Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2007

5000+ Visits to the Stollen Since August '06!!!

Yes, you read it right boys and girls. Despite the bitterly cold winter weather, the tourist industry has really picked up in the Grand Duchy of Stollen lately. There have been more than 5000 visits to the territory since I created the blog last August. The Grand Duke Irwin Amadeus II is puffing and extra big cigar today you can be sure. To further celebrate this momentous occasion, more painting of Squadron A, 4th (Trakehnen) Dragoons will take place later this afternoon and during the evening. Stay tuned for another photo update right here!

Dragoon Horses Coming to Your Emotional Rescue!

After a couple of days worth of extensive work, the bright bay horses of Squadron A are nearing completion. All that remains are the white blazes on the muzzles, and socks/stockings on some of the legs, save Colonel Von Cranz at left, who's mounted "on a fine Arab charrrr-ggger", which is all done. The brown on all of the other horses is Grumbacher's "English Red" artist's oil color. Yes, "that" tube given to me by good 'ol Mom about 23 years ago! Takes a couple of days for this particular color to dry to the touch. Pretty rapid for an oil-based color when you think of it. I have used and loved this color for bays and chestnuts for many, many years. It covers extremely well, and it takes only a tiny daub of paint on the palette to color many horses. I used a #2 synthetic round brush to apply the color to each horse. Slightly small for such a large painting job, but it enabled me to work the color around things like black reins, harne

Dragoon Update

Several free hours to myself today meant that I could get lots of dragoon parts painted. Besides red breeches, light blue saddlecloths with yellow edging, mid-brown leather bags at the right rear of each saddle, and grey greatcoats/blankets, you'll notice that I painted the flag cravat, coat of arms, and gold fringe as well as the gold finial. Oh, and Colonel Von Cranz now has gold edging on his tricorn while the captain of Squadron A (hidden here) has yellow edging on his headgear. Tomorrow, the horses!

4th (Trakehnen) Dragoons Get Faces!

Here they are again -- Stollen's finest, the 4th (Trakehnen) Dragoons! This time WITH faces and the flash setting switch off, so you can actually see the light blue waistcoats and faces. They should have thought of these digital cameras years ago. And doesn't that Colonel Von Cranz at the far left of the front rank look like a nasty fellow? Enjoy!

Squadron A and Regimental Staff in Progress

Ok men, here you go -- Introducing the 4th (Trakehnen) Dragoons ! In the interest of time, I'm working only on the first squadron of nine figures plus the three figure regimental staff right now. I'll paint the reamining two squadrons to completion one at a time when I have finished with the first 12 figures. Three evenings ago, I painted the figure bases you see in the photo, using GW's wonderful Goblin Green. The white "powdered" wigs on all personnel were also done that same night. Last evening, I spent about three hourse doing the red coats, bright yellow facings and turnbacks, white gloves, and light blue wasitcoats (difficult to see here). Oh, and the light crimson/lavender guidon with its black double-headed eagle and light blue coat of arms. Tonight, it's faces for the men and bright yellow on the collars. This weekend, it's on to painting reddish-brown horses with black manes and tails (what's called in equestrian terminology "Bright

Introducing Colonel Macro!!!

Hmmm. Sounds like a character from one of those 1960's Japanese TV series -- Anyone remember Johnny Sokko and his giant robot or Ultra Man and the Science Patrol? Anyway, here's a shot of the dragoons' colonel -- Colonel Von Cranz. Really no reason for this picture other than just me goofing around with the macro setting, to see how close I can get to the figure before it goes out of focus. Still, I think our colonel will make a rather dashing fellow when his paint job is complete. Let's hope he doesn't share the same fate as Captain Norris on the field at Balaklava!

