Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2014

Presenting General Alfons von Bauchschmerzen. . .

The commanding officer of the generic mid-18th century supply train (completed during 2014), General Alfons von Bauchschmerzen, a birthday gift to me in 2014 from the Young Master.
Ok, here we are!  General von Bauchschmerzen, his wicker carriage, two-horse team, and uhlan escort are done.  Not perfect, the eagle-eyed among you will undoubtedly spot a few tiny details that have left to the imagination, but the overall effect looks reasonably good to me. 

There are three coats of acrylic gloss on the figures and carriage, which has made everything look nicely Gilder and Mason-esque -- shiny, shiny, shiny -- and then the usual sand from my maternal grandmother's creekbed (collected n the summer of 1984) followed with Woodland Scenics fine grass scatter material and a few clumps of foliage material, to approximate weeds and small shrubs. The sand and fine grass material are held down with acrylic matt medium, which dies flat and without warping the base.  The foliage clumps are then ta…

It's a long road. . .

After von Bauchschmerzen and his coach are done, it's onto this 80-figure regiment of RSM95 figures that have been in the eadpile for about seven years now.
It's a long road, but someone has to walk. . .  er, um, uh. . . paint it.  So, after the good General von Bauchschmerzen (lurking in the background here) is finished, it's time for a return to the fighting troops after about two years of painting various vignettes of one kind or another.

So. . .  It's onto this rather large bunch of figures, which will be painted up as a composite fictitious regiment.  However, the uniforms will be based on those worn by troops that marched and/or fought for: 

* Kurmainz (white with mid-green facings/turnbacks)
* Saxe-Weimar (blue with red facings/turnbacks and straw yellow smallclothes)
* Saxe-Coburg (white with red facings/turnbacks)
* Saxe-Hildurghausen (blue with yellow facings/turnbacks and white smallclothes).


The plan is to follow my usual procedure for large units and break them d…

Von Bauchschmerzen Update #2. . .

General von Bauchschmerzen and escort in freshly applied Sap Green uniform and lap blanket.
Tinkered around for maybe 90 minutes this afternoon and early evening after supper and the Young Master's bedtime, redoing the green of von Bauchschmerzen's lap blanket and painting the uhlan escort's uniform in the same color.  For this, I used Winsor & Newton's Griffin Alkyd Oil 'Sap Green' mixed with a healthy dollop of Liquin Original.  

The color is a bit bright over a white undercoat, perhaps, but still a bit more muted than that Citadel acrylic Dark Angels Green with which I initially painted the general's lap blanket yesterday.  I also painted all of the harnesses and straps on the two horses and gave the base a once over with some acrylic raw umber.  That will get the usual sand and Woodland Scenics treatment in a few days once everything is painted fully and treated with two coats of acrylic gloss varnish.  

Tomorrow, I'll finish the uhlan and attend t…

Von Bauchschmerzen in Progress. . .

General Alfons von Bauchschmerzen (aka Maurice de Saxe by Minden Miniatures and Westfalia Miniatures) and wicker carriage take shape.
A relaxed, quiet Christmas Saturday today.  Time to get caught up with several loads of laundry (my big weekly household chore) and some painting.  Probably two-three hours at the painting desk, working on von Bauchschmerzen and his carriage.  Not quite done, but I'm pleased with the way things are developing.  Tomorrow, besides the inevitable touch-ups, it's on to the team of horses and Uhlan rider/escort.  With any luck, I can apply the usual two coats of acrylic gloss on Monday and begin the groundwork on the base to finish things.  Then, it will be time to prime a company of RSM-95 infantry (19 figures) and start on those before coming back to the troop of Uhlans de Saxe (8 figures and horses) that will escort the coach and general  pictured above.  But now, Saturday evening, it's time to spend some time with the Grand Duchess.

-- Stokes


He…

Happy Feast of Stephen!

