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Showing posts from January, 2012

Only Hours Left to Vote!!!

There are only hours left for you to cast your vote in the "Which Tabletop Battle Should They Fight First in 2012?" poll here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen.  Choose which of the five scenarios listed you would most like to see played out first here in Zum Stollenkeller by clicking the appropriate box in the upper right-hand corner of the GD of S homepage.  And you are on your honor to do so only once!  With that firm proviso in mind, as Tiny Tim so rightly observed in Dickens's first draft of A Christmas Carol, "Vote, or die!"

Freshly Based. . .

Whoops!  I still need to paint the edges of the various bases green.
Finally made myself sit down and attach those 60-odd Luebecker Musketeers to their permanent bases yesterday.  I'm pleased with the results.  No "terraining" of said bases, in keeping with my Old School approach, but the bases are painted in the same green as the tabletop.  Very simple, but I'd like to think that the unit presents a nice combination of classic Young, Lawford, and Grant on the one hand, and slightly more practical Gilder on the other, which works for me.  Now, which of the existing units in the GD of S order of battle to be (re-) based next?

Only Two Days Left. . .

Only a couple of days left for you to cast your vote in the "Which Tabletop Battle Should They Fight First?" poll.  Please be sure to cast your vote (and just one, thanks) for the scenario of your choice at the upper right of the Grand Duchy of Stollen homepage.  Final results will be tabulated by a team of experts and shared during Wednesday.

Re-Basing Underway. . .

A regiment of Stollenian cavalry -- the 4th (Trakehenen) Dragoons -- painted during January and February of 2007.  My first cavalry unit for the Grand Duchy of Stollen project.  They will shortly be re-based, or fastened to multiple bases in keeping with my drive to speed games along somewhat.  Figures pictured are Revell 1/72 plastic Austrian dragoons and were painted with a combination of Citadel (ex-Games Workshop) acrylics and oils.

Did You Say Another Painting Challenge??!!

Two gun crews with a couple of heavy cannon.  From left to right: a Minden crew, one by RSM95, and two heavy guns also by RSM95.  I plan to paint each crew in a different uniform, probably Saxon and Bavarian, though the Hanoverians were certainly colorful too.
My group of wargaming friends and acquaintances scattered across the globe has collectively found that painting challenges tend to make things happen at our respective painting tables.  While not high-pressure situations -- and anyone is free to change his plans, stated aims, or to drop out if real life interferes -- these events instill a healthy drive to get things accomplished.  And many of us in the hobby could certainly use this kick in the seat of the pants from time to time.

On that last note, a wonderfully jolly professor from Denmark, from whom I took a course on late 19th Century Scandinavian literature while at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2000, made a similar observation about graduate students once when…

It's like crazy, man, crazy!!!

You will have noticed that some extensive renovation is underway here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog.  Much of the information, formerly on the right side of the homepage, has now moved to pages of its own, making this blog look and feel much more like an actual website.  Please note the new navigation bar just below the photo of some of my tabletop forces.  That picture will be replaced in due course with another that features better focus and depth of field, following the first tabletop encounter of 2012.  Stay tuned!

The First Guest Post of 2012. . .

Today's entry is the first guest post of 2012.  Several of these have been lined up already, and most of which will have something to do with how each guest approaches painting his particular figures.  So, you can think of these posts as a growing repository or painting philosophy. . .  as well as a different set of voices here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen from the usual ravings of yours truly. 
Kidding aside, our first guest blogger is Mr. Greg Horne, the man behind the Duchy of Alzheimblog.  Longtime readers of Battlegames might recall that Greg had an article on blogging within a wargaming context in an early issue of the magazine.  And indeed, it was that very article that inspired yours truly to begin the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog in August or 2006.  So, without further ado, here is Greg with his take on painting vast numbers of vintage 30mm wargaming miniatures quickly and easily.

Painting Spencer Smith Miniatures 
by Greg Horne
Thanks to Stokes for the opportunity to make t…

Cavalry Comparison. . .

