The Soldier book by Chris McNab

Front cover of The Soldier by Chris McNab published by Parragon, 2016

On a trip to the local garden centre, I brought back something different from the usual seeds and plants (a sometime garden wargamer has to have some greenery).

It wasn’t unusual buildings,  ruined bridges or temples etc from the cut price shelf of the Aquarium section.

It was this interesting book (a snip at £5, 2016 publishers price £16) called The Soldier by Chris McNab, spotted amongst the colouring books, Sudoku, celebrity biographies and paperback fictional murders and romance.

Last week I spotted the same book in branches of The Works in their History section for about the same price. I bought some of Cordery’s Composite Cavalry as they are known on Wargaming Miscellany instead, reduced to 50p each. There were still a lot of leftover Tiger saddlecloth officers (Murat?)

What caught my attention were the Uniform and Kit pages, such as the American War of Independence Grenadier below.


sample page AWI Grenadier – pure Airfix OO/HO

I wasn’t sure how the pics were done at first glance – were they photographs of re-enactors or fine illustrations? The illustrations (by Simon Smith and Matthew Vince)  were enough to sell me the book, possibly even at full price.

However they were done, I liked the  attention to small detail, explaining how the uniforms and kit worked. There are some interesting snippets or captions on the why as well as the what equipment soldiers carried where.





Written by Chris McNab, as ever it is sometimes difficult to find who did the editing and illustrations, usually buried away in the credits / end pages. Attractively illustrated with archive photographs, there are also examples of the work of  some famous historical illustrators such as Don Troiani.

IMG_1468The figure or uniform illustrations reach the American War of Independence through to modern day Middle East conflicts as can be seen on the back cover.


at first glance through, I liked some of the more unusual choices amid the standard Waterloo British infantryman, Union troops etc.


Overall the book has the compact feel of one of those repackaged  book compilations of expensive monthly partworks with hand-painted figures (probably the origin of Cordery’s Composite Budget Cavalry again at the Works again!)

The figures illustrated on half pages are:

British Grenadier, 1756

Prussian Hussar, 1756

Greanadier, Hessen-Darmstadt Leib Grenadiers, 1759

Russian Grenadiers, 1756

Senior British Officer, 25th Foot, 1756

Minuteman, Culpeper County, 1775

Private, Hall’s Delaware Regiment, 1780 (see back Cover figure 3)

Officer, Butler’s Rangers, 1781

Grenadier, 17th Foot, 1777 (illustrated above)

French Hussar, 1780

George Washington, 1781

Line Infantry Fusilier, 1804 (see back cover figure 2)

French Sapper, 1807

Russian Grenadier, 1806

French Guard Horse Artilleryman, 1806

Prussian trumpeter, 1815

British Infantry Private, 1812 (see back cover figure 1)

Sergeant North British Dragoons, Waterloo (the front cover figure)

Union Infantryman, 1863 (see back Cover figure 4 )

Confederate Infantryman, 1863

Sharpshooter, 1st USSS, 1862

Artilleryman, 1864 (Union Coloured Troops)

British Infantryman, 1879 (Zulu Wars)

Indian Rebel Sowar, 1857 (Indian Mutiny)

British Captain, 21st Foot, 1881

Trooper, Natal Carabineers, 1899 (see back cover figure 5 )

French Foreign Legion Trooper, 1867

Zulu Warrior, 1879

Private, German East Asian Brigade, 1900 (Boxer Rebellion)

Trooper,  21st Lancers, Omdurman 1898

Tuscan Jager, 1848 (illustrated above)

Bavarian Trooper 1870 (FPW)

French Army Infantryman, 1871 (FPW)

Russian Hussar 1854 (Crimea)

US Army Soldier, Cuba, 1898

Japanese Soldier 1904 (Russo Japanese War)

French Infantryman, 1914

Russian Infantryman, 1915

US Private, 1917

Captain, Royal Engineers, WW1

British Infantryman, Somme, 1916 (see back cover figure 6)

German Stormtrooper, 1918

British Infantryman, WW2

German Infantryman, 1940

British Private, Lancashire Fusiliers, North Africa

German Panzergrenadier, 1944

German Sniper, 1945

US Paratrooper, D-Day June 1944

US Marine, Pacific 1944

Japanese Private, Malaya, 1941

Australian Infantryman, New Guinea 1943

Waffen-SS Trooper, 1944

US Army Sergeant, Pacific 1945

US Infantryman, Korea, 1950

Viet Minh Soldier, Indochina, 1952

North Vietnamese Army Soldier, 1965

US Marine, Vietnam, 1968

Israeli Paratrooper, Six Day War, 1967

Russian Soldier, Afghanistan, 1986

US Soldier Special Ops, Afghanistan (see back cover figure 7)

Iraqi Fedayeen Fighter, 2003

How many more reasons do you need to buy this book?

At 23 / 24 mm tall these illustrations of the front of a soldier are almost Action Man Size.

Well worth a look and the asking price.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, March 2017