You name it, this post has got it! Christmas, maths, history, little painted figures and waffle (plenty of the latter, I believed termed “BS” in some circles)! I’m assuming I can get away with all this in the immediate lead up to Christmas because no-one will be paying too much attention.
As far as Christmas goes, I reckoned I’d get one post done before Christmas anyway, so in the spirit of things I’ve stuffed a Christmas tree into one of the pictures. Most of the little painted figures are wearing red hats that are likely to be the closest I’ll ever get to painting Santa and his elves!
OK, now for the maths. I wanted a unit of 10 figures, but I already had two painted, so how many did I still need to paint? That’s right, 10! Hang on, that means I’ve now got 12 figures in total. For those of you who are thinking only a complete idiot would paint more figures than he actually needed, I can only say that I’m well qualified on that basis! Hopefully, the reason for painting extra figures will become clear.
Since it’s almost a year since I painted any figures for my Paraguayan War armies, I thought it was about time I did some. This also sort of fitted into Azazel’s monthly community painting challenge, which I’ve interpreted as “paint something you’d really like to get finished”.
These 20mm figures form a Zouave unit for my Brazilian army. Although the original Zouaves were formed by the French in North Africa, the combat record of these troops in the Crimea and Italy, combined with their colourful and rakish dress, meant they were emulated in other armies of the time (notably amongst volunteer units in the American Civil War). From what I’ve read, the Brazilians raised three or four units during the Paraguayan War dressed in Zouave style. The most famous were the Zouaves of Bahia, a unit comprised completely of black soldiers, but other units did exist.
Since I also wanted my Brazilian Zouave unit to double up for a French unit I painted the figures accordingly. All of the troops are white and the uniforms are bordered/piped in red (the Brazilians preferred yellow, but I did find a source that said one of their units did use red). Eight of the figures are Italeri plastic ACW Zouaves, while the officer and colour bearer are Newline Designs metal ACW Zouaves. Two of the plastic figures were painted over 20 years ago when I first thought about this project (the two on the left of the picture above – I could paint eyes on 20mm figures back then) but they’ve had their blue and red touched up to make them a bit brighter. I think I’ve now got the hang of Brazilian flags and I make them in PowerPoint and print them off, before overpainting the main colours and adding some highlights.
For the French unit, the officer and colour bearer needed to be replaced. The officer is a HäT plastic figure from their WW1 French infantry set (second from the right in the front row of figures above), but his cape is not too far away from the winter dress worn by French Zouave officers (I think)! I’ve replaced the colour bearer by a standard Newline Designs ACW Zouave (the figure on the right in the picture above). Since colours/eagles were carried by the second battalion in each French three-battalion regiment, I’ve not bothered with a flag/eagle for this unit, since I’m not painting any more Zouaves. Overall, the ACW Zouaves work quite well as French or Brazilians, although the headdress is maybe slightly more “floppy” than the French fez-like chèchia. Emhar and Strelets both make French Zouaves in plastic, but I already had the Italeri figures and I don’t think I need any more figures now.
This will be my last post before Christmas, but only because nothing else that needs painting is anywhere near finished! I’m not really a Christmas sort of person, but I hope everyone can enjoy some peace and happiness over the coming few weeks! I’d particularly like to thank all of you that have signed up to follow my blog – I appreciate you being out there! If you’ve got to this post by accident, you’ve had a lucky escape!