Next, I spent a few evenings painting and putting the finishing touches on a couple of model structures meant to represent a combination farmhouse-barn in the former East Prussia. You might vaguely recall a post from last January (Click Here), which featured three or four such farms in present-day Poland and Lithuania. Since the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its environs are somewhere just to the northeast of Frederick's Prussia, it seemed like a good idea to add a couple of farm buildings that actually look like what you might still see in the countryside in that part of Europe. . . which brings us to the finished structure below.
The model (Can I really use that word?) turned out far better than expected. I wrestled with the problem of how to render the half-timbered fachwerk for about a week before finally getting down to business and doing it in the easiest, least time-consuming way, and I am rather pleased with the results. Not up to the same highly detailed modelling standard of the late Ian Weekley, of course, or the more recent work of Herb Gundt, but the structure looks like what it is supposed to be, an old farm complex somewhere in a formerly German corner of northeastern Europe.
Third, work has continued slowly on the next batch of Holger Eriksson cavalry. You can see where we stand as of last night from the photograph above. As with the first dozen figures, I have applied thinned alkyd oils, which were next wiped off with a paper towel, leaving highlights on the raised areas of the figures. The highlights are provided by the various colors of Humbrol enamel (glossy) undercoats that are the intermediary layer of color between the black basecoat and the thinned oil glazes. Admittedly, the horses look pretty awful at this early point in the painting game, but by the time you apply the white markings, touch up the manes/tails, as well as the horse furniture -- not to mention painting the flesh and uniforms of the officers and troopers -- they smarten up appreciably.
Long-time visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog will know that this is a completely new way of tackling horses for me, an activity I liken to watching grass grow. It still feels awkward, but I like the results an awful lot. So, I doubt that I'll return to my old way of painting mounted units, which involved black basecoats and then various browns applied carefully with a fairly small brush, usually a #2 round, to avoid spoiling the already black reins and other assorted harnesses. THAT way always took forever! The new method, which is rather charmingly old school, is noticeably faster, especially if you are organized and have everything you might need close at hand. I heartily recommend trying what I am calling the 'Gilder-Preece Method' of painting horses for your own mounted units when you next settle down to paint a bunch of horses. Go on! You know you want to.
What else? Oh, yes. . . Word has it that the Electorate of Zichenau has suddenly and inexplicably sent an expeditionary force, under the notorious French mercenary-adventurer General Phillipe de Latte, into the neighboring Grand Duchy of Stollen -- in the dead of winter -- to establish a foothold for a planned spring campaign. The advance guard of said expeditionary force is at present spread thinly in and around the small town of Schpeckbova, a coach stop of little importance, in an isolated valley of extreme southwestern Stollen. Preliminary skirmishing has been reported while General von Tschatschke -- The Flamboyant Silesian -- hastily assembles a formation of available troops outside the Stollenian capital Krankenstadt, to meet and expel the aggressors. Stay tuned for further developments.