Here is one photograph that shows some of the recently arrived figures mixed in along with others that were already residing in the relatively modest pile of lead here at Stollen Central.A small package, from Minden Miniatures in Great Britain, arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon! It contained only a few things, but exciting, interesting, fun things nevertheless. For example, a few extra Croats that are necessary to finish off a third company to go with those I painted last summer, a couple of mounted officers (Austrian and Hungarian) as well as Austrian and Prussian staffs on foot. Last of all, the recently released set of two mounted gentlemen and two mounted ladies, riding side-saddle. A few more useful figures -- call them a middle-of-the-night afterthought -- are currently on their way from Minden, which will be mixed in with these on their arrival.
This latest bunch of figures is a late birthday gift to myself -- or maybe an early Christmas gift? -- which means that the Grand Duchess will not need to fool with an overseas order in December after Minden closes down for the holiday season. Opening the package was delayed for several hours because we had dinner guests. In addition, I had previously offered to fix supper besides preparing the Young Master Paul for bedtime, etc., etc. The hours of anticipation were terrible to endure, but it was terrific fun finally stealing away down here to Zum Stollenkeller after 9pm with another cup of coffee to spend a few minutes opening the well-packaged figures. Frank Hammond takes great care to ensure that one's order arrives undamaged, and he could teach other merchants a thing or two about how to pack figures to survive the indignities of international travel and arrive undamaged.
Here's a second shot for good measure. I've randomly mixed a few appropriate RSM95 figures with many by Minden Miniatures -- plus a few by Fife and Drum -- to provide (I hope) visually interesting groups of generals and lesser officers for both of my fictitious armies. Of course, most will be painted to represent, more or less, Austrians and Prussians, but there will be a few surprises along the way too.
As the photograph above suggests, I'll use the figures to beef up my staff vignettes for the armies of Stollen and Zichenau. Sadly, life has been unkind this academic term, and I have had little to no time in the evenings or during weekends for painting. However, the long Thanksgiving holiday is approaching here in the United States, which should offer a bit of free time, and the month-long Christmas break comes soon on the heels of that. Things will relax a bit then.
While I'll have a few "professional" things to take care of early in December once classes end, there should be lots more time to paint and move the wargaming table into the next room, where it will be safe from these marauding young cats, and set up the Neu Sittangbad game once again. Disgruntled sigh. Gunnlaug and Onyx are no longer kittens size-wise, but their kitten playfulness remains for the time begin. Very sweet in most cases, but definitely not when it comes to wargaming tables and carefully painted figures in their hundreds.
Here is one final photo of the unpainted figures, showing (left to right) Prussian and Austrian staffs in the distance and Austrians next to Prussians in the foreground. The two mounted "gentlemen" gazing over the shoulders of the two officers on foot, who are no doubt arguing about something on their map, will most likely be painted to represent that most companionable of 'schlachtenbummler,' the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II along with his long-suffering gentleman's gentleman Hives.
Incidentally, the two young felines are dozing and purring on either side of my computer screen at the moment, the very picture of sweetness and (deceptive) calm. Don't be fooled for a minute!
One final thing that occurs to me with regard to creating staff vignettes. Most ranges of figures covering most eras offer additional possibilities beyond the mounted "personalities." Consider, for a moment, that you can also draft in mounted colonels of one kind or another along with a host of infantry and artillery officers on foot. With some creative license along with thoughtful mixing and matching, you can assemble all sorts of interesting tableaus in miniature, to command your armies and, at the same time, add personality to your collection and tabletop.
Later. . .
It finally occurred to me late this afternoon what I will do with the two ladies riding side saddle that arrived as part of yesterday's package from Minden Miniatures. Well, Irwin-Amadeus II has his two formidable aunts, doesn't he? So, it seems logical that these two tough old ladies, who want nothing more than to see old Irwin-Ami the Deuce settle down with the right girl and produce an heir to the throne of the Grand Duchy, ought to be represented from time to time on the tabletop. Ladies and gentlemen, meet aunts Irmgard and Hiltrud!