The Good, Bad And The Ugly: A Painting Guide For Mech and Starship Wargamers

What are the correct Martian, Rebel, or X’thingion uniform and spaceship colours in the 25th century? The bad answer: we don’t know. The only right answer: if you research movies and the internet, good suggestions will pop up. SF colour guides follow strict codes and conventions. Below 1) a summary of familiar colour palettes combined with 2) an updated colour wheel 3) practical painting tips. With links to inspirational pictures.

It’s a generic painting guide for 6-15mm, although I wrote it as preparation for my own Dropzone Commander project. I will soon publish a Dropzone Painting Guide as follow-up.

Rule 1: Remember, SF follows archetypes

Yes, all spaceships and 3000 AD-tanks, including the form and the colour, are of course fantasy. The whole idea of explosions, sound and fire in empty space, 270 degrees below zero, no oxygen, is nonsense, (check this great video about the physics of space battles). And why would a spaceship need wings and an afterburner?

However, 50 years of comics and Hollywood movies have dictated the appearance of the archetypical SF cruiser, jet, tank, mech and walker. SF colours and patterns communicate: for example that a model is hi-tec or lo-tec; ‘human’ or ‘alien’; ‘good’ or ‘evil’; regular or pirate. Think. Why do the evil Tie-Fighters have big black shields while rebel fighters are represented as light grey, almost white, space jets with red lining – like medieval white knights? Why does black robed Darth Vader wear a WW2-German Stahlhelm? Your painted model will not convince if it doesn’t copy an archetype.

A catalog of 75 inspiring spaceship concept art can be found here.

Rule 2: silver, grey or black metallic are dominant

In the 1950’s the common image was the silver/ metallic flying saucer. Star Trek brought us space battleships in battleship grey, styled as flying saucers with delta wings and red lining. Star Wars was inspired by WW2 dogfight movies, thus featured jets with afterburners and wings (the Death Star trench run is a remake of the final scenes of WW2 movie ‘Dambusters’).

‘Evil’ hi-tec is often black metallic. Compare the Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the TIE-fighter and the black lined Cylon Raider from Battlestar Galactica. below.

Silver and black metallic radiate hi-tec, check the colours of your computer, phone, television and CD-player. Grey is a battleship colour common for space (battle)ships. White is NASA. Light grey with red lining is Star Trek and Star Wars. Often SF ground troops follow the same colour conventions.

Rule 3: Bright Colours For Manga, Transformers, 40K, Mech; Not For Classic SF

Bright blue, red and yellow are popular for GW toys and manga-inspired cyborgs. It’s fantasy, toyish, medieval knights in futuristic armour.

For the ‘classic SF’ like Dropzone Commander models I dislike this style, at least for human UCM and PHR. It might be excellent for large 15mm-28mm 40k models and Battletech mechs. If it looks like a transformer, walks like a transformer and talks like a transformer, paint it like a transformer! But if not…

UCM in red, found in cyberspace. How ugly. Sorry. The owner must have been influenced by Epic Armageddon, from GW, (below) which is definitely more cartoonishly sculpted than Dropzone Commander.

There is one exception to the rule and that is ‘rogues’. ‘Classic’ rogue and pirate battleships are often metallic with colourful parts, as a signal that they’re not ‘mainstream’ and not ‘uniform’, but ‘irregular’.

Resistance fleet

Rule 4: WW2 Camo Looks Fine, But…

Standard camo – olive drab or sand yellow basecoat or grey with a camo pattern – is a common painting choice in SF.

A Brigade Models 15mm SF Grav tank

It’s a perfect and very safe choice for semi-realistic ‘classic SF’ models. I’m not overenthousiastic, however. Standard camo may remove the futuristic look of a model, is difficult without airbrush and decreases the beautiful hard contours of a SF miniature, even more on small scales. If you go for it, try as a more creative, more contrasting, more ‘alien’ camouflage.

Brigade Models, 15mm. A nice two-tone contrasting camouflage pattern
Green Stuff Industries blog

Interesting variation: some hobbyists paint futuristic rectangular and square camouflage instead of standard cloudy stripes.

6inchmove blog

Notice how all painters above have accentuated the black lines between the panels of the models.

