Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Verdun Project: French Poilu


Here’s the first (of four) section of the first (of two) French infantry platoons I’ve been painting for what seems like for ever! 


In classic Poilu greatcoats, heavy beards and field-packs, the figures are from the excellent Brigade Games 28mm late Great War French range. Size-wise, the figures are a near perfect fit with Great War Miniatures, which I use for the bulk of my late Great War Germans. The figures came quickly (three weeks) and well-packaged across the Atlantic from Lon Weiss at Brigade Games (thanks again, Lon!). Very little cleaning or preparation was necessary on any of the castings, and the sculpts are just about in perfect poses for a typical section of fusiliers or voltigeurs from a French infantry regiment of around 1916-1917. 




 

The figures were fairly easy to paint (although slowed down by trying to do all 76 figures for the two platoons together!)  Never again! The trickiest thing, as readers of some of my previous Blog posts might guess, has been to get the colour of Horizon Bleu “just right” for the greatcoats, tunics, pants and puttees of the Poilu. I hope I’ve captured it well enough to make most people happy (at least some of the time!).

I also tried to tone down the gun-metal glint on the bayonets and the mess tins. The metal on a couple of my earlier French figures looked to be a bit too shiny for Verdun conditions. 

As ever, please do let me know what you think in the Blog comments.  Many thanks indeed to everyone who's given thoughts, suggestions and comments so far.  All errors and colour-blind misinterpretations of what you all meant when you commented remain my fault entirely!

The next three posts here on the Blog will be a three stage painting guide, similar to what I did for the Late War British and Late War Germans. Hopefully can get these published here during the course of the forthcoming Bank Holiday Weekend. 


I also thought it might be helpful to do a figure scale comparison of Late Great War French miniatures, featuring Great War Miniatures (for comparison), Brigade Games, Scarab Miniatures, Forgotten & Glorious Company of Art, Old Glory and Woodbine Miniatures. I’ll see if I can finish that in the next week or so.

Finally, the next book to be reviewed will be Henri Barbusse’s “Under Fire”, which is a very good book, if pretty stomach churning at times.

62 comments:

  1. Bloody outstanding, the colours look spot on, and as ever they're full of life and character. This Poilu re-enactor approves :P I love "Under Fire" - look forward to seeing your review.

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    1. Thanks Headologist! Coming from you, that is high praise - thank you very much. I've really enjoyed "Under Fire". It took me a while to get into it, but I am very glad I persevered.

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  2. I've made sure my capote has been weather-worn, it's faced a few downpours and a share of mud. It's roughly this colour, on the left. http://fav.me/d4h2bxw Not exactly the greatest source. Either way, what you have here looks spot on to me.

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    1. That's a great photo - just the sort of weather-beaten Horizon Bleu I had in mind for the veteran 2nd platoon!

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  3. Stunning work Sindey !!!!

    Best regards Michael

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  4. Beautiful work again my friend, I think the painting guide is a must but also the figure comparison pics.

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    1. Thanks Fran.....hopefully people will like the figure comparison. I couldn't see one anywhere. Even if they don't really like the painting, they can judge how well the figures line up against each other. That's the plan, anyway!

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  5. It is a great painting work once again. I look forward to the painting guide and the book review.

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    1. Benito, many thanks! Lots more painting and French-related blogging to come!

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  6. Fantastic paintjob, sorely tempted to dig out my own Poilu from my leadpile (under the bed).

    Regards,
    Matt

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    1. Allez allez Matt!!.....go on, you know you want to. Just find a clip of Le Marseillaise on You Tube, play it and I defy you to resist dragging those chaps out from under the bed!

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  7. Exceptional painting and basing - as always. Impressive. Best, Dean

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  8. Really Sidney, you set the standard. Very nice work indeed. Definitely the French will be next on my list of figures to buy (once I plough through all the stuff I picked up at Salute...)

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    1. Mark, that's brilliant to hear. Thanks very much!

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  9. What everyone else said... your collection is a constant inspiration too!

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    1. Thanks Jim. You should know, however, Sir, that the feeling is entirely mutual and reciprocated!!

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  10. Lovely work! The bricks are a nice, bright, touch.

    Simon

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    1. Simon, thank you so much. And many thanks indeed for dropping by again!

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  11. A triumph Sidney, an absolute triumph. I just love the saturation of the colours and the groundwork is just superb.

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    1. Michael, I'm so glad you liked them. They've taken a long time to arrive, but hopefully this is just the start as the rest roll off the painting table!

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  12. Fantastic painted figures! And at the right time for me you announce a painting guide. Great. Looking forward for the posts.

    Regards
    Bruno

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    1. Bruno, you're very welcome. I hope you like the painting guide. I'm hoping to have the first part finished by Friday 3rd May.

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    1. Thanks Nate! Really very pleased you liked them. You're part of the inspiration behind getting the colours to where they are, so your seal of approval is very welcome indeed!

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  14. Gorgeous work, as always. You are truly a talented man! I love the little touches, like the lichen on the log. Truth be told, they are like the tiny bits of colour Constable would put into his landscapes to catch the eye.

