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Showing posts from February, 2013

Poco a poco. . .

The bows and stringed instruments are painted, but need 18 hours or so to dry to the touch.  Professor Detrius and Irwin-Amadeus II, both very nattily turned out themselves, look on.  Detrius, now that I think about it, resembles the young Robert Plant onstage, ca. 1969, or '70.  Can't you envision a microphone on his outstretched hand?  Or maybe I'm just dazed and confused?  That's what happens when the emotional levee breaks.  Complete and utter communication breakdown.
As Spanish speakers say, or "Little by little."  A delightful couple of hours spent at the painting desk this morning and midday while the Grand Duchess and the Young Master ran errands and visited the local Children's Museum ( a current favorite).  So, the house was delightfully quiet and still.  Perfect painting weather too.  Cold and gray outside, not enough snow for skiing or anything else.  A guy couldn't ask for a better excuse to open up a few tubes paint, squeeze a few small d…

A Few Scenic Items on the Way. . .

A group of the Grand Duke's cronies, enjoying social intercourse at the Brummen und Zummen.  Strangely, there are no dinner rolls standing in as cricket balls in sight!
Ha!  I just made a small order for some Foundery and Front Fank barrels, gabions, crates, trunks, sacks, and other paraphernalia with which to enliven my planned pioneer/sapper/miner/pontoonier vignettes.  With any luck at all, those things should be here in a week or, right about the time I wrap up the musicians, dogs, and so forth.  Now, if we are able to finish supper in enough time this evening, and I can get the Young Mast into bed without any unforeseen difficulties (ok, tantrums), I might be able to steal away back down here to Zum Stollenkeller for another round of painting and some much needed quiet time to myself.  Cross your fingers!

Painting Progress This Week. . .

Where we stand currently with the Eureka Musicians, Greyhounds, and so forth. Snatching a few minutes here and there, wherever possible, this week for painting.  And I even just played hooky from reading and grading student papers last night to paint for about 90 minutes, which was a very pleasant change of pace.  Two of my three courses are "writing intensive" this term, so there is another stack of papers to read, comment on, and grade every time I turn around. Anyway, you can see where things stand as of last night in the photo above.  So far, so good though I wish the facial expressions of the musicians were not quite so exaggerated and "pulpy."  But otherwise, nice figures that are a real change of pace.  Just what I needed.  Painting so far has been with very thin oil washes on the larger areas and very thin acrylic washes for the smaller details, to keep everything translucent and permit the white undercoat to play a role in the overall look of the figures.  T…

Exciting News from Perry Miniatures. . .

A photograph of the greens (courtesy of The Miniatures Page) for the planned series of figures.
Very much in keeping with my current fascination with adding non-combatant vignettes or one kind or another to my armies, it seems Perry Miniatures has plans to release a series of figures for use in a camp setting.  The figures are specifically intended for the American War of Independence, but most look nondescript enough in their attire that they might very well offer considerable potential for various mid-18th century conflicts on the European continent.  Even more exciting, the hands, heads, and calves don't look wildly out of proportion in the above picture, so I might just need to purchase these once they actually become available.  Exciting times indeed!

Much Needed Time at the Painting Table. . .

A few of the Eureka musicians in progress along with some Minden figures at the rear of the table.  Irwin-Amadeus II (right rear) later got a crimson coat too.  I aim to make his waistcoat and pantaloons (or should I say 'plus four'?) equally colorful.  He is a vain dandy after all.  Or is that me?
Ah. . .   Some much needed time to myself at the painting table today and last Wednesday evening, applying fleshtone and, this afternoon, some Alizarin Crimson to the Grand Duke's musicians.  The paint is already pretty buttery straight from the tube, but with a good-sized blob of Liquin Original, it flows from the bristles onto the figures wonderfully, settling in folds and thinning just a bit on the raised areas.  Presto!  Instant highlights and shadows without a two or three-step process.  Painting today has been an absolute delight.
The tube pf Alizarin Crimson picture must be 40 years old if it's a day and once belonged to Dear 'Ol Mom who trained at university as a p…

Breaking News: Battlegames to Merge with Miniature Wargames!

The great BG is scheduled to "merge" with Miniatures Wargames in just a few issues.
A bit news came into the offices here at Stollen Central yesterday that has me feeling a bit of I don't know what this morning.  At loose ends maybe?  Atlantic Publishing's Miniature Wargames will absorb Battlegames in the next couple of issues.  Here's the full story in a release issued by Atlantic Publishing yesterday.  In  nutshell, BG's Henry Hyde has been given editorial control over MW and, hopefully, will revamp it to resemble something of its glorious past.  That's the plan at least.  

