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Showing posts from December, 2012

2012 in Review and Plans for 2013. . .

An appropriate visual image to accompany this afternoon's year end wrap-up to 2012.
A bit of fresh snow on the ground here and a power outage for 90 minutes or so this afternoon.  Otherwise, a pleasantly quiet winter's day here at Stollen Central and a perfect time for a review of the year's activities.

Looking back at the plans that I presented right hear twelve months ago, the year 2012 was not the most productive with regard to figure painting or gaming.  While the refight of Neu Sittangbad began with considerable fanfare in mid-February, real life soon intervened most cruelly, slowing down the play-by-email proceedings, to a trickle at times.  The arrival of two new kittens in the late summer, and their eventual discovery that they could jump onto my wargaming table, led to new challenges and my eventually having to pack up the game and move everything into another room.  You can refer to my late November post for a recap of that.

As far as painting goes, there was some i…

2012 Winds Down at the GD of S. . .

A mid-19th century Currier and Ives print.  Where I grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, there was a family nearby with a couple of ponies and a sleigh, which always came out whenever we had heavy snows, which were a regular occurrence in the 197os and first half of the 80s.
Well, 2012 is winding down quietly here at Stollen Central, and I can't seem to stoke (ha, ha) the painting fires, or get my rear end into the setting up mode, to resume Neu Sittangbad.  The rest and relaxation of the last few weeks has simply been too much, I tell you, too much.  I can't go on.  Really, I can't!

Never fear, however.  Somewhat more normal operations and procedure will resume here in Zum Stollenkeller in the next day or so as the 2012 Christmas Season fades into our memories.  In the meantime, look for a retrospective of the year gone by right here on New Year's Eve.


And here's another seasonal Currier and Ives print.  I went ice skating with the Grand Duchess (who enjoys speed s…

Skiing Daydreams. . .

Here's a neat old skiing poster that has been made, apparently, into a greeting card.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find woolen 'plus fours' for skiing?!
Two more seasonal images for you this morning that have little to do with Christmas and New Year's but everything to do with snow.

And here is an illustration that shows Napoleonic-era Norwegian troops (considered Danes at the time) in a ski-jumping competition.  Apparently, ski-jumping had a more military application at one point.

A Mercifully Quiet Christmas Week. . .

Another seasonal image for Christmas Week.  I wish we had some of the white stuff locally, but it seems to be heading north, or south of us.
A quiet Christmas Week here at Stollen Central thus far.  We've been enjoying the remaining Christmas treats and drinks without doing too much else, including painting, or setting up Neu Sittangbad once again.  Oh, sure.  The thought to do both is there, but it has simply been too nice having my feet mentally up for the last several days after all of the grading and administrative stuff earlier in the month along with Christmas preparations.  Know what I mean? Sadly, there is a syllabus for a new course and a small translation that need my attention, starting today, before the new academic term begins on January 9th.  Back to the salt mines!
However, I have placed an order with Amazon, thanks to a very generous gift card from Mom and Step-Dad, for Digby Smith's title on Seven Years War armies and uniforms.  I especially eager to see what th…

Es ist Zweite Weihnachtstag!!!

The photo debut of the Young Master's collection of Britains, featuring the two newest additions front and center, a French Voluntaire Etranger from Louisberg 1758 and a 71st Highlander firing at Yorktown, 1781. 
Since this purports to be a blog about models soldier painting and wargaming, it seems like high time to get back to our raison d'etre here at the GD of S blog.  So, lets kick things off today with a photograph of the Young Master Paul's collection of 54mm figres by Wm. S. Britain above.  The Young Master has received two figures each Christmas since his arrival at Stollen Central in the fall of 2009. 
His figures all have something to do with either the French and Indian War aka The SYW) and the War of American Independence.  As of yet, the Young Master does not show a whole lot of interest in them, and he describes the soldiers as men with musical instruments of all things.  But I hope one day he might appreciate having an interesting small collection of mili…

A Peaceful Christmas Day. . .

