Friday, March 2, 2012

On Uniforms and the Military Mind

As followers of the blog will know, I'd settled on uniform coats of purple and grey for the infantry of my two imagi-nations. I was quite pleased with them. Or so I thought.

Lately, however, I've been looking, and re-looking, at those colored paper soldier mockups and the colored templates from Not By Appointment I made up. In particular, I was less happy with the purple uniforms, especially when beside their red-coated Turkish allies, the more I looked at them.

Now I do like the purple because it's regal, and because it's novel. There were no purple-uniformed troops during the real world 18th century that I'm aware of. But therein lies part of the problem. They look a little too fanciful, as I look at them now.

And so I've started tinkering with uniform colors again.

I am happy with the dove grey Formulgalan uniforms. I think they will look smart, and the militia can be painted in a darker (presumably coarser) grey cloth to make them seem cheaply outfitted and still fit the army style well.

As an experiment, I started with the red and blue "Turkish" uniforms I like so much and decided to have a try with red uniforms, along a sort of Hanoverian line, for the Baden-Hundsheim infantry. I darkened the red for the Turkish jackets, but perhaps not enough to be really noticeably different from the new line infantry jackets. I've changed the standards to red as well, for now. I suspect some lighter color (white, yellow, etc.) may look better, or I may keep the purple standards.

I've also been thinking about the size of my miniature units, and more on that later, but I put together a couple of quick mock-ups at twenty-four figures per unit, and another showing a Baden-Hundsheim and Turkish unit on the field together, to see how they struck me.

First, the newly crimson Baden-Hundsheim line infantry.

Next, their "Turkish" provincial troops.

And finally, the two units advancing together.

Your thoughts and opinions are most welcome.


  1. Purple was more glamorous and far more *original*: as they are, the line infantrymen look like soldiers of a SYW imagi-native army using British AWI colors pattern. So much the more with black gaiters (white gaiters worn in campaign are suggestive of an earlier date).
    Could not purple be kept at least for elite / guard unit(s)?

    Alternatively, what about obviously un-historical 'flashy' colors: orange, pink, violet, lavender, lilac... for the facings and /or (visually more striking) the smallclothes?

  2. I can't think of any purple units but I have seen a dark, dark red, nearly burgundy. Another rare but historical colour is yellow. I was very fond of my 1740's Lorraine regiment in yellow faced black.

  3. Thanks for the input, guys. I have a few thoughts. First, perhaps a darker purple would look better to my eye. I do like the originality of the color, and the tie to royalty. Even if I choose a different color for the mainstay units of the army, the Guards may well be in purple.

    Yellow might work. I'll have a try with that too.

    I also thought, while driving around today, about the Napoleonic Brunswickers in their black jackets. While I admire the sharpness of those uniforms, I'm not sure how well it will work in 15mm, or how much of the brightly colored "toy soldier" feel I'd be giving up. Brightly colored plumes, turn backs, flags and drummers in reversed colors might well help with that.

    We'll see. In the end, I'll probably narrow it to two choices, and paint a unit of each in actual metal to see what I think. One will remain the color for the line units, the other will be a unit of Guards or mercenaries.

  4. Turkish style troops look marvellous IMO, my Imagi-Nation so far has a unit painted as Grenzers and Zoueves, my 3rd will be the colours you have

  5. Thanks freecloud. As it happens, I'm quite familiar with your blog. You seem to be getting finished units on the table quickly. Congratulations on that!