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"French Uniform WW1 " Topic

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4,673 hits since 18 Jan 2006
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scourtien Inactive Member18 Jan 2006 9:13 p.m. PST

Wanted to know what color using Vallejo colors would the later version of the French uniform be. I saw in a book it was a blue grey. Just wanted to know what specific color and should I undercoat white or black.

Cerberus0311 Inactive Member19 Jan 2006 5:00 a.m. PST

My French are undercoated black. The Vallejo I use for them is 904 Dark Blue Grey. Then they will be getting a heavy wash of blackish brown. You can also use the other shades of blue to make the putees. Barbuse in "Under Fire" mentions that the putees would be made by the troops in an emergency when thiers were damaged. Hence one of the characters had red putees that he wore through the book. This is also a practice mentioned in second hand sources. Third thing to think about is the quality of the cloth and where it is manufactured. The French, British, Americans, and ?Argentina? were producing wool material for uniforms. The colors all varied to a degree on the central theme. Add a gas attack, a couple of weeks in the trenches, a couple of cootie hunts, and a boiling or two and the color faded a bit.

RudyNelson19 Jan 2006 6:32 a.m. PST

If you can find it. An old French magazine called 'Uniformes' had numerous articles about WW1 in several issues. It had both English and French text.

marcpa Inactive Member19 Jan 2006 8:23 a.m. PST

I use a sky blue from Prince August
I dry brush it with the same shade and much white to give the poilus uniform a much faded look.

Troops were issued with new uniforms on a regular basis usually when being put in reserve behind the front notwithstanding brand new clad recruits coming to the front

Barbusse story is fun but I wonder if the officer migth have appreciated the red puttees joke for a long time
This said in a more than 3 millions men army nearly everything is imaginable and it could have been also a sort of esprit de corps mark for some small unit with an open mind leader

Soldiers often bougth or trade non regulation made – better designed – items and puttees (particularly an elastic variant) were no exception.
Often, they were from a darker hue than the rest of the uniform

You can paint the steel helmets with a darker -sligthly metalic- shade.
they were firstly very similar to the uniform color, but following paint shine problems they were repainted with a duller and darker color from mid 1916 hence helmet covers were then discarded

Authentic Color pics from these days can be found on the net (originally from the French National Library "Gallica" website) and will give you a better view on the topic than anything else IMHO

skedaddle Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2006 8:48 a.m. PST

The French also issued brown corduroy pants for winter wear. And if you want colonial troops, they're uniform was in khaki instead of horizon blue.

74EFS Intel Inactive Member19 Jan 2006 10:15 a.m. PST

I've got nearly a dozen original WWI French uniforms in my militaria collection. I've matched paints to them and these are the colors I tend to use most for Bleu Horizon:

Bonnie Blue by Ceramcoat
Williamsburg Blue by Americana or Ceramcoat
Slate by Reaper
Bavarian Blue by Folk art

for Adrian helmets:
Williamsburg Blue by Americana or Ceramcoat
Midnight Blue by Ceramcoat
Nightfall Blue by Ceramcoat

I hope this helps.


marcpa2 Inactive Member19 Jan 2006 4:10 p.m. PST

Brown (civilian) corduroy didn't last later than winter 1914-1915
Afterward, horizon blue corduroy trousers were privately marketed and eventually became regulation, beside the normal "all seasons" wool item

In late 1914, being captured while wearing those civilian trousers was felt to be risky enough that a GHQ regulation was issued to frontline troops to sew some yellow piping (arm color of infantry)on the trousers sides

As a rule of thumb, the later in the war the uniforms were manufactured, the more standardized in color they became, also being of a more bluish shade than the hodge podge collection of late 1914-early 1915, when the French had to import large quantities "blue grey" (some 3 millions guys to clothe) from whoever had such fabric or thread on hand.

The "coloniale" units first received horizon blue items, then were slowly (late 1915-early 1916) issued with khaki uniforms pieces
The War Office first opposed the choice of Khaki by French for their "coloniale" troops, and this degenerated in a bitter "mail war" between both army HQ untill an agreement was settled by upper (civilian) authorities, as usual…

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