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Showing posts from January, 2019

It's -5 Degrees Faherenheit (-20.5 C.) in The Grand Duchy of Stollen Today. . .

Seemingly endless white washes followed by a feather touch of the bristles, each application holding a small drop of black paint, to the gaiter buttons has yielded a nut unpleasing effect to this company of Hessen-Darmstadt Leibgrenadiers.  I was extremely careful to run the very tip of the bristles across the raised buttons and, fortunately, made very few mistakes that required fixing.  Some days, the stars align just right!


The Young Master's school district, along with many others in the area, has closed and, in a very rare move, so too has Michigan State University and will be again tomorrow (Thursday).  The university has only closed half a dozen times due to winter weather in its history, so you know it's cold.  My sister tells me that a client of hers, who is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and with whom she spoke on the telephone this morning, mentioned that is was -27 degrees Fahrenheit there.  

"Zoiks!" as Shaggy used to intone on Saturday morning epi…

How We Suffer for the Hobby. . .

Backtracking a bit here for the white clad Hessen-Darmstadt Leibgrenadiers at right, a frustrating exercise, but this is where we are as of 3:59pam Eastern Standard Time on Sunday afternoon.

Time spent this morning and mid-afternoon redoing the white gaiters and garters on the Hessen-Darmstadt half of my composite grenadier battalion (Argh!!!).  I've taken the opportunity to add the basic brown horse color for the mounted officer as well as the red (Khorne Red, Evil Sunz Scarlet, and very sparsepure Scarlet atop that)breeches, waistcoats, and saddle cloth for the officers plus the drummer's coat for the Kurkoeln Wildenstein drummer.  

And now, it's time to do something that actually helps pay the bills (and purchase life's essentials. . .  more brushes, paints, military history or wargaming hobby books, and soldiers).  No more putting it off.  No way.  No how.  I absolutely must see to some preparation for tomorrow's two classes before returning, hopefully, for an ho…

Neckstocks & Shoulder Belts Blocked In. . .

Two shots taken this afternoon after the latest couple of Saturday morning and afternoon painting sessions.  They're actually beginning to look pretty good if I do say so myself.  Blast!  Looking at Kronoskaf again, I see that the Hessen-Darmstadt Leib Grenadiers at right had WHITE gaiters, and the officers wore RED breeches and waistcoats.  Sigh.  Back to the ol' drawing board.

Since last we met, I have finished up the various white areas using mostly a #1 round, especially on the waistcoats peeking our from beneath the coats, painted in the black and red stocks, mustaches, and blocked in grey and dark brown for the shoulder straps.  

While I was somewhat anxious about painting these given the level of detail on Minden figures, painting so far has, on the contrary, been a real joy.  There is just no getting away from it.  The absolute winning combination of:  1) well-sculpted, crisp castings; 2) brushes with good points, and; 3) paint that flows from the tip of the bristles to …

In the Midst of the Whites. . .

A couple of quick photo updates showing where things stand at the moment with my composite grenadier battalion.


A wintry, icy day has meant that The Young Master's school was closed today, and I got to remain home with him, which is no hardship by any stretch of the imagination.  A perfect time, then, to bite the bullet and get to those various white areas on these 30+ Minden Austrian grenadiers.  Very careful application of 3-4 almost washes with a brand new #1 round.  Slow going, but it yields nice, subtle results, I think, over the tan undercoat, which gives a warmer, 'woolier' look than does a gray undercoat.  Not quite done, but getting very close.  Maybe I can finish the whites this evening?

-- Stokes

Fleshtone and Blue Highlights. . .

Here's where there's are as of Monday afternoon.

Just a quick update before The Young Master and I head out to ski while the skiing's good.  The battalion has had its bases painted green, dark red applied to the silk bags atop bearskin bonnets, all fleshtone, and royal blue highlights applied in the last couple of day.  Next up, the white highlights for the Hessen-Darmstadt part of the battalion.  Huzzah!

-- Stokes

Strike While the Painting Iron Is Hot!!!

Next up, fleshtone to the faces and hands.  Usually, I have always applied this particular color first, but it seemed like a good idea to shake things up a bit this time around.

Although not really a conscious New Year's resolution, I have quietly determined that I will not let myself be distracted from hobby pursuits this year because of various work and life commitments.  Life is for living, and we should not permit the stressful and/or tedious things to impede our enjoyment of all the free time activities that we enjoy.  But I have done just that and allowed the stress and tedium to overtake everything else the last 3.5 years.  Good for neither the mind, nor the body in the long term.  Enough!  

It has begun to seem , to me at least, that I have lost my hobby bearings the last few years as a result, the residual effects of our big move back in June 2015.  High time now to get things (and myself) back on track.  While I want to avoid being too prescriptive for anyone else, to me h…

Soubise and Aide Vignette Progress Photos. . .

