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Thanks Flambeau, I wet with this website: http://warflag.com/napflags/flaghtml/pr1808_3.htm
I do find that most painters have a strong urge to lighten up Napoleonic colours which were often much darker than shown on figures. People obviously like to accentuate light, but for instance the British blue used on frock coats and Gunner jackets was so dark as almost to appear black. And even the famous French 1st and 5th Hussars light blue was quite a lot darker in reality.
Dear General Picton,
Warflag is a good site for sure. As for the colours the exact interpretation of the shade is always a bit conjectural and with regard to the 11th I know as much as anybody else viz. what can be found in books or on the web.
Do you know the book by Rolf Fuhrmann "Die Flaggen von Waterloo"? I don't have a copy, but he did a lot of research into the subject.
As to miniatures painting I have on occasion worked wuth some guys who did big scale (30.000 + figures) dioramas and from experience they concluded that when working on big models it's best to use brighter colours than the real thing, simply because when viewed from a distance the colours tend to blur into eachother and things easily become dark and dull. So Prussians and French when viewed from a distance look almost black. Brighter colours work better as things stay more distinguishable.
Thanks Flambeau, you are absolutely right that people paint their figures to make them stand out. I'm less sure that the really bright colours reflect the reality. I'm guilty of this to some extent - not much mud on my soldiers' white trousers!
If you go with the "original" colours, say French or Prussian blue, you'll get the same effect that happened in reality at Waterloo and Ligny. When D'Erlon's and Bülow troops first appeared on the battlefield they threw friend and foe into confusion as from a distance their nationality could not be discerned. For some time Napoleon didn't know if D'Erlon's troops were French or Prussian and whether Bülows were Grouchy's or enemies. That's realism, but you may not want this much realism in a diorama, but rather keep the troops a little more discernable for the spectators. Details like dirty trousers actually don't matter for the more distant objects. If you paint them nevertheless it's for your own pleasure and the artistic expectation you have as painter, but unless a viewer is bringing opera glasses he or she won't see much detail of the more remote objects.
The problems come once you start taking pictures of your work, because then of course details again matter very much and bright colours suddenly may look rather too bright. So you have to decide what's more important.