06 September 2011

The August Heat, a Shrieking Toddler, and Other Erratica. . .

The 2nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers on the march in August 2008.  They were the very first unit painted for the Grand Duchy of Stollen collection during August and September '06.  And it took only a dozen boxes of Revell SYW Prussian infantry to assemble this mighty unit.

It occurred to me late last night before I drifted off to sleep that mid-August came and went without my marking the fifth anniversary (and something like 865+ entries) of the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog.  Clearly, the summer heat, the persistent painting funk of many months' duration, and Young Master Paul's growing pains, along with preparations for the recently started autumn university term occupied my mind to such an extent that I just plum forgot!

So, I thought it a good time to page back through the early entries to this blog, made during August of 2006, when I returned home earlier this afternoon to take my toddler shift while the Grand Duchess journeyed to our nearby campus for her own round of teaching and office hours.  Here is the very first post I made on August 19, 2006, roughly one month into painting my first large unit of infantry, the 60-strong Von Laurenz Musketeers, made up of the largish 1/72 plastic Prussians in the march position, once produced by Germany's Revell.  Here is that very entry:

"Bist du meine liebhaber?"

This is the question Prince Ruprecht [now deceased] is reported to have uttered to Princess Valerie as she climbed into his stagecoach late one night in the winter of 1768 before they rode over the frontier separating her own Pillau-Zerbst from the prince's Electorate of Zichenau. And her answer of course was, "Ja, schatzi -- Ich bin deine liebhaber!" This, then, is the reason for the latest round of hostilities between my tiny imaginary countries on the fringe of Europe.

Welcome to the blog I have created to tell the ongoing story of my own imaginary 18th century wargame campaign! My inspiration comes from the Old School Wargaming group at Yahoo, Greg Horne (the man behind The Duchy of Alzheim blog -- I love your figures Greg!), and my own fascination with Young and Lawford's chestnut classic Charge!: Or How to Play Wargames, which goes back to 1994 when I purchased a reprint of this wargaming classic. Soooo -- I'm creating two small armies, as well as a few mercenary units, using the marvelous (in my own view) 1/72 SYW figures produced by Revell AG in Germany.

Periodically, I'll report on my painting progress and post a few photos plus a map of Stollen, Zicheneau, and the surrounding principalities sandwiched between extreme northeastern Prussia, Courland, Poland, and Russia.

Enjoy, and please feel free to send me your comments. It's great fun to hear about what other wargamers and figure collectors are up to. 

Since that first post, the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog has drifted whimsically here and there, sometimes going on about all manner of subjects but wargaming and model soldiers -- Houndstooth blazers, film noir, Nordic skiing, long-distance bicycling, and be-bop jazz anyone? -- but we always manage to find our way back to the primary focus. . .  painting 18th Century military miniatures, fighting the occasional tabletop game, the study of related military uniforms, and military history. . . though not necessarily in that order.  That must mean I chose right when I decided to head down this particular road.

So, it is with renewed enthusiasm that I return to the painting table to continue work on those dastardly Minden hussars, which have done their darnedest work to psyche me out since last winter.  I will also reassemble my 8' x 10'  wargaming table in the next room at the end of the week and do as some wargaming friends recently suggested. . .  stage a grand review of all the troops I have painted and scenery I have constructed since 2006.  Watch for some photos right here.  

Once I get these darned hussars under control again, those blackguards and scoundrels, then there remains just one 60-figure infantry unit (currently lined up on the painting table in their bare metal state) to paint, and the initial Grand Duchy of Stollen Project will be all finished.  Long-time GD of S visitors might recall that my endeavor all along has been to paint two 25-30mm armies of the same size as those used to fight the Battle of Sittangbad, featured within Young and Lawford's wargaming touchstone Charge!  Or How to Play Wargames.  Happily, we're almost there! 

Oh, and the offer in the post above still stands.  Please feel free to leave the occasional comment or two to say hello, ask a question, or share your enthusiasm for Old School miniatures-based wargaming in all its forms.


Brigadier Dundas said...

Good to read you are "back in the saddle again". I know from experience that the start of a new school year can be busy; stamina is not bolstered by the demands of our young either.
Looking forward to your grand review.


Martin said...

Hey Stokes,

Congratulations on your(pending)completion of two armies. Yet, I have to ask is a wargaming army ever really finished? The temptation always lurks for another unit of some kind - another artillery battery, a squadron of some exotic light cavalry, a battalion of plodding engineers, etc.



Bluebear Jeff said...

Stokes, you scared me . . . I misread your post subject matter and thought that I saw "Erotica" . . . and wondered if one of your Imagi-Nations had instituted a bare-breasted "Maiden Guard".

However a second look disabused me of that. Still, in your brief discussion of your wanderings how could you forget to mention the Grand Duchess' Stollen recipe?

I will look forward to your Grand Review.

By the way, although the Minden figures are gorgeous, they seem far too detailed for my poor painting skills . . . is that what is frustrating you?

-- Jeff


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