From left to right: Minden hussar, RSM95 cuirassier, Holger Eriksson dragoon, Spencer Smith dragoon.
A request for a cavalry comparison photograph came in today from Jeff, who is specifically interested in how Minden and RSM95 cavalry figures compare to each other.  The two ranges work quite well together as you can see, and for good measure I threw in another by Holger Eriksson and one by Spencer Smith.  All slightly different in style, but very good proportions, similar in height and heft as well. A good mix and match.
I will continue to mix the four ranges within my collection (Ooooo, I like the sound of that word, "collection"!) and will shortly add a few mounted officers from the new Fife & Drum range (sculpted by Richard Ansell, who also sculpts for Minden), which is available from Der Alte Fritz, as well as some Austrian and Prussian mounted generals by Minden and, later in the year, a few more mounted officers by Suren/Willie.  As the late Brigadier Young and Colon…

Don't forget to vote. . . It's the right thing to do!

Only a week left for you to place your vote in the "Which Scenario Should They Fight in Early 2012?" poll.  Sittangbad remains in the lead with approximately 44% of the votes so far, but the river crossing scenario is running an increasingly close second.  Meanwhile, the armies of the Grand Duchy of Stollen and the Electorate of Zichenau are gathering and preparing for the march to the first tabletop battlefield.  But which one they march to and contest first has yet to be determined.  If you have not already done so, please be good enough to cast your vote before midnight on January 31st.  You can do so in the upper right-hand corner of the GD of S homepage.

Banging the Grand Duchy of Stollen Blog into Shape. . .

At the moment, I am between projects, awaiting the arrival of some new figures, and sitting tight to see how the "Which Tabletop Scenario Should They Fight?" question pans out over the final ten days or so of the poll.  So, there has been some nice, lazy almost inactivity going on here in Zum Stollenkeller of late.  However, things have not ground to a complete halt.  I have been slowly giving the Luebecker Musketeers their second coat of gloss varnish and cutting out their bases from 1/16" plywood.  Should look really good once I get those ready to tack the figures to them.  And I've also managed to attached a few artillery tools to the hands of those Minden and RSM gun crews and glue the figures to temporary bases for later painting.  Might just start that this weekend if the mood strikes me.
And then there is some housecleaning and home improvement to do with regard to the GD of S blog itself.  Some of you more eagle-eyed visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen …

Books, Books, Books!!!

Since I have painting technique on the brain at the moment, I thought that I would share a couple of potentially useful titles with you this morning that I own and refer to from time to time.  First up, Building and Painting Scale Figures by Sheperd Paine is almost 20 years old, but it contains lots of information that is both interesting and helpful to figure painters, whether wargamers, or their cousins who tackle 54mm or larger single display figures and dioramas.  
While the book presents considerable material that, at first glance, might not seem relevant to those of us painting 15 or 25mm figures en masse, read between the lines a bit, and there is actually a great deal here to help wargamers produce sharper looking figures for their tabletop armies.  Besides chapters on lighting, color mixing, shading, painting faces realistically, horses, and detailing one's figures, as well as sculpting and converting larger figures, there here is even a short chapter on painting specifica…

Here are two more neat comparison photographs. . .

Two final comparison photos, this time reblogged from Keith's Wargaming Blog, showing three Suren 'Willie' figures and ones by RSM95 side by side.  Exciting because they show how well the two ranges seem to compliment each other in size and proportion.  I might just have to bite the bullet later in the year and make a purchase from Peter Johnstone of Spencer Smith Miniatures. A few staff figures on horseback if nothing else.

Random Thoughts on Figure Painting the Old School Way. . .

As painters of wargaming figures, we typically use smaller round brushes with good points for most of our painting tasks, but I liked this particular photo a lot because it reminds me of my mother's studio at her home in Mexico, which smells of clay and linseed oil and has holders of various sculpting tools and paintbrushes on every available surface with canvases stacked against the walls and current works in progress on two or three huge easels.
A number of random ideas have occurred to me in the last week, since finishing that last BIG infantry unit, which I hope to develop eventually into a more coherent personal painting "manifesto" if you'll pardon the tongue-in-cheek use of that politically charged, grandiose term.