I've got my fingers crossed, in particular, for something that's a cross between the current thoughtful and thought-provoking BG and the first dozen issues or so of MW from the early 8os.  The latter remain fascinating reads today and, of course, are chock-a-block with photographs of Peter Gilder's, Phil Robinson's, and Doug Mason's figures among others.  Wonderful …

Vignette City. . .

Men at work in the late 18th century -- 'Woodcutters in Windsor Park' (1793) by Benjamin West.
A package arrived from Minden Miniatures yesterday afternoon, containing eight military laborers, eight civilian laborers, and four French artillery crew plus tiny tools and implements to place in all of the hands.  As usual, the sculpting, molding, and proportions of anything from Minden is exquisite.  All of these will be combined randomly into small vignettes of two-three figures to represent a strong company of pioneers/sappers/miners/pontooniers hard at work (depending on what might be needed), and they will serve in both the Stollenian and Zichenauer armies.  Once again, on an as needed basis.   For the time being, they'll remain in their packets until the current crop of musicians et al is finished, but I'm already thinking ahead to fairly nondescript uniforms that might serve well for either army.  I like the blue and gray worn by the Swedish artillery and engineers of …

The Grand Duke Has No Clothes. . .

Eureka's Voltaire, Frederick II and a pair of whippets, who will become Professor Detrius, Irwin-Amadeus II and. . .  a pair of whippets, aka Max and Moritz, who will stand in for the Grand Duke's beloved Portugese Water Dogs.

A small package from Eureka Miniatures USA was waiting with the mail when I arrived home yesterday.  If life is kind, I hope to get them onto temporary bases this afternoon and apply a coat or two of basecoat this evening.  Still waiting on the packages from Minden (laborers) and Old Glory UK (18th century aristocrats by Jackdaw), which should be along any day now.  Somehow, the old Fawlty Towers Theme  keeps going through my head (be sure to click on the preceding link for the full-length tune, composed by Dennis Wilson), which must be one of the first indicators of oncoming and terminal madness.

And the musicians: a string quartet with Frederick II on flute and some weird cat named J.S. Bach on the clavichord.  In the Grand Duchy of Stollen, all are dest…

A Much Needed Respite. . .

Professor Detrius and Irwin-Amadeus II during a heated discussion of metaphysics.
With precious few hours to himself this week, the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II nevertheless manages to slip away from his predatory female guests and the equally unsettling attentions of his Neapolitan tailor for an afternoon, to pay a call on his friend and teacher, the Professor Ernst Arno Detlef zum Detrius.  The latter holds the chair of Philosophy, Religion, and Metaphysics at the small University of Krankenstadt.  And while he would rather discuss loftier issues, the Grand Duke prefers revisiting his particular favorite topic each time the two meet, namely the number of angels one might fit onto the the head of a pin.

The Morning After. . .

The sunny bedchamber of the beleaguered Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II.
The morning dawns bright, cold, sunny, and early.  Far too early for the Grand Duke, who has a hangover and a splitting headache.  Let us eavesdrop on a snippet of conversation between Irwin-Amadeus II and his trusty English valet Hives late the next morning after the first in a round of grand balls to welcome the various guests at Krankenstadt Palace.
Irwin-Amadeus: Oh!  Hives, I say, close the blasted curtains and leave my breakfast on the table over there (pulls bedclothes over head).
Hives (stifling a chuckle with a gloved hand): The clock has just gone half Noon, Sir.  It is time for you to be up and dressed so that you may join your guests for luncheon in an hour's time.
IA (from beneath the covers): Dash it all, Hives!  Are they still here?  Can't you make them all go away?
Hives (selecting clothing for the Grand Duke from the wardrobe across the room): Regrettably, Sir, the young ladies in question along w…

Stollenian (Prussian) Staff Group Almost Done. . .

Just about there with this current group of Minden Prussians and one Fife & Drum Englishman.  Have spent a delightful few hours detailing them carefully today between folding laundry, hanging wet shirts to air-dry, and running the vacuum cleaner around the first floor of Stollen Central since we are having dinner guests this evening.  The modern maid, er,  um, husband.  Whew!  You know, my parents certainly had a social life and their own respective hobbies, neither of which always included their children (nothing wrong in that), but I cannot recall things being this crazy for the family when I was four or five, and I remember that time pretty well.  Saturdays and Sundays were almost always relaxed, quiet affairs regardless of what was going on, or who was involved.  What have we done to ourselves as a society in the meantime that makes even weekends hectic?



Anyway, for those who are interested, quite a bit of the painting this time was done with oils (thinned wth Liquin Original):…