Friday, 26 April 2013

Gadzooks and Prithee! Tis well I packed my Prancing Pantaloons.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel that Cavaliers have really let themselves go, the last thirty years?
In happier days.
I was recently painting up some of the Hinchliffe Prince Ruperts Cavalry Charge figures. In case anyone doesn't remember or wasn't born yet these were pretty much state of the art when released in 1979. In fact I went straight to the Hinchliffe shop and bought mine the week they were released, I then put them in a box until I had time to do them properly.
So when I got them out again, last month, I was rather taken aback by the amount of feather plumes, lace embroidery and gold brocade which adorned them. I had forgotten that modern research had completely changed the English Civil War wardrobe.
Back then the well dressed horseman had a brightly coloured felt hat adorned with several ostrich feathers. Now of course, he wears something shapeless his Gran has knitted for him, (and lets be frank, she's not the most talented in the sewing basket.)
Prince Rupert, as the latest research shows
 that he really looked.
And not just garments but the colours have changed too. Goodbye to the yellow, scarlet or purple regts. Those are just the flags, any clothing issued will be in Grey or Venetian red, a shade so dull as to make rust appear positively psychedelic.

Thats if you even get a get a uniform, Parliament issued many thousands but always forgot the trousers. I can see that the absence of keks would be a shock to the new recruit but must everyone of them have come straight from digging out the dung pit without changing? Surely one or two would have been caught out wearing their best and brightest.
Charles II is unimpressed by the neglect of the English trouser
trade during his absence.

I have several hundred horsemen kitted out according to the latest word from Partizan Press and a more shabby dull and depressing group you will struggle to find. Enough! No more!

Break out the Royal Blue and Post Box red. Red feathers and gold edgings shall abound, it is time that Cavaliers made a comeback and the Revolution starts here.
A contemporary Dutch Cavalier, self portrait 1657 - not so shabby?


Martin said...

There's a lot to be said "for the look of the thing". I like my tabletop troopies to be somewhere between parade ground perfect and post latrine maintenance fatigue dress!

I suppose the bottom line is that they are YOUR toys. If you are satisfied with the look of them after they've been painted....that's good enough. Other people's opinions are are a far distant second.

DC said...

Hurrah! The voice of reason is back.

I agree entirely (if our toys don't catch the eye then we might as well push bits of cardboard around) and happily adopt the 'paint the legend' approach when i think it looks better.

J Lilburne Ret'd said...

Quite right, cavaliers should be wromantic.

It is odd that the dull or scruffy option is pursued most avidly in ECW circles, when it could be but generally isn't followed in other early modern periods. One never sees a SYW Prussian grenadier kitted out like Benny from Crossroads.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Welcome back, John. You've been missed, sir.

I fully agree with you. How are those lads going to win the girls if they don't look the part, eh?

-- Jeff

Ross Mac said...

Good choice John! I'm glad you took the time to think about this before rushing into painting these figures.

I can't help but think that this is another case of extrapolating from worst case situations. Its like Napoleonic troops always in the shabbiest gear when we know that at least some troops carried their best gear in their napsacks and brushed and shined when expecting a major battle etc.
Bright colours and a glossy finish, that's what puts the dash into a dashing cavalier!


Bloggerator said...

Glad you're back John. By all means, paint the legend. Besides, the Willies look awfully drab in navy blue and brown.


Poacher said...

Ans where the bluudy hell have you been, young man?

Was Wurzel a cavalier?


Archduke Piccolo said...

I'm definitely of the 'Bright Colours' school of military miniature haberdashery. Dull and drab colours might have been the norm in real life, but the thing about dull and drab, is, not to put too fine a point on it, just ... dull. And drab.

Can't be having with that! In any case, colours on small figures look darker than they would look on a full sized person, so I would suggest going two or three shades lighter in any case. The exceptions are white, yellow, and very pale colours - you can't go wrong with these, and they can pick out duller colours to give an attractive effect.

Doug said...


Well done!

tradgardmastare said...

Welcome back!
I can't wait to hear more...

johnpreece said...

Thank you for your kind comments Gentlemen and Lady.

Martin, that is right and can't be said often enough. I have met several people who are ashamed to show their figures because their painting is 'not good enough.' The tiny minority who police TMP and the like to pick up on any sub Kevin Dalimore offerings do more damage than they should.

Ross, you have put your finger on my present dilemma shiny or not. (Thank you, DC your opinion is noted) I normally put shiny on toy soldier plain bases but I want these textured, will they look odd?
still undecided.

Chrissie, you know a different law of time operates in Tywyn. Here it is only two days since my last post. Hope you are keeping well.

Archduke and Mr Lilburne, I am inclined to the view that dull and drab is cousin to the wish to have every member of a unit in different pose and with a differing set of clothing. Actually its called uniform for a reason.


Gallia said...

Happiness! You are back with your ever so pleasing style John.

I'm not repainting any of my 1970s and early 1980s Cavaliers nor the Roundheads either.

I'm reminded of Soviet and East German Cold War architecture. Blech!

I love Vallejo's vibrant dark blue.

Cheers and do write again sooner than a span of two Twyn days please,

Red_Cardinal said...

I absolutely agree with everyone else. My Own Naps are in full dress. None of that campaign nonsense if you please! :-)