I have acquired second-hand a few dozen of these attractive 19th Century infantry from Peter Laing’s 15mm range, now commercially unavailable as the moulds have vanished.
With the tall shakos or tall kepis with the ball crests and long frock coats, they look mid 19th Century Crimean to Austrian / Franco Prussian Wars. I think they are probably supposed to be French or Sardinian infantry, but they also look like French Foreign Legion 1850s.
They could be 15mm Peter Laing Crimean French (and dual use Franco-Prussian French with tall kepi)
F814 French Infantry advancing
F815 French infantry drummer
F816 French officer
F817 French standard bearer
With almost Napoleonic shakos, they would do well as Imagi-Nation troops for the Bronte juvenile fiction of Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine. I have enough spare standard bearers for alternative flags and nationalities.
I would be interested to hear from other Peter Laing collectors if they have or recognise these figures as mid 19th Century French.
Some other figure suppliers have similar tall shako / kepis.
Interesting post about Franco Prussian War French Infantry (in French) that reminds us that the 150th anniversary is only 2 years away (1870 / 2020). This will no doubt generate more gaming and historical interest in the FPW. The Austro-Prussian War anniversary was I suspect slightly overshadowed by the 1916 WW1 anniversary events.
Yesterday Monday 16 April 1918 / 2018 would have been the late Spike Milligan’s 100th birthday. Comedian, writer, poet, WW2 Artillery Gunner, wartime casualty … and toy soldier collector! Happy Birthday Spike … Goon but not Forgotten.
Away from the Western Front is a two year project (2017-2019) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional grants from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) and the Centre for Hidden Histories. The project is being run by the ‘Away from the Western Front’, a registered charity.
Lots of information here on some unfamiliar aspects of WW1 from Africa to China, the Balkans, Gallipoli, Salonica and across the Middle East. Fascinating stories here. A WW1 Centenary website to watch for an alternative to the more familiar coverage of the Western Front.
The contribution of Portuguese troops during the Spring Offensive, Operation Georgette and the Battle of The Lys of March and April 1918 was commemorated by the French and Portuguese Governments today at the Portuguese War Memorial on the Western Front.
Interesting photographs taken by Joseph Zimet @josephzimet on Twitter.
April 9 1918: The Battle of La Lys, as it becomes known in Portugal, or Operation Georgette or the Battle of Estaires to the British, starts with a heavy artillery barrage from the Germans, followed by a German offensive with intensive use of lethal gas. The German Sixth Army deploys eight divisions (about 100,000 men), supported by intensive artillery fire. Against the force, the Portuguese have 20,000 soldiers and 88 guns. As a result, the Second Division is annihilated during the battle. The Portuguese CEP loses 327 officers and 7,098 soldiers, about 35% of its effective fighting capacity. The survivors are sent to the rear, some of the units being integrated into the British Army later on.
During this battle, one of the most courageous acts in Portuguese military history is perpetrated, as private Aníbal Milhais (also known as “Soldado Milhões” [“A Soldier as good as a million others” in his commanding officer’s words]) defends the retreating allied forces with nothing but his machine gun, allowing them to fall back and regroup. Once he runs out of bullets, he escapes the battlefield.
After defeating two German regiments and forcing the remaining German forces to go around him (they find it impossible to defeat what they believe to be an heavily armed post), he gets lost along the way, having to eat nothing but the sweet almonds his family had sent him from Portugal for three days. Lost and exhausted, he is able to rescue a Scottish major from drowning in a swamp. The major leads him to the Allied camp and tells of Milhais’s deeds. (Infomation source: Wikipedia)
More about the Portuguese Expeditionary Forces in WW1
I knew that the Portuguese Army of WW1 fought in French sky blue coloured British Army cut uniforms with unusual fluted steel helmets from a comment on some sky blue painted Airfix WW1 British figures I had posted online in 2016.
I couldn’t remember where I had seen coloured illustrations of such troops, it wasn’t in my usual reference of Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour. Instead I found a page on Portugal 1917-18 in Andrew Mollo’s Army Uniforms of World War 1.
Modellers and gamers should be able to adapt WW1 British Army figures with steel helmets or soft caps into suitable Portuguese troops.
Aly Morrison featured some beautifully painted Portuguese WW1 conversions and colourised photographs of WW1 Portuguese troops.
I have bought the odd small mixed lot of gaming figures recently online because they contained small caches of 15mm Peter Laing figures. Now that the moulds are missing, this is one of the few ways to acquire new Peter Laing figures.
Amongst one lot was a small group of about a dozen WW1 Russian Infantry figures with rolled greatcoats F759 and officer F760 but all painted brown with unusual black and white cross-gartered boots.
A quick check in Military Uniforms of The Worldin Colour suggests that the original owner painted them as WW1 Bulgarian Infantry. They needed basing and some of the paint touching up, whilst about half of them have no fixed bayonets.
