I lost a lot of weight while in Iraq and have managed to keep it off since returning. As a result, few of my clothes fit. For Christmas I got a basic load of pants from my wife in various colors — along with a Perry the Paltypus T-shirt for hanging around the house. Chris Palmer, however, gave me a German infantry company conducting a river crossing.
The boats are Pendraken. Chris cut the legs off German vehicle riders and glued them into the rubber boats. He did a really nice job with the bases. He has a twin company, so after Lvov we’ll start planning a France ’40 or Russia ’41 river crossing scenario.
Today is Christmas Eve Eve. We are prepared for the holidays. Christmas shopping has been done for some time; although, we bought a few last-minute things two days ago. (The kids’ stack seemed small to me. It happens every year!) Last weekend I met my parents, sister, and brother-in-law in Lancaster, PA. We saw the Christmas Spectacular at the American Music Theater in Lancaster (great show!), wandered around a number of specialty shops, visited the National Christmas Center (a must see!), and got our picture taken with Santa.
We hope that everyone has a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I finally finished the cavalry for my Burgdorfreuthenheim legion. The last unit is the Duke of Burdorfreuthenheim’s Own Hussars.
I decided to go with an art deco teal uniform with pink facings and trousers. I made the horses a variety of colors. The cavalry are wearing cuirasses. The standard bearer is a “converted” officer figure. I put “converted” in quotes, because all I did was cut off the pistol and drill a hole in the hand for the flag shaft. The flag is hand-painted. The flag is based on Bavaria, but is purple instead of blue.
This is a slightly closer view of the cavalry, taken from the left side, rather than the right.
In this close-up view you get a better look at the pink collar, turnbacks, and trousers.
Initially, I planned to paint all the horses grey. Since I primed the figures in grey, this seemed like cheating, so I ended up painting the horses five different colors.
The legion of Burgdorfreuthenheim is now fully formed and ready for action! As the Duke would say when initiating a charge, “Narf!” (Let’s see how many readers will get that obscure reference!)
I finished the Burgdorfreuthenheim artillery battery a week or so ago. All I have left is the cavalry. I’ve decided on teal uniforms with pink facings. If it doesn’t look too bad, I’ll post some pictures soon.
I decided the artillery would be in grey uniforms. Note that the officer is in a slightly lighter grey. The officers are not provided uniforms; they procure them from local tailors. Thus, officers’ uniforms are often off by a shade or two.
I decided not to paint the barrel of the cannon bronze. I think the black looks good next to the garrish blue. I can always go back and put metal on it later, but I like the black.
Below are some pictures of our Christmas decorations. Yes, we celebrate Christmas, not the generic, winter, non-denominational, gift-giving holiday.
Our tree is decorated with a combination of real and reproduction ornaments from the 40’s and 50’s. There are also many decorated eggs from Slovakia and Eastern Europe. There are also several ornaments that have been in our family since the 60’s. The lights are LEDs. Under the tree are paper buildings. Before there was Department 56 and the like, people used to put paper houses under their trees. These houses have cellophane windows. People would put the old, hot C-9 bulbs inside these paper houses. Between these kindling houses and real trees, it’s a wonder any of us lived to adulthood!
From this close-up view of the houses, you can see that some are original, but others are reproductions. The reproductions are ca. 2005 Christopher Radko Shiny Bright.
This is my silver, aluminum Christmas tree. You can just see a snapshot of this tree near its base. The snapshot shows this tree on a console TV in someone’s house and is dated 1963. The color wheel is original, as is the rotating base that plays jingle bells. My wife never liked this tree until the year she volunteered our quarters at West Point for the tour of homes. There were so many positive comments about this tree that she changed her mind. My grandmother had one when I was a kid, but it was full size and lit by two color wheels. My uncle and I would put our green Army men in the branches and when they came back around, we’d pretend we were shooting them out of the branches. Invariably we’d find several Army men under packages on Christmas day. My friend Chris found this one for me.
This is the Charlie Brown tree that my sister got me a couple of years ago for Christmas. Now they sell them with a small blue blanket. When I got this one, they didn’t come with a blanket. My kids found a small baby blanket that we used.
Chris Palmer made the Christmas tree lot. You can see the LEDs on it. I added the pond, skaters, etc. Many of the figures are original Barclay, some are new Barclay, and a few were sculpted by Chris.
Finally this is a bubble light tree. Apparently these were popular in the 60’s. I saw one a Chris’ house and have been wanting one. I guess I’m a sucker for vintage Christmas stuff. It’s nostalgia for a simpler time that probably never really was. In any event, the originals I had seen were in poor shape, so I ordered two strings of bubble lights on line. The kids found the tree for me at Home Depot. An hour of struggle with the wires produced this result. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.
While in Slovakia six or more years ago, I was attracted to the painted eggs. I brought home several and would have brought home more if I had been more confident I was going to get them home in one piece.
I have tried my hadn at simple eggs. I haven’t worked up the gumption yet to do the complex geometric patters of the central and eastern European eggs.
This is the egg I painted last year. There is a different scene on the front and back. The two images are incongruous, but it was a first attempt.
I made two designs this year. The first is of Santa in his sleigh. The second is the magi walking toward Bethlehem. It’s been fun. Perhaps next year, I’ll try my hand at more intersting designs.
The “diorama” below was inspired by something (overpriced) I saw in a catalog. I used O- or S-guage railway figures I bought unpainted in a bag in the Choo Choo Barne in Strassbourg, PA. The window was made from a simple, white picture frame on which I applied individual bricks cut from picture matting. The molding on top was from a doll house store. This year, I added the wreaths and the garland to decorate it for Christmas.
I have purchased lights and other odds and ends. For next year, I’m going to make a retro department store front with four windows and a fancy door. The windows will have moving displays like major stores from the 50’s. I’m starting with some surplus Lemax kits from Michaels to get the motors. It should be an interesting conversation piece at Christmas next year.
NQSYW is a Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKs) club project involving 40mm home-cast figures. Each of the HAWKs has been building their own contingent. HAWK Rob Dean even ran an Email campaign once in which the battles were fought on the table.
My contingent is the small duchy of Burgdorfreuthenheim (berg dorf roith en heim). I completed two units of infantry many years ago. I don’t see them much as they are usually in the possession of Rob and others. A complete infantry regiment consists of three infantry units, so I’ve recently completed my third. In addition, my “legion” will include a cavalry unit and an artillery battery. I’ll start on the cavalry tomorrow morning before the family wakes up.
These are fun figures to paint. The hardest part was trying to match the colors of these new figures to ones I painted several years ago.
I’m trying to decide on the color scheme of my hussars. I’ve been thinking that I’ll either go with gray uniforms with forest green stripes and facings or instead use art deco turquois and pink. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. You can see from the pictures that the forces of Burgdorfreuthenheim are typically dressed in subdued colors. The line infantry is in olive and khaki. The jaegers are dressed in black. I’m not sure if the cavalry will be equally subdued or “go gaudy.” I’ll post some pictures soon.
Almost all of my figures are in 25mm or 28mm. My only dalliance with other scales was a brief excursion in the mid-80’s with Mike’s Models 15mm British Colonial (little cartoony fishing sinkers with feet) and with 10mm/12mm figures for Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII. While painting these 40mm figures has been fun, and while I enjoy the HAWKs NQSYW games, I don’t see myself doing a lot in this scale. They take a long time to paint and require a large amount of space to store.