Two lovely, quiet Victorian Christmas images for you this Christmas  Morning, a wonderful dark December day here with some crunchy snow on the ground and heavy cloud cover.  Yours truly is enjoying a mug of coffee and time to collect my thoughts while the Grand Duchess catches a few more winks and listens quietly to her National Public Radio programs on the bedside radio.  The Young Master is up and playing quietly in his room.  When I peeked in through the cracked door a short while, he smiled from bed and whispered "Merry Christmas."  He then asked to play in his room for a while and next asked to be tickled, something he does when he feels really well.  Christmas is indeed made for children as the song suggests, and I feel truly blessed.  Merry Christmas everyone!



Merry Christmas from the Grand Duchy of Stollen!

A seasonal image of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children gathered around the Christmas tree.  It's a favorite of mine that has appeared here on the GD of S blog in previous years.

Next, here is an illustration of Scrooge confronting the Ghost of Christmas Present (my favorite spirit) in Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

And finally, here is a more modern one that  I put together a few days ago.  Merry Christmas , peace, and joy to everyone.

It's Christmas Eve in the Grand Duchy of Stollen!

The ground is white with fresh snow east of the sun and west of the moon in the Grand Duchy of Stollen. Billowing, silvery drifts are piled throughout the country. The rivers and lakes are frozen solid. The woods are still but for the distant jingle of sleigh bells in the bracing air. The sky is slate grey, and heavy coal smoke hangs over the villages and towns. It is almost Christmas here in the far-off Grand Duchy of Stollen, somewhere to the northeast of Frederick’s Prussia, sometime during the latter third of the 18th century.

Citizens bustle to and fro through snow-covered streets in the small capital city of Krankenstadt, running last minute errands before the Christmas festival begins in earnest. The red brick North German Gothic storefronts feature special Christmas items and treats, and the happy faces of children peek in through the frosty windows at the cheerful seasonal displays. Street vendors peddle their wares in the town square, shouting lo…

A Veritable Fleet of Trucks!

The newly completed trucks just waiting for their coat of shiny varnish later tonight. Here they are, all done except for a shiny coat of acrylic varnish.  From left to right: a city garbage truck, a Federal Express truck, a UPS (United Parcel Services) truck, and a United States Postal Services truck.  Paul calls the latter a 'Leslie' since that is the name of our local mail lady.  

Normally, we teach him to call all adults either Mr., Mrs./Ms., or whatever professional title might be appropriate, but we are actually friendly with our mail carrier and began introducing Paul to her before we knew her last name.  So, she remains Leslie to him.   Whenever we are out together in the car, or on foot, and the Young Master spots a small mail van, he calls out, "There is a Leslie!"  

For those who might be interested, the trucks measure approximately 33/4" long x 2" high x 11/2" across.  I used blocks of wood plus wooden wheels, tiny metal screws, and washers pl…

It's December 23rd. . . Happy Festivus!

Frank Costanza says, "I got a lot of problems with you people.  And now you're gonna hear about it!"  Happy Festivus everyone!
It's amazing what a day of rest and a meal will do.  I feel as close to normal today as I ever expect to come, so let's get back to the pre-Christmas preparations.


Here's a more traditional seasonal image now, another old Christmas card, featuring Father Christmas wearing a wreath of holly around his head.  I keep meaning to plant a holly bush in our back yard somewhere.  A neighbor has one, and it looks beautiful right now.

 First off, December 23rd is, as some of you might recall, Festivus.  I was surprsied to learn recently that this was not just something dreamed up by the writers of Seinfeld as I had thought for many years.  Festivus is indeed real, at least for some.  Click on Happy Festivus to learn more about this enigmatic holiday.

And here is another vintage image of Father Christmas, once more in green robes with brown fur.

On …

Fighting off a pre-Christmas bug. . . Ugh!

Another quiet Christmas card once again from Norway.  This reminds me of where I used to ski just outside Trondheim.  The area looked remarkably similar to this card.
The title says it all.  It hit like a ton of bricks right around supper time last night, and I went straight to bed without finishing the meal.  Slept off and on for most of the night and through the morning hours.  Remarkably, a shower and brushing my teeth a little while ago, along with a fresh change of pajamas, have made me feel almost human.  Almost.  But what an inopportune time to get sick.  Hopefully, I'll be well on the road to recovery before Christmas Day.

And one more old-fashioned Christmas card from Norway today, this time from the early 1950s.



Finally, here is an 18th CenturyGallic seasonal contribution from Rob G.  Thanks Rob!  I'm craving chocolate once more, so the temporary illness must be on the wane.

It's the First Day of Winter!