Rule 5: Superhero Colours Can Typecast Your SF Vehicles.

I’m a big fan of what I call the ‘superhero colour combinations’. When in doubt, I check this superhero colour theory link.

  • Strong heroes wear red and blue (Superman)
  • dazzling, energetic heroes red and yellow (Iron Man)
  • distant wise heroes / police types blue and yellow (Batman):
  • evil geniuses wear green/purple (Green Goblin);
  • dark clowny heroes purple/orange ;
  • true evil characters purple/orange/green/cold white – yes, The Joker, and Kingpin.

Grey and black give heroes and villains a darker, more gothic effect – compare classic Batman with modern Dark Knight-Batman. Earlier, I successfully used the superhero/villain palette for my Zombicide survivors and zombies.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor klingon spaceships
A Klingon spaceship. Orange, green, grey and purple

I also used it for my Scourge army. The Scourge are alien hi-tec bloodsuckers. Evil. My base colour for the dropships and vehicles is brown gold metallic – orange. I combined it with green – aha, evil. They didn’t look evil enough, so I added purple and white. Classic supervillain Joker/Kingpin. See below.

Scourge Dropship: almost a Klingon fighter, but upside down. Orange, green, white, purple.

Rule 5: Analogous Is Best For Mass Armies

I hadn’t painted fantasy / SF miniatures for a very long time so I needed to rediscover the painting style. I stumbled upon a helpful colour wheel from Sandwyrm. It’s helpful because it connects the colour wheel with Citadel colours.

I recommend to read his 3-part pictorial essay, with examples and comments. Summary:

  • Analogous colors are hues which are close together on the colour wheel. Miniatures painted in analogous colours often look fine. Analogous is the best way to communicate an intense feeling or unify a large number of elements like miniatures
  • Complementary colours occupy opposite positions on the color wheel. This is the best way of showing contrast, particularly if you paint most of your image or miniature with one color and some important detail with the other.
  • Besides a straight-up complement, artists will also contrast an analogous range of colors with a complement to that range.
  • If you highlight, add white. Because if you highlight analogous (purple with light blue as highlight, or orange with yellow as highlight, the result is less natural.
Here you see blue and cyan, two analogous colours, combined with complimentary red.
This Space Marine has the same colour palette as the Incredibles picture above: blue, cyan and red.

So, how many contrasting colours should you use for SF armies?

Not many Few. Try (mainly) metallics with analogous colours, maybe small parts in a contrasting (complementary) colour. I tried three-tone-palettes (orange/green/with too much purple for Scourge, blue-grey-red for UCM, but that was ugly. Somehow, too many or too bright colours on a small model are distracting. In SF-movies hi-tec planes and tanks never look like an African T-shirt. In the end, I limited the use of a (third) complimentary contrast colour to small parts of the model.

Paneling and analogous colours: a step-by-step-example

2002 Golden Demon winner Joe Wiedeman from Cincinatti published back in 2008 a spaceship tutorial instructable that I uncovered on TMP. The style was not suitable for my Dropzone dropships, but might be perfect for big space cruisers and battleships.

I noticed btw that in this example he is using analogous colours in the green spectrum, he accentuates panels and geometrical shapes. Thus, the spaceship has a ‘typical’ futuristic appearance and doesn’t resemble a mere WW2-in-space-plane. Thumbs up for his painting.

His step-by-step-pics below, from basecoat to finish:

Rule 6: Ink, Don’t Paint

I don’t believe in hypes so I don’t believe in GW Contrast Paint. Not as such. GW traditionally promoted painting on a black undercoat and sold their customers pigmented, opaque acrylic paint. They also sold inks. In 2019 they revived an old modelers technique known as ‘stain painting’, (diluted paint over a white undercoat) and introduced a new range of improved inks, the so-called Contrast Paints.

That said, I think that the fine lined 6-15mm models need very thin layers of paint. Thick paint eliminates the fine lines between the panels that are IMHO essential for the SF appearance. Even more with Dropzone, the models have very fine details. Thus I recommend to apply a thin light undercoat and a coloured wash – Contrast Paint.

