Saturday, 6 March 2010

A Summary and Some Questions

I'm going to give a summary of the information I have, along with several uniform plates as a visual aid. At the end are a couple of Plates showing poses that I quite like. Any thoughts on any of this would be very appreciated.

First we have two Plates showing a Legionary. He is of the rear ranks as he carries the 1/2 pike, but otherwise is standard in dress. In both Plates the footwear is of clogs, which were not used in the field.
The Plate below shows the Legionary wearing the cape which de Saxe speaks so highly of. In the Plate above is the cape worn slung over the left shoulder? It sort of looks like it is shown over the crossbelt.

The helmet decoration, I've chosen to use the two Plates above to illustrate it, appears to rise from the front of the helmet and then sweep back along the sides. The way the cape covers the helmet but leaves the decoration clear suggests this set up. Or are there any other options that I have missed?

The Plate above shows a cavalry man without his armour. Although the cavalry will be getting produced later, I have shown this Plate as it illustrates the shoes as worn by the infantry.

The Plate shown above is of one file of the Leigon's foot, it shows the four ranks. The rear two with 1/2 pike and the front two without. Other than in standing poses, this is the only pose shown. For posing the foot it is either going to be using a fairly standard marching with musket over the shoulder (similar to Minden or RSM miniatures) or based on the above plate but with a little more movement in the sculpts (similar to the Plate below).

I quite like the pose of the figure in the foreground, it has a nice sense of movement without being too energetic, which just would not be correct for the period! Do you have any preference?

The last Plate shows an officer type in what I think is another very fitting pose. What other poses would work well for officers and NCOs?

Well that concludes this part of the Q+A session, all replies will be very appreciated.

Below is a cut and paste of all the bits of information scattered through this blog. It is not in any particular order. Comparing these notes with the Plates above, is there anything that does not match or needs changing, looking at etc.?

The shoes and leggins are as I described in a previous post, i.e. that is done the wrong way round with the gaiter going over the top of the shoe. This will be changed on the next batch. The jackets are; a long under waistcoat with sleeves made of fabric; a short over waistcoat without sleeves made of leather.
It is quite hard to see some of the differences due to the poor lighting.
Other details added since the figure was last shown - the arms, musket, belts, cartridge box, sack, shoulder tabs for unit identification

Yet de Saxe insisted on the absence of garters ("that cause martyrdom")

On colored plates XIV and XVII gaiters and shoes are of the same grey, appear almost as continuous -while the text makes clear they are different items.
To further complicate things, some illustrations (with the cloak on, e.g.) may well depict the legionary with the 'winter socks' - worn above both shoes and gaiters.

Yet... on plate I 'Habillement du soldat', clearly no low boots are depicted above the gaiters, and on the *left* heel there is *perhaps* a suggestion of a gaiter worn above the shoe?

So we have a very high gaiter, long waistcoat under a shorter,sleeveless waistcoat

The picture above shows the clogs recommended for when in camp. I cannot really make out the leg wear, it is either a very high gaiter (there is a change in the shading under the jacket on the right leg) or a tight fitting full length trouser, similar to that worn by grenzers.

This photo shows the alternative footwear of low shoes, as recommended for duty in the field. Again the leg wear could be either of the options given above. From behind the overall look is very much that of a Grenz from slightly later in the century (I have a drawing of one circa 1790 that this combination of shoe and trouser is shown).

The very peculiar shoes are another exemple of Maurice (a good penpal of the Monte-Cristan ruler, hence the familiarity)'s original, unconventional, yet (seemingly) very sound and founded ideas. They were to be low-fronted-shoes / court shoes / almost ballet shoes with flat heels, of soft leather. To be worn 'naked feet', without socks (they cause blisters), the feet greased with tallow both to protect them from moisture and to 'nourish' the leather and keep it supple (hard leather cruelly wounds the feet of infantrymen).

he text mentions breeches of skin (deer skin? goat skin? some rather supple material, certainly)that don't go down far below the middle of the thigh, with "tirans" (tongues with buttonholes? Or more probably buttons on a short string, like the closing of duffle-coat / Hungarian dolmans, with buttonholes in the breeches themselves) along the 3 lower inches [not very dissimilar to Tyrolian 'thigh slapping' dancers, then? Seeminly more close-fitting).
The gaiters of soft leather and to raise well above the middle of the thigh (significantly higher than the British ones, then). Under the middle-leg they would to be whole, without opening on the side, like boots {according to the illustration, btw, they were sewn / stitched on the rear}. They were to have buttonholes to receive the tirans of the breeches, as to avoid garters 'which cause true martyrdom'.

