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.
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.
The 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