Saturday, 26 September 2009


Zoe( my eldest) has bought a French dvd of Tintin- to improve her listening skills. It is the one featuring Sylvania- The sceptre of Ottokar. I have been watching it and am most taken with the uniforms . My thoughts have run , amidst visitors& school reports, to what uniforms were worn in Sylvania in the 18th century. Any Tintin aficionados are welcome to make suggestions here...


  1. Dear Tradgardmastare,

    This is a fun question, a fun story, and a subject that is flushing me, a long-time EvE eavesdropper, out from behind the internet curtain. Ottokar's Sceptre sparked my imagination as a kid many years ago now and helped open up the world of toy soldiers to me. It was the uniforms, castles and the setting at once familiar and exotic that drew me in. Having discovered EvE several months ago, I had the idea of adapting it, or at least borrowing parts of it, for an Imagi-nation campaign. I have seen enough hints and references to the book here and there around EvE that it is clear that it has had a similar effect on many others.

    I had put off going on-line with my project until I had more of it completed. However, I have a few regiments of my version of the 18th c Syldavian army painted and I have planned out uniforms for the rest of it. Borduria, Syldavia's arch-nemesis is also in the works. Having now given up my self-indulgent invisibility, I guess I had better get my web site up so you and others can come and visit my rendition of this story! It would be a great pleasure to contribute something back to you, the EvE contributors who have been showing how to give form to some of my long-held but unrealized wargaming ideas. Soon!

    Best Wishes,


  2. We await this with great interest...
    best wishes

  3. Tradgardmastare - wow! Indeed Le Sceptre d'Ottokar was the first book to present me with uniforms I *knew* to be fictitious. At the same time the satirical Voyage en Absurdie, describing 1945 events set in an 'alternate' year 1745, 'infected' me with the idea of translating uniforms of other periods to WAS military fashion. Was it really some 55 year ago, and this bizarre combination of topic is still the object of my pet obsession?
    So a few mid-18th C. Sylvanian uniforms were my very first batch of imaginary WAS uniforms, combining 'translation' and 'addition'. A very limited and quite unimaginative attempt, yet by some form of respectful nostalgia (?) I never amended or expanded it later.

    -The more obvious are the kind of Hussars that arrest Tintin when he tries to enter the Palace at night -obviously Guard cavalry: a very traditional, archaic uniform, thus except for a few minor detail of 'cut', basically identical in the 18th C.; the mounted escort of the King, at the end (with a different uniform and a white low busby) provides the uniform of their trumpeters.

    -The Guards of the Tower are in a 'folkloric' costume that may have no more changed over the centuries than that of their models of the Tower of London. As #2 dress, and possibly when deployed in the field, I envisaged an uniform cut and decoration pattern inspired by the costume of the 'Swiss' still present then in some churches of wealthy parishes, but keeping the colors of the #1 dress -indeed the drummers could always be in 'traditional' uniform.

    -The 3rd 'translatable' uniform is that of the policemen that try to assassinate Tintin when they simulate a breakdown of their car (an allusion to a real event, the assassination of Codreanu, the founder of the Romanian Iron Guard). Green coat, black breeches (probably buckled 'dragon' boots); no color stripe on 18th C. Western European breeches, so I set then the routine rule of translation: its red gives the color of the waistcoat; tricorn. Would be dragoons.

    Limited on all accounts, but it was my very first try!

    Jim I'm fascinated! That's really great news.


  4. Oh yeah, King Ottokar's Sceptor was one of those things that took root in my early imagination and my fascination with fictitious countries.

    I'll look forward to the debut of Jim's Sylvania (and Borduria)! :)

    Interesting as always, Jean-Louis!

  5. Hello all,

    Uh-oh, the pressure is on now! On parade!

    Jean-Louis, I think we share for the most part the same ideas of how to translate the Syldavian uniforms to the 18th century. I hadn't thought of using the police uniform as a model for dragoons, however, and this is a good idea. I had planned a couple of regiments of hussars as illustrated in the book (the blue Guards and a green/yellow uniform). There are a couple of hussar or chevaulèger-like uniforms with busbies illustrated as well (another in blue, one red and one black). These are only barely hunted at in the story but I had thought of translating the blue for dragoons and black for a corps of Gendarmerie. With your permission, however, I might adopt your green for dragoons, even though they would thereby resemble the Austrians quite closely.

    Heavy cavalry were shown a couple of times in red, this seems to be to me nicely dramatic and distinctive. Infantry uniforms are only hinted at and these reflect all sorts of colours and cuts - gala uniforms in regimental colours perhaps? The infantry therefore seem pretty much an open field. For myself, I made up a solution from whole cloth, putting the regular infantry in an Austrian uniform with a standardised coat colour, a pale buff-yellow (Naples yellow cut with and white) and distinctive facings, small clothes and trousers. The rationale here is that the field of the national flag is yellow. This seems to work to my eyes, they look like they belong to an Austrian-dominated sphere of influence but are still distinctive and a bit more colourful. Irregular infantry are easy to put in grenzer uniforms and the Albanian-style every-day garb shown throughout the book. I didn’t spot anything for artillery and seized upon a uniform illustrated this summer in Not By Appointment for them.

    The Castle Guard, with their very splendid archaic uniform, stays just the same, though I only envision one company and possibly won't paint them at all. I am doing this project in 15mm (cue the cries of anguish!) and haven't yet seen an appropriate figure for them. Does anyone have any ideas that don't involve extensive conversions? Janissaries or some Renaissance figures might be the only choices. It would be a shame to not have some of them, they have the coolest rig in the book!

    The Bordurians are completely open to the imagination and I have had a bit more fun planning them out than the Syldavians themselves. They have a very hybridized look (both Ottoman and Russian, as these are the figures I can find that caught my fancy). I would be happy to hear any and all of your suggestions, however!

    Enough procrastinating, I have to return to work on some dreary real world work with a short term deadline!



  6. I have really enjoyed this discussion and have much food for thought. I hope to field some Slydavians from my version of the country...