But you don’t need Contrast Paint to contrastpaint. Instead of buying an expensive new range I use my old GW inks, and I bought Vallejo thinning medium to dilute my standard Army Painter and Vallejo paints. AP sells coloured washes btw with the same effect as Contrast Paint. Vallejo Model Colour is more transparent and fluid than Vallejo Game Colour or Army Painter.

In short: Contrast Paint is a good choice. Other options are available. Anyway, make sure that you ink the model and/or use very transparent colours.

Expert tip: I bought Vallejo metal medium. If you mix it with wash/ink, it will give a metallic look: chrome red, silver grey, etc.

Rule 7: Paint Reflecting Cockpits

All serious spaceships have serious reflecting cockpits. Blogger Four Realms of Chaos published a good 6-minute instructable on YouTube.

Rule 8: Never Forget The Plasma Effect

You better return to WW2-wargaming if you hate plasma guns because they are dangerous for humanity, bad for the environment or if you’re not able to paint plasma guns. But maybe read this easy tutorial here, first.

Rule 9: Buy decals

Decals on wings and tanks enhance the look of the miniature, and when camouflaged, even more so. Magister Militum sells WW2 aircraft and tank decals you can use. I bought SF Hammers Slammer decals from Brigade Models. Piranha sells Battletech decals.

Rule 10: Panels! Panels! Panels!

SF is all about blingbling, panels and contours. Extra lining, extra highlighting and extra contouring is advisable according to all instructables on the web. All painters in the instructables reline the panels with a dark wash and all advise to highlight the panels, instructable here. Dropzone suggests a nifty trick btw, to scratch off a little paint from the corners.

A Word About Dropzone Commander

I like large land battles in small scales. I play Napoleonic and WW2 in 6mm so 6mm SF seemed a logical choice. The 10mm DZC miniatures however are very well sculpted and I think that 10 (and 15mm) does more justice to the individual beauty of SF than tiny 6mm. The 50-pound (now OOP) 2-player set with 2 armies and cardboard scenery was a bargain and the boxed armies and discounted scenery sets still are. Not only for DZC, but for many available SF games, like Quadrant 13, Gruntz, Dirtside, Future War Commander or Dark Horizon.

Useful links

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We Always Have Paris

How a wargaming dad spends his summer vacation with the kids? Very much like other, non-wargaming dads, of course. In swimming pools and cycling through forests with non-wargaming mum. Last week I took the 2 kids to a quick midweek holiday to Paris, wife had to work (somebody has to pay the holiday:-). Again, we did a lot of things non-wargaming dads do with their kids. Eiffel Tower. Ferris wheel. Montmartre.

BUT I couldn’t resist to go to the Napoleon tomb AND the War Museum. Of course. I lectured them about Austerlitz and Waterloo. Actually, they liked it! (or pretended to, they know their dad) 🙂

And what did I find in one of the innumerable souvenir shops, while my daughter was looking for an ‘I Love Paris’-T-shirt? An excellent ‘Napoleon Crossing The Alps’-statuette, not meant to be painted, but I will paint it like I was David himself nevertheless.

Great holiday! As my other favorite hero, Rick in my favorite movie Casablanca said: “We always have Paris”…

Beauty Contest! Waterloo Again, In 6 Different Scales

What is the best scale for Napoleonic wargaming? Looking for perfection, I compared wargame pictures of one famous Napoleonic battle, yes, THAT one, to check what was the most ‘beautiful’, ‘realistic’ Napoleonic scale. 28-20-15-10-6-2mm (healthier men than me google for nude pics of Hollywood actresses. I search for model soldiers. I’m a sad man.)

I thought I would conclude that my beloved 6mm would finish first. Actually it’s not that simple. Check below.

Real Waterloo

(wikipedia)
(wikipedia)
From the 1970 Waterloo movie

28mm Waterloo

Edinburgh Wargames,

Waterloo in 20mm – 1/72 Airfix

Hougoumont diorama, Royal Green Jackets Musem
Willy Smout, with his 1/72 diorama (De Morgen), 10x4meter in his basement
Airfix Waterloo diorama at the Royal Green Jackets museum

15mm Waterloo

The Wargamorium

Avon Napoleonic Fellowship

10mm Napoleonic

War Artisan (not Waterloo, couldn’t find a picture, but it gives an impression)

6mm Waterloo

Grymauch’s blog, Waterloo
Grymauchs blog, Waterloo

2mm Waterloo & Leipzig

The Dying Gaul
Forward March 2mm Leipzig
Mark Hornsby, Waterloo

Command & Colours Hexed Waterloo Board with Irregular 6mm

wargamehistory blog

Final judgment after comparison

28mm

The 28mm battlefield is a stunning view. Pictures and miniatures are excellent. Look below.

