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New Year's Resolutions, Good Intentions, and the Slippery Slope of Wargaming Blogs: Or, "What did you do during Christmas Vacation, Daddy?"

Here they are, sans their two coats of Future/Klear acrylic floor finish, which is coming this evening after supper, the first dozen of a 30-strong regiment of Holger Eriksson dragoons, painted, more or less, as the Voluntaires de Prusse. Just another 18 to go!

Things have been slower than normal since just before Christmas and the new year here at Stollen Central, thanks to family, friends, good food, delightful socializing, and etc. I have, however, managed to finish the first dozen Holger Eriksson dragoons and wrap up the painting on some houses and assorted buildings that I put together this time last year. But first, let's talk figures and painting.

The HE figures that I started in early December have been fun and fast to paint. I've used a mix of media, including Humbrol undercoats on the horses with thin washes of oils on top along with Humbrol British Rifle Green and Games Workshop acrylic hobby paints for the troopers and officers. Overall, I am reasonably pleased with the results and will invest in some more of these lovely old school figures before long as I have mentioned here previously. Realistic human and equine proportions along with simple, understated detail equals near perfect castings. Many current figure manufacturers and designers could learn a lot about their craft and how to do it by studying these old, but not outdated or obsolete, miniatures.

Here is a shot of the newly painted buildings in question, along with an older town gate at left.

Christmas Week saw yours truly take a break from painting the Holger Eriksson dragoons and turn my attention to finishing the various new buildings I constructed during the
Looooong In-Law Visit of January 2010, during which I retreated often to the peaceful confines of Zum Stollenkeller. However, it wasn't until recently that I sat down to turn the models into something more than gray cardboard shells with balsa ruins on the inside!

Here's another phtograph from the other side of the as yet nameless town, defended so ably here by a company of O'Malley's Irish Grenzers.

The inspiration for this latest real estate boom here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen came from Charles Grant's article on flat-pack buildings in the
2010 Wargamer's Annual. I was very eager to try some of the ideas explained therein AND design buildings with slightly smaller dimensions that both take up less room on the tabletop and hold eight figures (half a company in the rules outlined in Charge!).

And finally, a third shot of the new town from a slightly different perspective. I must admit that I prefer the slightly more carefully applied, "neater" window treatments to my earlier "expressionist" window style.

As Ian Weekley used to do in many of his photographs, featured in
Military Modeling, Miniature Wargames, and Wargames Illustrated, I've lined up a company of 30mm RSM95 figures to provide a point of reference and add some visual interest to these photos. There is an East Prussian farmhouse and barn to paint next (possibly this evening or early in the week) plus another church and a townhall, or "Rathaus", that I'd like to design and build after that. I also want to try my hand at a a couple of more ornately gabled merchants' houses, for which I've drawn the templates freehand from photographs of old townhouses in eastern German cities like Stralsund, Wismar, Rostock, and Greifswald. More on this experiment anon. Did I really just use that word?

Finally, I have come to the firm decision to make only weekly posts to the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog from now on -- think of it as a weekly magazine of sorts -- and devote more time to painting, gaming, and other pursuits in 2011. I have thought about this before, and probably said as much at some point, but the start of a new year seems like a good time to revamp my thinking about this blog, the purpose it serves, and the frequency of my posts to it. The Grand Duchy of Stollen blog began in August of '06, to chart my figurative journey and progress in assembling and painting two Sittangbad-sized tabletop forces. Fine and dandy. Since then, there have been many and sundry posts by yours truly, most of which (though certainly not all) have had to do directly with the project. However, I've sometimes had a nagging suspicion that the blog has taken over and consumes rather more time than it should.

The primary reason, then, behind my decision to reduce the number of entries here for the foreseeable future has to do with not enough hobby time as parenthood, work, writing, and other things vie for my attention.
In addition, posting every half-formed, trivial thought I have here is starting to seem like too much of a good thing. Let's call it the Twitter and Facebook effect. In other words, too many of us labor under the delusion that virtually everything we think, do, and say is actually somehow important and worthy of sharing with the rest of the world. But it's not THAT interesting in reality, and maybe most of it falls dangerously close to being meaningless fluff, of interest to only a few. Certainly most of my thoughts and activities aren't that riveting and, therefore, do not warrant extensive online blather.

That's really just a long-winded way of saying that I hope to work on producing a bit more tangible stuff here in Zum Stollenkeller this year and blog a bit less incessantly about it.
And with that weighty pronouncement, I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. The next batch of Holger Eriksson dragoons awaits! I'll see you in a week or so.


Paul´s Bods said…
Good buildings. I like the window effect.
Stryker said…
Careful there Stokes - we all know what comes after a property boom! Nice looking structures though...

Bluebear Jeff said…
They look splendid, Stokes. Very nice work (as usual).

-- Jeff
Bloggerator said…
Jolly good stuff Stokes.

A belated happy new year to you.


Giles said…
They look very effective, Stokes - quite a town you have there.
Grimsby Mariner said…
Like those a lot.
Simple and elegant.
Stokes Schwartz said…
Thank you for your kind remarks, everyone and good wishes! More on the way very shortly with those first dozen Holger Eriksson figures. Just four more to do for the bridles, reins, and other horse furniture, and then tally ho with the clear coats of Future/Klear acrylic floor finish, and onto the next batch of nine!

Best Regards,

Jiminho said…
Super buildings, simple and elegant indeed. I really like your roofs, both the painting effect and the multiple little angles.

Der Alte Fritz said…
Nice work on the buildings. they really evoke the look and feel of the Baltic German area of eastern Europe.

How about making an inn and some stables for Stollen's cavalry?
tidders said…
love the buildings especially the way you've do the windows.

-- Allan

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