More Steam, Sir? (2)

One of the attractions for creating my Victorian Science Fiction/steampunk armies is that I can just add figures, vehicles or units to my historical forces as I feel like it, and I have plenty of the latter to add to! I’ve also decided to concentrate on adding small units or individual vehicles or items of equipment to give more of a technology-evolving-through-the-building-of-prototypes feel to the project (bit like the French Navy at the end of the 19th Century).

Although I’m intending to try and make a lot of the new stuff generic enough to be used by just about any nation, I will be making some troops and equipment specific to certain armies and this applies to my latest unit (shown above). This unit of six figures represents the French Foreign Legion’s Airborne Auto-Rifle Battalion, an elite unit armed with light automatic rifles and deployed in gliders launched from large airships. It is commanded by Commandant Jean Danjou, decorated hero and sole survivor of the action at Camerone (see here for more about the Legion at Camerone in a historical setting).

I’ve sort of cheated a bit here! I’d normally represent 19th Century infantry battalions as 10-man units, but reckoned I could get away with fewer if they’re equipped with automatic weapons. Since I already had two WW1 French Chauchat light machine gun teams in horizon blue uniforms (the left- and right-hand bases of figures in the above photo) all I needed to do was add a third base to get a six-man unit. I used two plastic 1:72 scale Strelets WW1 French infantry in gas masks (the centre base in the picture) and painted their trousers white to represent these two wearing Legion summer fatigue trousers. The gas masks seem appropriate for their role and make them seem more suited to operations undertaken by Earth forces on Mars. Commandant Danjou still has his artificial hand in its white glove, but the technology now exists for him to use this to carry a weapon. Flying in the face of regulations, he’s also elected to wear a white kepi cover to better fit in with his men. The trooper accompanying him also wears white fatigue trousers (not visible here) and has an unpainted bronze helmet.

I thought that the horizon blue uniforms would be ideal for an elite airborne force and it lets me use my two WW1 French infantry battalions in a VSF setting. Since French colonial infantry at the end of the 19th Century also wore light blue uniforms, the new figures also fit in well with them (they’re the figures on the right in the picture below, from my Boxer Rebellion Allied forces).

Using these colonial figures gives me another two infantry battalions, so I’ve got a decent French force without using any Metropolitan or African Army units. I need to have a think about what I’m going to provide my French with as far as support weapons and artillery are concerned, so if anyone’s got any ideas please let me know!


  1. Great additions to the force John, for your steampunk style battles I think they tie in perfectly. Will you be doing a glider for them, as Season of Scenery is almost upon us ! LOL As for other additions, maybe a steampunk cannon, tank, or flyers.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Dave! πŸ™‚ I hadn’t planned on doing a glider, thinking more that I’d deploy them off-board to get round that problem (and I have something else under way that ties in with these troops). Having said that, I have more than enough stuff to do for the Season of Scenery challenge so you can count me in for that and I’m looking forward to it! As far as the French are concerned I haven’t made my mind up on how they will get artillery support yet or what form their tanks might take, but I do have some generic plans in mind for these things! Flyers sound like things I should have, but I may give them to my Martian forces first (or not)! I’m doing a lot of jumping around between ideas at the moment!

      Liked by 5 people

      • The description of the pneumatic dynamite gun’s only combat action (USS Vesuvius) in Cuba is interesting. The concepts that the both firing was relatively silent to the intended target) so no warning that a gun had fired) and that the impacts were even louder and more destructive than other naval ordnance is interesting. I can see it being very VSF in a ground role – and you’re just the guy to pull that off John!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely stuff mate, smashing looking figures and very clever tying them in with the historical stuff you already have. How about Steam powered suits fitted this glider wings so they could be dropped at the same time as the troops, of even before to secure a landing zone?

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Excellent idea to mix in your real-world forces like that, John! The figures look great (although I do have problems seeing soldiers in sky blue that aren’t Space Marines LOL) and I’m looking forward to these chaps taking on those awesome aliens!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Your Frenchmen are looking good. I like the gas masks, especially if I were painting them. I’ve never liked painting human faces so the masks would be made to order for me. As you say too, probably pretty useful to have on Mars.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sacre bleu! These came out great, John! I think you’ve got the right idea keeping them both generic but also a little futuristic or alternative-history looking. These troops look ready to face off against all manner of unusual threats! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s