Penarth Wargames

The 28mm miniatures above are impressive. However, this goes with the assumption that 16-30 line infantry figures and 2-4 skirmishers represent 500-1000 real soldiers. Most Waterloo grand battles looked unconvincing to me. I have the impression that too many 28mm Waterloo wargames are nothing more than large phalanx battles with victory points Haye Sainte, Hougoumont, the ridge and Plancenoit. Correct me if I’m wrong.

For skirmish games like Sharp Practice 28mm is unbeatably beautiful, IMHO.

Amsterdam6shooters Sharp Practice game

20mm (1/72)

20mm/1/72 niniatures have better proportions. Compare the elegant cavalry below with the überfat bulky miniatures above.

Saddles & Sabres 1/72 blog
History in 1/72 Prussians at Waterloo diorama

The scale is popular for diorama’s. These are fantastic, btw, see above. The grand scale diorama’s are the best miniature porn I have ever seen.

I have doubts about the Waterloo wargame, though. Many 1/72 wargamers tend to use the same basing conventions as 28mm wargamers. So the unit size is the same. Often, gamers adjust movement and shooting ranges or place a few more miniatures on a base. I doubt if the 1/72 wargame battles with 16-24 figures look more convincing than 28mm battles with the same unit size. But 20mm with adjusted rates gives you more maneuvering space on the tabletop.

15mm

R Mark Davies

The 15mm games are really beautiful, I don’t know why you would play 28mm while 15mm is just as nice, good detail, easier painting… According to my sources on the internet 15mm gamers promote more miniatures per unit compared to 28mm and shorter ranges/distances, so you have more maneuvering space and more a mass battle feeling.

10mm

General de Brigade in 10mm

I started with 6mm when I was given a Baccus army as a present and never looked back. On second thought I must admit that 10mm is a splendid scale to represent a large battle while you still can see details. It might be even the best scale if you like a tactical Waterloo game with formation changes, squares, attack columns etc. Difficult to choose between 10 and 15mm.

Michael Cannon, 10mm

My beloved 6mm

Grymauchs blog again
Grymauch

A well-prepared 6mm tabletop, like above, gives me the proper mass battle feeling that Waterloo should have. Grymauch does a neat trick, he paid a lot of attention to his terrain. That’s the main lesson, the smaller the scale, the better the terrain should be. Compare his pictures with the dead view of a 6mm battle on a too empty board, below.

(Sorry Meeples & Miniatures, you did nothing wrong but others do it better)

Grymauch used 5-6 15x15mm bases per battalion = 30-36 cramped on 30x45mm. So visually, you have dense blocks on a small space and lots of room to maneuver on the tabletop.

And many bases and a lot of units to manage. As a consequence, Grymauch’s turns lasted relatively long IMHO, he wrote:

” I never actually timed how long each move phase took but I would guess on average it would be around 15-20 mins. When the Prussians had arrived it took longer but I doubt it ever exceeded 30 mins and that would have been moving a significant number. “

He was solo gaming. I played a 4-player Over the Hill yesterday against opponents, 6 bases per unit, and I grew impatient sometimes because 20-30 minutes waiting is slow.

So my personal conclusion is that very large 6mm battles like Waterloo should be played with dense blocks of units on relatively small unit bases and with an abundance of terrain. And preferably with ‘strategic’ or grand tactical rules instead of purely tactical rules with formation changes, because you otherwise lose track and lose gaming time managing the game/the grand battle. If your opponents have plenty of time, no problem. But I wouldn’t like it.

