06 November 2011

Some Birthday Blather. . .

Charging full steam towards the table edge: 21 Finished Minden hussars against a slightly nicer, neutral background.  Their uniform is based on that worn by the hussars of Lauzun's Legion. 

45 today!  Hmmm. . .  Doesn't feel that different from 44.  Only a couple of occasional gray hairs spotted in the last few months.  No creaky joints just yet, so it's not too bad even if life is, chronologically, about half-way over.  I should still manage to finish the basic Grand Duchy of Stollen project -- two Sittangbad-sized 25-30mm tabletop forces -- before it's time to think about final changes to the will, long-term geriatric care, and funeral plots.  Might even get to play a few more games with the whole shebang too!

All kidding aside, it feels good to be alive as my maternal grandfather 'Dave' used to say.  Young Master Paul is now walking a lot and crawling/scooting much less in the matter of only a few days.  Funny how quickly that happens once that particular switch is thrown, and they figure out that they can walk unassisted.  New words almost daily, improved pronunciation on older ones, and a flood of German words to boot, thanks to the efforts of the Grand Duchess.  Yes, having a small child enables one to continue feeling young even if somewhat vicariously.

Oh, and before I forget, a special thank-you to the Grand Duchess and the Young Master for letting me sleep undisturbed until 10:30 this morning.  That is perhaps the best birthday gift a father could receive.

On other fronts, sad news this week regarding the delightful magazine Battlegames, and I suspect many of you have read about this elsewhere already.  For the foreseeable future, the magazine will cease publication due to rising paper, printing, and mailing costs combined with declining revinue from advertisers, which makes continuing the magazine in its current form impossible, according to what I've read. . .  though it might return as a quarterly in digital form at some point if there is sufficient interest and doing so works from a business standpoint where owner/editor Henry Hyde is concerned.  

Awful news, to say the least for those of us who subscribed to no other hobby magazine because Battlegames was so good in its presentation of thought-provoking, interesting, and, yes, fun articles about a wide array of topics without becoming simply a picturebook that featured nothing but ads and promotional "articles" for products made by the various figure manufacturers. . .  eye-candy, wargaming porn, call it what you will.  

No, Battlegames was different, and will be sorely missed.  My heart goes out to Henry.  Though we've never met face-to-face, he is a genuinely good man, and he produced a solid product.  His enthusiasm for the wargaming hobby always managed to shine through the pages of his magazine, whether he had anything to do with a particular article, or not.  Henry's decision to cease publications and call it a day must have been terribly difficult.  While digital is not my preferred format, I'd resubscribe in an instant were Battlegames to reappear at some point in the future in that form.

To the painting challenge -- agreed on by a few wargaming friends around the world and I back in mid-September -- which concluded last night at midnight.  As regular visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen will know already, I managed to paint 21 of 30 Minden Prussian hussars, pictured above.  In general, I'm pleased with the end results, though I found these particularly difficult miniatures to work with from a painterly perspective.  I am especially proud of the flagpole, though, which I painted freehand and nailed in one go.  Definitely not for the faint of heart.  So you kids out there, don't try this at home!

Work on the final nine hussars and two brigade staff -- an officer and trumpeter also in hussar uniforms -- continues.  All white undercoating on top of the black basecoat is done now, so this evening, it begins to get interesting again as I start to apply some real color.  I'll start with the red breeches and continue with light blue saddlecloths, dolmans, and pelisses before moving on to the small, more detailed parts of the figures like the yellow/gold lace braiding, fur trim, etc., etc.

 A Knoetel print, featuring various troops, belonging to the free Hanseatic City of Hamburg, circa 1755.

With any luck, and a little time, the hussars should be finished by the American Thanksgiving weekend near the end of the month.  And then, it's on to that final regiment of 60 RSM95 Prussian musketeers, which I'll paint as Hanseatic infantry in red coats.  That should be lots of fun since red is my favorite color, and RSM figures are a pure joy to paint. . .  almost as much fun as those by Holger Eriksson!

Finally, I see that I have picked up a couple of new followers in the last several days, so a hearty "Welcome!" to them, and an equally hearty thank-you to you visitors and followers of longer standing.  All of you help to make the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog what it is -- whatever that might be -- and keep it fun for yours truly.  Please continue to check in on a regular basis for breaking news and other developments.  And who knows?  There might even be an actual game description, featuring more pictures of those newly painted hussars, before too long.

Just spoke to my mother, on the phone from Mexico, who suggested that I just pretend like it's my 25th birthday, which will enable her to pretend like she is much younger than her current age!  ;-)


Fitz-Badger said...

Happy birthday, young feller!

Mosstrooper said...

Beautiful looking regiment , am in awe at your painting skills- and patients !

Grimsby Mariner said...

Happy birthday to you. I can only speak from personal experience but it goes rapidly downhill from here. (Never seen a doctor in the first forty five years - seen nothing but since!).
Agreed about BG - Henry deserved better.

Bluebear Jeff said...

A most hearty "Happy Birthday" to you, my friend. And your hussars look splendid in that charge formation.

I like your aunt's suggestion. That means that I'm suddenly 43 again (so why do my knees still hurt?).

-- Jeff

Chris Gregg said...

Well, you are a mere youngster - but seem to achieve so much for a working man with a young family - well done!
I like the Hussars - did the barber mind when the looters stole his pole?

Sir William the Aged said...


Happy Birthday you young whippersnapper, now get off my lawn!

I mean, seriously Dude, as of last month all of my children are over 30 and my three oldest grandkids have all passed their first decade. It's a devious plot to make me feel older, that's what it is.

The Hussars look great, as always. Say hello to the Grand Duchess for me, and enjoy your time with young Master Paul, he won't be young forever.


Prinz Ulrich von Boffke said...

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes everyone. Much appreciated!

Best Regards,


Old School ACW said...

Well said Stokes and Happy Birthday old feller.


tidders said...

Happy birthday,

-- Allan

MurdocK said...

Happy Birthday Stokes!

guy said...

Ditto about GB. A v great shame.

I spent the summer months doing a 32 figure French napoleonic 3rd hussar regiment. I do not think there are any more time consuming and frustrating figures to paint. Month followed month and whilst I am v pleased with the end result, you do definately feel bogged down.

Since then I have painted 2 and now I am on the third 30 figure Minden SYW French infantry regiment and they seem to fly off the brush. Re-energised and enthused.



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