Looks Like Beef, Chasseur!

At the moment I think I’m managing to exert quite a bit of willpower as far as painting stuff is concerned.  I’ve managed to completely ignore the half dozen half-finished tanks on my desk and I’ve managed to get a Franco-Prussian War unit painted instead!

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The ten figures are French Chasseurs à Pied in 1:72 scale, seven of them in metal from Hagen Miniatures, and the remaining three in plastic from Strelets.  If I’ve got my facts straight, Chasseurs originally fought as light infantry in a skirmishing role, but by 1870 they were equipped and fought as regular line infantry (although tending to regard themselves as a cut above the rest).

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I bought them as a unit pack of 10 metal Hagen Miniatures figures, but having recently  adopted movement bases for my units, I replaced three of the metal figures lying down firing with three kneeling figures from a box of Strelets figures I had (the Strelets figures are the three at the back in the picture below).

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Some of the Hagen figures have separate arms, weapons and packs and were a bit fiddly to put together, but the poses are very good, particularly the officer resting one hand on his knee (watching his men fire and correcting their aim) and the Chasseur running with his rifle in one hand.

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I have gone for a very simple painting approach on these.  Undercoated black overall, with light grey for the gaiters and haversack and saddle brown for faces and hands.  Then highlighted dark blue for kepis and tunics (I find Prussian Blue works best – sacrilege), blue-grey for trousers (to add insult to injury, Luftwaffe Blue Grey), white for gaiters and haversacks and black-grey for leather equipment.  I’ve long abandoned painting piping on uniforms in this scale (the very fine coloured edging used to identify unit or arm of service), since it’s so fine that it’s not visible at any reasonable distance, but I did paint the green epaulettes with their distinctive yellow “crescents”.  One peculiar feature of the Hagen figures was that the kepis (caps) seemed very tall, as if the crowns had been pulled right up.  I’ve never seen kepis worn in this fashion by the French before, but left them as they were and trimmed and green-stuffed the Strelets shakos to match.

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Surprisingly, this is the first French infantry unit I’ve painted specifically for the Franco-Prussian War – it took a lot of hunting around to find Chasseurs and I’m really pleased with them (I could have used French line infantry at a pinch, but they wore greatcoats in action and Chasseurs didn’t usually).  I’ve got other French troops I can use for this war, but they’ve been painted for contemporary conflicts and just happen to also be useful for FPW units.  Given that the 150th anniversary of the start of the war is next year, I need to get a move on if I want to be able to field a decent French army.  Those tanks are maybe going to have to look at me from from my desktop for a bit longer!

20 comments

  1. I must say John these are very nice and I would never have guessed there were two manufacturer’s figures here. Credit to them and to you, often brands don’t match up that well in my opinion but clealry that is not the case here.

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    • Thanks Dave, appreciate that! There are differences in the uniforms but I’m not going to get hung up on them! I have a feeling the Strelets figures are for the Crimean War, so set 16 years before the Franco-Prussian War. French uniform details changed frequently in that period, but for a wargame unit they’re not that obvious. I thought they might look quite dull, since they lack the red worn by French line infantry, but they seem to have come out quite well.

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  2. Wow John I’m amazed you painted piping in the past !,nice paint work mate and like Dave said you wouldn’t know that you had used a couple of Strelets guys you’ve fitted them in nicely .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Pat! I think maybe I’ve eventually come to realise that any piping I painted was way overscale and that I was only painting it because I thought people would be expecting to see it! Most of the figures didn’t even have it cast/moulded in anyway. I knew you’d appreciate a couple of Strelets guys getting in on the act – I like their figures!

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    • Thanks Pete! I have a very chequered history with FPW going back 30 years, most of it spent not doing anything! It maybe seems to have got moving because I got enough French colonial and early WW1 figures done to stand in reasonably well for a French army, or at least a Republican force for the later part of the war. But it’s the 150th anniversary of the war next year and I do intend getting more troops ready for that, so watch this space!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s funny I got to thinking about the piping bit and I do remember trying it when I did the ACW dio and gave up as no one ever noticed it as it was so insignificant in amongst everything .I’m not idle at the moment mate ,just distracted ,as it’s getting cooler her I’m not in the shed as much doing the base for the last of the Castle add-ons, but inside converting and painting the figures for the next big show an 1812 American V Britain dio all Strelets guys again ,I can’t get away from them .

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s exactly my point! I never assume you’re doing nothing and you have longer lead times on your projects anyway because of the scope of them! An 1812 diorama sounds good and maybe slightly off the beaten track for a lot of people, but will be good to see more Strelets figures painted!

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  4. These are fantastic FPW soldiers, and you chose the colors wisely (even if the paints names were off teutonically). I was quite impressed with the figures and the poses. I so look forward to your work John, always a pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mark, I’m glad you like them! I find Prussian Blue a good dark blue colour for uniforms regardless of who might be wearing them. The Hagen Miniatures figures are quite nice – they concentrate on 1:72 scale and have quite a good range of off-the-beaten-track miniatures.

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