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Showing posts from February, 2008

We're almost there. . .

Well, I managed to finish quite a bit in just two hours this evening as you can see in the photo: stirrup leathers, girths, holsters, blue coats, and the sword blades. Oh, and a few more selective black touch-ups to better define certain parts of the figures. All that remains now are the stirrups themselves plus the bronze bits on the scabbards, sword hilts/pommels, and silver bits on the bridles. Other than a few black touch-ups on the horses, I hope to wrap these babies up by Saturday, when I will give the entire regiment of 30 a clear coat of Future floor polish, snap a photo or two for posting here, and then carefully pack the unit in a Rubbermaid plastic box, already waiting just out of sight on the painting desk. Ah, moving. . . You’ll also notice that the ol’ painting desk is looking a bit Spartan these days. I got around to dismantling all of the radios, tuners, speakers, and assorted wires/cables last Saturday afternoon. I must say, I am enjoying the extra el

Finally a Bit of Painting Time. . .

Just a quick update today. Last night, I managed to get in a couple of hours of work on those last nine Spencer Smith cavalry. Finished the yellow turnbacks, tan breeches, and the blue saddle cloths. Naturally, I made a number of mistakes, which I then had to fix before quitting for the evening. But there was nothing too upsetting or time consuming, just some careful (re-) lining with GW Chaos Black. It felt good to be back in the saddle. Tonight, I’d like/hope to paint the blue coats. We’ll see if that actually happens. If so, that means the only things like the swords, scabbards, and a few assorted small bits will remain. With any luck at all, I might have the entire 30-figure unit finished with a photo or two in the next several days. Cross your fingers!

A Little Time away from Packing. . .

Well, things are in complete disarray here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen. Virtually all of the books are packed in carefully labeled, book-sized moving boxes and lined up in the middle of the living room floor. It no longer looks like our apartment. So, I’m taking a little breather right now and typing an update for the blog. First, the Spencer Smith cavalry are getting there – very slowly. I finally was able to snatch an hour or so a couple of late evenings ago and finish the white bits before starting on the yellow facings and turnbacks, something that I might get to finish this evening. Then, it’s simply a matter of filling in the blue on saddle cloths and coats, tan on the breeches, and the various metal bits for the swards, stirrups, and scabbards, plus the stirrup leathers, etc. If I only had a few consecutive evenings where I didn’t feel worn out by 9PM! Of course, as luck would have it, I am in the midst of reading and grading student papers right now too. This is

Packing Books is NOT fun!

Well, the Grand Duchess and I are in the midst of packing up our belongings for the move into larger digs at the end of March/start of April. As you might expect, the associated activities have assumed precedence and seem to be dominating all areas of life at the moment. Those final nine Spencer Smith cavalry keep calling to me from the painting table, but I’m simply too wiped out in the evenings to sit down and dab a bit of paint here and there. Sigh. Anyway, while emptying the various bookshelves and packing up too many book boxes, guess what I cam across? Two rule sets that I’ve never used and now wish to clear from the collection: They Died for Glory by Dave Waxtel and Robert Burke and Playable Napoleonic Wargames by Barry Edwards (02/22/2008 Update -- both titles have been claimed and are no longer available.). If any of you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars (only those living in the US , please) would like either one or both, please e-mail me your address offline.

Yours sincerely. . .

. . . Donald Featherstone. Yes, I had a second very nice letter waiting in the mail for me from Mr. Donald Featherstone this afternoon! And he is interested in learning more about the Old School Wargaming Yahoo group. So, I guess I’ll just have to send another letter, explaining some more about all of us to him and supply the weblink. Wouldn’t it be neat to add Mr. Featherstone to our ranks at OSW? Funny the possibilities that come about when one revives the apparently lost art of letter writing. As far as painting goes, I managed to get in a couple of hours on those last nine Spencer Smith cavalry. Just the faces and green bases so far, but they look more alive now than was the case a week ago. Tomorrow, it’s on to the white wigs, gauntlets, shoulder straps, and saddle cloth edges plus the tape on the tricorned hats. On a humorous note, our cat “Rannveig” sat at my right elbow early this evening watching my every move with the paint brush. At one point, she stretch

Here we go!

Persistence sometimes pays it seems. Here are a few images of Prussian miners that I found on the web. The original plate was done by Richard Kn ö tel.

You know, it's funny. . .

