Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2007

Drumroll, please!!!

Gentlemen, here they are. . . the freshly completed Ermland Garde zu Fu β – the premier regiment in the army of The Electorate of Zichenau – in all their martial glory. All 80 figures! These last couple of weeks, it has seemed like I’d never get them finished at times. The Thanksgiving holiday, work commitments, and so on seem like they have conspired against available free time, but I managed to wrap up this particular project before the end of the month. So, I guess things have gone fairly well. At some point in the near future, there are two more 80-figure regiments to do for Zichenau’s army, and it’s reassuring to know that I’ve got the mental stamina to paint units of this size. Whew! Anyway, here are a few fresh photos of the entire regiment for your viewing pleasure. Wish I had the lovely background items seen at Jim (Alte Fritz) Purky’s Hesse-Seewald blog, which show off his miniatures to their best advantage, but mine look reasonably good even so. They appear re

A Bit of This'n'That. . .

There are just a few finishing touches to put on the 80-figure Zichenauer Ermland Garde zu Fu β . I should then have some regimental eye-candy up here in the next couple of days. Speaking of eye candy, you’ve got to check out Jim (Alte Fritz) Purky’s first 30 or so Minden Miniature 1/56 Prussians, owned by Frank Hammond. See photos at: . Amazing stuff! And how Jim is able to paint ‘em up so fast I don’t know. There must be something in the water up his way. Back here at Stollen Central, I’ve started slapping some paint on Major Biscotti, Colonel von Gherkin, and General de Latt é . You remember? I presented them to you a few days ago. The former will wear a white uniform with dark blue facings, based on an actual Venetian dragoon regiment. The middle personality wear’s a fairly typical Prussian/Austrian looking cuirassier officer’s uniform (white coat, tan breeches, black cuirass), but I’ve given him lime green facings. It’s definitely eye

Dresdener Stollen Recipe

Well, a number of you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars have contacted me asking about the Grand Duchess Sonja’s Dresdener Stollen. Her precise recipe is in a German language cookbook and would require translation, which can be a time consuming process. She instructed me to tell everyone that she’s too lazy to translate it and convert measurements for use here. So, I’ve done the next best thing and looked around the web. There are all kinds of stollen recipes out there, variations on a common theme. This one, contributed by “Olga” to, meets with Sonja’s approval. For those with a sweet tooth, Sonja has always wanted to try the recipe for "Marzipan Stollen". It looks yummy too! Dresdener Stollen 1/2 cup rum or brandy 1 cup chopped citron 1 cup chopped candied orange peel 3/4 cup golden raisins 3/4 cup currants 2 env. dry yeast 1/2 cup lukewarm water 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar 2 cups milk 2 tsp. salt 1-1/3 cups unsalted butter Grated rind of 1 1/2 le

Look who's been hard at work in the palace kitchens!

Yes, the Grand Duchess Sonja has been hard at work in the palace kitchens today, supervising this year’s batch of authentic Dresdner Stollen, to be dispatched to troops near and far in the coming weeks. I can assure you that it’s as good as it looks, and I’ll need to do some extra bicycling to stay trim during the coming Christmas season. On a different note, Zichenau’s 80-figure Ermland Garde zu Fuß regiment is almost finished. The two steps remaining are the silver musket barrels/bayonets and the brass/bronze hoops that hold the musket barrels to the wooden stocks. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow they’ll be all done. Photos will follow right here. From left to right: Major Paulo Biscotti, General Phillip de Latt é , and Colonel Franz von Gherkin In the meantime, I finished undercoating, and painting the faces of the Zichenauer general staff. Gentlemen, meet Major Biscotti, General de Latt é , and Colonel von Gherkin. The Major is on loan to Zichenau from the Veneti

Final Zichenauer Uniforms. . . Enjoy!

Above: 1st (Von Hassenpflug's) Engineer Battalion Above: 7th Battery of Artillery

For Jean-Louis: Some Zichenauer Uniforms

Above: Ermland Garde zu Fuss Above: 9th (Prinz Wilhelm's) Infantry Above: Provisional Regiment (Allied infantry from Pillau Zerbst and Pillau-Reuss) Above: Von Auflauf Frei Battalion Above: Wolmar-Bock Regiment (Independent Company) Above: Goetterfunken Hussars Above: Von Schlachtenbummler's Dragoons Above: Garde zu Pferd

For Jean-Louis: Planned Stollenian Uniforms

Above: Von Hanzelwicz's Cuirassiers Above: Turducken (Von Haubitzke's) Hussars Above: Von Hildebeitel's Regiment (Allied regiment from Werben-Steinau) Above: 15th (Von Flickenhoffer's) Fusiliers (Allied regiment from Tauroggen-Fiebus with pink facings/turnbacks) Above: 4th Sappers

For Jean-Louis: Finished Stollenian Uniforms

Above: 2nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers Above: Princess Waltraud's Battery of Artillery Above: 4th (Trakehnen) Dragoons Above: Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's Own) Grenadiers Above: Jaeger zu Fuss

Gobble, gobble!!!

Well, I’ve baked two pies, put together a sweet potato casserole that gets baked tomorrow, and am working on a congealed salad right now (waiting for the jello to set up), and washed a sink full of dishes and assorted things, so I’m bushed. But I think the meal tomorrow will be lovely. We’ve got some really blustery winter weather that’s blown into the Midwest , so it’s suitably Thanksgiving-like too, and December isn’t far off. On a bizarre and humorous note, I heard a news item early this morning about a minor accident involving a truck (lorry) full of live turkeys somewhere here in the United States (I can’t recall which city). Many of the turkey’s escaped and occupied a nearby cemetery, where they have terrorized pedestrians and bicyclists all week long, running after, pecking, and flapping their wings at passers-by. All attempts by police and animal control officers to entice the birds onto another trailer, or otherwise corral them, have failed, and city leaders are beside

"Gentlemen, I concur. His lack of standards is simply appalling!"

