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Author Topic: Askari Tassel Color  (Read 433 times)

Offline General

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Askari Tassel Color
« on: August 08, 2020, 11:36:54 PM »
I am painting up some Artizan Design Askari's and decided to paint the fez for each trooper red.  I notice German Askari with red fezes and black tassels.  Does anyone have insight into what the different colors of tassels might indicate?  A yellow tassel would make a nice contrast. 

My goal is to have some generic Askari soldiers for jungle expeditions.

Offline has.been

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2020, 03:29:53 PM »
If you are going for 'Generic' use whatever colour you like.

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2020, 04:23:11 PM »
The Italians seem to have gone in for some fancy designs, including two-colour tassels. Never really got to enquiring into whether any of them had any meaning other than looking sharp.

Black seems to have been standard with red fezzes (and other coloured ones too) in most armies, almost to the point of ubiquity. I've seen Zouave fezzes with yellow tassels, struggling to remember any askari with them at the minute.

Of course, as you aren't trying to represent any particular historical unit, why not just do what you feel and have your yellow ones?

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Offline Dr Mathias

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2020, 05:14:26 PM »
The German Askari had red fez, black tassels in the accounts I've read.

The British could vary a bit- I think think the official fez once they settled in more was black fez and black tassel, which is sort of boring. Some early British askari had red fezzes though, I think the tassels were also black in that case.

I don't recall yellow tassels but I'm very sure I have painted a few here and there on my DA project for variety ;)




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Offline General

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2020, 05:44:17 PM »
Thank you, Gentlemen!  I am happy to go with yellow tassels, especially for my Lemurian detachment of Askaris.  I notice on the Askair Miniatures site that they have a smartly dressed Italian Askari artillery crew so I simply wonder if the yellow tassel is historical for the Italian Askaris, their artillery or just artistic license.

Thanks again.  I always learn something the deeper I get into these things. 

Offline Dr Mathias

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2020, 06:46:07 PM »
Just took a look through my copy of "Colonial Armies: Africa, 1850-1918" by Chris Abbott and the Italians appear to have a lot of variety. Looks like the officers tended to use feathers but tassels are mentioned for indigenous troops. Irregular bashi-bazouks are said to have a red red with a dark blue tassel.

Looks like the Italians had a more complicated system than other colonial powers when it came to colors designating things. Italian Askari (Indigeni) in Eritrea had red fezzes. They also had colored waist sashes and a matching tassel from 1888ish- 1st battalion red, 2nd light blue, 3rd crimson, 4th black. Artillery had a yellow sash with a green (later black) tassel for mountain gunners, yellow tassel for field gunners so it sounds like Askari Miniatures were on target.

Italy also claimed Somalia and had indigeni there too but the book says that the fez and tassel are unknown for the early soldiers. In 1906 the tassel was black (presuming a red fez).

I don't crack that book open very often, it's full of really obscure stuff. :)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2020, 06:48:17 PM by Dr Mathias »

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2020, 10:41:38 PM »
Matt, there was no single standardised British fez colour, as the different units belonged to the various colonies and they did their own thing, nobody in London got around to saying "all fezzes should be this colour." The black fez originated with the Central African Rifles, who later became the Nyasaland battalions of the King's African Rifles, and I think they might have carried on wearing black fezzes at least for a while as KAR.

The KAR themselves went with a red one in the end, and red was the most common. However the KAR almost never wore that in action, or at least you didn't see it. Quite soon they adopted khaki fez covers, and later pillbox hats and brimmed hats too, with the Somaliland KAR wearing cool-looking turbans. The red fez was kept for parades and such.

The West African units of the British Empire famously wore green headgear, usually a tassel-less fez-like article, but I would hesitate to actually call it a fez as I think that terminology would be wrong. More like the Victorian forage cap, they may even have had bobbles.


Offline Dr Mathias

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2020, 11:00:20 PM »
The KAR themselves went with a red one in the end, and red was the most common. However the KAR almost never wore that in action, or at least you didn't see it. Quite soon they adopted khaki fez covers, and later pillbox hats and brimmed hats too, with the Somaliland KAR wearing cool-looking turbans. The red fez was kept for parades and such.

The West African units of the British Empire famously wore green headgear, usually a tassel-less fez-like article, but I would hesitate to actually call it a fez as I think that terminology would be wrong. More like the Victorian forage cap, they may even have had bobbles.

Didn't realize the KAR went with red, interesting.
I know very little about 1800s West Africa, not sure I'd ever heard about the green headgear.

Offline FifteensAway

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2020, 04:48:15 AM »
The Fezkari (fez wearing askari) for my Slightly Cracked Colonials will get different colored fez for different nationalities.  Or, at least that was the plan.  Maybe I can now add in varying the colors of the tassels, too.  Well, I had thought about it before but this thread gives that thought a bit more heft now.  So, thanks for asking.

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2020, 10:06:33 AM »
Seems the West Africans had the red fez too, I forgot about that. Looks like it was a dress item though, at least by the 20th Century. I found this cool pic of the Gold Coast Regiment showing both red fezzes and the green cap I was talking about.




I think both the green cap and the red fez for dress occasions (often with RWAFF palm tree badge) were pretty ubiquitous among the regiments that made up the West African Frontier Force.

In action during WW1, the GC regiment actually wore rather cool traditional broad-brimmed straw hats.






Offline dadlamassu

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2020, 10:17:45 AM »
How about


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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2020, 12:02:27 PM »
That KAR guy in the big picture is wearing the distinctive KAR tall fez, under a khaki cover and neck-flap as was their habit in the field, like I mentioned in my earlier post. The guy below in the cigarette card pic is wearing the same kind of fez, only without the khaki cover.

I know Matt said that the black fezzes were boring, but I like them. That Rhodesian policeman, and the other various British African units that wore them looked rather smart, I think.  :)


Offline Dr Mathias

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Re: Askari Tassel Color
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2020, 03:16:05 PM »
I know Matt said that the black fezzes were boring, but I like them. That Rhodesian policeman, and the other various British African units that wore them looked rather smart, I think.  :)

Black fezzes with a black tassel is what I meant... maybe not 'boring' per se but they lack a pop of contrasting color :)

Those buildings in the background of that first pic you posted are really interesting, those would be fun to make.

I've been away from my African projects for far too long, this has been a good thread to remind me of all the stuff I have painted for it, and what I have left to do...

 

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