Several photographs to share following a lengthy painting session this afternoon, devoted entirely to holding my breathe and applying lots of oil-based gold paint to Soubise and his aide.  Not too many brush mishaps either, which does not happen that often.  I must admit to feeling pretty pleased with the results of this particular painting session, so I'm stopping for the day.  No sense in lousing up previous work thanks to tired eyes or a shaky brush hand.  Anyway, some white markings on the two horses, touch-ups, and glossing next followed by some limited groundwork, and then we can call 'em done I think.

-- Stokes



One of several references I found online that I am using as a guide to help paint my version of Soubise.  His tactical shortcomings aside, the uniform illustrated is reason enough to add him to my numerous command vignettes.

He Would Have Turned 102 on January 9th. . .

My late maternal grandfather, David Lewis Stokes, the subject of this particular post.



The shoulder patch of his unit, the long defunct U.S. 13th Airborne Division.

This past Wednesday -- January 9, 2019 -- would have been my maternal grandfather's 102nd birthday.  Hard to believe since the image of him that I carry in my mind is of a tall, blond, soft-spoken small town North Carolina boy, who seemed, when I was young, to be as tall as an oak tree and strong as an ox.  
Like so many of his era, Granddaddy was involved in the Second World War, the European Theater in his case.  Initially an anti-aircraft gunner in a Pennsylvania National Guard unit stationed on Curacao where he defended the Dutch oil fields, he later transferred and trained as both a paratrooper and glider-borne infantry.  Scary stuff when one considers how so many similar units of troops fared during WWII when facing the enemy.  

Arriving in Le Havre, France during the winter of 1944-45, his new division,

Soubise Takes Shape. . .

Soubise (left) and aide take shape.

A few different short sessions in the painting chair this Saturday afternoon and into the early evening.  I've already gone ahead and added highlights to certain areas, including horse tack and coats.  

Soubise's coat, in particular has three different tones of acrylic red.  I finished by just barely touching small amounts of scarlet to the highest areas, taking care NOT to highlight the small of his back, which would get less natural light than, say his shoulders, upper back, or the very ends of his coattails.  

Still plenty to do, yes, but the two figures and their horses are starting to look kind of nice if I do say so myself.  Maybe a bit more work this evening after the Young Master's bedtime?  I'll see which way the painting wind blows.

-- Stokes

A Small Painting Breather. . .

These two figures have been hanging around for several years now.  Since 2013 or '14 maybe?  High time then to do something with them!

A piece of sage advice came from one visitor (Wellington Man?) to the Grand Duchy of Stollen during the last few days, who suggested that I reward myself for finally getting the monster cuirassier regiment done by painting something small next.  Hence the command vignette above, which I worked on in two short bursts of painting yesterday and another slightly longer session during the evening, just post-bedtime for the Young Master.  The figure in red at right is intended to be, or at least is based upon various illustrations, portraits, and a painted 40mm flat found online of Charles de Rohan, Prince of Soubise.  

Still blocking in the main base colors and highlights in acrylic at this point, but I must admit to feeling very pleased with the way the basic horse colors turned out.  As usual, these are oils -- Van Dyke Brown and Sepia -- applied over y…

At Long Last, It's Stollen Time!!!

This year's Stollen, which the Grand Duchess snapped a picture of after dusting it with powdered sugar.  It is and has been wonderful.

Der Stollen is da!  The Grand Duchess came through yet again and baked us our annual Christmas stollen last night.  Authentic Dresdnerstollen baked using the usual recipe from one of Sonja's German language cookbooks.  A few weeks late, sure, but then she is a busy lady in her recent associate dean guise of the last two years.  One final bit of Christmas in any case.  A stollen to honor the arrival of the three kings then. 

Needless to say, the house smelled heavenly once the baking began thanks to the yeast and butter, and you should taste it.  Holy cow!  Melts in your mouth is something of an understatement.  I was surprised with an inaugural sample slice and some chocolate milk while in bed very late last night, and I'll enjoy a second piece with fresh coffee for breakfast in just a little while after I wake The Young Master who, no doubt…

Ok, Time to Stop Tinkering. . .

Here's a shot of the nearly finished composite regiment of cuirassiers in bearskins (RSM95 French cuirassiers in bearskins) although mine are based on Wurttemberg's Leib Grenadiere zu Pferd and another regiment of Germans in the French service.


Ok, time to quit tinkering and get 'em glossed for better or worse.  Except for a gray highlight on one of the black bearskins, they're done darn it!  Now, let's start thinking.  What might I do next with all of my copious spare time?

-- Stokes.



And here is closer in shot that, hopefully, enable you to see the finished carbines in somewhat better detail.  Besides the obvious Winsor&Newton silver and brass (a mix of gold and silver), the wooden stocks were painted using dark brown Rhinox Hide and highlighted with Doombull Brown