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Showing posts from June, 2017

The Baltic German Town Center on a Bright(-er) Day. . .

A half-timbered, or fachwerk, house.
A delightful couple of hours spent this late morning and early afternoon tweaking the construction of my foamcore lightbox and then taking a slew of better-lighted photographs of the recently completed model buildings.  While some a re rather good, others need to be reshot.  I've tried three-point lighting, but that still leaves shadows and certain important details in the darkness, so a fourth source of diffused light, probably positioned behind the camera and  bounced off the ceiling of the lightbox, will solve the problem.  Stay tuned.  
By the way, the Young Master, who returned Sunday evening from 10 days visiting his grandparents in Seattle, approves of Dad's recent construction boom.  We're planning a very simple Featherstonian-type wargame this weekend using his soldiers that he received last Christmas.  A few of the buildings here just might make an appearance.  Can't wait!
-- Stokes
Another half-timbered house.

The Duke of Brun…

It's Market Day. . .

At last, it's Market Day, and the square between the Rathaus and local university is abuzz as townsfolk and country people alike journey to the center of town to have a look around.  Perhaps, they might also purchase some common necessities like seasonal produce, flowers, or freshly caught eels for instance.
Finished the important surprise details mid-afternoon, and have had a little time to set up better lighting, the tripod, and camera for a few slightly better photographs.  Still some tiny things to see to and some final painting, but nothing anyone but me would notice.  Ladies and genetlemen, I give you the town of 'name-yet-to-be-determined.'

-- Stokes


Children frolic around the corner in the square before the old Hospital of the Holy Spirit.  And is that?  It is!  It is!  Here comes Magarete the Marketenderin on the way to set up her stall around the corner for Market Day.  A bit further afield, in front of the coffee house, just behind the Rathaus, you'll observe F…

A Few Sneakpeaks at the Baltic German Town Center. . .

A tiny peak at the town center to be. . . 
Still not quite there with everything, but I wanted to share a few early photographs of the almost finished Baltic German town center after a quick trip to my local 'big-box' arts and crafts store midday where I found, in the scrapbooking aisle of all places,  12" square heavy (vinyl?) textured sheets the make perfect cobblestone mats on which to place the various town buildings!  Who knew?  Allow me to reiterate that I will never again sneer at the scrapbooking set. 

At any rate, there are various companies out there that produce cobblestone gaming mats in various sizes, but looking at them online, the colors seem either too dark, or the size of the cobblestones depicted seem too large for 28-30mm figures and buildings.  So, I thought that I'd take a gander at the dollhouse and scrapbooking aisles to see if I might ind reasonable substitutes  Lo and behold, there they were, the perfect randomly patterned, sized, and colored …

Windows and Doors Are Almost Finished. . .

'The Buddenbrook House' on Mengstrasse right across the street from the Marienkirche (Saint Mary's Church) in Lübeck, Germany.  This was author This was author Thomas Mann's family home for a time wen he was a boy.
No photographic update this morning everyone, but I can report that the windows and doors are just about done on the dozen new buildings that comprise my Baltic German town center.  Just the university/palace to do, and then a final few small surprise details, and the project will be complete.  A scant month plus a few days since it began.

Today's photograph is of Thomas Mann's boyhood home in Lübeck, Germany.  I am unsure what is in it now, but there was a bank in operation on the premises way back during the winter of 1986 when I first visited the town.  I cashed a traveler's check (Remember those?) there the morning I left heading north to Copenhagen.  

In 1990, when I spent another week  in Lübeck, the bank had gone, and there were various docto…

Fenestrating. . . Slowly. . .

The Hospital of the Holy Spirit model is just about finished.  Remarkably, I made no mistakes that need later touching up.  That happens so rarely that I am still a bit stunned.  Clearly, one is able to paint somewhat better when not distracted by the trials of normal day-to-day life.
Taking a lunch break here in Zum Stollenkeller Mk. II at Totleigh-in-the-Wold, but I thought I'd share where we are in the process of suggesting windows and doors.  This one was the toughie!  Fairly smooth sailing from here on in with comparatively easy rectangles representing the doors and windows on the rest o the buildings.  All that is needed on the above hospital building though is the clock near the top of the central gable, two strips of "corroded cooper" stripping on the front edges of both shorter gables, and this particular wargaming structure will be done.  I plan to come back to those kinds of details a bit later though once the addition of stylized windows and doors has been com…

Fenestration, Part Deux. . .

