domenica 4 marzo 2018

Shakò64 Borbonic Hunters (2) - Painting guide

Cacciatori and Carabinieri esteri (1859-1860)

Documentation about uniforms in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies army during its last period is fragmentary, and few dedicated volumes exist, for this reason I decided to write this guide to help new wargamers getting started in this fascinating period. Few depictions of this army arrived to us, and I chose to follow the Vinkhujzen collection watercolors, which follows the description of the 1859 regulations.

Carabinieri esteri and cacciatori napoletani (hunters or chasseurs) were  light infantry corps trained in open order fighting and broken terrain operations. I remember most of the Sicilian and Calabrian internal areas are mountainous and impervious. They fought valiantly (even when - often where led by less than competent leaders) during all Garibaldi's campaing of 1860 and 1861 from Calatafimi to Volturno.

In 1859 cacciatori napoletani and carabinieri esteri were reorganized and were issued new regulations about uniforms. They received a tunic grigio ferro (dark grey) or light blue and trousers in dark grey, light blue or white, all with a green line. The third carabinieri esteri regiment was going to wear green tunics with red trousers, but probably they never received the new uniforms.

The everyday uniform or labour uniforms, often wear during campaings was the biggia (lit. grey), actually a light blue grey, obtained intertwining grey and blue wires. 

3rd rgt carabinieri esteri, note the grigio ferro uniform


I used the recently released figures from a newly established Italian company, "Shakò64".
The figures are coded as: Comando cacciatori in tunica (grigio ferro) e shakò (covertato e scovertato) and Cacciatore in tunica e shakò (covertato e scovertato). They are suitable to represent both Cacciatori napoletani and Carabinieri esteri. The figures portray troops during campaign, in tunic and carrying all the necessary equipment as haversacks and water bottles. Epaulettes are not shown, probably they've been removed to be preserved from the injury of bad weather. They were kept clean to be used for high uniform or garrison duties. The troopers are armed with 32" rifled carbines and "yatagan" model bayonet.

Bavarian Carabinieri Esteri Battalion, in biggia (blue grey)

Painting guide

I chose to paint the tunic in my own version of grigio ferro, so dark grey with a strong blue component, and biggia trousers. Most of the colours are Vallejo model colours. I applied a white primer.

For grigio ferro tunic I used as base color Vallejo Dark Bluegrey 70.867, then I lightened it with Vallejo French Mirage blue 70.900 and then again with a mixture of French Mirage blue and Vallejo Dark Blue Pale 70.904 in a 1:1 ratio. 

For  the biggio coloured trousers I used a 1:1 mixture of Dark Blue Pale and French Mirage blue 1:1 and then I lightened it with pure Dark Blue Pale.

I suggest also experimenting using different washes. If you're using them, I suggest using as base color for tunic a mixture 1:1 French Mirage Blue and Vallejo Dark Bluegrey, and for the trousers Dark Blue Pale only, since I expect the washes to darken the base colour shadowing the model. Then you can lighten it as I suggested before. In the last passage I often add a small quantity of pure white in the mixture with a dry brush, to exaggerate contrast.

For those desiring experimenting with blue-grey tunic I noticed after I painted these models that a good starting point could be  Vallejo Luftwaffe uniform WWII 70.816, let me know if you try it!

Summary table

Base Colours
Tunic and trousers grigio ferro*
Vallejo Dark Bluegrey 70.867+French Mirage Blue 70.900
Trousers biggi*
Vallejo Dark blue pale 70.904+French Mirage Blue 70.900
Shakò, belts in black leather
Vallejo German grey 70.995
Belts in white leather
Italeri Flat Sand
Backpack, waterbottle, carbine wood
Games Workshop Gorthor Brown
Bags, cartridges in leather
Vallejo German grey 70.995, Italeri Flat leather, Italeri Flat Sand
Cuffs, Shakò pompon
Vallejo Deep green 70.970
Steel and Brass
Vallejo Natural steel 70.864 + Italeri Gloss Brass


I just noticed on Shakò64 a fantastic uniform guide for Naepolitan Cacciatori, by Cosimo Auricchio, check it here.


  • Giancarlo Boeri, Piero Crociani, Massimo Fiorentino, "L'Esercito Borbonico dal 1830 al 1861" I° Tomo Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito Ufficio Storico.
  • Stefano Ales, “L'Esercito delle due Sicilie uniformi equipaggiamento armamento 1850-1860”
  • Gabriele Esposito, Giuseppe Rava, “Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification 1848-70 (1)”, Osprey Publishing
  • Illustraton from "Vinkhuijzen Collection"

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