Now, I don't consider myself a master figure painter by any means.  Nevertheless, I appreciate well-painted miniatures, like most of us do, and the 20/25/30/40mm round varieties in particular.  So, I am always on the lookout for new things to try…

Less Than Two Weeks to Go. . .

Until January 31st, the end of the "Which Scenario Should They Fight First in 2012?" poll.  So far, Sittangbad remains in the lead with approximately 42% of the votes cast so far, but Charles S. Grant's river crossing scenario is in second place with the rest trailing along somewhere behind.  There is still plenty of time for that situation to change though.  What do you think?  Which scenario would you like to see the armies of the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its arch enemy the Electorate of Zichenau undertake here in Zum Stollenkeller?  Be sure to cast your vote for one of the five scenarios at the upper right of the Grand Duchy of Stollen homepage.

Presenting the 6th (Luebecker Musketeers) Regiment of Infantry!!!

61 figures and a horse, painted between the end of November 2011 and early January 2012.
Freshly glossed and awaiting a second coat in a day or two, here is the final unit of infantry in my initial Sittangbad-sized forces.  The uniform is based very heavily on a Knoetel plate, illustrating the military costume worn by Hansastadt Luebeck's Buergermilitaer during the mid- to late 18th Century.  The figures were painted with a mix of acrylics, Humbrol enamels, and oil glazes (the horse and scarlet coats).  As you might suspect from previous comments by me over the last couple of months, I enjoyed painting these immensely.  Certainly as much as, if not even more than, those Holger Eriksson dragoons a year ago.
This unit will have the honor of beign the first regiment in my armies committed to multiple bases in a few days once I have had the chance to visit the local model railway shop to purchase the right kind of thin wood ply.  More photos to come once that final step is all done.

A Little More Stollenian Eye Candy. . .

A reprise of the July 2010 Battle for Teordorstal Valley fought between the fiery Colonel von Adalnowski and the lovesick Major von Topfsange.
Just one more blast from the past today.  The photograph above comes from a solo affair that was conducted here in Zum Stollenkeller during July 2010.  The battle that unfolded over a number of afternoons and evenings, while the Grand Duchess and Young Master Paul were away, was based on a Charles S. Grant Tabletop Teaser from Battlegames #19.  Lots of fun, and the proceedings led eventually to the surrender of the Zichenauer army to the Stollenians.  You can read more about the battle, as seen through the eyes of Colonel von Adalnowski and his guest the young Major von Topfsange respectively, by viewing the July 2010 blog entries.

Plastics and Metals Work Well Together. . .

Metal RSM figures mix it up with some plastic Revell dragoons in a 2008 refight of Charles Grant Sr.'s "Action" from The War Game, which I retitled The Action at Pelznikkel, to fit into my ongoing campaign context.
One of you visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen asked, in the last day or so, whether I used 1/72 plastics together with my metal figures, or not.  Guilty as charged.  I freely mix the two.  The first several units I painted for the GD of S project back in 2006 and 2007 consisted of the sadly defunct, increasingly hard to find plastic Seven Years War sets by Germany's Revell.  Larger than some makes of 1/72 scale plastics, those produced by Revell are, in fact, very slender, understated 25mm figures.  Like many brands of 25mm used to be before the mid to late 1980s and the advent of Wargames Foundry.  So, there was no question in my mind about using the Revell figures on the table next to the larger ones by RSM95, Spencer Smith, and Holger Eriksson once …

Here's a Comparison Photograph from Colonel Campbell. . .

In keeping with various posts from the last couple of days, that show how various 25-30mm 18th century miniatures match up to each other, or not as the case may be, here is a picture of, from left to right, figures by: Minot, Minot, RSM95, Minot, and Old Glory.  Hmmmm. . .  The advancing Hessian grenadier and a couple of those officers on foot, designed by Barry Minot and available in metal from Spencer Smith Miniatures, are sorely tempting!

