Stollen: 1/72 Renaissance Wargame Blog

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Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke
Updated: 21 min 42 sec ago

An Apparently Insurmountable Task Is Really Just a Series of Small Hills. . .

September 16, 2018 - 15:46
The blasted camera is charging now.  Photograph to follow here shortly.

Or so went the wisdom in the war adventure Snow Treasure (1967), a film adaptation of the Marie McSwigan book by the same title, all about efforts by Norwegian school children to transport Norwegian gold out of the country following the German invasion in April 1940.  A large task is really just a series of small hills.

This is how I prefer to think of figure painting during those times when things slow down to a glacial pace.  And so the small painting hill yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and again in the evening was to apply Ral Partha 'Leather Brown' to riding breeches, the long waistcoats that peek our from beneath the black cuirasses, and the riding gloves.  Following the Young Master's bedtime, I returned to highlight these same areas sparingly with the same color lightened with white.

And this is where things are this (Sunday) morning.  Still not much to look at, but we're getting there slowly and steadily with the second squadron of my composite unit of SYW-era horse grenadiers in bearskins.  

If life is kind today, and I can get through planning for tomorrow's two classes, I'll grab a small brush and that medium-dark gray I am so fond of to apply sparing highlights to the toes of riding boots, sword scabbards, and cuirasses.  Cross your fingers!

-- Stokes
Categories: General

Messing Around with The Camera and Lightbox. . .

September 9, 2018 - 15:32

Two photographs of Eureka Miniatures' "Oh, you're so awful!" vignette, painted by yours truly in June 2018.

After a busy Saturday putting finishing touches on some hobby-related projects (not actual painting or gaming I fear), and whipping up a batch of delicious spaghetti meatsauce in the late afternoon, I retreated back down to Zum Stollenkeller Mk. II for a couple of hours to play with a camera and my lightbox kit.  You might recall that the latter was purchased via Amazon after Christmas and the New Year last January, courtesy of an online giftcard from my parents.  

Took about a dozen or so photos of the above vignette, two of which seemed good enough for some minor editing (basically just clicking on 'Auto Levels') and cropping in Pixlr online.  Not quite Orson Welles, Anthony Mann, or Edward Dmytryk quality as far as deep focus (depth of field) is concerned, but we're getting there.  

A useful trick seem to be backing off the zoom a bit, which keeps more items within the frame in sharper focus.  The lady in the peach dress and her larger table are sharpest, but the items and figures around her aren't too bad.  

My tendency has always been either to zoom in too much with the lens, or get the actual camera too close to the subject in an effort to fill the frame.  Frustratingly, that almost always throws off the focus.  I believe that Henry Hyde discusses just this point somewhere in his chapter on photography within The Wargaming Compendium.  

Instead, you can fill the frame by cropping your photograph(s) in post-production using an editor light Photoshop Elements.  Currently, I use Pixlr online, which does the few things I need plus a whole lot more.  But focus is the main thing to, ahem, focus on when taking pictures of your figures and/or tabletop set-up. 

Anyway, these two shots seem to be a move in the right direction.  Now, I just need to figure out the larger Sony camera body and lenses that were passed on to me last spring when ol' Mom upgraded her photography gear. 

-- Stokes
Categories: General

The Heroes of Borszchardstadt. . . Starring Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris!

September 2, 2018 - 20:39
"One o'clock and all is we-ell!"  Or is it?  The sleeping Village of Borszchardstadt somewhere in the Mark of Schleiz a contested territory nestled between The Grand Duchy of Stollen and its nemesis The Electorate of Zichenau. 

Stay tuned for some photo captions and more description of the wonderfully fun little skirmish game I set up last night late and played this (Sunday) morning after coffee and breakfast, using just a few rules from The War Game and making up a couple of others as I went along.  For a short while, I was a slightly more organized 10-year old again without a care in the world except for my game of toy soldiers.

-- Stokes
Categories: General

Blues and Bags Done. . .

September 1, 2018 - 04:29
Blues and red silk bags done, red facings and turnbacks next, but I should probably finish up the metal bits on the horse tack before that.

A spectacular late summer evening here, cool, sunny, with just the sound of crickets in the background.  A perfect time for an after dinner family bike ride around the neighborhood, or The Tour de Cul Sacs as we call it.  The Young Master had so much fun that he requested we go around twice.  We were away an hour.  The longest he has ever ridden on his own bike under his own power.  It was the most fun I've had since the three of us were out on cross-country skis together last winter.  

Following his bedtime this evening, I stole back down here to Zum Stollenkeller Mk II to finish up the True Blue highlight on the jackets.  Metal parts on the horse tack tomorrow, which shouldn't take too long, just small dabs of paint really, so I might take out three small shrubs in a couple of beds before the sun sets tomorrow evening.  Ahhhhhh. . .

-- Stokes

Categories: General

It's. . . The Final Day of Summer Vacation!

August 28, 2018 - 21:30
The blue squadron of my composite cavalry regiment with silk bags newly highlighted with Scarlet on top of darker Cherry Red.

Sadly, today is the final day of summer vacation 2018.  Classes begin tomorrow bright and early at 8am for yours truly with my Henrik Ibsen and Society course on social problem plays since the late 1870s.  

Syllabi have all been revised and uploaded to the cloud where students can access them after 1am Wednesday morning.  I've also uploaded various supplementary readings to the respective online course schedules and grade pages.  It has been a flurry of activity around here for the last two weeks, which explains the slow-down in painting and related updates here.  

However, I have been able to return to the painting table during the last couple of days and pick up where I left off back on August 12th.  After finishing the medium-dark gray highlights on the black leather horse tack yesterday, I decided to give myself a break and see to the much easier dark blue coats and red silk bags atop the squadron's bearskins.  If there is time this evening, I'll either add the light Royal Blue highlight, or begin the many small silver and brass bits of metal on the horse tack.  We'll see how it goes.

The first few weeks of the term are fairly easy as far as my workload goes, so I hope to squeeze in an hour or so pf painting most evenings before free time disappears about Week 5 when the first round of student projects will be delivered.  Until then, a few more glorious weeks of relatively free evenings and weekends.

-- Stokes

Categories: General