Wednesday, 5 November 2008

At Breakfast

"Good Morning Master, I trust you slept well? Your breakfast awaits."

'A good morning to you Schmied, it is well that you keep to your duties. Today you will progress with your studies in what I hope to be a most useful manner.'

'As always Master Gruns, I am at your service and eager to learn.'

'Come, join me at table and let us discuss the day ahead.

When I retired yestereve, I took to my room the copy of Reveries by M. de Saxe. Having read it through several times, I believe that we have the opportunity to use our imagination to a very large extent. Here, let me give you an example -

"In place of hats, I should prefer helmets.
They do not weigh more than hats, are not at all
uncomfortable, protect from a saber blow,
and are sufficiently ornamental."

That is it, there is no further description. Do you not think that we can design these new uniforms using our ideas based upon these writings? We only have to ensure that it meets the three points shown above.'

'Master, should it not also be easy to produce and not cost more than is needed?'

'Schmied, you have been paying attention during these past months, well done. Today, we shall work upon our design for the helmet and then you may take it to Herr Landwirt who has his workshop on Schlauehandwerker Strasse.

In his writings de Saxe takes every opportunity of praising the Ancient Romans in all things martial, so I propose that we base our design upon theirs. In its simplest form their helmet was akin to a shallow bowl, with straps fastening around the face and sometimes with a peak at the front and the rear. Something like this:

Now how can we make this our own?'

'What will the helmet be made of Master, will it be metal or leather?'

'Leather, it must be leather. It is lighter, easier to look after and we have it in abundance here in the Duchy. The trick will be to give it the best ornemantation that we can and for that we will use metal, probably Brass. I thought a comb and maybe a plate at the front, similar to that worn by some fusiliers and grenadiers.'

'That would work well Master. Could we not also adorn the comb with feathers or horsehair?'

'You have me thinking again Schmied. But wool would be better, it lasts well and is easy to look after. A roll of it attached to the comb would look imposing and maybe a sheepskin tri around the helmet. Quick Schmied, let us get this drawn up and then off to Landwirts with you. He may be able to have something for us to look at by tomorrow.'


Bluebear Jeff said...

Interesting. Do you already have some figures in mind?

-- Jeff

East Riding Militia said...

Good to hear from you.
I have no figures in mind as no one makes any, but I am in the process of, badly, sculpting them.
The idea behind this blog is to get input from others about how they view the uniform as described in Reveries and to chart the progress on the sculpting, casting and painting of the figures.


abdul666 said...

for obvious reasons you know that TMP thread: you're the one who started it! I tried to summarize my own 'conclusions' when alluding to the exchanges between Maurice and Louys de Monte-Cristo.

Regarding the helmet, I'm not sure at all it would have a peak and neckpiece: de Saxe's own idea of an 'ancient' helmet is shown, I think, in the helmets he devised for his 'Volontaires de Saxe' (Uhlans and 'Pacolets', later Dragoons), and precisely they were deprived of such 'extensions', their lower rim was perfectly horizontal. This very characteristic puts the 'de Saxe' helmets (and their immediate imitations, e.g. that of La Morliere Dragoons) and the derivated 'Schomberg' apart from the later ones - a small peak appears in the Tarleton e.g. Also, the upper edge of the 'turban' is horizontal, later it will be higher on the front. Thus, for a far-fetched exemple, among the 'Alternative Armies' "Napoleonic" Elves, l'Esprit du Garde (?) wears a helmet more 'Lace Wars' than 'Napoleonic', imho...

As for the cut of the uniform, with a (larger than ordinary) waistcoat instead of a coat, maybe the Black Scorpion ’Marines’ (of obvious Pirates of the Carribean inspiration) offer a likely appearance?

Of course the mere glance at the original illustrations of the 'RĂªveries' would dispell any doubt.
I saw somez of them in a French fanzine, some.. 4O years ago, so I don't remember them precisely...


tradgardmastare said...

What other units are in the pipeline?

East Riding Militia said...

Wait and see the helmet that is being produced by Herr Landwirt and let me know what you think of it. (It is actually already made, just needs photographing).

The idea is to make all the figures to produce a Legion as described by de Saxe. Unfortunately our tailors are not as skilled as those over in Minden, but I do hope that the effort is worthwhile.


abdul666 said...

looking forward to discover the 'prototype' Landwirts helmet, and your uniform patterns!

I believe the helmet given by de Saxe to his Uhlans as they appear in 1745 to be typical of how the Marechal endvisaged a rendition of an ‘ancient’ helmet – at least by 1745 (the ‘Reveries’ are, I believe, posthumous and maybe apocryphal). Why? The Uhlans were (theoretically) ‘noble Musilm Tatars from Lithuania’ and their initial uniform was 100% ‘Tatar’. The uniform worn in 1745 combined ‘Tatar’ and ‘Ancient’ features: the baggy trousers, open sleeves are ‘Tatars’ (or at least ‘generic steppes’); but the ‘tunic’, being multilobed at the lower edge, betrays the ‘Ancient’ inspiration. De Saxe was very fond of theatre (or at least of young actresses and ballerinas: he created the ‘field theatre’, having one attached to his HQ): this multilobed edge was the ‘normal’ 17th C. – 18th C. theatrical rendition of Ancient armour – more precisely of the ‘pteruges’. I think both inspirations were combined in the helmet (to become so successful and widely copied –immedialtly also by the Volontaires Etrangers de Clermont-Prince, later as the ‘Schomberg helmet’ copied in 4 continents, still worn in some form by the Brazilian and French Guard Cavalry, and at the origin of the crest of stil many firemen helmets). I think that the turban around it displayed the ‘Musilm’ part, the helmet itself the ‘Ancient’ part.

Another possible (but less directly related to de Saxe) ‘Lace Wars’ rendition of an ‘Ancient’ helmet, with peak and neckpiece, could be the early (Petter the Great?) form of Russian helmet-mitre: delete the vertical front plate and add a ‘Roman’ crest… At least I advanced a suggestion on this basis for the «Tarlenheim Helmet» -a‘Tarleton with Roman-like peak & neckpiece’- described in the OSW group by ‘poros’ for the cavalry of the Ruritanian ‘Neu Freikorps von Tarlenheim’ (jan. 21, 2008 comment)?

It was more than a year ago that you started the relevant TMP thread, so at first I forgot: it was mainly in comment to a post from David in his NBA that I discussed de Saxe original uniforms. There I commented also about the original (1743) uniform of his Volontaires: not part of his daydreamed Legion, but this last was intended to be the equivalent of the Roman Legion, so to have ‘Auxiliaries’… So the original ‘Volontaires’ may appear among the light cavalry of the Duchy of Strackenz?

Searching the archive sof the OSW group I found an old message referring to the ‘gorgeous’ «Reveries», so maybe posted by a member owning an illustrated edition: I just posted a ‘reply’ asking for information.

Best wishes,

PS : glad you're again in posting / blogging mood: I suppose it's a favourable sign.