This installment will have a look at Blue Moon Manufacturing set 15TRT-205 Mexican Cazadores. Each Mexican infantry battalion had eight companies; six of fusileros and one each of grenaderos and cazadores. The two flank companies were considered elite and were made up of the best soldiers in the battalion. The cazadores were the light company trained in skirmishing and often equipped with British Baker rifles, the best firearm that the Mexican army possessed in 1836, but only available in very limited numbers. According to regulations, the cazadores had certain uniform distinctions to set them apart from the other soldiers in their parent unit. These distinctions included dark green cords and pompom on their shakos, green facings on their coats, and black belts. In practice, the light company uniforms could vary considerably. Blue Moon’s cazadores set has fifteen figures in five poses. I opted to paint my first company in a more regulation style as members of a permanente battalion.
Following on from the last post, here are the same figures painted. Naturally the bulk of the Texian Army was dressed in typical civilian garb of the 1830′s. I spent some time online, at the library, and looking at color plates to come up with a simple painting guide:
Coats- frocks were typically brown, grey, blue, or black. Sometimes collars,lapels, cuffs, and pocket flaps might be a different color or shade of the rest of the coat-i.e. a light brown coat with dark brown cuffs, lapels, and pocket flaps. I do admit to being too lazy to paint them like this and no one would ever notice. The waist-length roundabouts/shell jackets appear to be most often a light shade such as off-white, tan, light grey. These garments originated as nautical work clothes so it’s possible they were left natural linen.
Waistcoats- During the summer waistcoats were sometimes worn without coats, but the Texas War for Independence was fought from October to April so if a waistcoat is visible it will appear worn under an open coat. These could be patterned silk for well-to-do gentlemen, or of plain wool, linen, or leather. Colors included blue, red, burgundy, black, and brown.
Trousers- Typically wool in the colder months, but buckskin was also widely worn. Common colors were white, off-white, grey, black, and brown. A fop might have vertical stripes, but this was not too common.
Shirts-Where visible shirts are most often white, but red flannel was also popular and appears on manifests of clothing that the Republic of Texas received from New Orleans. Some work shirts were left natural linen or sometimes dyed homespun fashion. Patterns were also sometimes worn-checks, stripes, etc.
Headgear-Felt slouch hats, planter’s hats, and ‘wide-awakes’ were most popular and practical, but stove-pipes are sometimes depicted. Various hunting and whaler styles might also be seen. The felt hats came in similar colors to the rest of the outfit: off-white, tan, brown, black, grey, etc. Bands could sometimes be a contrasting shade, but not always. Hunting caps could be made of animal skin in imitation of native Indian styles encountered in the Southeastern United States. Bright colors were unknown and likely frowned upon. (I frown upon brightly colored hats today!)
Shoes and boots-Mainly black or brown. The Republic of Texas also purchased russet boots that may appear as another possible color. Moccasins might be worn by frontiersmen.
Note: When I describe colors such as grey, brown, tan, etc these can vary considerably in shade.
Next up in the continuing saga of the Texas War for Independence project, is Blue Moon’s set 15TRT-101 ‘Texians Skirmishing’. This set, like most of Blue Moon’s infantry sets, consists of thirty figures in various action poses. Most figures are unique, but this pack did include two or three duplicate poses. All the poses are nice and can be basically divided between men firing and loading rifles and muskets and men engaged in hand-to-hand combat. About half the set have Kentucky rifles, the majority of the rest are armed with muskets, though two have shotguns, one has a flintlock pistol, and one man is only armed with a hatchet. In the case of fighting poses, a few are clubbing with their rifles, two or three are charging with hatchets, and two poses are fighting with drawn Bowie knives. The fighting poses give a nice last stand at the Alamo or final few minutes of San Jacinto feel.
After a long hiatus due to circumstances beyond my control, I have returned with a few updates to my Texas War for Independence project. Today I will look at Blue Moon Manufacturing’s pack 15TRT-102 ‘Texians Advancing’, This set consists of 30 Texian volunteers dressed in the typical mix of civilian and military attire of the 1830’s. All the poses are unique. Seven figures are dressed in a long military coat with turnbacks, two men wear hunting frocks, two are in waistcoats, while the remaining figures wear frock-coats. Headgear is equally diverse with variously shaped slouch hats being the most common, three have stove-pipes, two wear forage caps similar to the contemporary U.S. Army model, and two have sombreros. Trousers and low brogans are universal and one man appears to have leggings of some description, In the case of equipment, most have a military-style cartridge box, many have powder-horns in addition, some have a water-bottle that looks like the standard U.S. Army version in use at that time. Some figures have a haversack. Most of the firearms carried are muskets, but three men have Kentucky rifles, three have double-barreled shotguns, and one man uses a flintlock pistol.
As you can see, despite my limited photographic skill, the figures are nicely detailed and up to Blue Moon Manufacturing’s high standards. Mold seams and flash were minimal to non-existent. For the great majority I only needed to carve a tiny burr off of the bottom of the base! The figures are also historically accurate and generally match what we know about the bulk of the volunteers. The uniform-style coats on a few of the figures are more the only mystery, since I can’t find a similar uniform other than later grey and blue coats with white turnbacks. But there is no reason to fret over such a small thing since not only was clothing supplied from various sources, but at least two volunteer companies were described by eye-witnesses to be dressed in uniform, but no information as to what these uniforms may have looked like has survived the 177 years between 1836 and 2013.