Inspired by early 19th century history.
Optimized for affordable language compatibility.
Group Buy begins Nov. 9th, 2020.
|Survey||KAT Napoleonic Survey|
|Geekhack||IC Thread on Geekhack|
- About KAT
- Physical Color Standards
- Existing Set Comparison
- ISO / ANSI Localization
- All Kits Gallery
- Copyright & Citations
- Links & Contacts
On the Ninth of November, 1799 (18 Brumaire in the Revolutionary calendar), a coup d’etat overthrew the French Directorate and replaced it with a new government: a Consulate to be led by General Napoleon Bonaparte. Just a few short years later, he would be crowned Emperor.
To say his rise to power ruffled a few feathers across Europe would be a gross understatement. While he is credited with bringing about positive reforms to the legal and governmental systems of France, his legacy is one tainted by costly, bloody wars across the continent.
Those early decades of the nineteenth century, from Napoleon’s rise to his death, roughly mark the Napoleonic Period, an era that left indelible marks upon the face of Europe and the world.
KAT Napoleonic is a keycap set in the KAT profile that explores the history and artistic depictions of the Napoleonic Period.
KAT Napoleonic utilizes a modified form of Playfair Display for most of its alpha keys and legend text. It is a serif-based typeface (uncommon in keycaps), and it is inspired by the Transitional and Neoclassical typefaces of the nineteenth century: Baskerville, Bodoni, and Didot.
Wide Affordable Localization
Because of the global nature of Napoleon’s impact on history, a primary goal for KAT Napoleonic has always been wide localization support. While it may not always be practical for manufacturers to support a wider array of languages and layouts in a cost-effective manner, the KAT profile does provide that flexibility.
While this keyset cannot feasibly provide support for every language worldwide, KAT Napoleonic supports more than twenty-one locales in base alpha kits. Kits available include many that are rarely (if ever) seen in the Mechanical Keyboard hobby: Swiss, BÉPO, South Slavic, Tamil, Cherokee, and Canadian French.
Localized alpha kit availability may vary by vendor.
Colors & Uniforms
KAT Napoleonic’s primary alpha legends present dark indigo text upon a warm, ivory-like white background. A lower-contrast yellow-gold color is used for alpha key sublegends.
KAT Napoleonic’s modifier keys come in three “uniforms” of color, each inspired by the military uniforms of the era, with particular attention to the Battle of Austerlitz (1805). Austerlitz was a clash of three empires: France, Russia, and Austria. For KAT Napoleonic, you are likewise given a choice of three uniforms: French Indigo, Russian Green, and Austrian White.
French Indigo Uniform
The predominant uniform of Napoleon’s armies was a dark blue-black or indigo. Mods in the French Indigo uniform of KAT Napoleonic are white-on-blue with yellow-gold accents.
French Indigo mods are marked with text-and-icon legends. Where possible, these legends use actual terminology from modern French keyboards: the abbreviation Maj to represent Shift, Entrée for Enter, et cetera.
Update 28 Sept 2020:
By popular demand, the Ortho kit for French Indigo has been converted to use icons only. Additionally, an alternative British Navy kit for mainstream legends is now planned.
Russian Green Uniform
Russian imperial army uniforms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were green in color. The exact shade has varied through time and in artistic depictions, sometimes appearing in a brilliant jewel tone, and other times a more drab olive (a.k.a. Russian green). Russian Green mods for KAT Napoleonic present white legends upon a darker “moss” green that splits the difference between drab and saturated.
Russian Green mods are marked with text-and-icons. Like modern Russian keyboards, they use standard English text and abbreviations for all modifier labels.
Austrian White Uniform
Shortly after Napoleon dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, Franz Joseph Karl, not wishing to relinquish the title of Emperor, rebranded his domain as the Austrian Empire. The Austrian imperial army commonly wore white; Austrian White mods for KAT Napoleonic are likewise white with indigo or yellow-gold legends (matching the alpha colorway).
