Monday, May 31, 2010

Back to the Studio for Memorial Day

The days prior to the Memorial Day weekend found me back out in the studio as that particular project continues its evolution.  This time it was to work on the facade of the building.  I've always been a big fan of bunting, and as a red-white-and-blue theme would be quite appropriate for an endeavor called "Toy soldiers Forever!"  I decided to install permanent bunting on the front of the studio.

As fabric is so subject to the ravages of sun, wind, and weather, I chose to make mine out of tempered hardboard, painted with exterior paint and sealed against the elements.  Painting a 3-D effect was actually quite simple and the effect was very satisfyng.

Two, eight-foot sections were affixed to the eave of the studio, the gap in the center to be filled by...

painted flags and Union shield.  This is a favorite motif of mine which I encounter daily at Antietam National Battlefield;

here, on one of the pillars of the Maryland monument,
here, on the gate of the National Cemetery

and here on the lodge building.

The finished product brings a splash of 19th century patriotic color to the structure.

The view from the inside, this time of year, is of an explosion of roses,

providing quite a contrast for one of my pair of cast-iron sentinel guns at the doorway.

The studio has enough ventilation to provide a breeze and refuge from even this very hot weather we are currently having.

Taking advantage of the relative cool are rank upon rank of Union and Confederate soldiers, all in 54mm.

Frequently, in my absence, they'll spontaneously burst into frenzied action, here, attacking the Federals at  Fort Stevens outside of Washington D.C. in July of 1864.

Reenforced by regulars the guns of the fort are able to beat back the forces of Jubal Early who had such a promising start to this last Confederate offensive in the east.

Despite the casualties, by the time I return to the studio they are all back in ranks, just as I had left them.

What a wonderful space.  What have I done to deserve this?, I often wonder.

See you on the 15th.

Soldier on!



Scott B. Lesch said...

Mannie, This is great. My "toy soldier room" in my house has become a catch-all for odd furniture and such. When the recession is over (for me) your shed is an option for me. BTW can plastic figures "survive" winter in an unheated building? I'm in Massachusetts.


Mannie Gentile said...

Thanks for stopping by. Regarding the recession, fortunately, this building was available in my backyard waiting to have something done to it, that process you can see here:

Plastic guys do just fine weathering the heat and cold of changing seasons, It's prolonged and direct sunlight that you want to keep them out of.

Have a great summer.


Gary Dombrowski said...

Awesome job on the bunting Mannie. The 3D effect is very convincing. ~Gary

original_rundis said...

This is a true inspiration for me! I hope to start my own similar project this summer ;)

Basil Duke said...

I just moved into my second, post-divorce apartment - and with the extra room (my first place was about as big as your shed), was able to rescue my 54 mm armies and equipment from hostile territory. Many of the men are now deployed. And what a blessing they've been - a return to normalcy, and also an escape from what 'normal' had turned into for about a year and a half. I've got so many little soldiers, tanks, trees and fortifications set up in my bedroom, that visitors invariably assume it's my son's room. I love your site, Mannie, and say, "Well done and keep at it!"

Mannie Gentile said...


Congratulations on turning an important corner. Though the past is not meaningless, it is, irrelevant.

Considering our common background, you may wish to check out this post at my other site:

Keep moving forward and finding ways to delight in life. And send me a pic of your fearsome phalanxes!

Best wishes,