Tag Archives: Vichy French

More Vichy French

Very chuffed with how fast I was able to churn this second unit out. They may not hold up well in the face of the camera’s unforgiving glare, though at arm’s length on the tabletop they do look quite passable. Honest!

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Funnily enough, it was only thanks to these photos that I came to realise that the helmet badges still need to be painted. I am already looking forward to rectifying this with the next batch.

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Vichy infantry

These chaps can double as both foreign legion and colonials, the Indochina garrison having undertaken to standardise its combat troops’ appearance during the mid-1930s (to the extent that even the Vietnamese tirailleurs’ iconic salacco hat was replaced by the Model 1931 sun helmet).

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The wargaming world’s first-ever range of such troops (predating the Perrys’ own 28mm offerings by several years), Elhiem Figures’ WWII French in tropical uniform can also be used to defend France’s honour in places as far apart as Madagascar, Gabon, and the Levant – a very versatile bunch if you ask me!

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The painting pretty much follows the recipe outlined in the previous post, though the bread bags have been given a 50:50 mix of VMC Iraqi Sand and Foundry Boneyard C as a mid-tone to offset the jarring near-whiteness of Foundry Boneyard C on its own.

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Water bottles were done using an improvised VMC British Uniform – VMC Khaki Grey – VMC Khaki Grey + VMC Iraqi Sand triad which I would like to think came out rather well.

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.