The first of two vintage images of Father Christmas this cold winter's morning morning.  I absolutely love these old late-Victorian and Edwardian Christmas cards.
A bitterly cold, windy, and clear morning here at Stollen Central with a couple of inches of crunchy snow on the ground outside.  And so, in view of the pre-Christmas rush around here at the moment, let me wish everyone in the Northern Hemisphere a Happy Winter Solstice!  Please continue to tune in to the GD of S blog during the next few days in the run up to Christmas Day, to see how the wooden trucks I'm finishing for the Young Master finally turn out.  And maybe I'll actually get some soldier time in this weekend too.  Assuming I don't conk out in the evenings.  You know.  Mr. Excitement and all that.
And here's a second old Christmas card, featuring purple robes, trimmed with white fur and a dark red, or crimson cap with a gold tassel.  These old images used to seem so strange to me when I was small, gi…

Cold weather arrives in the GD of S.

A lovely, understated pre-Christmas image today.  Father Christmas trudging through the snow, apparently through a thicket of over-sized holly berries.
Much colder today and downright blustery here at Stollen Central this afternoon with high winds as the current winter weather system blows in from the North and West.  There may even be an inch or two of snow on the way tonight.  Cross your fingers!  Or as the Norwegians say "Kryss fingrane!"

We just took the Young Master to visit with Santa Claus/Father Christmas, and the two had a brief, pleasant conversation filled with smiles on both sides, so I suspect both parties fellt good about the experience.  Then, we followed with several last minute errands, including a quick trip to the hardware store for tiny washers and screws to attach the wheels to those four wooden trucks I've been making here in the elves' workshop.  Then it was onto our local arts and crafts store for a small bottle of glossy Liquitex acrylic varnis…

Winter is on its way!

Here's a understated Norwegian Christmas card from years gone by.  For you non-Norwegian speakers out there (and there must be at least a few of you) 'God Jul" means Merry Christmas.  Much is afoot here at Stollen Central currently.  The Grand Duchess and the Young Master are hard at work in the kitchen upstairs, assembling a gingerbread house kit that the former purchased earlier this month to replace the six or seven-year-old gingerbread house kit that we never managed to assemble prior to and since becoming parents.  They must be having a nice time because it is pleasantly quiet in the house. In other news -- and I'm well aware that you visitors to the GD of S blog are hanging on EVERY word -- the Grand Ducal Feline Princess Gunnlaug went to the doctor's this morning for the Royal Spaying.  The doctor's office called a short while ago to let us know that the surgery had gone well, and we can pick her up tomorrow morning.  Meanwhile, her brother Prince Onyx is…

So much to do, so much to do. . .

December is the season of toy soldiers in my book, and some brightly colored cavalry in miniature are always a stirring sight, at Christmas, or any other time!
So much to do, and so little time to do it before Christmas arrives in earnest next.  Still a few gift errands to run, and one last batch of grades to submit online today.  But, we did get the trees decorated last night, and they are stunning, so the first floor of the house, our front door, and front porch look bright and festive.  The Young Master is on the mend today and very interested in the trees this morning.  He keeps describing the various ornaments and colors that he notices. . .  in English and German!  Sadly, his Norwegian lags in third place somewhere, but there is still plenty of time for that to fall into place.  What about those wooden vehicles of his?  Well, I got started painting his wooden trucks late yesterday afternoon, and they are looking pretty good, but I need to make a quick trip today to pick up some ac…

Pre-Christmas Butterflies. . .

Here is a neat old image of good ol' Saint Nick that appeared on postage stamps here in the United States in 2001 although I can't recall ever having seen it at the time.  Still, blue trimmed with brown fur, so what's not to like?
Oh no.  Not butterflies of the wargaming kind.  Don't worry.  I'm not heading off into the Crimea or anything like that quite yet.  

And neither the Grand Duchess, nor I appear to have succumbed to anything.  But the Young Master seems to have come down with a small bug.  We are chalking it up to the excitement of the the day yesterday and little quiet time during the second half of the afternoon, which we encourage although naps are a thing of the past now.  Quiet reading, play, or contemplation in his room between about 3-5:30pm each day that is.  But he does not always cooperate.  In any case, poor Young Master Paul.  He seems to be better this morning and is at the breakfast table with his mother right now, which must be a good sign.
And…