Friday 24 August 2018
Thoughts on Imagi-nation Uniforms
A selection of French Zouaves wearing the turbaned fez. Note the 'camp follower' on the shoulders of the right hand figure!
My recent blog posts concerning imagi-nations have generated a number of comments that have given me much to think about – for which I am very grateful to those that took the time to write in.
In the interests of clarity I would like to detail what it is I am going to do and how in respect of the Spencer Smith project.
Initially I will be producing a pair of 1860/1870 armies organised as per Charge! and intended for use with a number of rules sets including A Gentleman’s War, Charge! (there is a Victorian variant on the Old School Yahoo Group as I recall), the Portable Wargame and The Men Who Would Be Kings (yes I know they are designed for Colonials but they would work well enough for what I am planning).
I was considering using the ACW figures as intended to support my 1/600th naval collection but have decided instead to follow the imagi-nation route as this will give me a lot more creative licence. The forces in question will be supported by a full back story complete with the all-important map (which will naturally feature some water for the naval side) and the essential dramatis personae.
At this stage I have not settled on the two armies yet - whether they will appear as Kronenberg and Artois or Fezia and Rusland. The figures I will be using initially are kepi, trouser and tunic wearing ACW types and so there will be plenty of historical examples of similar uniforms to serve as inspiration. The kepi, trouser and tunic combination was a very popular style of uniform for the 1860 to 1870 period until the Prussian style came into vogue (and I am indebted to Bob Cordery for mentioning that to me). Aside from the American Civil War, uniforms of this type featured in the Italian Wars of Unification and the Pacific war amongst others which means that the standard kepi-wearing ACW infantryman is a very useful figure indeed. Fezia on the other hand, will be a little more problematic as there is but a solitary Zouave figure in the Spencer Smith range wearing a turbaned fez.
The Zouave style of uniform was again very popular for a while during the period in question and so would allow for some elements of the exotic in the armies under consideration. Should Fezia make an appearance then this fellow would serve as the rank and file for the regular army and probably as a Bashi-Bazouk style irregular alongside the Croats, Pandours and other assorted Balkan types available from Spencer Smith.
The Spencer Smith ACW Zouave - again wearing the turbaned fez
The 84th New York Zouaves from the brush of the very talented Jim Duncan
Chronologically speaking I am approaching this toy soldier project from the wrong way round. I hope to tackle the 18th century in due course but for now the third quarter of the 19th century will hold sway. Of course there is also the small matter of the Napoleonic Wars ‘twixt the tricorne and kepi period….
....And the naval dimension....