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Showing posts from November, 2006

Grand Duchy of Stollen Visited 2000+ Times!

Well, it seems that The Grand Duchy has been visited more than 2000 times. In fact, there have been about 400 hits in the last two days alone! Not bad for an imaginary place. It's amazing what a few interesting photos will do to swell the number of visits to a blog! I imagine that Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II is puffing an extra big cigar this morning. In honor of such a terrific milestone, here's one more photo of the 2nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers. Oh, and it seems that Colonel Von Laurenz called off his duel with the commander of the Jaeger zu Fuss at the last minute the other day. Something about bad nerves. . . On the painting front, Stollen's battery of artillery is about done. Just the brass sword pommels and scabbard tips remain on the crew and I'm almost finished paiting the wooden gun carraiges red, taking care to leave the black metal parts unpainted. Then it's brass barrels and a coat of Future floor finish. Should be able to wrap 'em up this

Just Look at That!

Ok, this shot is not the best, but it does give some idea of just how long the brigade line stretches. . . off into the distance. Imagine how neat it will be once I have painted a comparable number of troops for the Electorate of Zichenau, and there are two brigades opposing each other on the table. Hmmmm. . . I wish I could paint faster and life would stop getting in the way!

The Brigade Will Advance!

Here's a another cool shot if you can stand it -- the 1st Brigade of Infantry with attached guns, belonging to the Grand Duchy of Stollen. With small spaces between subunits, the line pictured at left covers about 28 inches (just over 71cm) of space, not including the battery of artillery. Obviously, Big Battalions have it all over small wargame units of 12-20 figures, and I only wish I had figured this out sooner. Charge!

Musketeers with New Flag

Here, you can see the new standard recently awarded to the 2nd Musketeers. It's a Napoleonic era Hessian standard that I printed from WarFlag. Since computer printed flags are subject to fading, I next doctored the colors very carefully with my GW and Liquitex paints. To make the standard more specific to the Von Laurenz boys, I also painted the corner vents bright orange to match the regiment's facings and turnbacks. Originally, the corner vents were half yellow and half black. Amazingly, I made not a single mistake on either side of the standard. Things like that do not happen very often here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen! Oh, and it's not really apparent in this shot, but the standard bearer is new -- a 25mm MiniFigs Prussian. His heavier weight and longer flagpole make the oversized standard practical. You can just see about make out Fahnenjunker Leinenkugel's shoulder, powdered wig, and triconered hat in the mid-distance through the hedge of bayonets.

Jaeger and Musketeers Together

Here you can see the Jaeger zu Fuss supported by the 2nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers to their left. Since the latter regiment was the first unit of Stollen's army, undoubtedly scandal is in the air. Why? The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that the Jaeger have inadvertently (or not?) assumed a position on the RIGHT side of the line, throwing Colonel Von Laurenz into a blue-faced tantrum. Rumor has it that he might just challenge Colonel Von Mauer to a duel tomorrow morning at dawn, where he'll defend his regiment's honor!

Stollen's Jaeger zu Fuss Defend Unpainted MiniFigs Staff

Kind of hard to see from this photo, given the black base coats of the MiniFigs generals at the left rear, but the plastic 1/72 and metal 25mm figures go together pretty well. The latter are a bit stockier, but certainly no taller than the Revell SYW Prussian musketeers that I used to form Stollen's green and blue clothed corps of jaeger. At any rate, the three MiniFigs generals are next on my painting agenda once the artillery has been completed.

Stollen's Artillery Supports the Jaeger zu Fuss

Here's a more interesting shot, showing the battery of artillery in support of the recently completed Jaeger zu Fuss . You know, they don't look half bad! I particularly like the mounted officer directing the battery at the right rear of the picture. He seems to have a certain panache!

"And here they are. . . The Battles!"

Forgive the rather silly play on Ed Sullivan and The Beatles, but I'm a little giddy since I have so many neat photos to share with you here. These first photos are of the almost complete artillery crew that I've been nattering on about for several posts here. It's funny, but do your figures always seem to look better when you see them in photos? The medium seems to do terrific justice to military miniatures, and I am interested to see what I will be able to do once I have a digital camera readily at hand. Anyway, the cannon have yet to be finished, but you get a good idea from this shot of how the artillery crew is shaping up.

Nearing the Finishing Line!!!

Well, I got a bit of work in on Stollen’s two-gun battery of artillery last night, more correctly the 13-man crew, who have only the brass sword pommels remaining before I can flood ‘em with a coat of Future floor finish!!! I also finished the base coat of Black Liquitex on the two cannon, so I should be able to begin painting those this evening. Finally, I painted the mounted officer’s horse a light brown all over and managed not to obscure the already black reins and harnesses, so “he” is about finished except for a star on his face and a couple of white stockings. I also painted the officer’s saddle cloth GW “Scorpion Green”, to match the facing colors, and the edging gold. I snapped a number of photos and will deliver the film to Walgreen’s (a large Midwestern pharmacy chain for non-USA readers) this morning. So, by afternoon, I should have some digitized photos to upload here. Yes, it’s true -- You can believe it when you see it!

