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Roman Tunic Off White Colour

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:52 am
by BrianC
Hi All,

I am almost ready to prime some Mid Republican Romans and was wondering what would be the best match for their off white tunics using Vallejo paints. I am thinking simple white would be too bright.

Also does anyone know a good Painting Guide with pictures?

Thanks for any advice,

Brian

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:34 am
by Phaze_of_the_Moon

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 8:41 am
by OldenTired
brian, try vallejo 'ivory' for a good muted white. or, use 'pale sand'.

the latter is the one i use for linen armour. it's a tiny bit yellow, so sits well with red.

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:13 am
by Fenton
GW's Foundation paint Deneb Stone is a sort of off white

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:12 pm
by BrianC
Thanks for all the replies guys, I wrote down the different types and am heading to the hobby shop this morning. I know I could just guess, but I would hate to get it even slightly wrong because then I would have about 4 battlegroups looing potentially weird : ).

Thanks again

Brian

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:03 pm
by neilhammond
Are you sure they wore off-white? I know that idea was popular a while ago - overturning the red tunic theory. But I seem to recall somewhere that the red tunic theory has come back into vogue.

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:32 pm
by Phaze_of_the_Moon
Depends on the period but, red was their dress uniform and was reserved fo parades and when they knew for certain they were going into battle, they wore undyed tunics most of the time. And given the labour involved in processing and dying with madder, they wouldn't always have red tunics at all.

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:27 pm
by bigredbat
I don't think we know for sure if they wore white, or red, let alone when they wore it.

But having said that, there are some suggestions they wore brilliant white for parades, at least some of the time.

Simon

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:44 am
by BrianC
Thanks for the info guys, can I assume I would be safe in assuming that I can paint up 1 legion with Red tunics and one with white keeping the same colour with each legion?

Brian

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:49 am
by Phaze_of_the_Moon
The Roman method of bleaching involved days of vigorous agitation and tens of litres of urine, impossible in the field, so the white ones should all suffer from the "dingies".

Madder also varies enormously from batch to batch, and is enormously sensitive to variations in preparation and fabric, so the reds should be all over the place as well, dark to light, and orange to pink.

Make the officers/NCO's the brighter/more saturated ones.

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:05 pm
by ars_belli
BrianC wrote:Thanks for the info guys, can I assume I would be safe in assuming that I can paint up 1 legion with Red tunics and one with white keeping the same colour with each legion?

Brian
The short answer is that you can paint them either way, because the evidence is inconclusive.

In his 1987 article, Nicolas Fuentes analyzed the available evidence and came to the conclusion that ordinary legionaries used undyed wool for their tunics, which would have been off-white in color. Red would have been reserved for centurions and higher ranking officers. In his 2002 Osprey book, which looks to have been written in part to refute Fuentes, Graham Sumner concludes that legionaries "probably" wore red tunics while on campaign, and white ones for dress parades. While Sumner's Osprey piece is more recent, I find him to be somewhat selective in his discussion of the evidence, leaving out a number of important details that might weaken his own argument.

A very good summary of the Roman tunic color debate, with bibliography, may be found on the Legio XX reenactment group site: http://www.larp.com/legioxx/tcolor.html

Cheers,
Scott

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:57 pm
by BrianC
Thanks for the link Scott, very informative. Will have to go through the links after work.

Brian

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:31 pm
by Kineas1
If you paint pale sand carefully, and then wettishly dry-brush ivory, you'll get a very nice tunic. Hit a few highlights every figure with true white and the result will be spectacular--truly, it's one of the better paint combos for linen out there.

Also, try Wargames foundry paints--their raw linen series is green based, which, although weird to the eye the first few times, looks very satisfying--and if you alter every other figure or so with the Vallejo trio above, you end up with a "uniform but pre-industrial" look without a lot of fancy painting.

Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:13 pm
by Ironhand
I'm planning on painting some legions in red and some in white, and giving each a different shield color. Thanks to Kineas1 for that tip on painting white clothing.

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:24 pm
by maximvs
I don't think we know for sure if they wore white, or red, let alone when they wore it.

But having said that, there are some suggestions they wore brilliant white for parades, at least some of the time.
Having some experience of the military way of thinking (which will not have changed over the ages) I would be most surprised if the following was not correct -

A spotless clean white tunic is the antithesis of any metallic object (whether cleaned or otherwise) so it is inevitable that any self respecting officer would not miss the opportunity to to let his men demonstrate their soldierly prowess on parade by wearing the two together without a mark or blemish.

Conversely, as a white garment shows every mark and stain so easily, it is unlikely that this would be worn when doing any other task if there is an alternative. Any red or brown shade would certainly help to hide the most likely marks - rust, earth, blood, etc, so these would be the first choice for normal duties.

Whilst on campaign there would be a wholly different set of criteria where replacement garments would be provided from wherever and whatever was available. To use an example from a completely different period, the Duke of Wellington is on record as saying that he didn't care what his soldiers looked like as long as they fought well.

In addition, it is also clear that red is an aggressive, eye catching colour and looks good! There was an article in the papers recently that suggested that football teams who usually wear a red strip won more frequently than teams that wore other colours. The suggestion was that the colour enhanced the attitude of the wearer at the same time as intimidating the opposition. I understand that drivers of red cars are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents, as well.

Having said all that, it's all down to the man in charge really isn't it? If the general says to his Chief of Staff "The soldiers will be dressed in Blue" then that's what they will be dressed in!

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:51 pm
by Ironhand
I'd paint one with red and one with white because it looks good on the tabletop and makes it easy to tell your legions apart. If anyone complains, tell them to show you the 8 x 10 color glossy. :D

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:10 am
by paulcummins
painting them?

White tunics
I use a base coat of VGC Khaki then highlight with VGC bone white.

Image

Red tunics
VGC scorched brown, highlight with blood red

Image