Keyboards used in German-speaking countries like Austria typically use a standard set of icons for major modifiers (Enter, Shift, et cetera) with no text. KAT Napoleonic extends this pattern to the whole keyboard; the Austrian White uniform is an icons-only option for traditional and ortholinear keyboards.
By Popular Demand: British Navy
By far, the most requested change to KAT Napoleonic, per survey data, has been the addition of more mainstream English language modifier legends using the French Indigo colors. In order to satisfy this popular request, KAT Napoleonic now includes one kit with an alternative uniform: British Navy.
The British did not fight at Austerlitz, but they were a primary antagonist for Napoleon through much of the Napoleonic period.
The British Navy colorway will be available for a single mods kit for mainstream TKL, 60%, and 70% boards. Its primary mod colors are the same as French Indigo but has more mainstream legends.
KAT is an ultra smooth sculpted profile PBT dye-sub keycap set that embraces the classic aesthetics of spherical keycaps [and] combines the ergonomics of Cherry profile keycaps.Keyreative All Touch – zFrontier (description from KAT Alpha)
KAT keycaps are compatible with MX-style keyboard switches. They are made from PBT, the industry-standard plastic for dye-sublimated caps.
KAT rows are numbered bottom-to-top, with the lowest (shift and spacebar rows) labeled R1, the home row labeled R2, the Q row labeled R3, et cetera. KAT Napoleonic will use a 4-4-3-2-1-1 sculpt analogous to what is commonly seen in Cherry or SA-profile keycaps.
For more information about keycap profiles and group buys, visit Keyboard University.
Physical Color Standards
Colors shown in keyboard renders and diagrams should not be treated as accurate representations of final keycap colors. Manufacturer samples will be checked against physical color decks of the RAL and Pantone standards above. Be aware that some variation is always possible, and these colors are not guaranteed to be exact.
- United States – MKUltra
- Europe – mykeyboard.eu
- Canada – Ashkeebs
- Also Canada – g Heavy Industries (Madness Kit only)
- Southeast Asia – HEX Keyboards
- South America – Fancy Customs
- China / Rest of World – zFrontier
Renders are not guaranteed to look like the final product, particularly with regard to color. The physical color standards, not the renders, will be used to evaluate color samples from Keyreative.
Also note that minor corrections to legends shown in these renders have occurred and may continue to occur for the duration of the Interest Check.
US International on Mech27-TKL by Mech27. Renders by Manzel.
US English on KBD19X by KBDfans. Renders by Manzel.
Austrian Elephant Ivory
German on S7-Elephant by jacky. Renders by Manzel.
British Navy on Conone
UK / Irish alphas and British Navy Alt TKL Mods on Conone by kindakeyboards. Renders by Manzel.
AZERTY for Apple
Apple AZERTY on J02 by Jae-3soteric. Renders by Ulliam.
Polish/Lithuanian on Boardrun CNC by Shensmobile. Renders by Manzel.
Abacus: Clean Calculations
Austrian White Numpad kit on Abacus by SomeGreekGuy (unreleased). Renders by Manzel. See also: Minard deskmat.
Prime_E by Prime Keyboards. Renders by Ulliam. Post-processing by Manzel.
As is typical for KAT, customers will need to choose a selection of “kits” that together will cover their chosen keyboard(s). For KAT Napoleonic, kits are broken into three major categories:
The vast majority of keyboards will require one Alpha kit and a Core Mod kit. Some will also require a Numpad or one of the Miscellaneous kits.
Kit Albums on Imgur
Kit diagrams are not to be interpreted as an accurate representation of the final look of the product.
