After quite a long pause, I’ve at last lifted a paintbrush again and begun work on some French Foreign Legion characters for my embryonic Victorian Science Fiction force to do battle against Colonel O’Truth’s British and Scott’s Prussians/Zendarians. So here are my first two painted figures, though they are yet to have their basing done. They’re standing alongside their Bandai steam caterpillar gun.
It took me a long time to choose which VSF force I was going to do: French, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, Orientals …? Though, in reality, it was always the French who beckoned, with their dapper uniforms and Napoleon III beards.
The problem was I just couldn’t find a range of 28mm late-19th century French who conveyed that particular Gallic look I was after. The only range that got anywhere close was Mirliton, but they had limited poses, and when I tried ordering some to check them out, the postage from Italy to New Zealand was just too horrendous to contemplate.
So I settled on the French Foreign Legionaries in Foundry’s range of Western figures. While they don’t quite capture the exact look either, they are so character-filled in other ways that I thought they would be delight to paint. Just look at the panache of these (still unpainted) guys in the picture below.
Why are these figures found in a Western range? Well, they represent the force who were send to Mexico in the 1860s as part of ill-fated ‘Maximilian Adventure’ to place a Hapsburg emperor on the Mexican throne. This campaign was the scene of one of the Foreign Legion’s finest hours—the last stand at Camarone.
In fact, the first (and so far only) figures I’ve painted from the Foundry range are models of two of the heroic officers from that siege, Capitaine Jean Danjou and Sous-Lieutenant Napoléon Vilain.
On 30 April 1863 a small infantry patrol led by Capitaine Danjou was attacked and besieged by a force that may have eventually reached 2,000 Mexican infantry and cavalry. They were forced to make a defensive stand at the nearby hacienda of Camarone. The stalwart conduct of the defence has lent the Legion a certain mystique—and Camarone became synonymous with bravery and a fight-to-the-death.
However, as I mentioned above, my force isn’t intended as a historical representation of the French Foreign Legion at Camarone, but as a totally fictional VSF force. I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with some sort of cover-story why a force fighting British and Prussians seems to have an affection for wearing Mexican sombreros and serapes!
6 thoughts on “French Foreign Legion for VSF”
Here is a link to Ian Croxall’s FFL pages. You might well find quite a bit to interest you:
And your figures look good.
Excellent paint job as usual, Roly. Looking forward to seeing the rest of them in colour. Of course, the Foreign Legion were always in the thick of the fighting as they were not only excellent troops but considered expendable when securing French military interests.
Good start Roly!
I’m sure if our campaigning takes place under the tropical sun somewhere, (darkest Africa etc) then your sombrero’s will suit just fine 🙂
Looking good, Roly! Can’t wait to give your garcons a taste of Sheffield steel!
I’ve struck a technical hitch because my standard lamp that I paint with has tripped one of the house fuses three times – so I’ve deduced there is something majorly wrong with it, and so tossed it out.
So any more painting of my Foreign Legion guys will have to wait till I buy a replacement standard lamp, as I can’t paint without extra light.
Great post, very inspiring – and excellently painted minis! Cheers!