Sunday, 19 September 2010

Musings on British Redcoats

Their coats are definitely red, but exactly which red? Yes, I have a bunch of British Napoleonic infantry on the painting table and I'm in a quandary about how to paint their jackets. I've used Foundry Bright Red but the result is too pink for my liking. I appreciate that the vagaries of supply, combined with the rigours of campaigning in all weather, would result in anything from pink through to dark red or brown, but on the tabletop I want them to look red. In an attempt to solve the problem I've ordered some more paints from Foundry ... Scarlet and British Redcoat. Hopefully these will solve my dilemma. I also ordered a palette of French Blue. Why not eh?

So you can see that I'm getting some sort of Napoleonic project off the ground (again). The big difference this time is my approach to painting. I'm keeping it simple, clean and bright. No worrying about each and every buckle and button. This should make progress faster and help with motivation. We shall see. I did consider dipping the miniatures as that proved very successful with my Celt army but after reviewing the few test miniatures I decided that the finished article was a little too drab. So I'll be using a basic colour scheme painted in a more conventional style.

Also I'm not following my original plan for recreating the Light Division. This is because I want a more general purpose British force for the Peninsular War, something along the lines of:-

1st Brigade
British Light Infantry
British Line Infantry
Detachment of Rifles

2nd Brigade
British Line Infantry
Portuguese Line Infantry
Detachment of Rifles


Regiment of Hussars or Light Dragoons
Royal Artillery Battery

This is approx 140 figures and I have around 20 or so already painted with another 8 on the painting table. Initially they'll be 24 man battalions, based on four bases 3 x 2. Then they can be increased to 30 man battalions simply by adding another base.

As for the composition of the French force ... I'm still not exactly sure but it will similar to the British.

I have the Foundry ruleset 'Napoleon' which would be okay, although needing some clarification in a number of areas. It's a great looking publication but the manner in which the rules are described make them hard to follow in places plus it would require quite a few cards and counters to be placed on the table. A big part of this era is the visual spectacle of all the splendid uniforms, so having the table littered with cards/tokens is far from ideal.

So I'll probably be ordering the Black Powder rules by Messrs Priestley and Johnson. When they were released there was some speculation that these rules required huge table and similarly huge armies but this is not necessarily the case according to the chaps on the WAB forum. I posted a question here and got some favourable replies. Scaling the movement to fit my 6x4 should be easy. Naturally, bigger armies and tables would be better but you have to start somewhere.

Hope to have some new painting to show off in a few days.


marinergrim said...

British coats should be a lghter red (brick red if you will) then the Swiss coats in French pay. I use GW Blood Red drybrushed with GW Blazing Orange.

Matt said...

I've got Foundry brick red but that didn't seem right either? I long ago gave up with GW reds and yellows as they were always too thin. Maybe the new paints are better - perhaps I'll give them a whirl.



Anonymous said...

British Red is a nightmare to get right, isn't it? Over on TMP I saw one chap (can't remember who now) mention Humbrol's Insignia Red (#153). I gave that a try and I was happy with the results. It's not as vivid as a London bus or a Ferrari but not too dull either.