Kit Shopping List by Keyboard Type
Here are the kits required to cover some example keyboard formats.
|Keyboard Type||Alphas?||Primary Core Mods||Other Kit(s) Req.|
|Tenkeyless (TKL)||Alphas||TKL Mods|
|Standard Full-Size||Alphas||TKL Mods||Numpad|
|Razer Huntsman||Alphas||TKL Mods||Numpad & Spacebars|
|1800 layout||Alphas||TKL Mods||Numpad|
|Standard 60-75%||Alphas||TKL Mods|
|TKL Apple Board||Alphas||TKL Mods||Mac Kit|
|Alice or Quefrency||Alphas||TKL Mods||Spacebars|
|Planck or Preonic||Alphas||Ortho Mods|
|40% (non-Ortho)||Alphas||40s Mods|
|Ergodox or Boardwalk||Alphas||Ergo Mods|
|QAZ or Ginny||Madness Kit|
There are 21 different base Alpha kits currently planned. This list is not final, and some locales may be removed, updated, or added based on the results of the Interest Check survey.
Table of Alpha Kits
The following is a list of all 21 Alpha kits and the layouts they support. Kits that provide the standard US QWERTY characters either in legends or sublegends are noted in red in the rightmost column.
All alpha kits support ISO, ANSI, and HHKB configurations.
|Alpha Kit||Subcategory||Languages / Locales|
|Act of Mediation||QWERTZ||Swiss French & Swiss German|
|Agustina||QWERTY||Spanish (European & Latin American)|
|Alexander||Non-Latin||Russian, Belarusian, & Ukrainian|
|Bernadotte||QWERTY||Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc.|
|Bépoleon Nonaparte||Alternative||French BÉPO|
|Blücher||QWERTY||Eurkey versions 1.2 & 1.3|
(US primary legends)
|Chateauguay||QWERTY||Combined Canadian Multilingual & Canadian French|
|Doppelkaiser||QWERTZ||Combined South Slavic Latin & Hungarian|
|Jonathan Strange||Alternative||Colemak, Asset, Norman, & Workman|
|Karađorđe||Non-Latin||South Slavic Cyrillic|
(Latin QWERTZ sublegends)
|Marie Louise||AZERTY||French (Apple) & Belgian|
|Metternich||QWERTZ||German & Austrian|
|Mr Norrell||Alternative||Dvorak (US & UK versions)|
|Nagasaki||Non-Latin||Japanese JIS & ANSI-JP with Katakana |
(US primary legends included)
|Pondicherry||Non-Latin||Indian Tamil (Tamil 99)|
|Sequoyah||Non-Latin||Cherokee Nation |
|Uhlan||QWERTY||Combined Polish & Lithuanian |
(US primary legends)
|Waterloo||QWERTY||US International (Netherlands)|
|Wellington||QWERTY||UK English & Irish|
Core Mod Kits
There are five core modifier kits for KAT Napoleonic, each provided with two-or-three colored “uniform” options: French Indigo, Russian Green, or Austrian White. Each core modifier kit also comes with a custom set of military-themed novelty keys: Retreat, Attack, Support, and Hold.
|Core Mod Kit Type||Indigo?||Green?||White?|
|Alt TKL Mods||British Navy|
A majority of customers will require a TKL Mods kit, available in all three uniforms. A TKL Mods kit covers the most popular 60%, 65%, 75%, HHKB, and Tenkeyless layouts. That wide compatibility also provides enough coverage for an additional 60% board (presumably paired with a second alpha kit).
Alt TKL Mods – British Navy
The British Navy kit provides an alternative TKL Mods kit using the same primary mod color as French Indigo, but with a more mainstream approach to modifier legends. Its primary mod colors are the same as French Indigo, and it is compatible with the French Indigo Numpad kit for full-size boards.
The British Navy kit is intentionally slimmer than the other TKL mods kits on offer and does not provide the same range of compatibility; its pricing will reflect this.
Customers using full-size (104/105-key) boards will require a Numpad kit in addition to TKL mods. The Numpad kit additionally supports 50% or CandyBar layouts when paired with a Forties kit. Numpad kits are available for all three uniforms, and the French Indigo Numpad kit is compatible with the British Navy Alt TKL Mods kit.