A lovely, quiet Christmas Day here at Stollen Central yesterday, which included a couple of very interesting books for yours truly.  The first is a history of the military kriegspiel, both the serious, non-recreational kind as well as the somewhat more recreational variety entitled War Games and Their History (2012) by C. G. Lewin.  The second beneath tree was Armies of Bismark's Wars: Prussia 1860-67 (2013) by Bruce Bassett-Powell.  I discuss these in a bit more detail here once I've had time to look them over more closely.  The Young Master and Grand Duchess also presented me with some much needed Minden pioneers and Uhlans de Saxe as well as a few additional Austrian and Prussian limber horse riders for several additional planned wagons and ammunition carts.

The Young Master, for his part, had what I believe was a smashing time although the sugar and excitement of the day became to much in the end, and he had to be excused from the dinner table and put to bed early.  A tired…

Have a Joyful Christmas Everyone!

A Christmas Greeting from 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 of Krankenstadt bustle to and fro through snow-covered streets in the small capital city of the Grand Duchy, 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 to…

The Pontoniers are FINISHED!!!

Freshly glossed with two coats of Future/Klear acrylic floor finish. . .   Ladies and gentlemen?  The Corps of Pontoniers!  They'll erect bridges and similar structures as and when needed for either the Grand Duchy of Stollen or the Electorate of Zichenau, as the wind blows here east of the sun and west of the moon.  At some point, I'll add a company of six large river barges manned by another dozen figures in similar uniforms.
Well, despite colds -- the Young Master and I are just about 100%, the Grand Duchess about 75% -- and all of the usual kinds of last minute Christmas tasks to address, I nevertheless managed to apply the second coat of shiny acrylic varnish to the pontoniers this morning after waking far too early and finally giving up the ghost at about 7:15am.  Anyway, it's back to von Bauchschmerzen, the coach, and Uhlans de Saxe escorts when the next painting session rolls around.

Realistically, I will probably not get in any more time at the painting table now un…

Pontoniers Ready for Glossing and von Bauchschmerzen Underway. . .

Here they are, touch-ups done, green bases hit with a third coat of Goblin Green, and all ready for two coats of glossy acrylic gloss varnish.  The perpetually stomach achy General von Bachschmwerzen has come to the fore, and his two-uhlan escort at the far left of the photo await basecoating.
A slight cold has taken hold here at Casa de Stollen, dash it all, but we're soldiering on toward Christmas anyway.  

Tonight after supper and the Young Master's bedtime, I must, must, must wrap a few gifts, so I don't know that I'll have any time to return to the painting table.  Hopefully, though, I will have some time tomorrow and on Christmas Eve to do the glossing and perhaps paint the two horses drawing von Bauchschmerzen's carriage.  

Heavy dry brushing the latter with some muted yellow and light gray might be in order too, but we'll have to play that by ear.  Family time is really more important over the next few days as I'm sure many of you will agree.  Be sure …

Pontonier Update #6: The Pontoons. . .

A leisurely stroll with the paintbrush today, finishing the two pontoons manned by my David Soul look-alike in 1/56 scale and his three companions.
One of those truly delightful (and all too rare) totally relaxed Saturday afternoons here today.  A dark, chilly winter's day outside, a quiet and yet festive atmosphere inside.  The Grand Duchess and I submitted our final grades yesterday afternoon and are now well and truly finished with school work and students until after the first of the year.  We sent out the last of our Christmas cards this morning, the house is decorated, and the shopping finished.  Whew!  

The Young Master, while suffering from a small cold, is currently ensconced on the loveseat in the TV room watching episodes of Daniel Tiger online, and yours truly has enjoyed an extremely pleasant few hours down here in Zum Stollenkeller with the cats today, listening to Christmas Jazz as well as traditional English Christmas carols online.  The Christmas Festival can come a…

Pontonier Update #5: The Tiny Details. . .