This looks fine, Meeples & Miniatures! Polemos units. I prefer even denser blocks, but that’s a matter of taste

So that’s my second lesson learned, the larger the battle, the quicker the rules should be. I would probably buy 15mm or 10mm if I preferred more tactical games and more detailed painting, but 6mm-players like me should stick to grand tactical rules like Blücher, Polemos and Volley and Bayonet.

2mm games

La Haye Sainte. Mark Hornsby

Hornsby describes the units in the picture as: “The troops you see are the (from left to right) 6 companies 1/95th Rifles (front), 6 companies 27th Dutch Jagers (rear), 6 companies 5th Dutch Militia, 6 companies 7th Belgian Line Infantry.”

I beg to differ, though. The miniatures are too small in my opinion, the bases look very similar. I don’t recognize te 1/95th Rifles. I see green pinheads. 2mm wargaming is landscaping, not miniature painting. Sorry.

Movement scales might be correct. Grand scale strategy, like pincher movements and central position, make a difference. In these aspects 2mm is superior.

Command & Colours

The C&C hex and blockgame gives us excellent game mechanics. With small miniatures it’s just slightly more imaginative than the block game. Here I miss the landscape. As a game it’s one of the best but it looks unattractive, it still looks like a board game.

So?

In the end love is in the eye of the beholder.

  • 28mm looks fine but subconciously gamers make great compromises if they play. Try a skirmish instead.
  • 1/72, 15mm and 10mm give a more convincing big battle look
  • 10 mm might be the best allround scale. You can zoom in to Plancenoit and play a tactical battle, or zoom out to the battlefield and play a corps game like Blücher. Just don’t bigbase them.
  • Densely packed 6mm units are best for grand tactical games (but let me immediately add that I had perfect 1/72 Blücher games)
  • 2mm and hexed board games represent the connection between strategy and tactics and don’t lopside ranges. Napoleon marched to Waterloo executing his favorite central position strategy, and lost because he split his army and had lost track of the Prussians. Capturing Hougoumont or not is just a footnote.

God Must Be A Toy Soldier. Here’s Why.

  1. First, I pray to my soldiers when I roll my dice to see if I can move or shoot
  2. I donate a lot of money to them
  3. I believe in my toy soldiers. I pretend they are real.
  4. I tell everybody I believe in peace, that’s why I play with soldiers instead of fighting real wars.
  5. In reality, though, I fight wars with others about the ‘true religion’. “Age of Sigmar/Bolt Action/Field of Glory? Are you stupid? That’s childish/not realistic/overcomplicated (delete as appropriate)”.
  6. I try to convert others to my religion. “28mm? You really should try 6mm.”
  7. I believe in strict rules. No shooting at me beyond your line of sight.
  8. I will forbid my daughter to marry someone who doesn’t share my religion.
  9. I’m part of a community and we have regular meetings to practice our rituals. My orations about the purity of certain rules are described as sermons, by certain non-believers, like my wife.
  10. I have ten rules. All major religions have ten rules.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Amen!

ps: the goddess above is not my wife, unfortunately 😦 (photo Bethany Clarke)

Uniform Guide: Russian Uhlans & Cossacks

Yes, painting guides for the white Russian Cuirassiers, green dragoons and colourful hussars are easy to find online. Apart from the Baccus Painting Guide I consult the well-researched website napoleonistyka.com. Russian uhlans and cossacks are a different story however, no easy results. A quicky below, in addition to the regular sources, for myself and the Napoleonic wargame community.

Russian Uhlan colours 1812-1815

Lithaunian lancers

Blue jackets, grey pants, girdles, and saddlecloths, with the following distinctions:

  • For the Yamburg — raspberry collar/facings/trim, white shapka headdress, with red braid and pompon; white top half to the pennon, with a narrow raspberry stripe, and a raspberry lower half,
  • For the Orenburg — as above, but with raspberry shapka headdress, with yellow braid and pompon; blue top half to the pennon, with a narrow raspberry stripe, and a raspberry lower half, with a narrow blue stripe
  • For the Zhitomir — red collar/facings/trim; blue shapka headdress, with white braid and pompon; yellow/blue pennon
  • For the Siberia — as above, but with white shapka headdress, with red braid and pompon; yellow/white pennon
  • For the Vladimir — blue collar/facings/trim; blue shapka headdress, with yellow braid and pompon; yellow/blue vertical pennon
  • For the Taganrog — as above, but with white shapka headdress, with red braid and pompon; yellow/red pennon
  • For the Serpukhov — blue collar; red lapels, facings, trim: red shapka headdress, with yellow braid and pompon; blue/red pennon

(Check Mark Conrads translation of a Russian 1853 army handbook for more details). Russian lancers are probably overlooked by wargamers because they were converted from or to cossacks or hussars and less ‘iconic’ for the Russians than the cossacks or the big cuirassiers.

