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Showing posts from December, 2016

2016: The Year That Was. . .

A decidedly old-fashioned,  quiet, and sedate New Year's greeting card. How did we do hobby-wise during the year almost ended here in The Grand Duchy of Stollen?  Well, hobby time was scarce, so I kept goals and activities fairly modest and low key.  Besides the Battle of Doltz, fought during August and September, the goals laid out in early January 2016 were thus:

1) Finish the latter half that monster 80-figure infantry regiment I began in January 2015.  Another 40 figures or so. -- Done!

2) Paint the four Minden SYW personality figures, Russian artillery crew, and two Russian guns (a cannon and howitzer) I received from the Grand Duchess and Young Master for Christmas 2015. -- Not achieved.  Perhaps, I can use these as small side-projects between the larger cavalry units on the agenda for 2017?

3) Paint limbers, four-horse teams, and limber riders for the approximately one dozen cannon in my two 25-30mm imaginary mid-18th century armies, the Army of Stollen and its nemesis t…

A Christmas Week Solo Wargame: The Action at Soßklopse. . .

Two shots of the opening positions held by General de Latte's scratch force of Zichenauers, who are attempting to hold off a Stollenian advance while the rest of their army a day's march to the northeast attempts to escape.
Following The Battle of Doltz in mid-August 1776, the Zichenauer Army under General Phillipe de Latte began a leisurely withdrawal southwest from the field, inexplicably turning to the northwest a week later.  Pursuit was taken up Stollenian General von Drosselmaier, called out of retirement from his estate outside Dorpat in light of General von Bacuhschmerzen's continuing tummy troubles.  

On the morning of September 9th, von Drosselmaier caught of with a scratch force, assembled by de Latte to hold off the uncharacteristically rapid Stollenian advance, so the rest ff the ZIchenauer Army could make its escape.  De Latte's force was positioned along and just behind a ridge line running from the southwest to the northeast.  Von Drosselmaier's troop…

A Christmas Week Letter from Stollen. . .

Another interesting image that features a Volontaires de Saxe lancer.
Well, it's a quiet late morning here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold.  The Young Master and Grand Duchess have gone to the Science Museum after a breakfast of sausage, eggs, and toast with French orange marmalade fixed by yours truly.  I'm freshly showered, dressed, and back down here in Zum Stollenkeller with another mug of coffee pondering the battle of toy soldiers that I will set up for myself on my table later this afternoon as part of the ongoing struggle between The Grand Duchy of Stollen, ruled by the bumbling Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II, and its mortal enemy the neighboring Electorate of Zichenau, ruled by the  fractious and conniving Princess Antonia III with, never far away, her dastardly paramour, that most notorious of mercenary-adventurers, one General Phillipe de Latte, who is always ready to do her bidding.  Stay tuned for photographs once the battle is set up and unfolds.

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More so…

It Was a Toy Soldier Christmas. . .

The Young Master inspects his 18th century soldiers early on Christmas Day 2016.
Santa Claus brought the Young Master a bunch of British, Hessian, and Rebel soldiers this Christmas.  Ka-BOOM!

-- Stokes

Happy Feast of Stephen. . .

One versions of the Uhlans des Saxe for yours truly to daydream about in the coming year of cavalry painting and basing.  The Grand Duchee presented yours truly with a unit of Minden Lanciers de Saxe for Christmas this year.
"Happy Day After!" as my much missed maternal grandfather used to say while sipping his scotch and water before an open woodfire on the hearth (we enjoyed two working fireplaces at my grandparents' place).  

It has been a peaceful, quiet few days here at Totleigh-in-theWold.  Christmas Eve saw us attend a church service at the Episcopal church just down the road from us, and the Young Master did remarkably well through the the hour-plus "family" service at 5pm.  He has never experienced a church service before, and given the challenges he faces day-to-day, we weren't sure how things would go.  But well he did, and we came home to supper and reading Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas before YMP, his teddy bear, and Miss Kitt…

It's Almost Christmas in the Grand Duchy of Stollen. . .

One of the most delightful Victorian Father Christmases I've ever seen.  He appeared here several years ago, and it's time he appears once more.
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 mid-18th century, more or less. 