Thus, in addition to the shoulder belts and cartridge pouch, and shoes, we have to pieces of clothing, garnments, made of skin / leather: the soubreveste (sleeveless vest) worn above the [full, large] (waist)coat - well depicted in the plates, the buttoning may be inspirational?;
the breeches;
the gaiters.
The three probably made from different qualities / types of skin / leather. Given the suppleness (?) / flexibility / softness required, the gaiters are probably of the thinner type, while the breeches may be more like 'leder hosen'? Thus we would have 3 different colors, two light 'buffs' for the gaiters and the vest, one darker for the breeches?

The gaiters seem to be of thin leather -you don't need the same thickness as with fabric to have a perfectly waterproof item -de Saxe was very sensitive to all possible causes of illness. Thus very tight: this contributes to the "'Grenzer's thigh trousers" look, together with the lack of garter, of large buttons (same very small ones as on the 'soubreveste'?), of any buttonning from the calf down.

The musket is based on one desribed in Reveries and being about 60 inches long.

The decoration of the helmet is specially intringuing, seemingly as 'mysterious' as Mickey Mouse's ears (from whatever angle you look at them, they appear as disks - yet they are NOT spherical...): seen from the side it seem to go rather backwards, yet it is not covered by the hood of the 'Turkish coat'...

The only mention I found on gaiters was that they should not be white.
Half-Pikes: Yes
Shield: Yes
Plug Bayonet: Yes (it is in Reveries)
Breech Loading Muskets: Yes
Turkish Coat with Hood: Yes
Sheepskin Wig: Yes? Although my copy of Reveries does not mention it, but I did read it in one of your quotes.

helmets were worn perfectly horizontal.

"I would have a soldier wear his hair short, and be furnished with a small wig either grey or black and made of Spanish lambskin, which he should put on in bad weather. This wig will resemble the natural head of hair so well, as to render it almost impossible to distinguish the difference, will fit extremely well, when properly made, cost but about twenty pence, and last during his whole life. It will be also very warm, prevent colds and fluxes, and give quite a good air. Instead of the hat, I would recommend a helmet made after the Roman model, which will be no heavier, be far from inconvenient, protect the head against the stroke of a saber, and appear extremely ornamental. In regard to his clothing, he should have a waistcoat somewhat larger than common with a small one under it in the nature of a short doublet and a Turkish cloak with a hood to it. These cloaks cover a man completely and don't contain above two ells and a half of cloth; consequently, are both light and cheap. The head and neck will be effectually secured from the weather, and the body, when laid down, kept dry, because they are not made to fit tight and, when wet, are dried again the first moment of fair weather."


tradgardmastare said...

Much to think thru here, you have certainly got the makings of some unique figures.
I like a slightly informal pose too- how will the pike be held-upright is probably best...
Wil the officers be attired in more tradition 18th century attire or as the legionaries- there are arguements for both I feel...
I am enjoying the return of this project already!

abdul666 said...

The junction gaiters-shoes is the only ambiguous part in the otherwise precise and detailed description of the infantryman in the Reveries.
The publication was posthumous -maybe a good part of the final text written by the publishers from accumulated notes- and sometimes seems to reveal a lack of editing. For instance, the single, early reference to the pavisa: this huge leather shield never appears later, neither in the text nor in the plates. I suspect that, had the Marshal himself checked the final text, this isolated mention of the pavisa would have disappeared? The single allusion to the dragoons' lance may be another example?
Similarly for the plates, many were probably not controlled in their final form by Maurice de Saxe. Maybe for some he was no longer available to provide the artist with missing details. When it comes to the ankle, the illustrator -so precise everywhere else- seems to have carefully remained unclear, as if unsure of what to depict?

abdul666 said...

