Friday, October 14, 2005
In the past couple of weeks I have taken delivery of a second-hand, ex-library copy of Charles Grants "The Battle of Fontenoy". Thank-you Bookfinder.com.
I also have to admit to a slow and growing bias toward structuring my Armies after those that fought this battle.
These factors, along with my own long-standing interest in the French and Indian War has led me to believe that a unit or two of Highlanders are absolutely indispensible to my collection.
I have plucked up the courage to start painting some Highlanders.
Courage? I hear you ask. Why yes, I reply. Highlanders are famously intimidating for more than just their reckless charges with the Claymore.
It's the tartan.
How do you paint it? It's so complicated! I know, I've tried.
My first experiment was with the Royal Stuart Sett (this is a technical term that means "pattern" as far as I am concerned) that looked like someone had been ill on a pizza. Yuk.
My references have pointed me at two regiments for the periods/theatres I'm interested in. My Blanford "Uniforms of the Seven Years War" has men of the 42nd and 78th regiments, both in a dark green tartan with black or very dark green overstriping. Figure 133 is a grenadier in a fur cap that would have not been out of place in the AWI. His sett has a red "overstripe" (ie, a thin, sparse, red stripe over the larger pattern of the sett) in addition to the basic "Government" tartan. Apparrently this was an additional mark of his status as a grenadier. Alan Saphersons' "A Basic Guide to Armies and Uniforms of the Seven Years War" is in complete agreement. My Osprey MAA-285 "King George's Army 1740-93: (1) Infantry" offers on plate A3 an alternative in the form of the short-lived 64th Highlanders who should have had the same sett as the 78th or 42nd, but may also have had a red tartan of the kind you might see on a tin of short-bread. Maa 48, "Wolfe's Army" likewise ascribes the red sett to the 78th, but this is conjectural according to the notes on the plate.
Based on all this I am most definitely doing the 42nd Regiment in their green sett and buff facings. I am also thinking very hard about doing the 78th who could double up as the 64th at Culloden - both seem to have had white facings. Whether I do them in the green or red sett is another thing. I like the red sett as a point of difference from most other Highland units, but feel that the darker tartan stands ou better against the red doublets.
So, on to painting the Tartan.
I prime my figures white and then paint all the flesh areas in their base colour and follow that with a thin was of sepia ink. This includes the knobbly knees.
I give the kilt and plaid a thinnish coating of a nice mid-green. In my case this is Vallejo "Goblin Green". Because it is slightly thinned down, it shades and highlights itself enough without being heavy handed. I then over-paint a grid of dark stripes with a mix of 50:50 black and green with no more than three horizontal stripes and a vertical every 2-3mm.
When dry I mix up a lightish blue (whatever looks good to you) and paint a little square wherever the dark lines intersect on a flat or raised part of the kilt or plaid. Likewise, I mix a 50:50 white and green and apply it to the raised or flat parts of the kilt/plaid - this is also a good opportunity to do a little cutting in on the grid lines - these are never steady or even and can always do with some tidying up.
The hose are very simple. Starting with the white undercoat, paint 4-5 clockwise spirals down the leg, eack reaching abour half the circumference of the limb. Do this first clockwise then anti-clockwise. Paint a circle of red around the top of the hose, a black shoe at the bottom, then cut in with white where coffee has caused your brush to err!
I'll post a pic in a day or so to demonstrate all this palaver.
As for the red sett, give me time to nut it out. I suppse the key here is to give the impression of Tartan while not driving oneself insane.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I also managed to get some painting in. Cavalry Regiment "La Reine" now graces my table, much to my delight. My French army is starting to get a bit decent - three regiments of infantry, a regiment of cavalry and a battery of Artillery (not counting the squadron of Turpin Hussars and a half-regiment of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine...).
I also painted up a company of French infantry as a test for doing the all-white Bourbonnois regiment. I think they look pretty nice, so on I go.
Does anyone know whether the Bourbonnois Regiment's Grenadiers wore bearskins by the later part of the Seven Years' War?