French or Austrian lancers can be converted, but for my 6mm Russian army I prefer the Baccus ‘Austrian’ Lancers. French Polish Lancers have a big emblem on their czapka apparently.

Lead Mountains 6mm Vladimir Lancers

Cossacks

Cossacks had an irregular blue uniform. My Osprey guide:

“simple; a blue jacket (with a white frog on the cuff or cape), fastened with hooks; a pair of loose trousers, a black lambswool cap made from which depends a red pandour sack, a plume on the side of the cap, or a cloth cap with a kind of sack hanging behind, in which he stuffs his provisons and a white or black hair Circassian short cloak’.

Red facings and trouser stripes were common; and ‘a broad leather belt, Principal weapons are a pike about eight feet long, and a pair of pistols. A black belt crosses their left shoulder, to which is attached a sort oftin cartouch box, holding ammunition, and surmounted with a ramrod.”

Front Rank Miniatures
Lee’s figurepaintingtherapyproject blog

In 6mm they can be painted as above or with more colour variation, to accentuate the irregular status.

PS the lancers on the copypasted 28mm Russian Lancer-image that is the featured image of this blogpost were painted by blogger Lace&Big Heads. Great paint job!

Uniform Guide: Late Napoleonic Prussian Army


This painting guide is focused on the uniforms of the late Prussian ‘national’ army and not on the transitional period and the Russian campaign. It’s useful for all scales but I included 6mm Prussian painting tips..

After  the battles of Jena, Auerstädt and Eylau a defeated Prussia had a shattered army. Organization, staff and uniforms were modernized to meet 19th century standards. The Prussians remained neutral in 1809, and supplied a contingent Prussians to Napoleons Grande Armee.

After Napoleon’s failed conquest of Russia, Prussia broke with Napoleon and iron man Blücher became commander in chief. The United Kingdom quickly rearmed Prussia and in the end the Prussians saved the day at the Waterloo battlefield.

Regiments were several times numbered, reorganized and renumbered between 1807-1812. This is a paintin guide for the Leipzig 1813-Champaubert 1814 and Waterloo 1815 campaigns.

NB: my media library is incomplete at the moment due to blog domain change, so I included copypasted pics from other blogs and sources. Respect to the original artists!

Specific Prussian 6mm army painting tips

  • Basecoat: painting techniques differ. Personally I can recommend to basecoat your heroes grey. and wash them as undercoat, before block paint the jackets etc. I don’t wash after painting, that only darkens the colours.
  • Prussian blue is said to be darker than French blue. However,  for 6mm, mid-blue, same as the French, is best. A (too) dark blue dims the unit. 6mm needs extremely vivid colours.
  • Red cuffs/collars:  historically the Prussians used different shades of red (and other colours, see below): instead of different reds, just use bright red and/or orange, that works best.
  • Prussians had ‘waxed’ shako’s. Paint/drybrush them (dark) grey
  • Most (Baccus) Prussian cavalry looks very similar, with their waxed shako and blue Kollett. It’s hard to spot the difference between the dragoons and the hussars and the Uhlans (lancers) and the reserve cavalry with lance, in particular from a distance. So, for easier recognition
    • paint the hussars in a non-blue colour scheme.
    • Base heavy cavalry and Uhlans in a V-formation but base the hussars and reserve as a more irregular group.
    • You could also convert hussars with dolman and pelisse from other armies to Prussian hussars.
  • Reserve regiments wore originally grey but gradually received the regular uniforms in 1813-1815. As painter, make a choice. If for gaming purposes you want a clear distinction with regular line regiments, paint them all grey. If you want a more ‘historical’ outfit, paint them as line but with some variety.
  • The (Baccus) Austrian/Prussian general set  is not very varied and a blue painted Prussian general staff might look too similar to the French marshalls. Better paint a few of the figures in a different colour scheme, white/red like the cuirassiers or green like the Jägers.

