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Happy Easter from the Grand Duchy of Stollen. . .

  -- Stokes, Sonja, and Young Master Paul
Recent posts

It's Easter Weekend in the Grand Duchy. . .

  "You mean a clue to the new direction?"  Extra points if you recognize which 1964 film that line comes from.   W ell, things have ground to a standstill the last few weeks here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen what with a conference out of town two weeks ago, foot surgery for the Grand Duchess last Friday, her envisioned six-week recovery on the chaise in the library, plus the usual end-of-semester song and dance.  There is also the matter of several academic projects with colleagues that have recently fallen into my lap.  Should've thought a bit more about those before jumping into the deep end of the pool with all the other kids.  What was I thinking?  No rest for the wicked as the saying goes. But, it's sunny outside this weekend, I plan to begin leaf and stick clean-up with an inaugural mow for the 2023 mowing season to suck up smaller debris, and we have a nice dinner to look forward to for Easter Sunday, prepared (purchased) by yours truly at the superm

Paint Those Figures Daily!

  Good reason to keep busy at the painting/scratch-built terrain desk  as long as possible, eh?   -- Stokes

A Vernacular Architectural Saturday Afternoon Digression. . .

    S ounds like a Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd composition, doesn't it?  Or possibly something from The Move.   T he above book arrived via DHL a couple of hours ago (our mail lady brought it to the door for a signature), and I am just tickled pink by the depth of the subject matter and overall fine quality of the reprint.  I actually forgot all about my order of the book a few weeks back, so its arrival was a lovely surprise. Anyway, 510 pages of copious text (in German), photographs, mechanical drawings, and tables.  Very pleased with the purchase!  A source I have been aware of, and meant to purchase a copy "one day" for several years, but it was not until Charles Grant's recent how-to piece in the 2023 Wargamers' Annual and the related discussion over on the Fife and Drum Miniatures forum that I took the leap. A bit pricey, but look around online for alternative sellers to Amazon, which is what I did, and you might be able to pick up a copy of this c

In the Flesh. . .

  The materials and brushes used to apply fleshtone and flesh wash to the unit currently under the brush. Both brushes are  synthetic 'rounds,' a new #4 used to apply the fleshtone itself, and an older #3 to apply the less precise wash. G ood Saturday morning everyone!  A New Zealand visitor to the Grand Duchy of Stollen has asked about how I paint the faces (and hands) on my figures.  Thank you for your question Paul, and here's how I do it in three steps: 1) Start by applying Winsor & Newton alkyd oil flesh tone, which dries in less than 24 hours [although any good acrylic, suitably peachy flesh tone will do].     2) Give faces and hands a quick wash of Army Painter Flesh Wash during the next session.   3) A day of two later, and using a very small brush with a good point, retouch the cheeks, bridges of noses, the occasional brow and chin, and the more exposed knuckles or backs of hands with a dot or dash of the original flesh tone.  Call it done and move on to ot

Our Final Snow of the XC-Skiing Season?

My favorite skiing holiday photograph from this season.  The Young Master and Bad Dad (his nickname for me) in Northern Michigan during a brief pause from gliding up and down the trails during mid-January 2023. The trails this morning around Lake Lansing, just five minutes from the house.  Quite a few other skiers out today taking advantage of the warm temperatures (Upper 30s F.) and possibly final (???) appreciable snowfall for the season in our part of Lower Michigan. S tarting the 15 Fife & Drum jaegers in earnest this evening -- They have been base-coated for some several weeks now. --  with fleshtone on the hands and faces, possibly continuing on to the basic dark green coats and light tan breeches if things progress well.  But this morning, The Grand Duchess and I each managed to slip away for an hour or so of skiing local trails very close to the house in the wake of our snowfall last night. The rest of this post is not wargaming or painting related, so feel free to stop rea

Finding Inner Peace in Toy Soldiers. . .

  F inding inner peace in toy soldiers is something that I expect non-wargamers, painters, and collectors would not quite understand, but it helps calm me as we prepare to return to campus and business as usual (??!!) tomorrow morning.   Faculty, staff, and students have been advised time and again by our university, in the wake of Monday evening's shootings here at Michigan State University, to practice self-care and find joy/peace/calm/salvation in ways that work for us. So, with that in mind, I made the decision to press on yesterday evening and this (Sunday) afternoon with wrapping up my version of Austria's Wied Infantry, which I've been tinkering with since last August.  Time to get back on the horse and get 'em done.   And they are almost there.  Just a few remaining teeny, tiny things to touch up -- details no one but me will ever notice -- and then Bob's your mother's brother.  I'll call 'em done and get moving with that company of 15 generic ja

Normal Service to Resume Next Week. . .

  Arielle Anderson, Alexandria Verner, and Brian Fraser. T hree students here at Michigan State University died senselessly in yet another (apparently random) mass shooting earlier this week.  Five others were seriously injured.   A colleague, a man with whom I have served on a committee in the recent past, taught two of them and saw them shot during his evening class on Cuban history.   Not the first time something like this has happened in the U.S., and I expect not the last.  There really are no words to adequately describe or explain any of this.  But yes.  Let's do keep shouting loudly about and lobbying for the right to keep and bear arms.  You know.  To keep that secretive world army at bay, which is just poised to invade beyond the Canadian border.   If finding an academic job, picking up, and moving were easier, I am now ready to relocate to a somewhat more peaceful society.  What a world we have created.  -- Stokes  

"Ooo, Shiny. . ."

  W ell, Sir.  The glossing of my version of Austria's Wied Infantry is finally complete.  Yes, at long last. Two and a half coats, by my estimation, of Liquitex Professional High Gloss Acrylic Varnish.  The last half coat is applied just to raised areas of the figures more likely to be touched as units are handled (upper arms, front of left leg, rear of right calf, tricornes, cartridge pouches, etc.).  It also catches the light in a most pleasing way Warmer temperatures today (Saturday), which means some cross-country skiing this afternoon after the Young Master's usual Tae Kwon Do practice.  The careful process of transferring the 60+ figures from temporary to their permanent bases is slated to begin this evening.   With any luck I can get that all done, snap a few photographs of the entirely finished regiment, and then basecoat those 15 Minden Prussian jaegers tomorrow. Photographs with this post, taken using my iPhone, include two brightened and cropped along with the orig

Toy Soldiers and. . . Cross-Country Skiing??!!

  T oo much to do here in Stollen Centrale lately! We had a long weekend cross-country skiing up in the northern part of Lower Michigan last weekend, and the shortened week back has been busy.  Meetings (and related email) seem to multiply in one's absence.  But there has been one saving grace.  The snow and cold here has meant that skiing has continued along local trails whenever a free window has appeared.   Today (Saturday) will see me make some time to complete glossing on the last dozen or so of my version of Austria's Wied Infantry. I've also discovered a group of six that still need some of their brass buttons painted (Grrr. . .) .  If all goes well, I might even be able to transfer the 60+ figures to their permanent 3mm ply bases tonight or Sunday.     Watch this space for a few photographs of the completed unit. Next in the queue, 15 Minden (or Fife & Drum) jaegers to paint as a generic unit although those of Ansbach-Bayreuth, in particular, will i