We're getting very close to the two wrapping things up with the pontoniers.  Right on schedule.  It's rare when that happens.  And I'll bet you didn't know that actor David Soul (of Starsky and Hutch fame) had an ancestor who fought for the Grand Duchy of Stollen, did you?  Can you spot him?
Another nice painting session this evening after the Young Master's bedtime, and I finished up a few remaining tiny details, including brass buttons, wigs, and hair in a few different colors as well as retouching the brass buckles on some of the figures where these are not covered by gaiters.  

Except for the pontoons, which I'll finish tomorrow, I'm satisfied, and will call the two companies of pontoniers done except for retouching a few of the green bases.  I might even be able to apply my usual two coats of acrylic gloss varnish tomorrow too.  And then on Sunday, it's time to turn my attention to General von Bauchschmerzen and his uhlan escorts luring in the backgr…

Pontonier Update #4: The Browns

The latest Minden pontonier in-progress photograph.
Lots going on here at the moment, including some final grade calculations, so these can be submitted in the next 24 hours online, and then it's relatively smooth sailing into Christmas.  Nevertheless, I've managed to ma e a bit more progress on the 28 Minden pontoniers, including various brown boards, tools, black stocks, and dark blue facings on the four figures wearing their coats.  Plus the usual and inevitable tiny touch-ups of course.  Not perfect by any means, but they don't look half bad. 

Getting to the home stretch with these soon.  Really just hair and/or wigs, a few pouches and scabbards and wrapping up the two pontoons in the background.  Plus the usual and inevitable touch-ups before a couple of coats of acrylic gloss varnish are applied, and I call 'em finished.  And then it's onwards to General von Bauchschmerzen and his wicker carriage.  With any luck, I might be able to wrap up most of the work on t…

Pontonier Painting Update #3: The Whites. . .

That's it!  The whites are done except for one or two very small touch-ups on shirt collars and/or cuffs.
Here's where we stand this morning.  We're decorating the Christmas trees this evening, but I hope to get in a bit more brushwork -- maybe simple stuff like the boards and hand tools?  Or perhaps the wigs/hair on the men? -- this afternoon before we do that after supper.

-- Stokes


Apropos tree-decorating, here's another old Swedish Christmas card illustration from very early in the 20th century.

In the meantime. . .

An old-fashioned Swedish Christmas greeting that features a charming (and very traditional) straw goat.
Took the evening off from painting yesterday, but back to the painting table this early afternoon.  You know, procrastinating and delaying getting to that next batch of student papers.  And wouldn't you know it?  The darn battery in the camera needs to be charged.  Grrrrrr. . .   Tune in again late this evening (we have a wedding and reception to attend) for an update on those Minden pontoniers who are coming along -- wait for it -- swimmingly.  In the meantime, enjoy this seasonal greeting card from Sweden.

-- Stokes

Pontonier Painting Progress Update #2. . .

Here is where things stand this late Sunday morning.
You know, it's funny.  Sometimes it seems almost like figures paint themselves, and that has been the case so far with these Minden pontoniers.  Painting is, most of the time these days, a real chore, especially since free time is such a rare commodity.  However, the ol' brush and painting hand have been fleet of foot this weekend.  Yes!

The next step later this evening after a preschool Christmas presentation, in which the Young Master is singing (hopefully), will involve damp-brushing white on various shins, calves, shirtsleeves, and the exposed chests and tummies of those figures who have unbuttoned vests/waistcoats.  Then, it's onto the boards and oars as well as various smaller details like hair, stocks, buttons, and shoe buckles.

The uniform depicted is imaginary, but my painting has been informed by various Kronoskaf illustrations of Hanoverian artillery and engineers as well as Bavarian artillery.  

For those who mig…

Pontoniers in Progress. . .

The current unit under the brush, now well and truly in-progress.
Well, the painting muse has decided to kick off her shoes and stay a while, so I've struck while the iron is hot and done a lot of work on the 24+ Minden pontoniers during yesterday evening and early this Saturday afternoon.  Still lots to do, but at least they look like tiny humans now.  Be sure to tune in again tomorrow, for another painting update.