. . . what goes through one’s mind while slopping gesso and (later) black acrylic paint on the last batch of Spencer Smith cavalry. As I was doing this, engineers, sappers, pioneers, miners, and pontoniers in a wargame context came to mind. Hardly surprising since I’ve been enjoying the David Chandler book on Marlburian warfare, and he devotes roughly a quart or the work to this very subject. Anyway, my question to you Grand Duchy of Stollen visitors is this. Besides the obvious siege game context, have any of you ever incorporated engineers, sappers, pioneers, miners, or pontoniers into a game? My thought is that this might add an interesting (but frequently ignored) dimension to our games. I think C.S. Grant has a few scenarios in his books that do something similar, and I must check up on it. And I also believe there was a Table Top Teaser in an early Battlegames where there were some bridging troops (Spencer Smiths if my memory serves me correctly). Anyway, I’d be

Before They Took the World by Storm. . .

Ok, time to wear my Beatles fan badge proudly and stop hiding it, I suppose. Of all the great popular music and rock bands of the last half century or so, the Beatles and their music are the greatest in my humble opinion – musically and personality-wise. So, in honor of Der Stollenkeller, here are two photos of the savage young Beatles. . . The top shot is of the original five-man band onstage at The Indra Club , the first place in Hamburg that the Beatles played when they arrived in August 1960. Besides George Harrison, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney, original drummer Pete Best and bass player Stuart Sutcliffe (an art school buddy of Lennon’s) are pictured here. The band members ranged in age from 17-20 here, and the Hamburg redlight district was by all accounts a pretty wild and rough place for five very young guys to be let off the leash. By the way, Ringo Starr was playing in a rival club around the corner at this time with his own Liverpool band Rory Storm an

Tidying a Few Loose Ends. . .

The Zichenauer general staff from left to right: Major Paolo Biscotti (seconded from the Piedmontese army), the dastardly French mercenary-adventurer General Philip de Latte, and General von Gherkin. Well, it’s been a pretty good weekend despite coming down with a slight headcold yesterday. We got in a little skiing Friday and Saturday, I’ve done some reading in the David Chandler book, and managed to finish trimming the moldlines from the final nine Spencer Smith cavalry. Today was not as productive as I’d hoped (funny how a cold saps your will and concentration, isn’t it?), but I did finally finish the three-officer group of Zichenauer generals pictured above. The left-hand figure needed some final details, and the middle figure needed a bit more gold trim on his blue coat. So, tomorrow I’ll give them a coat or two of Future floor polish, and then move on to basecoating the SSM figures below with white artists’ acrylic gesso. The bottom picture shows my RSM French musketeers

The other day. . .

. . . a like-new used copy of this wonderful book by David Chandler arrived with the daily mail. A few weeks ago, I asked a question here about how troops fought during the early part of the 18 th century – before the rise and prominence of Prussia ’s Frederick II. Among all of the great information that several of you sent my way, Paul Robinson of Grimsby , England recommended this particular book (Many thanks, Paul!). Well, like any good wargamer/amateur historian/one-time graduate student, I immediately began looking around for a used copy of said book. Briefly, The Art of Warfare in the Age of Marlborough examines thoroughly what took place on battlefields in Europe , in theory and in practice, between about 1690-1750 with regard to infantry, cavalry, artillery, and combat engineering. The book also explains how recruiting and training were accomplished as well as discussing various weapon and the resulting tactical innovations that took place during this period. Mr.

You thought I forgot, didn't you?

Step Six – Add Windows, Doors, and Hanging Sign Our final step is fairly simple, requiring only a black marker or felt tip pen, a steady hand, and some patience. Once you have finished painting the interior ruins and the exterior of the merchant’s townhouse, it’s time to add a few doors and some windows So, take your pen and, with a very light touch, begin by adding some widows where you want them. Be careful not to place any windows in illogical places though, like where a chimney would obviously connect to a fireplace and hearth inside. That said, I’m sure I’ve made that kind of error myself in the 15 or so model buildings I've built in the last year, but there you are. The same caveat follows when it comes to any doors you add to your model structure Now, remember that you are not trying to create all of the minute details of windows and doors, merely the impression of them. So, if your windows and doors are not all exactly the same size, or if some of the angles are

No School Today Boys!

Here's the Grand Duchess taking a breather during our ski-trip to Wisconsin last month just after January 1st, 2008. Heavy snow here in Central Illinois , so the university is closed today – Yahoo!!! And you know what that means don’t you? Yes, the Grand Duchess and I will don our ski gear and head out on our cross country (Nordic) skis today, followed by some hot chocolate or coffee at one of our local cafés. Cold temperatures throughout the weekend mean the skiing will remain good at least until Sunday afternoon, making it hard to balance the outdoor fun along side painting the final squadron of Spencer Smith cavalry. Oh, how difficult and unfair life is!