Some of you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars might remember way back to the start of the project when I talked about several small principalities that occupy the peripheries of the Grand Duchy of Stollen and Electorate of Zichenau. These territories include: Pillau-Zerbst, Pillau-Reuss, Tauroggen-Fiebus, Werben-Steinau, and Zeller-Schwarzekatze. Although they are very tiny, each considers itself terribly important on the political stage of this backwater area of 18 th century Europe , interfering constantly in the affairs of Stollen and Zichenau and participating enthusiastically in the conflicts between the two. Apropos that role, each principality will contribute a small draft of troops (primarily infantry but occasionally a squadron of cavalry or battery of artillery) to the armies of their larger neighbors. What makes this prospect somewhat more interesting is that the principalities will change sides often and unpredictably, as they jockey for better position and favor i

Is it possible to go snowblind from figure painting?

After a marathon painting session last night, that’s how I fell at least. So much white everywhere: shoulder belts and musket straps. I feel like Danny from Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King. Anyway, I’ve reached the home stretch with the last batch of Zichenauer infantry. Tonight, we’ll start with the metallics: brass cartridge pouch badges, scabbard tips, and sword hilts plus the officer’s gorget and gold sash. Giddy up!

Getting there slowly, but surely. . .

Things have been moving a bit slower than expected with the fourth and final (for now) company of Zichenauer infantry. Sigh. The daily challenges of life and such. Nevertheless, here they are with the facings and turnbacks all finished. I really like the GW color “Warlock Purple”, but I think that I’m also happy to be finished with it for a while. This evening, it’s on to the white and leather-colored shoulder straps. And maybe the white musket straps too since these are so easy to paint rapidly. Really just a long dash of white along the bottom side of the musket stocks. Meanwhile, that 30 figure regiment of Spencer Smith cavalry sings its siren song just to the left of the Zichenauer infantry!

Another Week Begins!

The Grand Duchess and I gave ourselves a day tooling around Chicago on Saturday. We first visited Millennium Park to gaze at the huge mirrored "kidney bean" sculpture, something I always enjoy, after lunch. A shopping foray followed along with a walk around the shopping district of the downtown. We ended with a delicious dinner at a Malaysian place in Chinatown before the drive back home. It was a perfect fall day, grey and chilly, and we managed to get home before midnight. We're taking a group of Sonja's German students up to the city at the beginning of December for the annual Christkindl Markt, shopping, and a German/Bohemian dinner. It should be fun. I was able to get in about two hours of painting yesterday evening, applying brown to haversacks, musket stocks, and hair. Still not finished with the final batch of Zichenauers though, so tonight I'll begin with the purple facing color on the collars, cuffs, and turnbacks. Hmmm, seems like I just did this w

A Wargame Figure Painter's Things-to-Do List

Agh! It’s finally Friday, and I can’t do any painting! Life is so unfair sometimes. We have a couple with whom we are good friends coming over for wine, pizza, dessert, and good conversation this evening. All fine and dandy. The bad part is that I need to swiffer and vacuum the apartment plus clean the bathroom before they arrive at 7:00. If we didn’t actually LIKE this couple, I’d be more upset, but they are interesting and good company, so I guess it’s not too bad. And then we’re going to Chicago early tomorrow for a day and dinner in the big city, so it’s unlikely that I’ll feel up to painting when we get home tomorrow night. I think the Grand Duchess must be involved in some sort of silent grand plot, along with other wargaming wives and girlfriends around the world, to keep me from finishing the Zichenauer infantry! Hmmm. . . Sunday is November 11 th , Veterans’ Day (originally Armistice Day), the day on which general fighting ceased on the Western Front in 1918, and whic

Little by Little. . .

Well, yesterday was a good day as far as 41 st birthdays go. Had some nice cards and gifts, a delightful dinner out at one of our favorite Indian restaurants (courtesy of the lovely Grand Duchess Sonja), and even about 90 minutes yesterday afternoon of painting on the fourth and final batch of Zichenauer infantry. You can see in the background that I have yet to finish the muskets of the third company, but I’ll get there in the next day or so.

Almost There with Third Batch of Zichenauer Infantry

Top: A shot of the entire regiment from above. Middle: Another photo, this time of the third company specifically. Bottom: And the line just stretches off into the distance. . . Irwin-Amadeus and the Stollenian army should be more than a littleconcerned! I finally got some time to sit down this evening and finish the purple breeches on the third company of Zichenauer infantry – “The Newts”. All that remains now are the silver musket barrels, officer’s spontoon, and bronze retaining hoops that held the musket barrels to the stocks. With any luck, I can finish those steps tomorrow or on Saturday and the begin the fourth and final batch on Sunday. And now, to bed. Goodnight gentlemen!

A Frightful Halloween Nightmare!

Last night was Halloween night here in the USA , and I experienced what you might consider a bad dream. It began nicely enough though. . . So, I’m in this incredibly well-stocked, small hobby shop with one aisle completely devoted to both metal AND plastic wargaming and military miniatures – plus all of the painting accessories you could want. I spy an oversized box of mid-19 th century French soldiers, very like the Emhar set above, at about eye level on a shelf. But it was by a French manufacturer whose name I didn’t recognize. I take the box off the shelf and open it to inspect the contents. Pay dirt! About 50 hard plastic infantry (Franco-Prussian War more or less), each about 30mm height, tall and slim, with realistically sized calves, hands, and heads. The price was reasonable though I don't recall what it was exactly. I place the box back on the shelf, thinking that I’ll look around a bit more and then buy this wonderful find. For a few more minut