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Showing posts from August, 2020

A Quiet, Calm Sunday Here at Stollen Central. . .

One of my many memories about my mother is her oil painting.  When I was four-five years old, I'd frequently sit on the floor near her easel while she worked, chatting about the day and taking in the decidedly pleasant aroma of the paints, linseed oil, and so forth.  Probably part of the reason why I enjoy using oils on my horses and figures now and again. Thank you for the kind words everyone has sent about my mother.  Ol' Mom slipped away fairly quickly last week once my sister took her to the hospital last Tuesday evening although she was aware enough during the latter part of the week to converse with doctors and give definite answers to difficult questions.  She was transferred to a hospice in Pinehurst, North Carolina yesterday afternoon, just five minutes from her house there.  She died a short time later just after my sister arrived with a few of Mom's things from home.  None of this has been unexpected since Mom shared her diagnosis in July given the various cancer…

Vivian Surratt Stokes-Williams (January 27, 1945-August 29, 2020)

Step 6.6 Toy Soldiering On. . .

The current 36 figures getting various silver details added., including a further nine men and horses, slated to join the regiment late in September.
Inspired by yesterday's lively online meeting of the Virtual Wargaming Club, I stole down here to Zum Stollenkeller for two sessions yesterday afternoon and again for about an hour in the evening.  A nice brown highlight for the visible parts of musket stocks and picket stakes carried by the enlisted dragoon troopers followed by all but six of their swords in the evening.  Plans for today include applying silver to the final six swords before moving onto the stirrups and the sword hilts in and around the right hands of 27 figures.  If that goes well, we'll see where the painting muse takes me next.At the far left, you'll observe the pending horse grenadiers, colonel, and regimental trumpeter (an errant Frenchman pressed into Austrian service).  These nine figures will have to wait until their brethren have been finished and gl…

Step 6.5 Glittery Buttons Done!

Other than the drums and shoulder wings for the drummers, the most tedious bits of the 36 Minden Austrian dragoons are finished.  Everything else should be relatively straightforward.  He says.  I tackled the buttons on the rear of the coats and turnbacks first before focusing on the more numerous buttons on the front of the 36 coats.  Another one of my psychological painting tricks.  Next up, something relatively easy, like sword blades or mid-brown highlights along the dark brown musket stocks and picket stakes.-- Stokes

Step 6.4 The Devil Is in the Details. . .

The entire regiment formed up for inspection.
Sparkly buttons and braid too really bring the figures to life.  Gotta hold off on the coffee though.

And a view of several figures turned to show their aiguillettes.
The last couple of days, as and when time has permitted, as usual, I have taken a somewhat unorthodox approach and started to paint in numerous small details (stirrup leathers, shoulder aiguillettes in scarlet and gold, white highlights to gloves, and some metallic buttons, of which there are many on these 36 figures).  You sometimes have to roll in whatever direction the fickle painting muse sends you, and lately, it is the myriad of small details on these figures that have captured my attention.  Far easier to wrap everything up by returning to the few fairly large areas in need of highlights once other small items have been seen to.  By the way, for most of the detail work I've been using Winsor & Newton 'Cotman' #1 round -- my preferred brand for several year…

Step 6.3 White and Dark Gray Highlights. . .

The cavalry in question.  Coming together rather nicely now I think. Scrambling now, trying to paint some everyday, usually two or three sessions time permitting, since the end of summer is looming ever closer along the self-imposed deadline to get these blasted online courses ready to go for the September 2nd start of the semester.  Whew!  Just some short Prezi introductory videos to make now and then embed into the course pages.
Things are starting to come together with the figure painting very quickly now though, and much visible progress has been made in just the last few days.  Mostly white highlights to the shoulder belts and some tiny straps on the right sides of most dragoons to which their muskets and picket pole are attached.  Still must highlight the valise straps, but the basic light gray is done.  Like the scarlet highlights, white and sparing dark gray highlights are also steps that seem to bring the figures to life.  I sound like Dr. Frankenstein!
The really time consumin…

Step 6.2 Scarlet Highlights Completed. . .

The 36 Minden Austrian dragoons are really coming together now and quickly too.Fewer colors are more fun to apply to figures than a nice shade of bright red or scarlet!  It really makes 'em come alive.  Incidentally, red is my favorite color.  Let's skip what that might suggest about me psychologically speaking though and talk about this particular step in a bit more detail. 
Yesterday, during a couple of breaks from the computer and finalizing online courses for the fall, I sat down and applied dots, dabs, and dashes of Citadel Evil Sun Scarlet to the previously defined cuffs, turnbacks, and facings.  All managed quickly and this time without any mistakes to fix.  The painting gods were smiling on me I guess.  I went for subtlety, uncharacteristically,  and made sure to leave some of the darker red showing, already applied to these areas some days ago, to suggest shadow/shading.  I must come clean here and admit to observing carefully over the years how other painters and war…

Step 6.1 Blue Highlight Completed. . .

Avoidance combined with slow internet speed at the moment are wonderful things indeed!
At last, the dragoons are beginning to resemble the various illustrations in my books and online that I've consulted.  As I always caution, there is still some little distance to travel before we can call everything done, but it's nice how the blue highlight makes 'em pop a bit.  At the risk of putting the cart before the horse, they should look pretty good galloping at an exposed enemy flank on the tabletop.-- Stokes

Step 6. 0 The Highlights. . .

The 36 figures and horses in question.  Look carefully, and you'll see that I've already applied highlights to the hair and scarlet to the cuffs in the front rank.  Still lots to do, but they're coming along reasonably well. Yes, I'm still kicking, but this has been the summer from, well, if not exactly Hell, then certainly a less than stellar summer by all accounts.   Besides everything affecting all of us around the world where the bug is concerned, the ongoing disruption that has introduced for all of us, the continuing and related political dog and pony show here in the U.S., work-related stuff, and concerns for ol' Mom, one of the cats took seriously ill this last week.  Extremely dehydrated for some reason, losing clumps of fur, and so forth.   When it rains, it pours as the saying goes.
A visit to the veterinarian and several days later, and Mr. Onyx seems to be on the mend, eating, drinking, gaining back the lost weight, and bothering his sister once more.  He…

Step 5.75 Dark Red Undercoat. . .

Slowly coming together here with the dark red undercoat applied and, where necessary, final dark blue touch-ups to cover any slops and clean up edges adjacent to other colors. . .  Or those areas earmarked for adjacent colors.


Just a quick painting update this morning since domestic duties and concerns call, but most undercoats are just about finished on the 36 Minden Austrian dragoons that have occupied so much of the late spring and summer.  The dark red areas, slated to receive scarlet highlights shortly, have been applied -- as and when time has allowed -- to coat tails, cuffs, and turnbacks.  So too have he black stocks been painted carefully at the bases of the figures' necks.  As if by some miracle, I managed to do that without getting any on the chins or faces! 

After that, a dark brown to those areas earmarked for hair/wigs on the figures, light gray for crossbelts, and tan for the gauntlets.  Then the highlighting can start, otherwise known as 'Step 6.' 

I typical…