Macro Guidon Bearer

And here's an extreme close-up of the dragoons' guidon bearer. Do any of you know what the rank of a dragoon trooper, who carried the guidon, would have been in 18th century Germanic armies? In keeping with my need for lovely, bright, showy colors, I decided to give the regiment a crimson/lavender (GW Warlock Purple) guidon with a black doule-headed eagle and a light blue coat of arms onto which I'll veeeeerrrrry carefully paint some tiny red and yellow bars. The Guidon itself will get some gold fringe outlined in black around its edge as the final painting step. So, still lots of work and a few touch-ups to complete, but you get the idea.

Stollenian Dragoons Muster for Parade

Next, you'll see the entire regiment assemble for a "painting parade" with the first squadron of eight troopers and one officer, together with the regimental staff of three, in the foreground of the photo. If you look carefully, you can also observe the various steps of my painting process: White Liquitex artists' acrylic gesso at the far right, black Liquitex acrylic undercoat on the second squadron in the middle distance, and of course the first squadron in the foreground, who are being issued their uniforms, mounts, and equipment first. So far, the acrylic mediums I have used are holding up well with no flaking of paint to speak of -- even when I bend swords and flag poles quite a bit!

Early Camera Experiments

Finally, here's a shot showing half the battery of Stollenian artillery, completed last month. Yes, you've met these follows before, but they were handy last week when Sonja and I were finally figuring out how to use the macro setting on the camera. . . and I like these guys! Still haven't quite worked out how to turn the flash off though.

Old School Authors at Their Best!

Have been hard at work lately on the first 12 of 30 stollenian dragoons -- red coats, white wigs, and green bases -- so not much else postworthy happening here. I'll have some digtal, macro photos of my work right here in the next day or two. It's nice to have the ability to take and post some really good quality pictures at last! In the meanitme, I've got good reading to enjoy when I turn in for the evening. Thanks to an Christmas gift certificate from my soon-to-be 90 year old grandmother, I'm enjoying modestly priced copies of two wargaimng classics: Tony Bath's (1973) Setting up a Wargames Campaign and Donald Featherstone's War Games (1962). Both books are fascinating and provide a whole bunch of neat ideas for adding detail and flavor to what happens on the table. Can't wait to get enough miniatures painted, so I can try out some of Bath's and Featherstone's methods. Great stuff! A third, equally reasonably priced "

The Great Acrylic Gesso Experiment Continues!!!

I made a big push earlier this evening and base coated all but one squadron (9 figures) with heavy coats of the stuff, which dries nicely without obscuring any detail. Yes, you can even see where I forgot to trim away a few mold lines – Hell and damnation!!! I’ll finish the final figures tomorrow evening before starting to paint the first squadron and regimental staff -- 12 figures in all. Anyway, to answer that nagging question at the back of your minds, the gesso I use seems to remain flexible enough NOT to peel or flake away when I bend the extended swords held by officers and troopers alike. This suggests to me that it sticks to soft plastic figures just fine. Me thinks I might have found my base coating medium. Once painting is complete on the stollenian dragoons in a few weeks and a coat or two of Future acrylic floor varnish is applied to them, I think you’d have to chew on the figures before the paint would start to peel away. Hmmm. I’ll have to try that.

Trees and Base Coating Woes of the Past

At right are the Zvezda trees (Item #8222 -- at $12.99US per set) I mentioned in yesterday's post. They are available from the Michigan Toy Soldier Company at: . Very pleasant guys, equally rapid service. I've ordered several things from them in the last six months or so and have been highly satisified. MTSC did not have the trees in stock when I called in early December, but they ordered two boxes and had them at my front door in about two weeks. Best of all, MTSC has a huge range of 1/72 plastic figures in stock. Try them out if you haven't already done so. Ah, spray basecoating. Why something that sounds so simple in theory should have presented me with such difficuties is anyone's guess! A few times in the late 80s, I tried spraying a base coat onto Late-Napoleonic Prussians one time and some French on another. In the first case, I used a can of Testor's mid-grey paint. Fairly good coverage after about four passes, but not enti

