Posted by Martin on September 6, 2007
I managed a couple of mini-sessions of painting this week. It was very much a case of grabbing moments when I could among the chaos that is our house at the start of the new school year! Anyway, I managed to devote some attention to General Borstell’s Uberrock and get that finished along with its various decorations (medals, buttons and straps for shoulder retaining straps).
Uberrock translates as overcoat and it was the preferred form of dress for general officers and staff on campaign. This item of dress wasn’t officially regulated so generals theoretically had a fair amount of latitude when choosing the design of their Uberrocks. Despite this, a high degree of uniformality (no pun intended) appears to have occured. Infantry general staff always wore grey (while cavalry wore blue); buttons were gold-coloured and the lining of the lapel and the collar was red. The lapel could be folded back to reveal a splash of colour. Cuffs were, much to my disappointment, plain and I had to resist the temptation to at least add a line of red piping.
For the paint chart minded among you, the colours for the Uberrock were VMC 994 dark grey basecoat, VMC 992 neutral grey first highlight and VMC 990 light grey second highlight. This was also one of the rare occasions when I used a wash. I tend not to use washes because I find them so difficult to control but in this case I allowed some very thinned down black to work its way along the line where the double breast of the Uberrock buttons over. The wash is opaque enough to make a shadow darker than a line of the dark grey but thin enough not to leave a black-lining effect. I’ve always thought the black-lining tecnique too unsubtle though I’m not averse to dark-lining where a dark hue of the colour used to define recessed edges.
Finally, many paintings show general officer’s Uberrocks as having small silver retaining straps on the shoulders. These were intended for fixing epaulets but were hardly ever used for that purpose. Peter has sculpted this general figure with two medals. Looking at descriptions and plates in my copy of Nash I like to imagine that these are an iron cross and an order of the black eagle.