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"French blue vs Prussian blue?" Topic

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2,382 hits since 1 Apr 2017
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repaint01 Apr 2017 6:35 a.m. PST

I am painting my French the following way

base: Dark prussian blue
highlight: ultramarine + 30% Andrea blue

Basically, I am thinking of painting my Prussian exactly the same… should it matter with scale effect or the Prussians should be painted a bit differently?

thank you

wrgmr101 Apr 2017 6:48 a.m. PST

I painted my Prussians with a highlight of Prussian blue and medium blue 50/50. Gives it a darker look.

Generalstoner49 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 7:29 a.m. PST

My Prussian blue is a darker shade than the French blue. My French are in ultramarine blue.

von Winterfeldt01 Apr 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

there shouldn't be any – darkblue for both

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 9:13 a.m. PST

Unless you are painting 54s or larger, the same blue will work just fine. In your average game lighting situation you'll never notice the difference anyway.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 10:25 a.m. PST

Closer to black is your best bet. Highlight with navy or a blue gray. Ultramarine/Andrea Blue is exactly the wrong color – there's no conceivable way that indigo via bad dye lots, campaign wear and tear, sun, long supply lines gets you to that tone of blue.

Scale effect schmale effect. Nobody bothers with this except for Napoleonic French. We know the color – why make it up?

Esquire Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 10:33 a.m. PST

Using Vallejo products I use dark Prussian blue on the French and then highlight with Prussian blue. I use dark Prussian blue on the Prussians and then shade with black. Sometimes hard to see but at 3 feet the Prussians are darker and the French are lighter. It works. I was waiting for Flashman to say something. Most make French blue too light. Dark with highlights I think looks good and is "accurate." Dark Prussian blue is accurate for Prussians but sometime so dark that you cannot see any distinction between the coat and the black belts. Oh well.

JimDuncanUK01 Apr 2017 10:52 a.m. PST

Paint them all dark blue, get them on the table and starting rolling dice.

von Winterfeldt01 Apr 2017 11:12 a.m. PST

I don't know from where this ultra dark blue mania for the Prussians is comming form, paint them like this


repaint01 Apr 2017 1:22 p.m. PST

I understand what you guys are saying about keeping the colors very dark but inmy eyes they look better with the highlight. I will do it with Prussian blue and Andrea blue or a hint of light grey.

thanks all.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 1:46 p.m. PST

You can still have very dynamic highlights. Just stay away from sky blue and its relatives.

This Aztec at right is what you should shoot for: link

Edit – If one had to insist on capturing an authentic campaign look, dirty up the whites a lot, maybe fade the reds but leave the indigo alone:


repaint01 Apr 2017 2:07 p.m. PST

This Aztec at right is what you should shoot for: link

Wow, yes! It looks like the highlight was obtained with light gray.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 3:49 p.m. PST

I read that at Bautzen, Prussian uniforms looked black from a distance. ?

von Winterfeldt01 Apr 2017 11:28 p.m. PST

from a distance all look black

wrgmr102 Apr 2017 8:46 a.m. PST

Mine look like the picture Von W. posted. My French are just slightly lighter.

von Winterfeldt02 Apr 2017 11:25 a.m. PST

in my view the Prussians had a lighter hue than the French

von Winterfeldt02 Apr 2017 11:32 a.m. PST

for example




Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2017 2:06 p.m. PST

Those are great references. Is there a link or are they personal?

wrgmr102 Apr 2017 7:04 p.m. PST

Von w. Are all these French? Looks that way to me.

von Winterfeldt03 Apr 2017 4:14 a.m. PST

yes – those are French, I am afraid there is no link, I copy usually those photos, whenever I stumble across them in the net – I have quite a few now.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2017 9:52 a.m. PST

Imperial lace on blue for a drummer I presume. I also presume not just green faded to blue, which is all too easy.

I can imagine plain white lace on blue for Hundred Days, but I have never seen this. Can you recall where you found it?

Scharnachthal Inactive Member03 Apr 2017 11:15 a.m. PST

Imperial lace on blue for a drummer I presume. I also presume not just green faded to blue, which is all too easy.

I can imagine plain white lace on blue for Hundred Days, but I have never seen this. Can you recall where you found it?

The uniform is preserved in the "Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812", Moscow and has been attributed to either the 9e Léger or a "Young Guard" unit. I doubt that it was "captured" as early as 1812, though. But, ok, maybe I'm too sceptical. One would have to check when exactly the 9e Léger or (some of) the Young Guard units received the Bardin uniform…

Note how much depends on lighting. On the photo seen on the Russian website the uniform looks markedly bluer than the French drummer's uniform next to it, or on vW's photo…

Rusty Gold Inactive Member03 Apr 2017 5:58 p.m. PST

I'm starting to see the point where if you want to have display figurines try very hard to get the right tone but looking at the photo of the re-enactors the whites way dirtier and grubby , the Blue dye fades in the sun and from washing .
What reality do you want on the table 3metres away , facing away from you ?
Actually the Whites of the trousers and vests plus the straps are a good indication of the Austrian " Whites " we should expect ie Vallejo Iraqui sand or Pale Sand .
My King Gee work shorts have gone from Deep Prussian Blue to that Weathered Blue as the dyes and fabric have lost their weave ( a lot of your clothes weave goes down the drain )

von Winterfeldt04 Apr 2017 9:22 a.m. PST

woolen cloth was forbidden to be washed

Le Breton04 Apr 2017 12:19 p.m. PST

If you go here : link
and then look at the post-war era albums of mixed nationalities, you will mostly be seeing the occupation troops of the Allies in/around Paris. So, everyone was likely to be wearing a fresh uniform.
Now compare the Prussian blue to the French in any one album.
I think I agree with Mr. von Winterfeldt : they are the same, or if anything the Prussian is slightly *lighter*.

"woolen cloth was forbidden to be washed"
Still is, right? I see "do not wash / dry clean only" tags.

"I doubt that it was "captured" as early as 1812, though"
I am not very sure of the model in the museum, as I see adding anything like those shoulder decorations as more of an 1813-1814 fashion for the French.
However, the decree for the common trumpeters, drummers, musicians uniform with Imperial tapes pre-dated the Bardin uniform regulation (Decemebr 1810 vs. February 1812). The "masses d'habillement pour l'an 1812" (issued in mid 1811) had full implementation of the new uniforms with the tapes. Albeit there were details that changed (example : the lining and turnbacks for the new green habits were supposed to be as per the regular troops' habits – in late 1811, it was permitted to make these in green, vice blue, for the infanterie légère as the combination of green + blue was getting complaints for ugliness.

Strange, I *like* green + blue. In the early 1980's my unit had green fatigue uniforms dressed up with a dark blue beret and ascot. Was I the only person who thought it looked good?

See : Manuel de l'administration et de la vérification des masses d'habillement et de harnachement et ferrage.
published annually duing the later Empire by the Libraire pour l'art militaire à Paris by the Bureau de la comptabilité au ministère de la guerre.

4th Cuirassier07 Apr 2017 3:05 a.m. PST

When I had Prussians and French I painted the former in Humbrol HM5 Field Blue and the French in Humbrol MC8 French Blue.

As von W says, they are about the same, but Field Blue had a greyish tinge to it. It looked pretty good on Prussians to me, although I don't know if there's any basis for it and you couldn't see the difference at table distances anyway.

The only really inky blue black I have ever heard of was worn by the British cavalry.

Tyler32603 May 2017 11:24 a.m. PST

Blue dyes faded after a few months wear at best. So don't get too hung up which shades to use… they all fade out.

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