Part I: Ascodal
I mentioned in my last post the bags of random figures I received in my Christmas Haul from Armies in Plastic. Amongst them were a smattering of Napoleonics, an era which has never, for some reason, "grabbed" me. Serendipity struck me when Mark, the Man of Tin's recently mentioned Isabel Greenberg's Glass Town. I had already picked up the Oxford World Classics collection of the Brontës' juvenilia on his recommendation, which I have been dipping in and out of.
As I was unlikely to ever take up Napoleonics in a serious way, and as the Brontë's Imagi-nation was rooted in that era, I decided that these Random Fellows should be drafted to serve in the army of a new, imaginary land.
I began my Imagi-nation, as one does, with the uniform. Picking through the pile of figures, I located about 10 who wore a pleasing uniform. But what color to paint them?
I paged through the section on Napoleonic uniforms in Battledress for inspiration, but found myself stupified by the multiplicity. I have no idea how these people would have known who was on the same team! I decided instead to use a color combination I keep returning to — crimson and cream.
Years ago, I built a couple of clothespin biplanes, using plans purchased from Mr. Kenneth Van Pelt at The Penny Whistle. In looking for a color scheme for my Albatross D.V, I must have come across a picture of the that flown by Manfred von Richthofen. I loved the crimson and cream combo, though mine seems a bit more maroon. Anyhoo, I've used that color pairing on several miniatures I've painted recently.
The midnight blue shako and facings is the color I use for my Prussians' dunkelblau. The light blue plume was an extra flourish.
Next order of business: a flag. As I frequently hurl myself into the "letting perfect be the enemy of the good" trap, I decided to preclude agonizing by using online random generators. I've looked at Scrontch's Flag Designer before, but I wanted more control over the colors. Then I discovered Tennessine. I found a flag I liked (The "Flag of Maydrine by Ken") and subbed in the colors from my uniforms. Looked good.
Just before downloading your creation, one has a choice of several filters. I was intrigued by "Negative," clicked on it, and thus my flag was born. It's quite similar to the flag of the Dominican Republic, where I lived for a year when my wife-to-be was in the Peace Corps. Thomas Foss has one like it with a bee for one of his Imagi-nations. I find it quite striking. I may also use the original flag for regimental colors.
I recalled that in the 19th century, "command" often wore different uniforms from rank-and-file troops. I had also been free-associating some adjectives for this new land — "effete, fragile, exclusive, polished." Returning to the pile of random figures, I located a few more with an older looking uniform, all epaulettes and tailed coats.
This standard-bearer began life as a chap reloading his musket. He is my first-ever 54mm conversion. I trimmed away the weapon, drilled out the hands, and inserted a wire flagpole.
And here's the commanding officer, a medal pinned to his tailed coat — perfection! The full set of these chaps include a drummer, so my unit will one day field a musician.
Continuing to rely upon the random, I somehow stumbled upon a new generator for the names. Emily's Fantasy Names Generators — particularly the Country/Nation Names generator — came to my rescue. I clicked and clicked, scribbling the names that struck my fancy.
The land would be called Ascodal, with Eighvale as the capitol. Cities of note include Barnsley, Ashbourne, Ely, Pitmerden, Seameet, Redwater, Three Streams, Iyera, Liofen, Iustrul, Estana, Agrya, Æwon (I believe some or all of these came from a different generator — the site has myriad).
Doodling in my journal, I realized that, of course, the Ascodali would employ the "long s" for formal writing. I can't at this moment find a font that produces the descending s I imagine, but I've learned a bit about unicode, so I can settle for a "printers" version: Aſcodal.
I've started writing a bit of the history. We have a queen — Elspeth — and her only son, Prince Leander. Sticking with the Brontëan inspiration, I believe there will be a Gothic romance vibe amongst the battles.
Next time — Part II: ℨафрария.