The Cavalry Has Arrived!

Two packages of Zvezda 1/72 Saxon Cuirassiers have just arrived in the mail! I’ll use these figures to convert into 18 th century cuirassiers along with the help of some three-cornered heads borrowed from some Revell kneeling Prussian SYW infantry. Happily, the Zvezda figures are great sculpts with little if any flash or mould lines to speak of. Size-wise, they are large for 1/72, and so these figures are a perfect match for my Revell figures. Appropriately for heavy cavalry, the horses are even a tad taller than the Revell horses. Finally, the plastic used for these figures is noticeably stiffer and harder than that used by Revell, so the swords should resist paint flaking pretty well once painted and varnished. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at some conversions during the upcoming Christmas break from school!

"A Plastic Painting Tip" and "Book Reviews, Anyone?"

I managed to spend a little time painting yesterday between baking pies and preparing a salad for dinner. First, I painted the white trim around the edges of the tricornes worn by my 13 artillery crew, who are starting to look pretty darn good. Second, I painted the underside of the figure bases with more of the GW “Goblin Green”. I also did the same for the recently finished Jäger zu Fuß. And a bunch of photos really are coming just as soon as I resolve my ongoing camera problems :-( Today, I’ll add the usual Future treatment, so the figures will be completely sealed in paint and acrylic varnish, which hopefully will preserve my paintwork for a long time to come. Painting and finishing the underside of each figure’s base also seems to make them look just a bit more completed too! I’m going to do the same for the 2 nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers today after adding some more detail to Stollen’s battery of artillery. On a slightly different note, I’ve had an interesting id

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American visitors! Not much to report for the Grand Duchy of Stollen today. My 13 artillerymen sit patiently on the painting desk where they have been since a Monday evening. But I have managed to complete the flesh tone, grey coats, and GW “Goblin Green” bases since my last post here. Oh, and the breeches, vests, facings, and turnbacks were painted a lovely bright shade of GW “Scorpion Green” too. Still a fair amount to complete, but the large parts are done. I might be able to make some additional progress during our long holiday weekend here in the USA . Something fun arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon: Scenarios for Wargamers by C. S. Grant!!! The book contains 52 different scenarios, most of which can be used for any period albeit with a few minor alterations. I can’t wait to try a few of these out once I have finished enough figures for some small preliminary actions between the Grand Duchy of Stollen and the Electorate of Zichenau

Clip, clip, clip. . .

Clip! I spent the late-night hours Friday clipping 60 Revell 1/72 SYW Austrian dragoons (four boxes) and their respective horses from the plastic sprues on which they arrived, grouping both men and mounts into squadrons of similar poses afterward. I like these figures. They have very little flash and/or few mold lines that must be trimmed away. This is not terribly hard on plastic figures when using a sharp, new X-acto blade. But, if you’re like me, this is a tedious process . . . and I’d prefer to get on to the basecoat and painting. That’s the fun part! Anyway, the dragoons will be the next unit of figures (30) I add to the Grand Duchy of Stollen’s tiny army, and I plan to use my month long Christmas break from teaching to do that. Parenthetically, while community college students can be a real pain in the neck, the occasional breaks make the job of trying to teach them something about the writing process tolerable. And I say this as a former community college stu

Absent Without Leave!

Well, I’ve been errant and remiss in not adding any posts for the last week or so. Please don't cane me Sir! I was led astray! However, I’ve got a good excuse -- I’ve been hard at work writing an article, which, if the wargaming gods are kind, will soon appear for public consumption. More on this as events unfold. ;-) Otherwise, I’ve been able to get a bit of painting and varnishing in. Stollen’s Jaegers zu Fuss are now entirely finished, right down to the shiny coat of Future acrylic floor finish. I must admit that I really like the old fashioned “look” brought to my figures by a glossy protective coat. I’ve also started doing the same for the 2 nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers, which were completed (painting) in early September. The gloss finish on these early regiments also seems to make the various colors richer, so I think I'm going to stay with this method of protecting my brushwork for a while! Finally off of their temporary bases and lined up in mass, the

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today, I turn 40 years old! Hard to believe although I have to say that I don't really feel any older. I'm still in school (albeit on the instructor's side of the desk), I'm still pretty thin, I still have all of my hair (no grey yet, but much shorter than in the old "heavy metal days"), and I still play with toy soldiers -- but not Legos! Hmmm, no wonder I still feel as if I'm about 17! I don't exactly feel like Ward Cleaver yet ( ". . . and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver"). Still, it's interesting to be at the midpoint of one's life -- technically middle-age -- where there is supposed to be all sorts of taking stock. Where I've been. Where I'm going. . . in the little time left. Stuff like that. My wife and I had dinner with another couple we are friendly with Saturday evening. The subject of my birthday came up. I joked that we would celebrate as usual, but that afterwards, much like a wounded animal, I'd retreat to a qui

Size Matters!