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    1. Jan, that's very kind.....far too kind in fact (but thank you anyway). I'm really pleased you spotted the lichen on the log! Something different which I thought I'd try!

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  15. Really great painting work :-)

    Marzio.

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  16. Wonderful work Sidney!! They look superb and that shade of blue is perfect!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher. It's a really fine line in getting the Horizon Bleu right. And you can see how the angle of light in the photos makes quite a bit of difference as well. But thanks for the kind comment!

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  17. Great work as usual there.

    What I really like about your French is the mild contrast between the ground and the French Blue. Makes them look really magical IMHO!

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    1. DHC, that's very kind indeed. The ground will be a real contrast with the French, not least because one of the things I want to do this summer is repaint almost all of the trench terrain boards (about 18, I think) for a more autumnal feel. That should set off the Horizon Bleu nicely, I'm hoping.

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  18. Utterly amazing work, Sidney. I love the bases, and the paintjobs are crisp and beautiful. 'Under Fire' is a classic of Great War literature, up there with 'Storm of Steel', 'Her Privates We', and 'All Quiet On The Western Front' as well as plays like 'Journey's End'. I look forwards to reading your review!

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    1. Thank you Sir! I didn't do as much on the bases as I thought I would do at first....more of this on one of the painting blog posts! I thought the blue of the greatcoats was strong enough that the bases didn't need to be too "busy".

      And yes, as I mentioned above I did really enjoy "Under Fire". As I'll mention in the review, it made more sense to me when I knew a little more about Henri Barbusse himself. The contrast between "Under Fire" and "Storm of Steel" is really interesting. Hope you like the review!

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  19. What can I say that hasn't been said already!? Simply spiffing work sir! The colours are marvellous. Look forward to the painting and sizing articles with interest.

    Many thanks for posting.

    Matt

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    1. Thanks matt! Pleased you like them so far!!

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  20. Very nice indeed Sir! I have a couple of sections of the Brigade French and also some of their late war Germans - both very nice sets of figures.

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    1. Al, thanks so much. Loads of time for you to get the brushes out on the Brigade French, then!! Thanks again for dropping by, Sir!

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  21. Looking great Sidney, like the horizon blue

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    1. Thanks Dave. The "final" recipe will be up shortly!

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  22. AWESOME!!!!!

    I don't suppose you have shared your "formula" for Horizon Blue somewhere have you?

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    1. Hi Larry, thanks for dropping by. Yes, I'll be posting the various formulations of Horizon Bleu I've used in a day or so - so stay tuned!

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  23. That horizon blue is just the ticket, bases are just right too.

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    1. Thanks Phil! Really pleased you like them!

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  24. Fine work there Sydney!Always a joy to see your work!

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    1. David, that's very kind indeed. Thank you very much!

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  25. They are stunning Sidney! Great work.

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    1. Thanks Rodger, and always great to see you visiting!

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  26. A very nice project, and fantastic looking figures!! Fabulous work...
    Phil.

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  27. I don't know how I missed this post when it was originally published, but amazing work as always Sidney, you're ever an inspiration!

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    1. Alex, that is far too kind (but thank you anyway). It's guys like you who are the real inspiration! There's a lot more French to come, so do keep an eye out, as I really hope you like what's coming.

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  28. Wonderful figures, painting and basing Sidney, as always.
    Look forward to seeing the painting guide and comparison shots.
    Cheers,
    Pat.

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    1. Thanks Pat! I've been working on the other posts over the weekend. I'm slightly delayed as our weekend visitors stayed an extra night (which was great), but back on track this week!

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  29. Lovely work as usual, Sidney. I'll definitely have to get some of those figures when I delve into the mid-late war period. (Is it just me or are their bayonets a little more robust than the Great War castings?) I'm also looking forward to read your impression of Barbusse's book.

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    1. Thanks Curt! You'll like the Brigade Games French. They would fit perfectly with the Great War Miniatures French you already have. The Brigade Games bayonets are a little bit more robust than the Great War Miniatures ones. They tend to be bent in less surrealistic shapes when they arrive than the Salvador Dali-like bayonets from Great War Miniatures. Henri Barbusse's book is very good......different, but good.

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  30. These look fantastic and I like the horizon bleu. Look forward to the guides.

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    1. Thanks Mike! Just posted the first part of the guides a few minutes ago!!

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  31. Wow, can't believe i've missed these. Must have something to do with real life taking away from more important things :)
    These are simply superb mate, the best Great War French i've seen by a very long margin. The horizon bleu looks spot on, and those Brigade games minis are very nice aren't they.
    Looking forward to seeing more!

    Ben

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    1. Hey, Ben! I did wonder if you'd gone walkabout again and were away from a PC! no worries about missing them the first time around - always great to catch up with you here, mate.

      Thanks very much for the comment. I am really glad you like them. The Horizon Bleu is to your own "recipe" - and full details to come in a later post (hopefully this week). The Brigade Games figures are very nice, and area pretty easy to paint with just enough details to make them interesting and with some scope to add some of your own.

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