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Thread: Took the plunge

  1. #21
    Join Date
    10th January 15
    New Zealand
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    Nothing like biting your tongue while a man in his 60s with modern frames and overweight is telling you that his WWII era costume is perfect. The old adage 'clothes maketh the man' is true to an extent but has limitations. He was of course dressed in a combat uniform of a frontline unit. He was also badmouthing early period reenactment as fantasy because of the lack of information that exists.
    I don't care who reenacts, but if you're going to get superior about how wonderful your impression is, you personally better measure up.

    I think what a wasted opportunity to spread some information and to help from those Scottish-reenactors. Surely they do the culture because they love it, so why not promote it?
    It could be though that they laughed because they knew it was near impossible to get such items. I know people for example who've obtained tablet woven items for medieval purposes from weavers who've done limited runs. It is an unfortunate fact that many home crafts people get too old to do it and retire or they run out of interest and do something else, leaving those items they have created almost as rare as the originals.

    A look at the suppliers linked to from this site over the years shows that many are no longer in business or no longer offer the same range.

    That Fraser group in Canada that seems to have attracted lots of young people looks excellent. I'm a bit confused over whether it's a pipe band, reenactment group or if several groups are involved but they look great in their mid-18th century gear.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    11th July 05
    Alexandria, VA (USA)
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    Quote Originally Posted by CollinMacD View Post
    I would like to write about my own experiences with Jacobite/period re-enactors when I tried to get information to improve my first time doing my impression. I think it is important to first disclose to you, I am an Historian, well know for my committement and life time research on the American Civil War. For well over 15 years I did Civil War Re-enacting and was nationally known. I started and commanded one of the largest Civil War Units in the United States, the 28th Massachusetts, (Irish Regiment), also part of th 5th NY Zouves, 76th Pennsylvania Keystone Zouves (of which we made EXACT replicas of their entire uniforms, down to thread count of the material), and commanded the 20fth Massachusetts. Beyond participating I managed, organized and commanded both national and international events, such as the 1867 Battle of Ridgway in Canada, asked by the Canadian Government to organize the 125th Anniversary of this event, worked directly with the Toronto National Guard, 2nd Regt afoot to re-enact the entire event, it was a big success. Worked with National Park Service on several major events, plannall the 125th Civil War events, and so on. I am well known for my attention to details, authenticity, correct military drill, and impressions, but especially the amount of time I put into hard research. Point is, I probably have done more in historical interpretation then any Jacobite group that exists, yet when I approach Jacobite re-enactors I was mocked.

    Let me explain, I am interested with the Jacobite impression, as I have learned through intensive research my family ancestors were Jacobites, resulting in expulsion from Knoydart their home, and shipped to Nova Scotia to survive. Doing the best I could do with limited budget, I tried to put together a proper impression, but I know more work is needed, but understanding and learning is my prime goal for now. Unlike the CW, of which I had NO family member involved, the Jacobite impression becomes a personal identify thing, much more personal.

    As I have read every post in this thread, I have found the Jacobite re=enactors to be EXACTLY like Civil War posts, everybody doing the intensive research, striving for perfection. However, when I approached Jacobite and period re-enactors in person, none of you, come close to the Civil War Re-enactors willing to provide you information and assist you. Jacobites were not even close to assisting a person improve their impression.

    After being involved as deep as I am with my historic research, I have conclude ALL re-enactors will never be exact to what it was. For those who think your impressions are spot on, you do not have the physical appearance, disabilities, diseases, physical attributes, poor, limited resources, and a list of other issues that cannot be portrayed by re-enactors. After doing CW for so long it has finally dawned on me there are two classes of re-enactors the Historical and the Costumed. Obviously the Historic goes the extra mile often making your own clothing, or accessories from research. While the costumed uses what is ready available, but they also try too, but are often mocked by Historical Reenactors, behind their backs, instead of helped to improve, from what I have experienced with people doing the Jacobite period impressions. This is my own personal experience that I lived this last December in Alexandria, not one knew my background of Historical researched, and yet I was mocked.

    When I was active in CW, never did I ever bad mouth one who is trying or limited by funds to do a CW impression, I often helped them by giving them advice without insulting them. I did experience such belittlement do the Jacobite impression my very first time. I thought CW was expensive, but no comparison to a correct Jacobite, if you can find a person to do period items. My CW Frock was a direct copy of an original officers from a Massachusetts Regiment, hand sewn with the correct thread count for wool broadcloth, with all ORIGINAL Waterford buttons. Back in 1988 when the frock was made it cost almost $2,500.00 for the COAT. I still have it, and many times it has been mistaken for original, I have labeled the inside so it is never confused. Doing the Jacobite will cost over three times that amount, if you can find the seamstress and material to do it. I want to do a Jacobite, but have found it cost prohibitive at this time, and for me not worth it. So I am now costumed, make no claims of being authentic, but trying to improve.