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…

German Cavalry Regiments in Bearskin Bonnets. . .

The Royale Allemond Cavalerie, one of three German heavy cavalry regiments serving in the pre-revolutionary French army.  This and two of the following three illustrations have been swiped from Kronoskaf. 
Fired with enthusiasm for those RSM95 French cuirassiers in bearskins, I have been paging through my books and looking around online for possible uniforms to approximate.  I've (possibly) narrowed it down to these four and might even paint a troop of each since my fictitious regiment will be made up of contingents from some o the smaller principalities contiguous to the Grand Duchy of Stollen and the Electorate of Zichenau.  See what you think.  I suppose that I should also have a look at my Hans Blackwenn volume on the Reichsarmee.

-- Stokes

The Nassau-Sarrebruek Cavalerie.

The Wurttemburg Cavalerie.  I like this uniform a lot.

Last, but not least, my personal favorite, the Leib Grenadiers a Cheval from Wurttemburg.

2017: A Pre-Painted Cavalry Review. . .

Phil Olley once wrote in an early Battlegames article that without goals and a target, of sorts, you achieve nothing, or at least very little.  So, here is the first of four related goals for 2017.  30 RSM95 French cuirassiers in bearskin bonnets, slated to become Wurttemburger cavalry.

Next, 30 RSM95 Prussian and Austrian hussars, with a few Minden trumpeters, that will be painted in the uniforms of two separate units of freikorps hussars although I haven't yet decided which ones.  Most of these have been hanging around in the lead pile for years, so it's high time to do something about that and get 'em painted.  Then, no more hussars, ever!  I'm channeling my inner Joan Crawford, here, as portrayed by Faye Dunaway in the delightful holiday classic, Mommy Dearest (1981).  Two hours of seasonal fun for the whole family!

Then, there is this unit of Prussian dragoons, also RSM95 with the addition of Minden trumpeters and standard bearers.  Once again, these h…

Snow Comes to Totleigh-in-the-Wold. . .

Our front door here at Totliegh-in-the-Wold yesterday evening while the snow still fell.

The scene that greeted us this morning out our library window at the rear of the house toward the woods.
Well Sir, we've had a real dose of winter here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold during the last couple of days, and, apparently, there is more on the way later in the week.  Nothing toy soldierly, but I thought it would be fun to share a couple of photographs and an old seasonal illustration before getting back to that pile of student essays which seem even higher than the pile of snow by our mailbox out along the road.

-- Stokes

And it wouldn't be December without an Edwardian Father Christmas in contrast to the ubiquitous red-clothed 1940s Coca-Cola Santa Claus that has taken over just about everywhere.  I'll happily take the older, more variegated versions of Saint Nick like this one.

The Table Has Been Set. . .

Time late this afternoon to snap a few informal shots of the next battlefield, which I have finally had a few minute to set up on the 6'x12' table.  The scenario for the next battle is C.S. Grant's 'Holding Action (1)' from Scenarios for Wargames (pp. 14-15).  The scenery includes various scratch-built houses and barns, Hotz Artworks fields and roads, cheap cake decoration trees purchased nine or ten years ago, and four large Woodland Scenics Ready Grass mats.  Probably not the time this weekend to set up the soldiers just yet (140+ final student papers. . .  sigh), but I can at least have fun daydreaming about doing so in the meantime.

-- Stokes



Another Small Anniversary. . .

No, not the Battle of Leuthen, but the origins of an idea that became the Grand Duchy of Stollen, which turns 11 years old on or about December 5th. 

The Grand Duchy of Stollen was born on a Sunday in early December 2005.  The university semester was almost over, there was already a bit of snow on the ground, and the Grand Duchess was baking a Dresdner Stollen to share with her German language students in the kitchen of the apartment we shared together at the time.  Meanwhile, I was across the hall in my old office, "the purple room" as we called it, having a long think about what the next wargaming project would be.  

Surprisingly, I had become worn out and driven to the brink of madness by a lengthy 15mm Waterloo project that had grown boring after 20+ years.  Yes.  There.  I said it.  A few weeks before, I had come to the conclusion the the mid-18th century sounded more do-able, and, thanks to a paperback reissue of Charge!  Or How to Play Wargames that I had purchased and…