Cavalry

Prussia had in 1815 a Guard Cavalry brigade (Garde du Corps Cuirassiers, Guard Dragoons, Guard Hussars and Guard Uhlans), 4 regiments Cuirassiers, 8 regiment Dragoons, 12 regiments Hussars and 8 regiments Uhlans

Cuirassier Regiments

All cuirassiers had a white tunic called ‘Kollett’ with collars and cuffs in facing colour, mid-grey trousers, a white shoulderbelt and a black cartridge box. Helmet: black with brass plate. Saddle cloth in facing color, lining white or red

Facings/trim, cords &  lining

  • Garde du Corps: poppy red/ silver
  • 1st Silesian: black/yellow
  • 2nd East Prussian: light blue/white
  • 3rd Brandenburger: poppy red/white

On campaign the Cuirassiers wore a dark blue overcoat, the Litewka. After 1814 sometimes cuirasses were worn, black by the Garde du Corps, captured French brass or white metal cuirasses by the others.  Below an example from Interloping Infantry & Falling Rigging:

IIR blog,

He thinks it’s too bright (I think not) but he painted them in blue campaign litewka. Many Prussian cavalry including Landwehr are dressed in the blue litewka. I prefer the white kollet, for easier identification on my tabletop.

28mm Cuirassiers, Blunders on the Danube blog

Dragoon regiments

Blue Kollett, mid-grey trousers, white shoulderbelt and black cartridge box. Shako: black with a brass eagle plate (troopers) or black & silver roset (officers) and trim & cords in button colour . Saddle cloth: light blue with saddle  lining in facing colour.

Dragoon facings & saddle lining/trim, cords& buttons

  • 1st Guard Dragoons: crimson/white
  • 2nd West Prussian 1st: white/white
  • 3rd Lithuanian: red/yellow
  • 4th West Prussian 2nd: red/white
  • 5th Brandenburg: black/yellow
  • 6th Neumark: light red/ white
  • 7th Rhenish:white/yellow
  • 8th Magdeburg: yellow/white

Some examples:

Craig via the blog Paul Alba Napoleonics in Miniature
IIFR blog

Hussars

Uniform with dolman and pelisse.

  • The high collars and cuffs were in facing colour.
  • Dolman decorated with thick cords in the button colour (white or yellow) and three rows of buttons.  
  • Fur black or white.
  • Black shoulder belt. Waist sash in facing colour with lining in  piping colour.
  • Grey legwear.
  • Shako: black with a black & white  rosette (skull & bones for the Life Regiments). On campaign, shako covered with wax cloth. Saddle cloth in dolman colour with stripes in facing colour.

Dolman&pelisse/cuff&collar facings/buttons&cords&piping

  • Guard: dark blue/poppy red/ yellow

  • 1st Life: black/poppy red/white
  • 2nd Life: black/black /white
  • 3rd dark blue/poppy red/white
  • 4th : brown/yellow/yellow
  • 5th dark blue/dark blue/yellow
  • 6th green/poppy red/yellow
  • 7th black/poppy red/yellow
  • 8th dark blue/ light blue/white
  • 9th corn blue/ corn blue/yellow
  • 10th green/light blue/yellow
  • 11th green/poppy red/white
  • 12th corn blue/ corn blue/white

Uhlans

  • Blue Kollett with poppy red cuffs &collars, mid-grey trousers,
  • Shoulderbelt black (Guard) or white (Line). Black cartridge box.
  • Shako (pre-1815) black, with black & white roset, czapka (1815) black with dark blue top. On campaign headwear covered with wax cloth. Saddle cloth: red with white lining.
Baccus Uhlans, from IIFR blog

Landwehr/Militia Cavalry

Militia cavalry was ordered to wear dark blue litewka’s with collars & cuffs in the provincial colour. Headwear: black cavalry shako’s with white cross. The uniform under the litewka varied.