Yet another Comparison Photograph. . .

A picture I took in February 2007, to illustrate the difference in size between the plastic 1/72 scale SYW figures by Revell on the left and a metal 1/60 scale RSM95 Prussian grenadier, painted here as the famous Oberfeldwebel Klatschen, the most feared non-commissioned officer in the Army of Stollen.  Why, it has been said that even the generals avoid tangling with him!  While the difference in stature and stoutness between the two miniatures is readily apparent, you really don't notice that when they are deployed in large units on the table.

Another Comparison Photo. . .

This comparison photograph, taken in 2010, comes to us from Mark Dudley of the Ilkley Old School blog.  from left to right, the figures are by: Spencer Smith, Minot, Jackdaw, and the final three by Tradition (Stadden).  Were time and money no object, I'd add large units in metal from all these miniature makers.
The responses to yesterday's posting of various comparison photographs have been extremely good, and it has been a real pleasure hearing from all of you on the subject.  If there is anyone else out there with some comparisons photographs of nominally 25-30mm figures floating around on your hard drives, and assuming you would like to see them reblogged here, please send them along, clearly identifying which figures are which, and I'll post them at the GD of S blog.  
It's really very interesting to see all of these various figures next to each other.  For many years, I was under the mistaken impression that 30mm MUST be larger than 25/28mm.  Clearly, that is not al…

Figure Comparison Photographs. . .

In the above photograph, taken by yours truly in 2007, you'll observe from the left an RSM95 figure, one by Spencer Smith, another by MiniFigs, and a plastic one by Revell at the far right.
Back in early December, one of you Stollen regulars asked in a comment for some comparison photographs of various 18th century figures, to see how they compared in stature and stoutness.  So, without further ado, here are a number of reblogged pictures gleaned from various blogs, including my own.  Thanks in advance go out to Greg Horne, Jim Purky, Frank Hammond, Little John of Lead Gardens, Allen at The Kingdom of Wittenberg, and Steve Gill.  If I have missed anyone, please excuse me, and do let me know offline, so I can make the necessary corrections and give credit where it is due.
At any rate, figure choice, when it comes time to making that leap and parting with your hard earned cash, is, like so much else in life, a highly personal thing.  My own preference if for slender, realistically pro…

The Final Painting Progress Chart Update. . .

Above, you'll see the final Grand Duchy of Stollen painting progress chart update.  My mathematics might be off by a few numbers here and there, but nevertheless, the units are all finished and waiting to assemble for battle in a few weeks' time once the "Which Tabletop Battle Should They Fight?" poll ends.  If you have not yet voted for a particular scenario, please do so by January 31st at the upper right-hand corner of the GD of S homepage.  So far, Sittangbad remains in the lead (not, I hasten to add, "lead."  Get it?), but there is still plenty of time for one of the Charles S. Grant scenarios to come from behind. 
I've also been sorting through the pile of lead and plastic here in Zum Stollenkeller, and it looks like it's enough to keep me busy for another couple of years at least if you factor in the additional bridges I want to scratch-build along with a planned dozen or so pontoon, baggage, and ammunition wagons or carts, which I'll also…

I'm not sure whether to say "Yeehaw!" or "Whew!"

More to follow over the next few days in the way of photographs, an updated progress chart, and the like.  But suffice to say, the 61-figure strong 6th (Princess Nene's Luebecker Musketiers) Infantry Regiment, which joins the Army of Stollen, is now FINISHED.  I made a huge push before supper this evening to wrap up painting on the last two company drummers and the mounted Colonel von Weinshenk, who have taken their place with the rest of the regiment to await their two coats of clear, glossy protective coating in the next few days and, afterwards, their marching orders.  

What a wild ride the past few months have been due to not just one, but TWO painting challenges (Thanks Bill!).  Since I did not quite manage to finish those Minden hussars until after the November 5th, 2011 deadline of the first challenge, I was bound and determined to to wrap up this latest unit of RSM95 musketeers before the deadline of the second challenge,  January 16th, 2012.  Come hell or high water you mi…