First, a copy of Hans Bleckween's Reiter, Husaren, und Grenadiere arrived in the mail about two weeks ago after a circuitous journey from Germany. This is an interesting little book all about the Reichsarmee of circa 1734. Not exactly mid-18th Century, but pretty close and chock-a-block full of fascinating period illustrations of soldiers from the ten districts responsible for contributing troops and money to the formation and upkeep of the Reichsarmee. . . The 'army' of the Holy Roman Empire. If you are at all interested in the subject, track down a copy. Even if you don't read German well (and mine is very rusty), there are enough illustrations to keep you busy for a while.
On another related topic, I have finally exhausted my supply of heavy gray cardboard that I use to make my houses and other buildings. I have carefully scavenged and hoarded the former from the backs of graph paper pads since the mid-1980s, so this was something of a milestone in a way. Fortunately, I found sheets of the stuff, called 'chipboard', at the arts and craft supply company known as Dick Blick here in the United States. My mother, the real artist of the family, purchased all of her oil paints and brushes through them for many years. The company stocks all kinds of useful things, and I urge you to peruse the website carefully.
But back to the heavy cardboard. I've been asked to produce a small group of buildings that are similar to those seen here recently, so additional online research as to the type of buildings and the material with which to construct them were necessary. I can't really say anything more about it right now, but watch for a few words here some months down the road.
Along with the two large sheets of heavy cardboard, I ordered a few tubes of oil colors: ivory black, Venetian Red and Light English Red. The latter two are really reddish browns that will be used primarily for horses in future cavalry regiments. I've had so much fun painting horses with a Humbrol undercoat and thin oil glazes lately, borrowing heavily from John Preece over at the Flanderkin Serjeant blog, that I have decided to do all future horses this way. They really look amazing to my eyes. I've also decided to bite the bullet and try painting an entire unit of 60 RSM Prussian musketeers -- as red-coated Hanseatic infantry no less -- using a white undercoat and mostly thinned alkyd oils. But, I've got a unit of Minden Prussian hussars plus a couple of MiniFig cannon to finish first.
But what about to the Holger Eriksson cavalry figures? The second squadron of nine figures is just about finished (only a few small items to paint yet), and the third squadron is well underway. Normally, I work on one subsection of a unit from start to completion, but I feared my 22-year old tin of Humbrol Rifle Green, which I have used for the coats and saddle cloths, might dry out mid-project. Since I have no idea where or how to replace said tin easily, it seemed prudent to jump on my painting horse and apply some rather thick, goopy color to the final nine figures while there was still some life left in the old girl.
Anyway, in the space of about 2.5 hours early Friday evening, I managed to apply fleshtone to these final nine figures, white to the wigs, green to the coats and saddle cloths, and khaki to the valises/greatcoats at the rear of the saddlecloths. Now, this might seem unremarkable, but to yours truly, the paint almost seemed to apply itself to these wonderful old Swedish figures. Each step went so quickly and easily that I thought, "Well, why not?" and continued with the next step. The end result, is that I very well might be able to finish both squadrons (18 figures) in another week or so, barring any unforeseen complications. And maybe it might have something to do with using a larger than normal brush? Look for a few photographs right here once the entire unit is finished.
I don't ever recall noticing this shoeless phenomenon as a child or young person at home whenever my parents and grandparents had dinner guests. People arrived dressed nicely and behaved in a correspondingly pleasant way. Strange. I wish more people had a little more sense of, well, basic polite convention for want of a better term. You need to be a tiny bit more formal and keep your clothes and shoes on when a guest in someone's home unless it's a backyard pool party, or you are at the beach during the summer. But that's a subject for another time and place I suppose.