures. . . .

An example of the uniform worn by Wutemburg's Garde zu Fuss during the mid-18th Century.


Ok, ok. Several of you Stollen regulars have suggested that I give that unit of Huzzah figures a slightly more interesting uniform than just uniform dark blue. And one of you suggeted Wurtemburg Garde Grenadiers, which I liked, and which also sparked my curiosity a bit. So, I did some digging around on the web and found this example of another Wurtemburg uniform -- the Garde zu Fuss -- from the mid-18th Century. No mitre caps here, but the colors of everything else are similar to the Wurtemburg grenadiers that were originally proposed, so this uniform (pictured above) should work fine for my purposes.

Naturally, it will take a bit longer to paint everything, but that just means that the figures will look much snazzier on the tabletop once everything is finished. Now, does anyone have any information on the standard(s) carried by Wurtemburg's Garde zu Fuss? Barring that, I have a more…

Farmhouses in the Former East Prussia. . .

Here's my last structure for a while until I decide to start on making a few extra bridges for those Table Top Teaser scenarios. It's an East Prussian, er, uh, um, "Stollenian", farmhouse-barn structure. I still need to add the internal balsa "ruins" and reinforce the four posts that support the second story overhang, but this is the basic shell. It's based on the four photographs, culled from the web, that follow, and I'll try to give parts of my farmhouse a similar fachwerk treatment, time, caffeinated painting hand, and tired eyes permitting!


Here's an old farmhouse that's now on the Lithuanian side of the border. I found it, I think, by doing a web search for houses in Lithuania Minor, or something like that. Lithuania Minor (Klein Litauen in German) was that slice of East Prussia where most of the people outside of towns were ethnic Lithuanians and spoke, not suprisingly, Lithuanian or a dialect thereof.


This combination farmhouse-b…

A Rainy, Dreary Day Here in the Grand Duchy. . .

Here's a shot of the Huzzah mounted officer, now armed with a spare RSM dragoon/cuirassier sword . This is the kind of minor conversion that even yours truly can manage without a trip to the Emergency Room at the hospital due to some kind of nasty self-inflicted wound!


So, why not retreat to the warmth and coziness of Zum Stollenkeller when schedule and baby permit? Exactly. And as promised, here are two photographs of things I've produced in the last several days at the painting/radio table on the western side of Zum Stollenkeller, behind me at the moment.

First, we have a minor conversion above that I'm reasonably pleased with. The mounted Huzzah Prussian officer looked like he needed something in one of his hands, and his left arm obscures the hilt of his presumably sheathed sword, so out came the pin vise and a farly large drill bit to bore a hole in his right hand. Once that was done CAEREFULLY, I used my X-acto/modelling knife to cut between his fingers and thu…

Holger Eriksson Cannon Near Completion. . .

Here's the next BIG battalion project, all lined up, ready for their temporary bases, and base-coat. 60+ Prussian infantry by Huzzah Miniatures in the United Kingdom.


Not much time for painting this past weekend. My amateur band, The Indras, had a booking on Saturday evening, and we burned down the house with our Hamburg-era Beatles mix of 1950s rock & roll, rockabilly, and R&B. We were actually cheered, and the bar owner rebooked us on the spot. Exciting stuff to say the least, but the Holger Eriksson cannon, which will go with the Garrison crew that I painted recently, are not quite done yet. Hopefully in the next day or two.

In any case, I spent about 20-30 minutes yesterday evening after dinner, fishing out and organizing the next part of the Grand Duchy of Stollen project. As threatened, this will be 60+ Prussian infantry by Ian Marsh, which he sells under the Huzzah! name. These are marketed as "old school", 30mm miniatures, and indeed, they are remi…

The January thaw. . .

The Garrison artillery crew are now all done, painted, more or less, as the Von Kleist artillery contingent, and are waiting for their guns to be issued. Said ordinance should arrive in the next few days.


Yes, the inevitable January thow has set in here in Central Illinois, so Zum Stollenkeller is habitable once more. Sadly, however, not much painting has taken place this week which has been a busy one. The start of the new academic term, caring for Young Master Paul, the conclusion of The Outlaws' visit, and all that. But things are slowly returning to normal, helped by the more temperate climate.

My Garrison artillery crew (shown above) are all painted and varnished and now await the issue of their two guns, which I hope to paint and varnish this weekend. Next week, it's time to begin work on that 60-figure regiment of Huzzah! Prussians that I've blathered on about for some time now. I am also about ready to order enough RSM figures to replace my two previously finished …

Painting Continues Apiece at Stollen Central. . .

Found about ninety minutes before dinner early yesterday evening to wrap up work on those 13 Garrison Prussian artillery crew, which now look rather dashing if I do say so myself. All that remains is my usual varnishing step, i.e. two coats of Future/Klear acrylic floor finish. Afterwards, it's time to paint those two Holger Eriksson Charles XIIth guns for the crew to, um, crew, and then we're all finished. Tune in then for a photo update or two.