Ortholinear Boards (e.g. Planck or Preonic) and columnar-staggered boards with 1u modifiers (e.g. Moonlander or Iris) will require an Ortho Mods kit, available in all three uniforms.
Non-ortholinear 40% keyboards (e.g. Minivan) will require a Forties kit, available in French Indigo and Russian Green.
Ergodox, Boardwalk, Sol, and similar boards with 1.5u side modifiers will require an Ergo Mods kit, here provided with the most common legends by row (as per survey data) along with accent-colored novelties for a greater level of customization. The Ergo Mods kit is available in French Indigo and Russian Green.
Mod Kits By Uniform
French Indigo Mods
The French Indigo uniform consists of dark blue mods with yellow-gold accents and white legends. Except for the Ortho kit (which is icon-only), these modifiers are labeled with both text and icons, and the text comes from standard French keyboard key names and abbreviations (where known).
Russian Green Mods
The Russian Green uniform consists of dark green mods with yellow-gold accents and white text. Modifiers are labeled with icons and standard English text and abbreviations.
Austrian White Mods
The Austrian White uniform consists of white mods marked with dark blue icons and no text. This uniform matches the colorway of the alpha keys and transforms KAT Napoleonic into a monocolor set. Accents are also white but use yellow-gold icons.
- Convert your function row (F1-F12) into a timeline (1801-1812).
- Decorate your board with a bee monogram (the Bonaparte family crest) or with an imperial flag shield.
- Add a splash of red to your board.
- Accent-colored spacebars for standard boards.
- Compatibility for boards that require a 6u spacebar.
- Compatibility for Alice-like layouts.
- Mac / Apple “Command” and “Option” keys are provided.
- These include range of sizes for French Indigo and Russian Green.
- Ortho-oriented modifiers in Austrian White are also included.
- Some Apple alpha locales (like Apple UK) will require the Mac Kit as a supplement to base alphas.
- For users who prefer blank alpha keys and/or blank modifier keys.
- Enough blanks to cover an entire Preonic, Ergodox, or several other Ortho formats in the French Indigo colorway.
- This unique kit comes with enough keycaps to cover four whole atypical (and small) keyboards: one QAZ and three Ginny boards.
- QAZ is a sub-40% board designed by tominabox1 & whydobearsxplod.
- It re-purposes side modifier keys to serve as the outermost alpha & punctuation keys.
- Note that for mould availability reasons, this kit provides all Q-row keys in the KAT R2 profile rather than R3.
- QAZ is sold by Coffee Break Keyboards.
- Ginny is a 10-key split chorded keyboard provided by g Heavy Industries.
- Keyboard output is produced via ASETNIOP chording in one of three configurations (Colemak-like, Dvorak-like, or ASETNIOP).
- These keycaps will only work with a Ginny with MX switches.
Existing Set Comparison
Early concept diagrams for KAT Napoleonic drew comparisons to GMK Rudy by Warrenified. Because the keycap designer community tends to frown on overly-similar colorways, Warrenified was consulted so as to double-check that we were in fact using different colors.
A comparison render of GMK Rudy (left) to alphas and “French Indigo” modifiers for KAT Napoleonic (right) is provided above. Render by Ulliam.
|Color Codes||GMK Rudy||KAT Napoleonic|
|Yellow / Gold||RAL 1002||Pantone 7403 U|
|Blue||RAL 5003||RAL 5011|
|White||CP (GMK stock color)||RAL 9010|
This section contains information about themed peripheral items: matching deskmats/deskpads, custom colored cables, artisan keycaps, et cetera.
Deskmats & Mousepads
There are two deskmat designs planned. Both will be offered in a 900x400x4 mm size. At least one of the two designs will be offered in a smaller size (likely 700x300x4mm).
I am in contact with a manufacturer that zFrontier has used previously.
- This is based on a famous map by Charles Joseph Minard.