An unusual choice of figure. I had to go and look up which side the Bulgarians fought for in WW1 – with Germany and the Central Powers from 1915 – and against whom. After a period of early neutrality, courted by both sides, they joined the Central Powers and fought initially against the Serbs, then against other Allied troops including the British on the stalemate of the Macedonian / Salonika Front.
“The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 14 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Thessalonica came into effect.” (Wikipedia)
The unusual leggings are called Opankers and a dull brown woollen uniform was already in use amongst other ranks.
During basing and flocking, I managed not to obscure the well painted opanker leggings too much.
So these Bulgarians were part of the army that invaded and pushed back the Serbian army, whose soldiers that Marvin at the Suburban Militarism blog has been beautifully painting recently, albeit in slightly larger 1:72 plastic figures.
Alongside the painted Peter Laing Bulgarians were some unpainted original figures of Russian infantry and others in peaked caps that may be British, Russian or other figures.
With Peter Laing figures details being so slight at 15mm size, there are a range of similar looking figures in similar helmets or soft and peaked hats which are almost interchangeable with some suitable painting.
A suitbale painting guide for these figures as Russian WW1 infantry can also be found in the same uniform guide.
Amongst some of the other mixed figures were these artillerymen, one type medieval and the other Russian fur hatted artillery men.
There were also a couple of machine gunners. Not sure which nation or side the left hand figure represents, the right hand figure may well be ANZAC machine gunner Fseven five two.
With so few of these Russian figures it is difficult to know whether to paint the remaining nineteen unpainted infantry as Russians.
Alternatively I could paint most of them as Bulgarians to make a small Bulgarian skirmish force of about thirty to thirty five figures to fight my British pith-helmeted infantry in a Macedonia or Balkan scenario, aided by the WWI Turkish infantry that I have. The two uniforms are pretty close anyway to paint and use interchangeably with a bit of gamer’s licence. I may keep one figure back to use as a future mould original and one to paint as a Russian figure.
I have completed these Suffragettes as my final challenge as part of #MARCH 2018, being my excuse to photograph a few of my MARCHing toy soldier and MARCHing Band figures each year. It coincides with Cupcakes and Machetes’ blog challenge for March as part of Women’s History Month (and stuff left over from FEMbruary).
I had been working on a small Suffragette vignette or boxed diorama for my local spring show art and craft section but failed to complete it in time. I couldn’t get the glossy toy soldier look quite right.
Instead I added several more 54mm female figures that I had unpainted in my collection, painted as suffragettes. I started work on such random figures as a bride (Tradition of London), two Salvation Army girls from Dorset Soldiers, a plastic Mexican peasant woman wielding a broom from Steve Weston figures and last but not least, my unsatisfactory conversion of an Airfix footballer into a Western saloon girl.
I put the finished figures on a makeshift plinth (a painted fence post cap from B&Q) with a Suffragette anniversary enamel brooch.
Individual suffragette figures have been converted from existing figures.
Simple figure conversions turned surplus 54mm female figures into Suffragettes.
This Mexican peasant woman brandishing a broom from Steve Weston figures converts smoothly into a protesting Suffragette waving a placard. A large Edwardian style hat was added using a circle of stiff card with hole punched out in the middle to sit over the original bun hairstyle. Layers of white kitchen roll paper were added with PVA to simulate the floaty flouncy layers of the large hats of Edwardian ladies.
The suffragette is holding a metal ‘prison arrow’ on a pole, symbolic of any suffragette who had been imprisoned as shown in this 1910 short film:
A quick look at suffrage march photos show that this Mexican figure needed a hat as few women would go out without a hat on a formal occasion such as in a parade, demonstration or MARCH in the early Twentieth century, especially if you were out to prove that your Suffrage movement and arguments were reasonable and respectable. Bare heads in public and long hair were for girls or much younger women.
One reason for getting on and finishing these MARCHing figures is the unfinished FEMbruary conversion of an Airfix Footballer into a Western saloon girl, as suggested by Donald Featherstone in his Wildwest chapter of Skirmish Wargaming.
The unfinished conversion using paint, PVA glue and tissue paper still looked heavily masculine, especially with the longer hair, even more like Kevin Keegan in a dress. I repainted her in white with additional layers of frontal skirts to be more respectable and less revealing. A white head covering over the long dark hair softened the masculine features slightly.
Whilst wanting to keep the figures and paint scheme simple and glossy toy soldier like, I found the solid white clothes a little dull to look at. Knowing that light pale blue brings out white colours, dolly blue being added to white washing in the past, a slight wash of pale light blue brought out a little shade and shadow.
So that is MARCH, Women’s History Month, the final bit of FEMBruary done for this year and another toy soldier conversion or painting challenge completed.
I have really enjoyed working on some different figures for a change.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN as my final MARCH 2018 blogpost, 31 March 2018.