PS: same question as Alan: do you think the officers were dressed like the troops, or wore more 'traditional' uniforms?
For sure the heavy cavalry officers *in battledress* were fully dressed and armored as their troopers. But, for the 'foot',legionary cavalry and dragoons ones...

East Riding Militia said...

Thank you for your input and interest. To try to answer your questions;
Officer Dress: Probably I would have to go for it being based on that of the Legionary. My two reasons for this are both based around the esprit d'corp that is deemed to be important for the units. If it is suggested that each officer recieved a tattoo of the unit to encourage the enlisted man, would they not also dress in a similar manner? However I could see them maybe without the leather jerkin worn over the waistcoat and/or with a much fuller coat. Another reason to follow this option is to have truly individual figures. If they were dressed in normal fashion then I could save myself a lot of money by buying some Minden officer figures ;-)
Footwear and leggins: I think I am coming around to having the shoe cover the end of the leggins. The picture of the cavalryman is the only one which shows the shoe (the rest show the clog). This does show the shoe covering the leggins. Again this also makes the figures more destinctive and away from the usual.

abdul666 said...

Regarding the officer... the Marechal-General was certainly not slave of the current fashion, but infantry officers' wore their uniforms with several distinctive features: justaucorps without turnbacks, no gaiters...
My suggestion would be:
- same helmet as the troops (enough to keep them very distinctive);
- no leather jacket above the coat (corresponds to 'no turnbacks')
- perhaps even a 'normal' justaucorps (above of the waistcoat of the same soft leather as the soldier's overjacket, for color homogeneity of the unit -or of the facing color?);
- most different at the level of the shoes / leggings: even if fighting on foot, officers were mounted on the march (hence the 'no gaiters' in 'traditional' uniforms), the requirement were different; from the waist down I suspect they would look more like the heavy cavalryman of the Reveries (whose almost 'normal' gaiters -with garters- were deemed sufficient for riding at a slow pace, re. the plate 'Cavalryman coming back from foraging') [or even, with 'normal' breeches and stockings? But this would make him less 'original' and 'in tune' with his men¿]?

abdul666 said...

Or maybe the officer would look like the cavalryman without his armor?
Btw, I'm under the impression that the decoration of the helmet, while basically similar ('wings' of Polish inspiration + a kind of 'swan's neck'?), is slightly larger for the cavalryman?

East Riding Militia said...

Thank you again for your input in this project. I agree with the spirit of your thoughts on the officer's dress. The details, as ever with de Saxe, are really ours to fill in as we desire.
My aim is to put together 'my' version over the next day or two and post it on the blog for general comment. Then do any fine tuning over the weekend, before forwarding it to Richard. Then I guess it will be time to work directly with Richard to find out what will work best within the limits of the sculpting and casting.

abdul666 said...

I'm not sure the (ample & detailed) evidence for the cavalryman is relevant for the ordinary infantryman -though it can well be for the infantry officer. De Saxe's uniforms are highly *practical*, and the requirements are not the same for peoples basically riding or walking. Even if the shoes are the same (and then, can we be so affirmative?), the cavalryman is not given the original leather leggings and hose of the infantryman (neither, contrary to what I wrote previously, is he wearing gaiters): instead he is wearing 'normal' breeches and stockings, with the stockings, held by garters, coming above the breeches at knee level, as was the fashion during the late 17th C. - early 18th C...
As thin and supple as the leather of the leggins would be, I doubt they it will they can fit inside the shoes?
On the other hand their is no visual evidence for the opposite solution (you envisaged earlier): ankle-high shoes covering the leggins, Swedish cherivader -fashion.
Then, once sculpted in 28mm, I suspect the whole will remain a matter of personal interpretation, anyway.