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....







8 comments:

Phil Dutré said...

You mention in your post another advantage of imaginations, and that is mixing different uniform styles within the same imaginative army. My own 42mm imaginations is situated at the end of 19th, beginning of 20th century, and that allows for a mix of uniforms, some that might almost be Napoleonic in nature (and feature as ceremonial units), and some that are precursors of WW1.

David Crook said...

Hi Phil,

The Spencer Smith range includes Napoleonics, 18th century and even the Zulu Wars alongside the ACW. My plan will be to use the Hussar from the 18th century range and both the Czapka-wearing Napoleonic Lancer and British Life Guard figure. The Zulu War British Infantry will also be drafted in - possibly as Colonial troops or similar. The Napoleonic range also includes a Highlander, a Bavarian and a bearskin wearing Old Guard Grenadier (also one wearing a greatcoat) so with a little enterprise one could produce quite a colourful army.

I would be keen to see some of your 42mm figures - do you have any pictures?

All the best,

DC

Phil Dutré said...

My 42mm imaginations are work in progress, but you can see pictures on my blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/search/label/42mm

David Crook said...

Hi Phil,

Oh very yes indeedy! They look just the part and I noticed some Irregular Miniatures Balkan Wars types featured as well.

Very nice indeed!

Have you got as far as rules for this yet?

All the best,

DC

Phil Dutré said...

David,
No, no definite rules yet - the first game still has to be played. I have the habit of developing my own rules, because I consider that an integral part of the hobby. Usually I start out with a very simple framework, than add more things as we go along (and based on the discussions after each game). It's a tested approach in our group, it avoids unnecessary whistles and bells we don't like, and includes the things we do like.
For the 42mm toy soldiers, I was thinking more a toy soldiery feel, but nothing has been decided yet ...

David Crook said...

Hi Phil,

For my rules I tend to pick up something that is fairly basic and then add or discard bits and pieces as required. I am a huge fan of simpler rules and if they run to more than two sides of A4 paper I tend to shy away.

This particular project will use a Victorian version of Charge! and the Portable Wargame - possibly The Men Who Would Be Kings. As you rightly pointed out toy soldiers seem to be tailor made for simpler rules.

By the way, I have fought many great games using Te Wapen - in fact I have small project in mind with some Risk: Europe medieval figures that will use them.

All the best,

DC

Phil Dutré said...

Glad you liked Te Wapen - haven't used it myself in ages :-)

J Jackaman said...

I like the way this is going, especially the period and your thoughts about uniform options. I'm sure that whatever you decided on for headgear, they will look splendid!