Thursday, 3 October 2013

Bloggers for Charity reminder

I'm sure most of you reading this are already involved, but Bloggers for Charity are looking for a few more painters to help finish their fundraising efforts. Painting for charity... what could be better?

AW Miniatures - Coureur de Bois
It seems I'm going to be fighting for the French. I knew working for a Belgian company would come back to bite me at some point. Still, I get to paint half of the Coureur de bois units to fend off those pesky English. I'm looking forward to these guys as the models are new releases from AW Miniatures and seem to be full of character.

To get me started I've just been for a quick trawl through Google Images for some reference material for Courer de bois, so I know where I'm headed (roughly). Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much in the way of colour reference compared to the military uniforms, but Steven Lapon has some nice Couteurs painted up on his blog.

For a bit of inspiration, here's what Wikipedia says about them:
In 1534, Jacques Cartier discovered the Gaspé Peninsula and claimed the land in the name of Francis I of France. For the better part of a century the Iroquois and French clashed in a series of attacks and reprisals. That's why Samuel de Champlain arranged to have young French men live with the natives, to learn their language and customs and help the French adapt to life in North America. These men, known as coureurs des bois (runners of the woods), extended French influence in the south and the west and in 1609, New France controlled all the Canadian Shield. "Coureurs des Bois came from all social ranks and all succumbed to the lure of the wilderness."
In 1680, the intendant Duchesneau estimated that there was not one family in New France who did not have a "son, brother, uncle or nephew" among the Coureurs des Bois. It was not just the promise of adventure or the freedom to roam that enticed the Coureur des Bois; it was the profits earned by purchasing valuable pelts from natives in return for European goods.

A coureur des bois was an adventurer with many skills, including those of businessman, and of an expert canoeist. They engaged in a range of activities including fishing, snowshoeing and hunting. All these activities depended on skills learned through close contact with the indigenous peoples of North America.
From that description and the few pictures that I can find, the Coureur de bois seem to be  most likely to be wearing whatever they wanted, rather than a specific uniform, which could lead to a rather random looking squad. As woodsmen and explorers I wouldn't have thought they would go too over the top, but some tribal designs and styles may be apparent due to them either trading with, living with or even marrying into the various tribes. For colours I would imagine browns, pale blues and rusty reds? I'm wondering if warpaint would be seen on some coureurs that had integrated more with the tribes?

I'm sure I've got some photos of the F&IW era from a reenactment around here somewhere... I just have to wait for my full photo library to re-import to Lightroom. This may take some time!

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