Last night, I turned in early with a volume by Fred and Lillian Funcken, covering the uniforms worn by various countries' armies in Europe between roughly the mid-18th century to the end of the 19th century. I stumbled on this book in 1990 one sunny spring Saturday when I was tooling around the main shopping street in the old part of Luebeck, Germany, which was still West Germany at the time. Unfortunately, the binding has dried out with time and several pages have come loose, but I still pull this wonderful book off the shelf from time to time and page breathlessly through it, stopping to ogle all of the pretty uniforms and read the accompanying text, which has helped to improve my German quite a bit during the intervening two decades. But I digress!
What caught my eye last night were the various uniforms worn by German and Swiss infantry regiments in French service during, roughly, the Seven Years' War period. Glory be! In the case of the former, these are just different enough from the typical Prussian color scheme of dark blue faced red to be interesting. And where the latter are concerned, we have many beautiful, bright red coats and breeches, but with enough interesting differences to offset them from British uniforms of the same period. And the standards carried by these regiments? Well, let's just say that all of these lovely illustrations made it difficult for the ol' imagination to calm down once I switched off the lamp at about 1:30, following another three chapters of Wodehouse's Right You Are, Jeeves!
Now, some have pointed out that the various Funcken works are not strictly accurate where minor details like button placement and pocket lace are concerned, but I think that's being just a wee bit pedantic. And besides, we're talking about the Grand Duchy of Stollen, the Electorate of Zichenau, and the Principality of Pillau-Zerbst among others! None of which are real places anyway. Oh sure, they have their basis in the historical 18th century and the machinations that went on then between the various kingdoms, duchies, principalities, and "empires" that dotted the European continent at that time. But, of course, my countries are "Imaginations" as many of you know. And so, I am free to pick and choose various uniform and flag examples that tickle my fancy, altering them slightly or considerably to suit my particular vision of a particular regiment's uniform and standard or guidon.
Although I am hard at work on the third company of the white-coated 80-figure von Flickenhoffer's Fusiliers (two finished companies of which are currently masquerading as Stagonia's du Lepp's Fusiliers) right now, and a 30-figure regiment of RSM Austrian cuirassiers will follow the fusiliers, I am thinking ahead to that 60-figure unit of Prussian musketeers by Huzzah Miniatures, that I purchased second-hand from Jim "Alte Fritz" Purky last summer. Which naturally has led to thinking about what uniform I might paint them in when the time comes. Which further led to the aforementioned Funken volume in the first paragraph of this rambling blog posting.
As many of you will realize from your own Funken volumes on the subject, Lillian and Fred show some of the German regiments in the French army with a mid- to light blue coat color, which I like because it shows up nicely on the table. Of course I'll end up doing another unit or two of Stollenian infantry in dark "Prussian" blue, which is also the predominant color of Stollen's infantry uniforms. But, I'm thinking that a 60-figure unit, wearing mid- or light blue coats, will provide a nice (and much needed) break after the current infantry and forthcoming cuirassiers, all of whom wear white.
While I won't necessarily paint a strict interpretation of one of the German regiments in French service, many of these lovely uniforms nevertheless provide very pretty color schemes about which to dream and daydream in the coming months, which is one of the very pleasant, and perhaps too often overlooked aspects of the wargaming hobby. "Aha!" I hear you say, "He's finally come to the point!" Well, my only excuse is that the longwinded-ness is particularly bad this morning. Maybe two aspirin, a glass of something medicinal over ice, and a lie-down are in order? That should nip it quickly in the bud no doubt!