As I mentioned in a prior post, one of the primary reasons for setting my campaign in the 18th century is the opportunity to paint my toy soldiers in bold, colorful uniforms. But, and this is an essential point, which colors?
I wanted colors that looked martial. But not colors immediately associated with a certain nationality. Prussian blue, British red and French white, for instance. I wanted colors that would work with a fairly wide variety of facing/cuff colors as well.
As it happens, I've been down this path before. Some years ago, I had a try at a campaign set in a fictional colonial land created by Donald Bailey. I chose the small country of Nerdistan for my adventures and games, and proceeded to paint up some 20mm WWI Serbian figures from HaT for my games. The army consisted of Nerdistani regulars, and more war-worn mercenaries from their border provinces (sound familiar?). The regulars worn purple and white, with red accents. The mercenaries worn middle brown and tan, again with red accents.
My apologies for the quality of these pictures. I've learned a lot about photographing miniatures since then. Suffice to say the real miniatures weren't nearly so high contrast, and the purple tunics on the regular were a fair bit richer, the red quite a lot stronger too.
I was quite happy with the blend of martial and unique that these color choices gave me then, so I thought I'd give them a try in the 18th century as well. I was more confident with the chances of purple working well, so I tried that first.
I think those look rather smart, really. My long prior experience and study of Napoleonic uniforms makes that first set look more martial than the second, but it's clear that the armies of the mid-18th century could be found wearing all manner of colors on their cuffs. So, given than I need infantry battalions from more than three regiments in the Baden-Hundsheim army, these will see the field as well. I'm quite happy with these uniforms (though I may well change the facing-color cockades for a more uniform white or purple throughout).
Next up were some experiments with the brown scheme I'd used for the Nerdistan mercenaries.
I do like these well enough. In particular, I like the use of the brown tricorns to underline the brown theme, and the buff pants for the same reason. My main complaint, and it's a serious one, is that these uniforms look a bit too much like those of some American Continental units of the American Revolution. Especially the first row.
And so, I cast my net wider. I opened the color palette in my favorite graphics (which, of course, just happened to be open while I was coloring these uniforms in) and started poking around in it. Middle gray seemed a likely uniform color. Darker than the Swedes of the Great Northern War, but light enough to be clearly gray in 15mm, not read by eye as highlighted black.
I love these. Once I'd done the coats and turnbacks, I was already certain I'd found the colors for my Formulgala units. So, in a nod to the Seven Years War Russian uniforms, and because it looked quite nice, I colored the waistcoats and breeches red. I like these very, very much.
So there you have it. The Baden-Hundsheim regulars will be dressed in royal purple, while the Formulgala standing army will wear middle gray. At least for the infantry. Well, for most of the infantry. Regulars, that is.
You see one of the wonderful things about inventing your own nations is that anything goes. The artillery may well wear a different color than the infantry. The cavalry, or at least some units of the cavalry, may well be dressed more in accordance with the whim and personal style of their commanding officers than in any sense of national dress. And then there are the irregulars.
More on all of these, as things develop. For now, however, it's time to start painting infantry.
Sidenote: the templates for these uniform plates were found on the wonderful website "Not By Appointment," a vast and rich collection of Seven Years War uniform information and templates like these.