- It shows the size of Napoleon’s forces during his invasion of and subsequent retreat from Russia in 1812.
- It is one of the most famous data visualizations in history.
- This contains an excerpt from the first chapter of the Russian text of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
- In it, characters from the Russian aristocracy discuss Napoleon, Austria, and politics of the early 19th century.
- Russian aristocrats of that era would apparently switch between French and Russian within a single conversation. Tolstoy does so here as well.
I am happy to announce a collaboration with Divine Studios (Discord link). They’re a newer face in the custom artisan scene, and they specialize in aluminum and titanium keycaps. They will be producing a mould to match KAT R4, and I should have a sample to photograph some time before the GB starts.
Clothing & More
I am partnering with Keeb Nerd to design official Napoleonic merchandise, including three shirts based on the three colorways: French Indigo, Russian Green, and Austrian White. Samples are en route to my house, and I should be able to get some photos sooner than later! I am also pursuing other types of merchandise like coffee mugs based on the deskmat designs.
Some of these items will become permanent fixtures in Keeb Nerd’s shop, but I’ll be able to share discount codes that are valid during the GB. Those will be announced in my Discord server.
ISO / ANSI Localization
Or, alternately titled:
Your Language Is Not Your Enter Key
Standard full-size keyboards worldwide tend to come in two major formats: ANSI and ISO* (though others exist), and they primarily differ based on the size and arrangement of their Enter keys.
ANSI boards tend to come with a horizontal rectangular 2.25u Enter key on the home row, with a 1.5u key above, used most often for backslash (default) or delete/backspace (common in HHKB-like boards).
ISO boards come with an upside-down L-shaped Enter key that spans two rows and leaves space for an additional 1u to its lower left. ISO boards also tend to split off an additional punctuation key from the left Shift, bringing the total key count for a standard board to 105.
* Technically, both the ANSI and ISO organizations actually provide specifications for both of these standards, but that’s a minor quibble.
In common conversations about keyboard localization in the mechanical keyboard community, ANSI has become a de facto nickname for the standard US QWERTY layout, while ISO tends to be used to describe one or more European locales’ boards, often using “ISO support” to mean “UK English support.”
Different countries’ localized boards do have different default assumptions regarding Enter key size and key placement, and keycap localization sets tend to follow those assumptions. For example, a Norwegian user that prefers to have an ANSI Enter key but wants use localized keycaps tends to have a few incorrect labels.
I’m here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. Your language may have a default format, but you don’t have to stick to it with KAT Napoleonic. Your language is not your Enter key.
KAT Napoleonic is here to make sure that you can get localized keycaps for both major formats, providing options for compatibility for ANSI & ISO key arrangements for all locales supported. With a bit of creativity and a configuration tool like QMK, you can use KAT Napoleonic to bring your language to your board regardless of the style of Enter key it normally supports.
See the diagram above for further details, and check out the example render of the S7 Elephant to see an example of a possible ANSI-based German layout (whereas German boards are normally ISO-based).
All Kits Gallery
See Kits for full descriptions.
- Thanks to my wife, the love of my life, who has been very patient and supportive of all my creative endeavors.
- Thanks to my daughter, who is an absolutely adorable four-year-old and brings so much joy to my life.
- Thanks to Erik (a.k.a. MK Ultra), who believed in this project while it was still a germ of an idea.
- Huge thanks to manzel for his amazing and punctual render work.
- Thanks to Konstantin for all the advice on the particulars of punctuation positioning in legends as well as for drawing the correct Cyrillic J for the Karađorđe alpha kit.
- Thanks to myKeyboard.eu for committing to be a vendor for this set, and for helping with French conjugation & translation.
- Thanks to onecreativemind for early advice on the modifier icons.
- Thanks to Alex Lin at zFrontier for answering my KAT questions and committing to a Group Buy date early in this process.
- Thanks to Ulliam for providing renders for the J02, the Prime_E, and the GMK Rudy comparison.