In the midst of adding the suggested wondows and doors to the town orphanage this afternoon.
After completing a reasonably good half-timbered effect --  achieved through a combination of brown magic marker, olive green crayon, and mid-brown colored pencil -- on the four model buildings that required it, it's time to suggest those carefully traced windows and doors with the addition of some equally careful brushwork.  This time with diluted acrylic Burnt Umber.  I've done this with water before on earlier buildings, but you risk the color running everywhere.  

This time, I'll use more viscous acrylic glazing medium (pictured above), which thins out colors, makes them quite a bit more translucent, and enables you to maintain a fair degree of control over the paint while still drying pretty quickly.  Above, you'll see the results, minus the tiny bits on the dormer and circular window, which await their wash of translucent brown.  Black, to me, looks too stark, and gray is e…

Fenestration!!!

To aid my fenestration, the word for today, I made  nifty little template this morning.  Time for a new and extremely sharp hobby knife blade.
Relax!  It's nothing obscene, immoral, or lascivious.  'Fenestration' is just a fancy word architects use in relation to the placement of windows and doors.  I must admit the need to look up the word in my trusty dictionary when I heard it for the first time in an architect's video on YouTube.  

The meaning should have occurred to me given the similarity of the word to the German and Swedish words for 'window' (Fenster and fönster respectively. . .  presumably the word is derived from the Latin.), but there you go. Funny how the ancient Romans remain with us in so many ways in 2017.  "I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, this, that, and the other. . ."

Anyway, I started applying the half-timbered effects to a few of my smaller building models yesterday, and that went reasonably well although the activity w…

A Couple of Questions. . .

An old print of the Holstentor (The Holstein Gate built in the late 1400s) outside the old center of Lübeck, Germany, which I've always meant to have a crack at since visiting the city for the first time in February 1986.
Thank you everyone for your continued interest in the Baltic German town center project currently underway here at Stollen Central.  After a bit of real life midday today, Monday, it's back to trying to render some half-timbered effect to four of said town buildings.

But first, a couple of questions this morning from long-time reader Gerardus Magnus, Bishop Emeritus, who asks: "Will this possibly be used in games such as a fighting withdrawal through the streets on some future gaming event or is this to serve solely as a picturesque backdrop? There is also a second question which has piqued my curiosity: will you ever be doing city walls for this civic grouping, either medieval or Vaubanesque? That would certainly increase your possibilities for …

Decorative Stonework Underway. . .

A close-up of the Rathaus (town hall) at left and the Zeughaus (armory) on the right.  Much like the black-lining of Spencer Smith figures helps better define their various body parts, so too do fine lines from a very sharp 2H artist's pencil help define and bring out the decorative stonework on the corners of buildings.  It's a trick I picked up recently from one of the many videos on YouTube about designing, building, and detailing architectural models.
A delightfully productive Father's Day afternoon spent down here in Zum Stollenkeller Mk. II carefully painting in cornice work on the fancier buildings of the Baltic German town center.  I also pulled out a North German church built in 2011, which will get its spire redone shortly to approximate aged copper.  Every town center needs a religious building of some kind you know.  Next up, I'll approximate the half-timbering (fachwerk) on four of the less fancy building models that make up the town center depicted

-- Stoke…

Basic Colors Blocked in on Baltic German Town Center. . .

Burnt Sienna and white make a nice dusty brick color, with lighter values of the mix used on the higher parts of brick structures are darker closer to the foundations and in corners.  I like flat-bristled brushes for painting model buildings.  They make it much easiesr to controll the brsuh, paint in straight lines, and trim color into tighter areas without slopping it onto other areas that have been painted already.  As my aritist mother once told me many, many years ago as I sat on the floor at her feet while she worked at her easel (I must ave been four or five), it's all about controlling the brush and, by extension, the paint.
Just a few more in-progress photographs of the Baltic German town  center this afternoon to show where we are at the moment.  The remaining items to address now include:

1) Painting in the low foundation walls on most of the dozen structures. -- Done!
2) Painting in the cornice work on several of the same. -- In progress.
3) Approximating the timber work (

Painting of Baltic German Town Center Underway. . .

