Category Archives: French

French test figure

Apart from the bread bag I’m quite pleased with how he turned out, and shall be doing the rest of the unit this weekend.

Vichy01_zps150fdd27

In other news I’ve got a few more Thai tanks lined up, as well as a couple of infantry guns. Here’s hoping nothing upsets my weekend plans.

dipped Foreign Legion

What little enthusiasm I had for these figures was destroyed while preparing and painting them, a process I found tedious and frequently infuriating. Why? Where to begin? First, there was far more flash than I had initially realised, some of which I failed to remove with my poor excuse for a modelling knife. I then proceeded to obscure the tiny details (well, they are tiny figures) by slathering  on an over-generous helping of PVA glue. This was followed by something much worse – in my impatience to get them finished I had rushed through the basing stage without allowing the glue sufficient time to dry, which meant that when it came time to spray prime the figures  five of them were instantly ruined. The surviving five can be seen here.

And thank god for the Army Painter dip! Painting them with my usual layering method would have been a nightmare. And before anyone starts wondering, I do not intend to use these for Bir Hakeim or anywhere else in the desert. They are supposed to represent legionnaires of the 5e REI in Indochina – ignore the Tommy guns – hence the grassy bases.

Ykreol French Foreign Legion at Bir Hakeim

When I found out about the release of Ykreol’s latest set I immediately headed over to the Michigan Toy Soldier Company site. Unfortunately the speed it took to arrive didn’t quite match that with which it took me to fill out my credit card details, and I had to wait four full weeks – the longest I’ve yet done for a wargaming product.

Upon opening the box my enthusiasm for the set  considerably dampened, mainly due to the moulding, which isn’t exactly stellar. The plastic is smelly and somewhat bendy, and there’s a fair amount of flash to remove. Some of the figures even have shallow holes burrowed into their backs (or backpacks). Worst of all is the bareheaded commander, two out of three of whom have chunks of their heads missing.

The sculpting is reasonable if a bit rough, while many of the sixteen poses are well animated without being acrobatic. The silliest figure here is without a doubt the chap standing around with a puny little flag stuck to his rifle; nevertheless he isn’t quite as useless as the ballerinos other sets are wont to include. Size wise they’re a good match for SHQ and IT figures, in terms of both height and proportion.

Unlike SHQ’s French Foreign Legion range, which consists of simple conversions of their desert Commonwealth figures using kepi-wearing heads, the figures here have French leather webbing, and carry Berthier rifles and FM24/29 light machine guns. The sprinting infantryman even has an (admittedly badly-shaped) Adrian attached to his pack!

Also included, in the tradition of the old Matchbox sets, is a surrendering Afrika Korps soldier, whose usefulness for me is nil.

While I prefer metal figures, this unique set allows me to  finally field the III/5e REI for the Phum Preav scenario I’d written for an old issue of the SOTCW’s Journal. The figures aren’t 100% accurate (they’re supposed to represent the 13e DBLE, evacuees from Narvik who’d been kitted in England; hence they’re wearing KD shirts and shorts, and not the 1937 French tropical uniform) for Vichy troops based in the tropics, but they’ll do.

For all of the set’s faults, Ykreol should be applauded for covering a WWII subject that hasn’t been done to death.