PAINTING ROUGH RIDERS

Javier Gómez "El Mercenario"

1898 Miniaturas

Javier Gómez

PAINTING ROUGH RIDERS

The 1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, the famous Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, is undoubtedly the most iconic American unit of the 1898 Spanish-American War. Although they were a cavalry unit, the logistical chaos that at the time of embarking troops in Florida (Roosevelt himself hijacked a ship that was not assigned to them to land in Cuba as soon as possible) forced the Rough Riders to leave their horses ashore, so in the famous actions of Las Guásimas or the attack on Kettle Hill at the Battle of San Juan Hill they fought on foot. In this tutorial we are going to show how to paint Rough Riders in 28mm.

Rough Riders miniatures 28 mm

MATERIALS

For this tutorial we will use different figures from the 1898 Miniaturas US dismounted cavalry range, that could be use either as Rough Riders or as other Federal regiments, now available at our online store. We will use Vallejo Model Color paintings (three-digit numerical references, ex. 863, for equivalents in other ranges check this chart of colors) and Vallejo Arte Deco (Midnight Blue, Ref. 070), as well as primer spray of any brand (although I always recommend Citadel).

PREPARATION AND ASSEMBLY

First, although the 1898 Miniatures figures come extremely clean of burrs, with our modeling knife we will clean all kinds of metal leftovers, and glue the miniature with cyanoacrylate to an empty paint can to handle the figure at will during the painting process without having to touch it. Finally, we will prime the figure with a very thin layer of white or black spray, after which we will paint with Black (950).

ROUGH RIDERS UNIFORM

The troops destined for Cuba had a heterogeneous mixture of blue uniforms (consisting of dark blue coats and sky blue trousers, very similar to those of the Civil War) and the new khaki uniforms designed for use in the tropics, which arrived in scarce quantities to equip the troops. However, the suitability of both for use in the suffocating Caribbean or Filipino climate was far inferior to the scorned but much more comfortable Spanish rayadillo, so the use of the M1883 campaign shirt between the troop (and sometimes among the officers ) was widespread. This dark blue flannel overshirt with chest pockets was usually worn over the inner shirt. In the case of the Rough Riders, they would wear their characteristic brown trousers instead of the blue sky spread among the bulk of the troops. The uniform was completed with a M1885 felt hat and a pair of light brown M1890 cotton leggings. As for armament, the Rough Riders will carry Krag-Jörgensen carbines.

Rough Riders

PAINT ROUGH RIDERS

To paint Rough Riders we will use the technique of base color and two highlights already shown in previous articles. We will begin by painting the overshirts, for what we will use as a base color Midnight Blue (Vallejo Art Deco 070) or a similar dark blue, as Vallejo Model Color’s Dark Prussian Blue (899) –although the latter tends to be too glossy. As the shirts are of a very off-blue shade, we will mix the color chosen for base color progressively with White (951) for the first and second highlights.

Paint Rough Riders miniatures 28 mm

As for the trousers, according to both the period images and the current color photos of the many historical reenactors who recreate this regiment, different shades are distinguished. I have opted for three combinations: Saddle Brown (940) mixed with a pinch of Black (950) as base color, mixed with White (951) for highlights; Beige Brown (875) as base color, mixed with Iraqi Sand (819) for highlights; and Flat Earth (983) mixed with Iraqi Sand (819) for highlights.

The third main element to be painted would be the equipment consisting of the hat, the leggings, the canteen and the bag, which we will paint all the same color: Beige Brown (875) with a little Light Gray (990) as base color, progressively mixed With White (951) for the two highlights.

Paint Rough Riders miniatures 28 mm

Finally, we will focus on the latest details, such as the Krag-Jörgensen carbine, Brown Chocolate (872) as base color with a single highlight of Beige Brown (875); The inner shirt, we will mix Pale Gray (990) with a little Cork Brown (843) for the base color, and we will mix with White (951) for the two lights; The distinctive Rough Riders’ blue handkerchief, Prussian Blue (965) for base color mixed with white for a single light, on which we add dots with Sky Grey (989); white suspenders, Neutral Grey (992) for base color with a single highlight of Sky Grey (989); ammunition Mill’s belts, in two shades, Black (950) as base color and Prussian Blue (965) for a single highlight, or Brown Chocolate (872) for the base and Brown Cork (843) for a single highlight; and, finally, the straps that clipped both the bag and the canteen, Black (950) mixed with White (951) for the highlights.

CHART OF COLORS

TO PAINT BASE COLOR  1st HIGHLIGHT 2nd HIGHLIGHT
Overshirst Midnight Blue (070) Midnight Blue (070) + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)
Trousers A Saddle Brown (940) + Black (950) Base color + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)
Trousers B Beige Brown (875) Beige Brown (875) + Iraqi Sand (819) 1st Highlight + Iraqi Sand (819)
Trousers C Flat Earth (983) Flat Earth (983) + Iraqi Sand (819) 1st Highlight + Iraqi Sand (819)
Equipment (hat, canteen, bag & leggings) Beige Brown (875) + Light Grey (990) Base color + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)
Krag-Jörgensen Chocolate Brown (872) Beige Brown (875)
Inner shirt Light Grey (990) + Cork Brown (843) Base color + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)
Handkerchief Prussian Blue (965) Prussian Blue (965) + White (951) Sky Grey (989)

–dots–

Suspenders Neutral Grey (992) Sky Grey (989)

 

Mills belt A Black (950) Prussian Blue (965)
Mills belt B Chocolate Brown (872) Cork Brown (843)
Staps Black (950) Black (950) + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)

OFFICERS AND NCOs

Although Rough Riders officers (Theodore Roosevelt included) appear in the conflict photographs wearing simple campaign shirts, we have decided to sculpt our miniature in the khaki uniform. It consisted of a single breasted coat with pockets in the chest and collar, cuffs, shoulder straps and sometimes pockets’ lapels in the branch color (yellow for the cavalry). The trousers were the same color as the jacket. To paint them, we can use Beige Brown  (875) as base color, mixed with Iraqi Sand (819) for highlights, or to get a more off and realistic tone, Brown Beige (875) with a bit of Light Grey (990) as base color, progressively mixed with White (951) for the two highlights. For the branch color, Beige Brown  (875) as base color mixed with Flat Yellow (953) for the first highlight, and more Flat Yellow (953) and a little White (951) for the second highlight. The hat and leggings were the same color as the troop.

The non-commissioned officers carried as only distinctive range yellow chevrons in the sleeves of the campaign shirts. Unlike the sky blue trousers, which carried a distinctive stripe in branch color (white for infantry, yellow for cavalry, red for artillery) down the outseams for officers and non-commissioned officers, brown trousers were plain, although it could be painted as an irregular element.

CHART OF COLORS

TO PAINT BASE COLOR  1st HIGHLIGHT 2nd HIGHLIGHT
Khaki uniform Beige Brown  (875) + Light Grey (990) Base color + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)
Equipment (hat & leggings) Beige Brown  (875) + Light Grey (990) Base color + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)
Branch color Beige Brown  (875) Beige Brown (875) + Flat Yellow  (953) 1st Highlight  + Flat Yellow (953) + White (951)
Straps Black (950) Black (950) + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)
Sky Blue trousers Prussian Blue (965) + French Mirage Blue (900) Base color + White (951) 1st Highlight + White (951)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gómez Valero, J. (2015): Painting Wargame Miniatures. Barnsley: Pen & Sword.

Quesada, A. de and Walsh, S. (2007): The Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection 1898-1902. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.