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"Marines of the Guard: Which Blue?" Topic

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917 hits since 14 Jul 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 4:30 p.m. PST

Was the uniform of the Marines of the Guard the same "French blue" as regular infantry uniforms or different? I have a couple illustrations suggesting it was lighter than the blue for line infantry, for example.

Brechtel19814 Jul 2017 5:42 p.m. PST

The Sailors of the Guard wore dark blue uniforms. Their trumpeters wore sky blue, which was for all intents and purposes an Imperial Guard standard for musicians.

dibble14 Jul 2017 5:55 p.m. PST

Here you go!


Paul :)

Artilleryman15 Jul 2017 3:23 a.m. PST

Basically they wore the standard colours of the rest of the army; the same dark blue and the same sky blue (which was relatively darker than you might imagine looking at real artifacts). The same question comes up in whether dragoons had the same green as chasseurs a cheval (it was the same). There were variations at the time as dyes were not 'fast' and production variations, weathering and fading etc. could make colours look different. Also, the reproductions in prints and paintings could vary due to the reproductive process and the 'eye' of the artist. Voila! A whole series of questions arise.

Personally, I find the Mongin illustrations in the Histoire & Collections series the best references for actual colours.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Jul 2017 4:18 p.m. PST


JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2017 2:52 a.m. PST

IIRC there's a Marines if the Guard uniform (or maybe just a tunic) in the Musee des Invalides. Might be worth asking if they have a slide or postcard of it for sale, or even explain why you need it, and asking if someone could take and send you a photograph?

Brechtel19820 Jul 2017 4:02 a.m. PST

There are at least two mannequins in the uniform of the Sailors of the Guard and the blue is Imperial Blue, very dark, and they also have both types of shako that the Sailors wore.

If you can get hold of Napoleon et ses Soldats, Volume II, by Paul Willing, the Sailors are well-illustrated on pages 64-65, the photographs taken in the museum.

I was just there a couple of weeks ago and they have 'rearranged' the exhibits in the Napoleonic section.

The proper designation of the battalion was Bataillon des Marins de la Garde, 'marin' meaning 'sailor' and not as is usually mistranslated, 'Marine.' The French had no Marines during the period. Marine in French is translated as Navy.

Cuirassier20 Jul 2017 6:33 p.m. PST

Here you go, Extra Crispy. From the fantastic Musée de l'Emperi for you…


Anthony Barton20 Jul 2017 11:06 p.m. PST

Beautiful photo of a really splendid uniform, thanks for posting that. It rather knocks on the head all those figures painted in the hot kingfisher mid-blue so beloved of paint manufacturers .
Since indigo was effectively the only blue dye around, all dark blue uniforms were versions of this.
The best way , I have found , to create this indigo blue, is to add red to the darkest blue you can find. It works.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 7:19 p.m. PST

The trick, in 15mm, is to find a blue that is not black at distance.

I don't care how dark the blue *really* is, I want to see blue on the table top. Accuracy and aesthetics are always at issue….

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