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"French Blue . . . ?" Topic

17 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

Erzherzog Johann28 Apr 2021 4:29 a.m. PST

I know this has been discussed before so if someone could just point me to the link google is hiding from me . . .

Having done enough (you've never done enough) Austrians, it's time to think about the French. I'm doing 15/18mm.

Is it correct or is it heresy to suggest that the difference between blues of different arms of the French army (guard, Ligne, Legere, artillery etc) would be minimal compared to the differences due to dye batch, wear and tear etc.

Leading out of that, I have a bunch of Vallejo paints and they're easy to obtain where I live, so what are the options people use? As I say I know I've seen this discussion before so a link would be brilliant.

Thanks in advance,

repaint28 Apr 2021 4:37 a.m. PST

for what it's worth, I use in my palette Prussian blue, Royal blue and Andrea blue. All vallejo and dedicated to my french in various scales 6mm to 28mm.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2021 4:51 a.m. PST

The classic dark blue used by the French was based upon an indigo dye which, due to the British blockade, was of variable availability. Officially the blue for Garde, Ligne, Leger, Cuirassiers etc.. was the same. However, as you have already identified, it would vary with batches and weathering.

Personally I use Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue 050 as the basic colour with various drybrushings to represent weathering etc. using Vallejo Medium Blue 57 as the start point.

Hope that helps.

Legionarius28 Apr 2021 7:42 a.m. PST

Blue. Very dark blues will look dull and almost black in 15mm. If you use a lighter blue and even lighter highlights they will "pop." Otherwise you will be technically correct but wargames table dull! :)

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian28 Apr 2021 8:58 a.m. PST

I use Prussian, Navy and Dutch Blue. Guard gets the darkest and most Line the lightest

Fred Mills28 Apr 2021 11:53 a.m. PST

I use several, to achieve slight variations, but always prefer my trusty stash of Oxford Matt Blue 104. Very dark. But helps distinguish things from Prussians, Bavarians and others.

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2021 12:29 p.m. PST

I always darken my colours when applying my wash painting style as I paint over a white undercoat. It makes for variation which is (as all of the above have indicated) a natural finish and likely more accurate.

rmaker28 Apr 2021 12:47 p.m. PST

Ceramcoat Blueberry for me.

Erzherzog Johann28 Apr 2021 2:39 p.m. PST

This has been very helpful thanks. A great starting point for me to get under way.


Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2021 8:53 p.m. PST

I agree with the paints mentioned here and concur that in smaller scales, lighter shades of blue give a better visual result without really looking out of place.

And…I have never worried too much about variations. Given the materials of the time, and the rigors of campaigning, troops in a number of armies ended up looking pretty ragged.
I am not a collector, nor an artist, and do not paint parade ground uniforms for gaming. I have always wondered what the Austrians in their white uniforms really looked like after a few weeks in the field!
At 15mm and under, you are looking for the massed effect and details become less a priority.

setsuko29 Apr 2021 2:11 a.m. PST

afaik the idea that there was different blues for different types of French infantry comes from bad print jobs in Osprey books a long time ago. But the myth has lived on among wargamers. Be a part of laying that ghost to rest -just use Vallejo's Dark Prussian Blue for your French. ;)

Erzherzog Johann29 Apr 2021 3:21 p.m. PST

It's reassuring to know that by not being especially fussy I'll be helping right an historic (wargaming) wrong :-)


Erzherzog Johann29 Apr 2021 3:23 p.m. PST

"I have always wondered what the Austrians in their white uniforms really looked like after a few weeks in the field"

Well they could use chalk on white and while I'm sure they did get scruffier looking I have read an account somewhere commenting on the Austrian army in France in 1814 being described as incredibly uniform and smart looking.


SHaT198429 Apr 2021 4:41 p.m. PST

>>bad print jobs in Osprey books a long time ago.

Way off timetravel. Nothing to do with it unless you are under 30…

Last Hussar29 Apr 2021 5:41 p.m. PST

Apparently the Austrians were smart, for a field army. Like John says they could use chalk, and apparently they could be more strenuous in washing the kit because it was white- they didn't get faded patches from scrubbing too hard

Last Hussar29 Apr 2021 5:43 p.m. PST

Is there any real difference between French and Prussian uniforms in colour?

Erzherzog Johann29 Apr 2021 7:32 p.m. PST

"Is there any real difference between French and Prussian uniforms in colour?"

Now you are speaking heresy :-D


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