Plugging Away in the Grand Duchy

Not much happening in the Grand Duchy if Stollen recently. I’m still working at brushing on thick coats of the artists’ gesso on the 30 stollenian dragoons. Hopefully, I’ll finish with that particular task later this afternoon. Painting on the basecoat with a large brush is terribly BORING, but it’s much more thorough and effective, in my experience, than spraying on a basecoat. I tried spraying basecoats on my 15mm Napoleonics a few times many years ago and was not pleased with the patchy coverage. I think I actually spent more time going back over the figures later with a brush and white basecoat, making sure all bare areas of metal were covered before true painting could begin. On the same note, I’ve looked at the Plasti-Dip website and will give that particular product a try for the next batch of plastic figures I paint following the dragoons and the lovely RSM 95 grenadiers that the fair Grand Duchess Sonja presented to me for Christmas. Finally, I built the FINAL

Dragoon Painting About to Begin

Things have been quiet here at Stollen Central for the last week or so sonce our return from nordic skiing. But I have finally glued the 30 Revell 1/72 Austrian dragoons to their steeds and glued all the horses to temporary card bases, so I won’t mess up any painting during the next few weeks. If all goes well this evening, I’ll start base coating the whole lot with a new type of undercoat – Liquitex artists’ acrylic gesso. Normally, gesso is used by artists to treat “raw” canvas prior to painting it. However, I read somewhere online that some plastic soldier enthusiasts use it to prime their figures. As it says on the bottle, gesso provides superior “tooth”, so that paint sticks to it really well. Once dry, it remains flexible, which should prevent any paint from flaking off swords, scabbards, flagpoles, and the like. I’ll let you know how it goes. On another note, I’ve had such wonderful feedback from many of you recently that I thought I’d (re)share some of your re

Construction Boom in Grand Duchy of Stollen Nears Completion

Just a quick post today, so my wife and I can get in the car and head up to extreme Northern Wisconsin for some nordic skiing this weekend -- Hurrah! Spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon painting the three latest and FINAL (for the time being) structures: the bridge, farmhouse, and barn. Late yesterday evening, I took another hour or so to add the doors and windows using the black "Sharpie" permanent magc marker. All that remains are the balsa wood and crumbled cork "ruins", which I'll add and paint Sunday evening after our return -- or Monday, depending on how I feel. Externally, eveything looks great. I've perfomed the building process so many times in the last several days that construction and painting went relatively quickly this time. So, in the last couple of weeks, I've managed to build and paint in the Charles Grant Sr. style the following: a town gate, three merchants' townhouses, a warehouse, a church, a town hall/cate/tavern,

What's the Painting Forecast for 2007?

What's the painting forecast for 2007? The forecast looks good! I’ll begin painting the regiment of dragoons in earnest later this weekend. Hopefully that will take about a month. I’ll next begin on the lovely regiment of RSM 95 grenadiers. When those are finished in the late winter/early spring, it’s time to begin work on some primarily whited-coated troops for the Electorate of Zichenau. The rest of 2007 should see me working on two infantry regiments, a smaller battalion of jäger or frei corp, a regiment of dragoons (or perhaps hussars?), a two-gun battery of artillery, and three general staff members, including the dastardly French mercenary General Phillip de Latté ! Hopefully, this is not biting off more than I can chew as far as painting goes. From time to time, I might continue work on scenery for my Old School wargaming projects – a few styrofoam hills, maybe some river sections, and so on. If all goes well, I might be able to stage a small game over

Where are the dragoons??!!

Here's a high angle shot inspired by so many films noir of the 1940s-50s. As they survey the deserted town around them, the Grand Duke Irwin Amadeus II and his staff wonder where in the world the regiment of stollenian dragoons is. Were they scattered and eaten by Catzilla? Have they emigrated en masse to the colonies in North America? Or have they discovered cheap beer and curious peasant girls in a nearby village? Scroll down the page to find out!

Here they are!

Little did the Grand Duke know that his missing troops had rallied on the far side of town. Obviously Captain Von Schenker's scouting and recon work left something to be desired!