Line Infantry

During the 1813-1814 campaign the Prussian infantry consisted of 12 line infantry regiments, 12 reserve infantry regiments, numerous small troops of light infantry and volunteers and regiments of Landwehr. In 1815 Prussia could field 32 line infantry regiments.

Tunic: dark blue ‘Kollet’. Light brown knapsack and grey linen bread bag. Regiments from the same province had collar & cuffs in provincial colours (different shades of red, and white, yellow, pink or light blue). See below:

  • East Prussia – brick red
  • West Prussia – crimson
  • Pomerania – white
  • Brandenburg – poppy red (scarlet)
  • Silesia – golden yellow
  • Westphalia – deep rose
  • Elbe/Magdeburg – light blue
  • Rhineland – crab red

Grey greatcoat was worn rolled en bandolier over the shoulder. Trousers: grey, worn under grey or black gaiters, or linen worn over the gaiters.  Shako with oilskin cover. Belts white.

After Jena, the elite Foot Guards were dressed in the same fashion as the line infantry. They had a much higher plume on their shako, but only on parade.

The light infantry units (Schützen/Fusiliers) which where part of the Line regiments had the same uniform and facing colours as the Line regiment they belonged to.

Reserve Infantry

Until 1813 many reserve infantry regiments had all grey uniforms with grey caps instead of shako’s, and white belts, but from 1813 on the reserve regiments received new blue-grey uniforms albeit in a slower pace than the line regiments. Thus, the reserve infantry look much like the regular infantry in a more irregular style: sometimes with officers with blue Kollett but (some) troopers in grey;  sometimes with blue or linen trousers; sometimes with captured French shako’s without eagle crest; sometimes with a British Belgic shako or a cap or with a green Kollett supplied by the Russians. Paint them either grey or varied blue.

Light infantry

Uniform: as Line Infantry, but with dark green Kolletts instead of dark blue and black belts instead of white.

Landwehr Infantry

Landwehr infantry troops were equipped by provinces. They were meant to be a Home Guard but fought also at Ligny. The men wore either a black, grey or dark blue Litevka coat with white, dark blue or grey trousers. Belts: white or black. Headwear: black cap. Cuffs, collars: in provincial colours, see table above.

Massed Miniatures Marvels blog

Artillery

In the end of August 1813 Prussia had 400 field pieces in 50 batteries, but not enough trained gunners. Untrained troops from infantry and cavalry provided manpower instead.

Uniform:  similar as the infantry but with black facings. Horse gunners: idem, sometimes with litewka.

How To Finish A Wargame Project

Old blogpost from the blogosphere, wise advice: ‘How To Finish A Wargames Project’ from Wargaming for Grown-Ups. Trebian writes:

In practice there is nothing more difficult in completing a wargame project than there is in giving up smoking or losing weight. You just have to want to do it. (…) The simple answer is decide what you want to do, buy the figures and paint them. Don’t buy anything else until you’ve finished what you’ve bought. (…) What are my other handy tips? 

  • Firstly, now, I buy all the figures I think I’m going to need up front. I’ll have worked it out from the rule book or from what I think my rules will look like when I write them. That means, when I finish them, that I’ll actually be able to use them. (…)
  • Secondly, when I worked out what I wanted I did it on a spreadsheet, so I know exactly what units I’m aiming to paint and can track them if I need to. (…)
  • Thirdly, particularly with figures sold in packets, I open the packets and sort them into units and put each unit into a ziplock bag. These then go into a box, lined up so I can see what I’ve got to do. (…) I usually also put them in the order they need to be done. Consequently I’m not just painting random stuff, I’m painting to a plan (…)
  • Fourthly I have a streamlined painting system using tinted varnish to finish the figures off [ed. dipping]. (…) I long ago gave up trying to paint all that detail on 28mm figures, or even to paint like people who paint them (…)
  • Fifthly make sure you have a regular painting slot and your partner agrees that it is your painting slot (…) One of our group who is retired gets up an hour earlier than his wife and just “potters about”. He then complains he doesn’t have time to paint. Why not do it then, before breakfast? The important thing is that everyone who has calls on your time understands that this is your time to do this one thing. The Quid Pro Quo is to have time for them when it isn’t that time. Otherwise you have a painted army and a note telling you you’re being divorced.

Full blog here.