Skip to main content

Summer is in full swing. . .

The current crop of wagons after some dry-brushing and washes with light gray to weather them a bit.

Captain's log. . .  Stardate 30 July 2014.  Summer is in full swing here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen as it no doubt is for many of you in the Northern Hemisphere.  July has been delightfully unusual in our little part of the galaxy this year.  With the exception of a day or two here and there, it has been unseasonably cool and green, something that is not typical for this time of the year in the midst of Central Illinois.  Usually by this time, it is hot, dry, and the grass is uniformly brown most places.  Hopefully, August and September will continue in a similar temperate and comfortable vein.  Cross your fingers and toes!

At the moment, I am listening online to Norwegian State Broadcasting (NRK), Program 1 out of Bergen on the west coast of Norway, a place where I spent a lot of time in a previous life about 15-20 years ago.  The program features a pleasing mix of chat and a wide array of music from the last 40-odd years along with an announcer who speaks with a delightful Bergen accent.  

Playing at the moment is There She Goes from 1987 by The La's, a tune that always reminds me of my wife since I used to hear it quite a bit on the radio during the winter and spring of 2000-2001 when the Grand Duchess and I began dating while in grad school at the University of Minnesota. . .  although neither of us realized just yet that we were becoming a couple.  It was all still pretty innocent movie festivals and coffee afterwards along with occasional late-night telephone calls during the week about non-romantic, work-related stuff.  Or so it seemed at the time.  And I've never really worked out which of us was pursuing the other though I suppose it hardly maters now.  Funny how life works and good things sneak up on you when you least realize it.

Anyway, I'm still plugging away at the current group of five wagons for the supply and pontoon train.  The vehicles themselves are about done now, and it's time to turn my attention to the horse teams and drivers/drovers.  We're getting there, slowly but surely.  It is taking a bit longer than planned to work through these, but I am enjoying the modelling and painting, so no complaints. 

I should be able to wrap these up in the next several evenings, take a break, and then start on the last five or six wagons and carts and make inroads there before the autumn semester begins again in about four weeks.  Sigh.  I received one of those emails yesterday morning, inviting me to a day-long professional development seminar on August 11th.  Not mandatory you understand, but I feel like I ought to attend since it has been two years since I last did so.  And just when it really began to feel like summer!  Well, at least it will be time to dress up for work/teaching again, so there is that one small plus I suppose.

Here is the 30mm field forge from Berliner Zinnfiguren after a bit of free-hand lettering, in German no less, which means something like 'field smithy.'

In other areas, I've managed to read through a couple of detective thrillers during the last few weeks too.  Field of Prey by John Sandford and before that Breakdown by Sara Paretsky.  Next up is one of the Harry Hole thrillers by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø whose title escapes me at the moment.  I've also been working slowly through The Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva, a somewhat less fluffy bit of feminist nonfiction that deals with the concept of abjection.  

While terribly interesting reading, Kristeva's work is not necessarily something you want to breeze through in just a few nights before you drift off into la-la land.  And then there has been the fascinating book on the Art Deco movement, given to my by the Grand Duchess for our anniversary at the end of last month, which is really a collection of essays on the architecture, interior style, and clothing fashions of the 1920s and 30s.  And of course, we've been working our way through the Midsomer Murders series via Netflix streaming, so it has been a busy five weeks or so.

Ah. . .   The house is still at almost 4pm in the afternoon, the Young Master is having his daily Quiet Time, and the inside temperature with the windows open is ideal for an afternoon nap, so. . .   That is where yours truly is headed next.  A supper of fresh tomato sandwiches (courtesy of the Grand Duchess and her vegetable garden) along with fresh sweetcorn off the cob and iced tea, sweetened with sugar and flavored with fresh mint from the garden, will follow.  After the Young Master's bedtime, it's back down here to Zum Stollenkeller for 90 minutes of so of painting mid-evening.  School might start in four weeks, but for the time being, it's still summertime!

-- Stokes


Bluebear Jeff said…
"Summertime and the living is easy" . . . nice, isn't it?

-- Jeff
Matt said…
Love the wood grain effect, very convincing!
Unknown said…
I think we must have had your weather here in the UK; July has been lovely and sunny and very Agapanthus (native of South Africa)must think they're back home...thirteen blooms on one plant, the most since my records began!

By the way, I love the wagons too!


Popular posts from this blog

Comfortable Rules for Games of Glossy Toy Soldiers in the Old Style. . .

  Introduction A Tangled Mass is a game of toy soldiers in the old style, set more or less in the middle part of the 18 th century.   Our miniature forces are colorful and, we hope, glossy.  Although the latter, like so much else, is up to the discretion of the players.   But it is the modeling, brushwork, and unit organization of hobby greats like Gilder, Mason, and Robinson that provide our visual touchstone and continue to inform "the look of the thing" even now. Tabletop armies in A Tangled Mass can be historic, semi-historic, or whimsically fictitious, but the more flags and mounted officers, the better.  Formations, while bearing some resemblance to their historic precedents, are generic: column, line, or extended order for lighter types.   Squares, while possible, are less common than during all of that later Napoleonic madness with its guillotines and Spanish ulcers.  And we'll simply choose not to mention patent leather dancing pumps, or that unseemly bedr

Prussian 3rd Garrison Regt. Update. . .

  Still a few small things to do, including apply fleshtone to a left hand on an officer that I somehow missed at some point plus lace on the drummers and officers , but we're very close to the glossing stage. L ots of painstaking work to clean up edges, highlight folds, and touch up various bits and pieces the last few evenings.  My trusty little Sony Cybershot, I fear, has gone to that big electronics place in the sky and no longer seems to be working.  Well, I've had it since 2013, and small electronics don't last forever, so I cannot complain.   With that little hiccup in mind, I snapped today's shot with my iPhone, brightened, and cropped it in Fotor before sharing it here.  Again, the blue is not quite so bright in reality, but the auto-improve, or whatever they call it, makes for nice bright photographs in which everything shows up.   Not long before these are done, and The Young Master was suitably please when I asked him to have a look a few minutes ago. -- Sto

A Break in the Radio Silence. . .

  S till plugging away at the 60 or so Wied Infantry currently on the painting bench as and when work and family life permit. Using three different whites for the clothing, shoulder belts, and officers' wigs plus trying some Army Painter quick washes.   My friend and one-time online magazine co-editor Greg Horne (the man behind The Duchy of Alzheim , still one of my blog and hobby touchstones) suggested I give washes a try a month or two ago, and I think he might be onto something.  Admittedly, he suggested the Citadel contrast range, but what I purchased eventually is in that general direction.  I am especially pleased with the Army Painter flesh wash, which picks out the facial details on the Minden figures very nicely.  I've applied it on top of my usual Windsor & Newton alkyd oil fleshtone and then highlighted the brows, bridges of noses, cheeks, chins, lower lips, and knuckles/thumbs the next day with more of the fleshtone.   Suddenly, and with relative ease, my paint