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British Royal Naval Uniforms - Inspired by Horatio Hornblower, Master and Commander, etc.

Lt. William Bush

(Based on Paul McGann's portrayal in the Horatio Hornblower movies on A&E)

The bicorn hat is made from a pattern in the excellent book of historical hat patterns From the Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking, by Denise Dreher. It's made of stiff black felt. The hat has gold ribbon and and a gold button on the side, and gold braid at the front and back. For this first version, I folded more felt to make the cockade. For later versions, I folded ribbon instead. Wired ribbon works the best, especially black wired ribbon with gold edging.

The telescope came from the Sam the Eagle Muppet action figure. (Thanks to the Ultracorps Yahoo list for the heads up on that particular figure! It includes a cool book, map, and key as well.)
The coat has hook and eye closures, and "buttons" positioned so it can be worn either open or closed. There is white piping along the collar and the lapels. Piping has becomes my own personal nightmare, at least at this scale.
There is a loop of brown thread embedded in Lt. Bush's hair. Debbie braided some hair cut from a Barbie doll, and I wrapped the braid with black ribbon to make the queue. I just slipped the top of the queue through the thread loop on the back of the figure's head. Debbie also made a second queue, without the black ribbon wrap, so we can alternate our choices.
I finally got around to making a ruffled shirt to complete this uniform. Ruffles are a close second behind piping on my list of personal nightmares now.
This version Lt. William Bush originally was a Royal Marine Roger figure from Dragon. He gained Sculpey hair and a new paint job thanks to an ongoing trade I have with another customizer. You can see more of Rick's wonderful work at his Mego Doctor Who and Customs site. You can see more kitbashes and customizations inspired by characters played by the actor Paul McGann here.

Lt. Buckland


The basic "Adam" figure from Dragon/DML looks close enough to the TV version of Lt. Buckland in the Hornblower films that aired on A&E.
I made a new lieutenant's uniform. I found a new way to do piping for this uniform.

Mr. Midshipman Horatio Hornblower


The Mr. Fantastic rotocast figure made a good head donor for a custom version of A&E's Horatio Hornblower, here wearing a midshipman's uniform.
Close-up of the tabs and laces at the back of the vest. The laces can be tied tighter or looser to adjust the fit, just like on a real vest of that time.
I tried to duplicate the lining of the coat, with blue on the lapels and white on the coat tails and elsewhere.
Close-up of the pocket flap, curved with three points, one above each of the three buttons.
Close-up of the one of the buckles at the knees of the breeches.
Close-up of the fall front on the breeches. (Brief fashion note: Fall front breeches open like the flap in the back of an old-fashioned pair of long johns.) Notice the very narrow welts (topped with tiny gold buttons) on either side of the fall front.

This was my first attempt at a British naval uniform. I only had a few pics pulled off the web to use as references for this, so I apologize for any historical or other inaccuaracies. I developed patterns for and then made the coat, vest, breeches, and kerchief.

This outfit is modelled by a Power Team Elite action figure. If you haven't seen these already, you usually can find them at KB Toys or Big Lots, and a few other chain storess as well. This figure originally was the Navy Seal figure packaged with a "wooden" raft. I removed his wetsuit, painted his hair brown, and enlisted him in the British navy instead! He works as a reasonable resemblance to Robert Lindsay, who portrayed Pellew in A&E's Hornblower films.

The ships aren't historically accurate, but they make a nice impression.
For years, I overlooked the quilting section in craft stores. If you haven't already, check it out. It's great for 1:6 scale sewing since a it doesn't have a lot of bulk, and a lot of the prints are small. I made the coat, vest, and breeches from navy and white quilting fabric. I cut a bit from an old white t-shirt for the stockings. The knit fabric gave them the stretch they needed.
Usually I use beads for buttons, but these naval uniforms definitely needed flat, not round, shapes. I wandered away from the bead aisle in Hobby Lobby and stumbled across a section devoted to decorating jeans and t-shirts with iron on jewels, fringe, etc. All the buttons are iron-on decorations for jeans and t-shirts. The ones on the coat are 4mm, and the ones on the vest are 3mm.

I eventually found a better source for "buttons" like this: fingernail decorations available from Crafts2Do.