-- Stokes


And here are the four designated oarsmen, cemented permanently into place within their pontoons and more for display than gaming purposes.  Whoops!  Just noticed that they still need their fleshtone applied.

Last of all, here is a seasonal image, depicting Santa Lucia, who brings brings delicious saffron buns called lussekatter (and coffee) to sleeping parents in Norway, Sweden, and possibly Denmark on December 13th each year.  The Grand Duchess (assisted by the Young Master) will bake a batch for us later today as a seasonal nod to her own Swedish ancestry.


P.S.

T…

The Pontooniers Are Underway!

The current work-in-progress. . .   Two companies of ragtag Minden pontooniers.  The homemade oars should look a bit better once everything is painted and glossed.
Classes are now over for the fall term (Hurrah!).  Form here, it's just reading a bunch of papers, most of which I've seen once or twice already in draft form, from three classes as well as tallying up everything and submitting final course grades online over the next week.  Tedious, yes, but freedom from having to read or re-read course material, plan, and prepare for classes makes all of this end of semester stuff much easier to get through.  You can do grading and enter final grades online in your pajamas if you want to, right?  

Usually, with grading there are very few surprises by this point too.  The students who have been diligent and engaged all semester typically produce much better work throughout the term than those who have sat "at the back of the room," literally or figuratively speaking, so it …

Heute war Stollentag (Today was Stollenday)!

Fresh from the recently delivered stove, the first stollen of the 2014 Christmas Season.
Well, I just sampled a slice of freshly baked, yeasty, and authentic Dresdener Stollen with some fresh black coffee post-supper and following the Young Master's bedtime.  The Grand Duchess and the Young Master, who assisted, outdid themselves this year!  For his part, the Young Master was more interested in consuming the gingerbread man I purchased and brought home for him when I was at the local cafe reading and grading student papers this afternoon.  Naturally, the head was the first thing to go from our poor, unsuspecting Mr. Gingerbreadman once he was presented to the Young Master after supper before we cleared the table.  

Long-time visitors might recall that the idea for the Grand Duchy of Stollen was hatched right about this time way back in early December of 2005.  The Grand Duchess was baking an early stollen to share with her German students one Saturday afternoon while I doodled away …

Leuthen Day. . . a Day Late. . .

An atypical seasonal image: Ol' Fritz speaking to his officers before the Battle of Leuthen began in earnest on 5 December 1757.

When Mom is away. . .   The Grand Duchess has taken a bunch of her students to the annual Kristkindlmarkt in Chicago today, so it's just the boys around the house on a dark, windy December Saturday.  After breakfast, I thought the Young Master and I might take a walk downtown to one of the cafes there for some hot chocolate and a cookie of some kind for the boy plus the usual observations and conversation about whatever happens to catch our eyes along the way.  Then it's back here to Stollen Central for whatever Saturday activity the Young Master might imagine for himself.  Ol' Dad will, at some point, retire down here to Zum Stolenkeller for some painting time -- basecoating 24+ Minden pontooniers with my usual white acrylic gesso -- and final assembly of the Minden/Westfalia Maurice de Saxe carriage vignette. 

 The next several items in the …

Today is December 1st. . .

The Holstein Gate along the way from the train station into the old center of Lübeck, Germany.  My thoughts always turn to this sleepy North German city as Christmas and Winter approach.  It looked much like this the first time I visited the old Hanseatic capitol during January and February of 1986.
While there will continue to be plenty of in-progress photos of model soldiers during the month of December, I will occasionally share seasonal photographs and illustrations as I've done in previous years here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog.  While I always grow nostalgic for my formative years in southeastern Pennsylvania as Christmas approaches, at the same time, I also wonder it might be like to spend Christmas and New Years in some  of the places I've fallen in love with over the years.  Lübeck is one of those, to me, magical places.  That special blend of the past and the living present.  Maybe one day, the Grand Duchess and I can arrange something special for the two of us…