    I have to say this, Civil War re-enactors, along with Rev war, F&I, WWI and II are much more approachable and helpful then what I have experienced from people doing Scottish or Jacobite impressions. I was at the Alexandria Christmas walked, approached several Scottish Red Coat Re-enactors asking about where I could get the proper dice hose, and they all but laughed at me, not one offered advice, I got, well so and so knit there own and they do it for us only.... So you are elite, I get it. NEVER in all my years doing CW would I ever give such a flip answer to another person who showed interest. This is very disappointing for me, as I truly would like to refine my Jacobite impression and learn more, but with attitudes like that, I think I just might stay costumed so they have something to talk about behind my back.

    I am NO ROOKIE with re-enacting, and I know some of the attitudes of those who look down on others. This is something that is never talked about, but doing the Jacobite thing really brought this to light. So point being is this, I will figure things out by good old research working with others who are learned and are willing to assist me, re-enactors of the Jacobite era, well those at Alexandria that I met, I do not need them. Good luck, my impression is not perfect, but I got one thing NONE of them really have, my seventh removed Grandfather and family were Jacobites and he was a Captain in the MacDonald Clanranald brigade, and to me this if a family thing... Sorry for going on, but it was very disappointing to me about the attitudes of Jacobite Re-enactors, I would like to have joined and learned, but not with those attitudes, life is to short and I have more important things to do, besides I had many years of CW, and did research for Ken Burns, Don Trioni, Don Gallows, James McPherson, Larry Khol and list goes on, been to the top and NEVER did I belittle others who tried. I want to make this clear too, some from this forum have helped me on line, and this is appreciated, but when I approached in person, people from groups were very arrogant and belittling, almost insulting, too because you lost a potential person who is a known historian to help you out.

    I read your posting with interest. I regret that you had a negative experience at the most recent Alexandria (VA) Scottish Walk when you were inquiring for information about Highland period dress. I certainly home it was not generated by anybody from my Jacobite unit, which is present at the Walk every year. Your resume in reenacting seems impressive and, although I have no experience as an American Civil War reenactor, I have read many books on the subject and am fairly well versed. Back in the day, when I was preparing to get into reenacting, I attended a couple of big battle reenactments and was turned off by the fact that there seemed to be too many feelings involved, even after 130 years - with reenactors from the two sides refusing to mingle after-hours, etc. I got into 18th c. reenacting because there was none of that - after the day was over and the tourists gone, reenactors from both sides partied hard and enjoyed each other's company. Additionally, I found 18th c. reenacting to be more of a challenge - if you've paid attention to the exchanges between myself and Mr. MacGillies, you'll understand that there is not as much information out there for reenactors, who must mostly make their own stuff or pay to have it made, whereas your average Civil War reenactor gets guidance from his unit and then walks into the Brigade Quartermaster store in Gettysburg and comes out correctly kitted-out for about $1,000, including his musket. I wish 18th c. reenacting was that cheap, especially Highland reenacting!

    I agree with your comments about modern reenactors - we are too well-fed and do not have most of the physical problems that beset our forebears, and a lot of the clothing/equipment being used (especially by new people) are anachronistic. It takes time and lots of $$$$ to build an authentic Highland kit, and even then we'll never be totally authentic for various reasons. For example, the typical Highlander of the 1745 period spoke only Gaelic, which very few (if any) reenactors have today.

    If you wish to learn about the costume and culture of your MacDonald ancestors, here are some places to start:

    Matthew Newsome's blog (https://albanach.org/) - he writes about tartan and period dress with a great deal of knowledge, based upon his research. He is also a very good kilt-maker.

    Peter E. MacDonald's research papers (www.scottishtartans.co.uk) - Peter is a very well-known tartan researcher, historian and weaver who is incredibly generous with his knowledge; his research papers contain a wealth of knowledge about early tartan. Additionally, Peter can facilitate getting these early tartans reproduced by weavers in Scotland.

    Armour Class (of Glasgow) (www.armourclass.com) - producers of fine quality edged weapons, including a great selection of authentic Scottish swords and dirks. Not that expensive, either (about USD $643 for a nice basket-hilt sword).

    Tods Stuff (www.todsstuff.co.uk) - An English-based maker of various medieval and later objects, including excellent and authentic edged weapons. You'll want to look under his "Military Knives" link for dirks.

    Vince Evans (www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/listing/user/vevans) - Mr. Evans produces the finest quality edged weapons, including Scottish swords and dirks.

    You mentioned looking for red/white diced hose cloth. When I was in my redcoat Highland units, we used to be able to pick it up occasionally, but I know of nobody today who carries it. I believe today's Highland units commission their own custom-woven batches of diced hose cloth from weavers. I still have a couple yards of it (in case). William Booth, Draper (http://wmboothdraper.com/) used to carry it, but no longer. His sutlery attends the annual Ft. Frederick (MD) 18th c. Market Fair (held in late April), which you may wish to check out.

    I stand ready to assist you in putting together a kit, if you like. You can address me here, or at ogre2417@hotmail.com for further info.

    Last edited by Orvis; 10th February 17 at 12:04 PM.

  3. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Orvis For This Useful Post:

  4. #23
    Join Date
    18th June 17
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    Good lookin crew! Are the kilted Lebowskis related to the little lebowski urban achievers??

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