08 December 2013

I'm doing something, honest!

A selection of Minden Austrian officers painted in, more or less, Saxon uniforms.  This is where we stand at the moment.

Today is cold and gray with light snow here at Stollen Central.  A textbook December day in the Northern Hemisphere.  I've also started to relax and feel a little jolly, silly even, in that pre-Christmas seasonal way.  Best of all, I managed a painting session yesterday afternoon and another in the evening after the Young Master's bedtime.  Slowly getting there with those four Saxon officers in other words.  

In the photograph above, the chap in the middle astride the chestnut horse is a Major General while the others are officers of the Rutowsky Light Dragoons (right), the Garde du Corps (far left), and a member of the Aristocratic Corps of Cadets (center left).  Still some detailing to do on the men and horses, as well as the usual touch-ups, before applying two coats of acrylic gloss and the the ground work, but I'm making more progress than has been the case for months, so no complaints.

The color I've used for the coats is Alizarin Crimson.  The precise shade of the Saxon coats has been difficult to nail down, a challenge which will be familiar to many of you in your own research on and painting of historical uniforms.  The exact French and Austrian shades of white-gray, anyone?  Sigh.  Tune in to The Miniatures Page for a periodic rehash of that discussion every few months.  

There is currently a similar thread over there about nailing down the precise shade of dark blue worn by soldiers in the Continental Army during the War of American Independence.  Honestly, guys, just pick a dark blue, and lightly dry-brush with a light blue, gray, flesh, or tan to weather the coats, and move on to the next part of the painting process.  It shouldn't require that much obsessive discussion and endless deliberation.  Come on.  This is a hobby, and hobbies are supposed to be fun.  I certainly understand about wanting to get things just right, honest, but that desire can be carried to extremes and slow down the entire process of getting our tiny troops finished and onto the wargaming table.  In my best young Michael Caine voice, "Know what I mean?"

Anyway, depending on the source consulted, later 18th century Saxon generals' coats are described as crimson, red, scarlet, etc., etc., etc.  Many of the illustrations I've looked at online and in my books here at Stollen Central mention or feature a color that is closer to crimson, a rich reddish-purple (or is it purpleish-red?) that I've always really liked anyway.  There is also some information that suggests various officers in the Saxon service wore uniforms that featured the more purple-tinged crimson mid-century, after the change from white coats, before a more definite red or scarlet was adopted sometime during the Seven Years War.  

At least according to official regulations.  And we all know about the frequent discrepancies between official regulations and what troops in the field actually wore/wear.  So, I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and make the call.  My Saxon officers, therefore, sport Alizarin Crimson coats.  I suppose now that I've painted them, someone will comment here or e-mail me with conflicting information, but oh well.  To each his, or her own.  And if it's wrong, hey, they are officers fighting in the service of an imaginary country -- The Electorate of Zichenau -- anyway, so let's not lose any sleep over it.

By the way, the officers' coats, breeches and waistcoats, horses, hats, boots, and some of the metallic lace were painted with the usual oil colors, over a white base coat, and thinned way down with Liquin Original before application.  The Liquin also helps the paints dry to the touch overnight, a nice plus.  Smaller details have been treated with a mix of Citadel and old Ral Partha acrylics.  The latter, especially the bottle of dark blue and leather tan, were purchased in a now defunct hobby and gaming shop on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin in 1997 or '98 when I was still a graduate student at UW-Madison and, amazingly, just keep going and going despite regular use.  Wild stuff!

And here's a slightly earlier shot of my waxy palette paper with blobs of oil color, thinned with Liquin Original.  The faint aroma the next day here in Zum Stollenkeller is delightful.  Reason enough for you to consider incorporating oils into your own painting routine.


Fitz-Badger said...

They look smashing! As for exactitude of colors, surely there was some variation in reality. I guess the dyes and dying process, as well as quality of the cloth, age of the uniforms (probably better, in the case of officers, but then they would likely get them tailored, wouldn't they? Not drawn from some army stores of mass-produced uniforms). Anyway, as you say, it's a hobby, and Imaginations and all.
Good to see you getting back into painting and a jolly/seasonally silly mood.

Bloggerator said...

Stokes, you've gotten the red all wrong. AGAIN



Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

(Shakes head sadly)

-- Stokes


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