A Victorian Science Fiction conundrum

The other evening myself and some pals met with Colonel O’Truth to view (finally) his magnificent Victorian Science Fiction (VSF) creations that have caused so much interest on various wargaming fora in recent months (that’s the Colonel and some of his magnificent machines in the picture above – click the pic for a closer look).

The Colonel has been trying to exhort Scott, Greg and myself to take up VSF gaming with GASLIGHT rules. So far, while interested, I haven’t fully engaged with the idea. But seeing the Colonel’s models up close and personal the other night, the interest is getting a little more intense! After all, to start with all I need is 30 figures and a machine or two. Surely that’s manageable, isn’t it?!

I’m dithering like mad on what VSF force to do, though. Up till now I’ve been vaguely inclined towards French, but I just can’t find a range of 28mm French figures that really ‘does it’ for me.

My criteria are:

  1. a real 19th century French ‘look’ (this doesn’t necessarily mean realism, but something more indefinable, with posing, character and panache that match what I *imagine* when I think of late 19th century French!);
  2.  lots of active poses (ie not a range of packs of duplicated figures; and doing more than just marching);
  3. excellent sculpting (again, somewhat indefinable – but for me this means a little bit chunky, good features and detail, no awkward arms, clean looking casting);
  4. red trousers. Oh yes, definitely red trousers!

OK, so I’m not asking for much, am I?

So what have I found so far?

  • If the ‘Foundry’ filibuster French Foreign Legion weren’t so Mexican-ish, I’d go for them, as they otherwise meet my criteria.
  • ‘Artizan’ are almost there for me, but not quite.  Maybe if I see their latest figs when the pics arrive on their site?
  • ‘Mirliton’ almost match, especially with the French ‘look’, but are a little slim and gawky by the website.
  • ‘Askari’ – for me the website photos don’t enthuse me, even though the subject matter looks good.
  • And ‘Perry’ have otherwise perfect legionnaires in their Carlist range, but a little bit too early in the century for me – though I am tempted.

Any other options out there for VSF French?

Or are there any other late 19th century nations which fit my criteria (though possibly not red trousers!).  Other than British, Prussian or Bavarian, Chinese and Japanese, which my pals are already taking.

PS: If ‘Empress Minatures’ made French, then they’d be perfect, as I love their NZ Wars range.  Actually, I have toyed with  doing a Māori VSF force with flying waka (inticately carved and decorated war-canoes) and a floating pa!

10 thoughts on “A Victorian Science Fiction conundrum

  1. The Colonel has been trying to exhort Scott, Joe and myself…

    Um… Am I losing my grip on my alter-ego…?

      1. Er … he only was for a wee while until such time as I proof-read my article and made some minor changes, like changing you back to Greg.

        Of course, the Colonel is much bigger than just you now, Joe 😉

  2. For inspiration you might explore Ian Croxall’s FFL pages. While they are (I think) pretty much 25mm figures instead of 28, there is a lot of good material to peruse:


    As for another nation, have you thought of the Ottoman Turks? Lots of colorful troops there.

    — Jeff

    1. I’ve always found Ian Croxall’s ‘The Red Shadow’ site interesting. I had forgotten about it, though … so will take another look. Good idea about the Ottomans – I’ll check it out.

  3. From the picture you have posted wouldnt zoaves work? There seem plenty of manufacturers of these… a box of perry plastics would have you set for the required 30 figures…?

    As Jeff says, Ottomans would be interesting… and perhaps open up that NW frontier feel for our games?

    As for flying maori, wakas and pas, erm, well…whatever ‘floats your boat’, as the saying goes! 😉

  4. Good thought about the plastics, Scott … I’ll look them up to see if they have kepi heads.

    I’m also going to investigate a bit about Ottomans – that could be quite colourful if the right sort of figures exist.

  5. Have you seen these, Roly? I always thought they looked quite nice.
    There’s a range of poses (I like the cape and hood figure) and they have a French colonial range and French Foreign Legion for extra variety. Not sure how they would stack up to other 28mm size wise, but in VSF it shouldn’t matter too much (individiual bases etc.).

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