The Basic roofing colors are done.  More or less.
Here is where things stand at the moment -- early Tuesday afternoon -- with the Baltic German town center.  The Verdigris effect -- heavy dry-brusing of Turquoise over a black undercoat -- worked out well.  Nice and muted once dry, though I might apply a bit more to the Rathaus spire, which still looks a bit dark.  

The rear half of the hospital also looks like it needs some extra TLC.  It looks rather light gray in the photographs I have examined online, but that's not quite working on my model.  I might just have to go back and give it a dry-brushed coat of Raw Umber, which looks rather nice on the house in the foreground here.  

The rather orangey-brown roofs on all but one of the rest of the town buildings look bright, but this is, on sunny days, how those lovely old tile roofs look like in real life on remaining structures from the 1600-1700s in Northern Germany and across the Baltic Region, so I'll call those done.  Almost t…

Architectural Model Making Tools, Tips, and Tricks. . .

A wonderful illustration of the old rathaus in Tilsit.  This is just one of several such structures on which I have based my own model rathaus.
Just a quick post today -- Saturday -- since I want to get on to applying a white gesso basecoat to my dozen Baltic German town center buildings.  For those of you who enjoy making your own model buildings for wargaming, there are loads of professionally made videos on Youtube that deal with the subject of architectural model-making, something that has fascinated me since I was about five years old, when I made the acquaintance of "John the Hippy."  John was a young architect who worked closely with my father at the time.  

In the early 1970s, before my father became a stockbroker, he worked for a large design firm in the business end of things.  At some point, about 1971 or '72, he was assigned to oversee the conceptualization and design, by a team of which John was somehow a member, of a series of planned professional buildings. …

Baltic German Town Center Pre-Painting. . .

Just about ready to undercoat with white acrylic gesso and then begin painting everything.
It's funny what crosses one's mind when you have time to think in a fairly relaxed way without the cares and worries of real life intervening too awfully.  It occurred to me a day or two ago that the fancier buildings in my town center need some relief on the larger surfaces in the form of slender basswood cornice work.  So, after two or three delightful hours of work this afternoon, the university/palace building, the rathaus (town hall), the Latin school, the zeughaus (armory), and a couple of other more important structures have it.  Reminds me of the trim Ian Weekley applied to his model of Hougoumont as featured in Military Modelling many years ago.  

Two buildings at center, you'll note, also have rather ornate stairways at their main entrances, the rathaus with a semi-circular stone bench, which you can just about make out, and the smaller building behind it features a low, semi…

Baltic Town Construction Update. . .

The near-finished front half of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit with a couple of unpainted Minden laborers to provide a better idea of the size of this building model.
Avoiding doing other things this morning by adding on a few additional details to the decidedly medieval Hospital of the Holy Sprit model.  Just a few tiny things to finish on this structure along with the rathaus spire, requiring a quick trip to the local arts and crafts and DIY big-box stores, and then I can start painting all of this.  And now, I suppose, I had better actually do something productive in that real life kind of way.  Sigh.

-- Stokes


The color palette -- very pale blue, pink, yellow, and yellow ochre plus light gray and turquois/verdigris among others --  I'll work with plus a few other necessary supplies to finish the Baltic German town center project.  Burnt Sienna mixed with some white makes an effective brick red color that approximates nicely the red brick architecture found in the north of German…

The Hospital of the Holy Spirit Takes Firmer Shape. . .

Here is where things stand at the moment with the front half of  the hospital model.
Still whittling away at  the mid-18th century Baltic German town center.  Balsa chimneys, a few more dormers, and some stairways were added to most buildings over the weekend.  I've also worked out how to approximate the actual facade of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit as you'll observe above.  I'll never sneer at the scrapbooking and crafting set again.  There are many good videos by them on Youtube about how to make paper cones.  Now, all I need to do is figure out how to approximate the hexagonal cupola at the base of the middle, slightly more slender and taller spire.  I also manage to find a shade o acrylic craft paint last week that should nicely approximate the verdigris of aged copper if I tone it down a bit with some light tan before applying it to the model above as well as the spire on my rathaus as featured in a previous post last week.

The bases of the two outside towers also ne…