A little later. . . It seems that size DOES matter. I’m currently sitting across the room from my three imaginary units, two generals, and an ADC, which are arrayed on my painting table. The Von Laurenz Musketeers (63 strong) and Jaeger zu Fuss (32 strong) are completed. The two-gun battery of artillery with 13 crew and the mounted officers are not yet basecoated. Nevertheless, they look amazing from 6-7 feet away! And no, from this distance, one does not notice the slight differences in style or height between the Revell 1/72 plastics and the 25mm MiniFigs metal figures. I should have started working with big units and larger figures years ago! Visually, it’s quite a bit more pleasing than small units of 12-20 using 15mm sized miniatures. Just imagine how it will look about a year when I have most of my armies completed along with some "old school" scenery. I can almost see it now. Wow!

Science Fiction in the GDR

For Jeff Hudelson, the Duke of Saxe-Bearstein, and any others who might be curious, here is the cover of my wife's new book. Earlier this afternoon, I tried to talk Sonja into into posing with the book herself, but she said, "Those guys just want to see if you landed yourself a babe!" Well, lack of a photo notwithstanding, I can assure anyone who may wonder that, yes, I did score a babe. She's simply amazing. Even better, she's quite tolerant of my model soldier hobby. She doesn't necessarily "understand" my fasciantion with military miniatures, but she accepts it. Sonja even sat through a brief explanation of the Hessian flags I posted below. . . OK, she was rooting through a filing cabinet here in the office when I told her all about it, but at least she was polite enough to respond with, "Mmm-hmm" during my momentary lapse. ;-) Aren't wives great? All kidding aside, I really enjoy being married to Sonja!

"Follow the Standards!"

Another chilly, grey autumn day here at Stollen Central -- It’s perfect November weather! And it’s nice to be cozily shut up in the spare room with my computer, Voice of America playing African music on the old Grundig Satellit 650 shortwave radio, and soldiers awaiting my attention over on the painting/radio desk. My MiniFigs 25mm Austrian and Prussian standard bearers/ensigns arrived with the mail a short while ago (six of each). And they’re fantastic! Nice long flagpoles with finial ends that will take oversized flags, and the figures are heavy enough to remain standing -- i.e., they won’t become top-heavy once painted with the flags attached. I’m going to begin work on a Prussian standard bearer today, so that the first regiment I painted, the 2 nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers some of you may recall, will have one of these new figures in a couple of days. Height-wise, the MiniFigs are a few millimeters shorter than my plastic Revell 1/72 figures. The former measure about

"Vem var Holgar Eriksson?"

Or in English, “Who was Holgar Eriksson?” Well, the internet is a wonderful thing, and several OSW members have come through rapidly with all kinds of information on this masterful figure sculptor, following my query there. Chief among them is Historifigs ’ own Mike Taber , who found and posted a fantastic article written by John Scruby, who visited Mr. Eriksson at his home in Karlstad , Sweden during late 1968. Mike also dug up and posted several photos of H.E. and his work. These can be viewed through the Historifigs website at: . Next to thank is Battlegames ’ mastermind Henry Hyde , who sent various web links on H.E. figures and a little history behind them. These may be accessed at the Spencer Smith Miniatures website, which, as you know, is being temporarily hosted by Henry through his Battlegames website. Click here to go there: . Henry mentioned that he’ll eventually be add

"What is OSW for?"

“What is OSW for?” asked Henry Hyde yesterday, exasperated that so few had asked about or commented on the battle reports about and wonderful photos of the recent Bailen game between him and John Preece. I don’t know about any of you, but my conscience hurt a bit after reading Henry’s comments, and I'm a bit sheepish for not replying at OSW sooner. Suffice to say, since the game along with subsequent reports and photos involved a Napoleonic battle and BIG units, I was definitely intrigued. Still, I decided to wait before posting any questions or remarks at OSW. As for my reservation about posting more copious comments, well, I suppose I put in my two cents (desired or not) at OSW fairly often. Sometimes a few members are nice enough to reply to my queries and/or observations. Most often though, there’s not a word. That’s ok, I don’t have self-esteem issues. But now and then, I have the distinct feeling that I'm not quite on the same page with some of the regular contri

And now for something completely different. . .

My wife's book finally arrived yesterday! She's worked on it for about five years, and I'm just so proud of her I can hardly stand it. If you're really into the serious study of sci fi literature, check out the following: Science Fiction Literature in East Germany by Sonja Fritzsche. She has published quite a few articles, but this is her first book and we're really thrilled.