- Thanks to shensmobile for sharing the Boardrun CNC file and for being a good creative sounding-board.
- Thanks to walletburner for giving permission to render the Neuron keyboard.
- Thanks to SomeGreekGuy for sharing the Abacus CNC file and giving permission to render it.
- Thanks to the members and moderators of the many Discord servers where I’ve solicited feedback for this and other projects, with particular thanks to:
Copyright & Citations
Creative Commons Derivative Works
The following component designs and icons are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3 (full license text):
- Austrian Shield Outline. Derivative work based on “Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria.svg” by Sodacan @ Wikimedia Commons (https://tinyurl.com/omvdoy9).
- Bee Monogram. Derivative work based on “Imperial Coat of Arms of France (1804-1815).svg” by Katepanomegas @ Wikimedia Commons (https://tinyurl.com/yd8ezb7p).
- French Shield Outline. Derivative work based on “Imperial Coat of Arms of France (1804-1815).svg” by Katepanomegas @ Wikimedia Commons (https://tinyurl.com/yd8ezb7p).
- Minard Chart. Derivative work based on “Minard’s Map (vectorized).svg” by Martin Grandjean @ Wikimedia Commons (https://tinyurl.com/yacwdyvt).
- Russian Shield Outline. Derivative work based on “Imperial Standard of the Emperor of Russia (1858–1917).svg” by TRAJAN 117 @ Wikimedia Commons (https://tinyurl.com/y7fryjn4).
Public Domain Works Cited
- Bellangé, Hippolyte. “Light Infantry: Voltigeur and Carabinier from the Grande Armée.” From Histoire de Napoleon by P.-M. Laurent de L`Ardeche. 1843. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- David, Jacques-Louis. Napoleon Crossing the Alps. First version, painted 1800. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- David, Jacques-Louis. Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Third version, painted 1802. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Gérard, François. The Battle of Austerlitz, 2nd December 1805. Painted 1810. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg. Painting in the Castle Gallery at Český Krumlov. Unidentified painter, 19th century. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Knotel, Richard. Uniformenkunde, Lose Blatter zur Geschihte der Entwicklung der militarischen Tracht. Berlin, 1890. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Louis-François, Baron Lejeune. Battle of Borodino 1812. Painted 1822. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Moshkov, Vladimir Ivanovich. Battle of Leipzig. Painted 1815. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Neumann, Fritz. The charge of the 19th Hungarian infantry regiment in the Battle of Leipzig (1813) against the French. Painted 19th century. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Philippoteaux, Henri Félix Emmanuel. The Battle of Waterloo: The British Squares Receiving the Charge of the French Cuirassiers. Painted 1874. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
- Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Excerpt from the original Russian text. Published 1869. Accessed via Master Russian. URL:
- Vernet, Horace. The Battle of Hanau. Painted 1824. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. URL:
All historical blurbs appearing in kit diagrams are paraphrased from various Wikipedia articles, except for a few selected quotes from:
- Clarke, Susanna. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Bloomsbury, copyright 2004. Goodreads URL:
No intellectual property from the above was used in the design of the actual keycaps or deskmats. Quotes and names used from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in kit diagrams are intended as an homage. No endorsement of KAT Napoleonic by Susanna Clarke or Bloomsbury has been given nor should be implied.
All other designs are copyright 2020 by W. Alex Ronke (a.k.a. NoPunIn10Did). All Rights Reserved.
Links & Contacts
|Survey||KAT Napoleonic Survey|
|Discord||NoPun’s Keycap Designs|
|Geekhack||IC Thread on Geekhack|
|Keebtalk||IC Thread on Keebtalk|
Geekhack Banner Code
Copy the following to your forum profile signature if you’d like to help spread the word about KAT Napoleonic!
[url=https://tinyurl.com/kat-napoleonic][img width=360 height=120]https://i.imgur.com/73UjvEA.png[/img][/url]