In the meantime, it's almost time to think about that next 60-figure unit of infantry, and I'm leaning strongly toward those Huzzah Miniature Prussians, sold to me at a very reasonable rate by Jim "Alte Fritz" Purky in the summer of 2008. These figures are reminiscent of the classic Spencer Smith musketeer with the musket on his left shoulder, but the sculpting and detail is much better. I hope Ian Marsh in the U.K. continues adding to the range because they are very nice figures and competitively priced.

Ok, the …

Uniformology???

A snowy day in Bloomington, Illinois? Nope. It's my old stomping ground Trondheim, Norway. If this is where I think it is in the city, it's on Merchants' Street (note the renovated warehouses at right), along the river on the way to the Old Town Bridge. This was the way to my favorite cafe, Cafe Stradivari, which was located just across the Nidaro River in the Bakklandet section of the city, just down the hill from the main campus of the university -- The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Don't ask why a language and literature person was sent to study and do research there, but that's the way it was for yours truly, during the 1999-2000 academic year. A strange blip indeed on my biographic radar screen, but I always become nostalgic for the country, its musical language, and outdoor way of life, during the winters and the mid-summers.


Uniformology. The study of uniforms. Is that really an honest to goodness word? Anyway, the study of milita…

Artillery Progress. . .

A dozen 25mm Garrison Prussian artilley crew being issued with uniforms inspired by those worn by the Von Kleist Freikorps artillery crews.


The Outlaws are visiting from Seattle and "looking after" Young Master Paul, so I enjoyed a bit more time for painting last evening than has been the case recently, which enabled me to make some real progress on the Garrison Prussian artillery crew. You'll see that I am painting them more or less along the lines of the artillery contingent in Von Kleist's Freikorps, but there is, as usual, considerable artistic license taken too, i.e., the light green cuffs and pompoms on the hats. On that note, I wish the hats were a wee bit smaller on these figures, but overall they are kind of nice even if a bit smaller than my RSMs. The Garrison miniatures are true 25mm and similar in height to my 1/72 plastic Revell figures though stockier. Still a way to go before the crew here is all finished, and I can move on to the two guns, but th…

A Frigid Monday Morning Here in Zum Stollenkeller!!!

The Grand Duchess and Yours Truly in December 2008 when we visited the Lapham Peak Nordic Ski Area outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin just before Christmas for a day of incredible skiing, followed by a delicious lunch, more skiing in the afternoon, and a hearty dinner at a nearby Greek restaurant. Lots of snow in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan so far this season, but we'll have to take a raincheck for a few years I fear. Parenthood trumps skiing and excellent snow conditions it would seem.


Brrrrr. It's 0 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now, and Zum Stollenkeller has a decidedly chilly feel to it this early morning. So, I'm bundled up in my heavy bathrobe with a mug of hot coffee, trying to become sleepy again and return to bed, following a 3:30am feeding with Young Master Paul. Sadly, it's almost 6:30 now, so I fear that I'll need to throw in the towel and just get on with things. Sigh. Slightly less than three hours of sleep last night. Baby -- 1000, Stokes -- 0!

T…

A Pleasant Humbrol Discovery. . .

Up very early this morning, after a 4:30am feeding and then suffering from the inability to fall asleep again, I was poking around quietly down here in Zum Stollenkeller. And what do you think I found? Yes, a 21-year old tin of Humbrol Authentic Colour British Rifle Green (in a brown tin) -- purchased at MiniFigs HQ on Graham Road in Southampton during January 1989 when the young, long-haired rocker Stokes spent Christmas and New Year's with his mother and new step-dad in Southampton -- that is still fluid.

British Rifle Green is a pretty close match for the Von Kleist Freikorps artillery uniforms that I'll paint next. The other, newer tins of Humbrol in my collection are either too dark, or too light, or too olive in tone. Oh sure, the old British Rifle Green required some shaking and stirring up, but this is "the little tin that could", and amazingly enough it's still serviceable after all these years. In the two decades I've used this tin, it has pro…

Presenting the Anspach-Bayreuth Kuirassiere!!!

Here they are, with the rearmost nine figures still drying, three squadrons of the Anspach-Bayreuth Kuirassiere, now in the service of the Grand Duchy of Stollen. And now, it's onto that artillery!

Happy 2010 from the Grand Duchy of Stollen!

I can't believe it is 2010 already! How time does fly. Remember ten years ago when the world, it seemed, was in a tizzy over Y2K? The world was going to end the media told us. All I did to prepare was purchase a gallon of water and extra batteries for my Sony ICF2010 world band radio, which I had with me in Norway at the time. How odd it was to wake up on January 1st, 2000, after the frenzy of panic that consumed so many, look out the window at downtown Trondheim under a huge silvery full moon, and find that the world hadn't fallen to pieces overnight.

But what of the final hours of 2009 here at Stollen Central? Well, the Grand Duchess, Young Master Paul, and I spent a fairly quiet New Year's Eve together here at Stollen Central, watching an Ugly Betty DVD. We rang in the new year with a few flutes of champaign at midnight, and then continued watching Ugly Betty episodes until about 1:30, when we finally conked out. Young Master Paul blessed us by sleeping until 7:3…