Monday, December 17, 2018

Zouaves! French Zouaves in 28mm

28mm Zouave infantry from "Eagles of Empire" 
Do you ever get into painting/collecting a period or setting with one specific type of troop or unit in mind? I mean, yes, you are interested in the whole period and the whole setting, but there is one particular thing - a tank, a uniform, a character a certain unit - something that will come along in the course of painting, and bring the whole thing together...?

Zouaves!

NCO on square base, regular troops on round bases. 
I first saw Zouaves on a wargaming table a long time ago, like 25 years ago, in an American Civil War game.  I was captivated immediately - and also totally confused.  WTF was up with those incredible outfits? And...why were regiments in the Union army garbed in this fashion? Helpful gamers tried their best to explain it to me, and kept mentioning France. Which, at the time, made even less sense!

Some incredible character on these castings. 
At the time I was ignorant of the relevant history and related inspirations. Reading more about France, and finally about the battles in Crimea, in Italy and finally the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 - as well as visiting the Pont de l'Alma in Paris - finally put these super-cool looking troops into the right context.

Unit officer on hex-shaped base...NOTE - I made a mistake in his uniform - I missed the gold trim on the front of his coat - this was corrected subsequent to these photos being taken.
The Zouaves began as North African troops, and the unique cut of the uniform is inspired by that climate, region and culture - the short coat, the baggy trousers, the fez and turban caps.  Of course, the snappy facing colours and lace patterns...well, that's France for you! Over time the Zouave regiments became "European", although North African troops continued to make a very important contribution to the armies of France in the form of the feared "Turcos", the notorious Tirailleurs Algeriens (and also the mounted arm - the "Chasseurs d'Afrique").

I love the fluid nature of this casting! Such elan, such spirit!
The Zouave and Turco regiments were front and centre amid the ill-fated campaign against the Prussian assault in 1870. They battled tenaciously, from the opening engagements around Wissembourg, to the doomed envelopment at Sedan, and subsequent abdication of the Emperor.  When I started my Franco-Prussian War painting project in 2017, I looked forward to stage in the painting where I could turn my brushes to some of these remarkable soldiers.

These are 28mm castings from the incredible folks at Eagles of Empire. Soren and the group released these figures back in the summer of 2018.  Sculpts from this company have a very unique look and feel - for 28mm figures they are kind of tall, very slender...but SO much character.  The Zouave infantry are not only extremely cool, with their super-funky outfits, but they are sporting a heroic amount of pots, pans and tent stakes! Not only are they ready to fight hard, but they can also whip up some soup when the time comes!

Group of Zouaves - ready for action. 
As with my other Eagles of Empire figures, I have based these figures on individual bases for skirmish gaming set in the Franco Prussian War.

Check out all the stuff on those packs! Ready to fight, AND to cook & camp! Vive la France!!
These castings come with separate head sculpts for you to choose from - you can make the models up as either Zouaves or "Turcos".  In this case, as you can see, I went with the Zouave look (stay tuned for more work featuring "Turcos", however).  I salute the efforts of the folks at Eagles of Empire for trying their best to offer us gamers flexibility, BUT I do find separate heads can be tricky sometimes - and as you can see, one or two of the fellows are showing the side effects of those challenges - some of the figures look like they are "looking down" instead of forward.

Second group of Zouave infantry - two "squads" of 8 models each. 
Another small quibble is the bayonets...these miniatures have the incredible sword-style bayonet cast right on to the ends of their Chassepot rifles.  But I am not a fan of casting bayonets on to rifles using the thin/slender style of Eagles of Empire - the reason being that they bend off and break during shipping :( That is why you only see 17 finished figures even though I had two boxes - a number of broken bayonets :( 

But for all these small troubles, these figures were still an absolute pleasure to paint. Just so much fun! The style of sculpting at Eagles of Empire is very different from a lot of other sculptors out there, and I love it, just love it! If you are interested in this period, you need to get some of these figures, just to have the pleasure of painting them yourself!

As Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge approaches for another run, I hope to be posting & sharing more stuff from this period.  Thanks for visiting, hope you have a great day!

5 comments:

Francis Lee said...

Terrific work Greg!

Peter Douglas said...

Zouave a, now we’re talking! I expect to see you model these uniforms next time you’re in Regina!

Dallas said...

Great stuff dude!

Jason said...

Lovely work! I do believe that, after seeing your gorgeous painted figures, I am going to have to make a purchase soon!

L'Empereur Zoom13 said...

We love zouaves... and yours are fabulous!
Lovely basing too!
🙂