Can you believe we are in the homestretch for the month? And two entire weeks have flown by without much work in Zum Stollenkeller. Well, that's not entirely the case. There has indeed been "work", real work that is, but precious little of that has had anything to do with soldier painting or writing. Sadly, it's been the usual litany of reading student essays, assigning grades, dealing with a few students who felt they deserved better grades somehow, and various small (and boring) administrative tasks associated with that. But that has sucked up considerable time. When I've had a free hour or two, and that has actually occurred, but I just haven't felt like sitting down to the painting table. I think it's the same hobby funk that Greg Horn described over on his Duchy of Alzheim blog several days ago. Sigh.
Young Master Paul is approaching the four-month mark and is becoming quite a little personality! He began smiling on cue a little over two weeks ago and has developed a sweet , hiccuping laugh, plus an ever increasing variety of sounds. Much like his father, he has become quite the conversationalist, holding forth on all manner of subjects when he is awake and happy. The only catch is that we can't yet determine WHAT is it that he is saying. Without nattering on about it anymore, Young Master Paul has become quite a bit of fun in the last several weeks as the frequent (midnight) feedings have declined somewhat. So, this must be the joy of being a parent that I've always heard about -- seeing your child grow and learn on what seems like a daily basis. But back to wargaming related things for a moment!
The Grand Duchess and Young Master Paul are headed out to a friend's house this afternoon, so I'll have a few hours to sit down to the painting table and apply some paint to those Huzzah musketeers, which as you might recall, are being painted in Wurtemburg Garde zu Fuss uniforms. The first infantry company plus all staff, officers, NCOs, drummers, and mounted officer are not that far from being finished, so maybe in a week or so, I can begin the next company of enlisted men? In any case, I've decided that there's nothing for it but to make myself sit down and paint through the funk, something very similar to what I tell my students about writing. You can't sit around waiting for inspiration to jump up and bite you. Sometimes, you just need to sit down a work through the writing (or painting) blocks.
In spite of the painting funk, I have continued to enjoy the recent Grant-Olley titles that arrived in January and think about a number of things related to the hobby. One item has to do unit size. While I have yet to come up with any good, thoughtful answers myself, I've spent lots of time musing about the appeal of large units. What is it about 30+ figures group together into an infantry battalion or cavalry regiment that is so appealing to so many of us? What is it about large dioramas in museums, or BIG games for that matter, that makes us think, "I want to do something like that myself!" What is it about the mass effect of military miniatures in their hundreds? Phil Olley discussed this point a bit in an entry several weeks ago on his Classic Wargaming blog, and it's something that has been in the forefront of my mind ever since. As mentioned, no definitive answers yet, and I realize that not everyone has the time or inclination to purchase, paint, and collect large units of unbased figures, but it is a fascinating thing to ponder. Or, maybe I'm just easily entertained? But what do you Stollen regulars think about what Phil has termed "the mass effect"? What is the attraction? What are the tabletop advantages? What are the pitfalls? Let me know your thoughts with a comment or two.
Another thing that I've been pondering recently has had to do with uhlans (lancers), hence the Knoetel illustration at the top of this post. Once my basic Sittangbad-sized forces are finished, one of the additional units I'd like to add to the collection includes a three-squadron regiment of Uhlans de Something. Young and Lawford included the Uhlans de Saxe in their Sittangbad game though I don't think these were actually cavalry figures armed with lances if memory serves me correctly. Maybe they were, and I have forgotten. I'll have to consult a copy of Charge! later this evening.
The main issue confronting me where uhlans are concerned has to do with finding a suitable range of figures to use when the time comes. As far as I know, the RSM95 range does not include any uhlan figures. I'm not sure if the Minden range includes a suitable figure, and there is the issue of ready availability there. Naturally, I'd like to stay with realistically proportioned, slim figures, so some of the more popular "modern" ranges out there, which do include uhlan figures, won't be suitable. And I won't mention any names here. I know Spencer Smith has an 18th century uhlan figure, so that might be an answer. And I think the Suren range might too, but these could be a bit on the large side to work well with the rest of my collection. Ordering a few samples might be the answer. Well, yet again, I seem to be putting the cart before the horse. It's going to be a year or so before we get to that point! But it is fun to let your mind wander like this from time to time, isn't it? I think that's a big part of the hobby -- all the dreaming, planning, and "what ifs?", the immense possibilities if you will.
So, that's what's been going on here at Stollen Central lately. Enjoy the weekend everyone, and Happy Painting/Gaming!