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American Civil War Uniforms


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I found tutorials to paint confederate and union uniforms:

Painting American Civil War Confederates


Painting American Civil War Union

and for Horses (but with Humbrol colors, I must check if I can get the same colors from vallejo)


These paint schemes 10mm miniatures and I'm planning to paint 28mm minis. I hope the scale makes not really a difference in what colors I should use. It is possible that I need more colors or not? Ok, I could use white to get different shades of the same colors of the mentioned paints.


A friend of mine will paint Confederates as rebels for our western campaign.

I think we will use the ACW 1 Plastic American Civil War Infantry and ACW2 Plastic American Civil War Cavalry from Perry Miniatures. I think I will take some of them and paint them also, but as Unions. There are also Minis for ACW 90 American Civil War Artillery and ACW 70 American Civil War Zouaves, but in theses I'm not interested in the moment.


They made also this box: ACW 80 American Civil War Confederate Infantry 1861-65

I do not understand why they made an extra box for Confederates Infanty, if they could be made out of the ACW 1 Box...


I know that Zouaves are used by the US and CSA, I would like to know which colors they were wearing on which sides.


Example Pictures from the Perry Site:






Edited by Teskal
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You should be fine with the listed color selection for 10mm. You will need to do more shadow and highlight work on a 28mm but the basic colors are going to be fine. The colors listed for the horses have a list for both Vallejo and Humbrol so no need to do a color translation.


There were no color fast dyes during the ACW so don't be afraid to get some color variation in there. Plus uniforms faded fairly quickly in the field. A little more variation with browns and grays for the confederates would be pretty typical. More gray in the beginning of the war, more brown (or butternut) by the end of the war. There can be huge variations for the confederates as they lacked the industry to really produce uniforms on a large scale and each state provided uniforms for its own troops.


Edit: Okay, I'll take back my comments on the horse colors, they have a Vallejo list but none of the Vallejo colors are actually shown. There are plenty of paint charts out there though to convert humbrol to vallejo.

Edited by Heisler
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I used this Color Conversion Chart, it shows for some Humbrol Colors often more than one Vallejo Model Color:

Humbrol > Vallejo


Colors for the Horses:

Humbrol No. 27 Sea Grey (dapple)
    991    Dark Sea Grey
    992    Neutral Grey    

Humbrol No. 29 Dark Earth
    874    US Tan Earth
    921    English Uniform

Humbrol No. 33 Black
    950    Black

Humbrol No. 34 White
    951    White

Humbrol No. 62 Leather
    981    Orange Brown
    877    Gold Brown
    843    Cork Brown
    877    Amarantha Red

Humbrol No. 64 Light Grey
    884    Stone Grey
    971    Grey Grey

Humbrol No. 83 Ochre
    882    Middle Stone
    912    Tan Yellow

Humbrol No. 103 Cream (tail)
    976    Buff

Humbrol No. 160 German Camouflage Red Brown
    984    Flat Brown


I used this >>chart<<, too. Every equivalent color to Humbrol in this char it bold.

Edited by Teskal
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Union colors for regular line troops were fairly standardized (for the time), but even out of the factory there were significant color differences. And as Heisler noted, after even a few weeks in the field there would have been a great deal of fading. As an aside, the Union sky blue trousers were dyed with the same dyes as the dark blue blouses, just in much lower concentrations.


Confederate colors were much less standardized. The various grays and butternuts were much more varied in color than the uniforms of the Union. Use something vaguely brownish gray and vary the color with each figure and you'll probably get as close to historical as you need.


Note that the uniforms of early war troops were even less uniform than later. In early battles, there were Union militia with gray uniforms and Confederate militia with blue uniforms. This made battlefields even more chaotic than they normally are.


As to Zouaves: They were (AFAIK) all militia and their uniforms were chosen by the unit. You'll need to do research to find the color of any specific unit, but they were modeled after the French troops mostly from North Africa that fought in the Crimean War. Most commonly, I think they were bright red trousers/pajama bottoms, bright red fez, blue blouse with red embroidery. But there were many variations.

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I know this is an older post, but contributing for posterity I guess...
Vallejo Horse colors: (from the Equestrian set)

70.835 Salmon Rose
70.836 London Grey
70.862 Black Grey
70.871 Leather Brown
70.874 Us Tan Earth
70.875 Beige Brown
70.883 Silvergrey
70.918 Ivory
70.940 Saddle Brown
70.950 Black
70.951 White
70.982 Cavalry Brown
70.984 Flat Brown
70.987 Medium Grey
70.992 Neutral Grey
70.994 Dark Grey

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What they said about color variations.  Plus troops on both sides would mix in civilian attire as warranted.  Look at period photos of hats, for example.  Zouaves were a kaleidoscope of colors, which tended to morph into "regulation" uniforms as time went on and replacement uniform items were unavailable.


As in so many "what was the true color of .... " questions, I'd advise getting it sorta close and to welcome variations-- which is probably more realistic than the result of all the research you might do.

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