March or Die!

I am Sgt. Markoff. I make soldiers out of scum like you, and I don’t do it gently. You’re the sloppiest looking lot I’ve ever seen. It’s up to me to prevent you from becoming a disgrace to the regiment. And I will prevent that if I have to kill half of you with work. But the half that lives will be soldiers – I promise you! (Beau Geste film of 1939)

Announcing a new project in Suburban Militarism; the French Foreign Legion!

Being larger figures than my more usual 20mm plastics, these 28mm metal figures from Artizan Designs have the classic look of blue greatcoats and white cloth-covered kepi, perfect for keeping that hot desert sun off their heads. The figures came at a discount for buying a set of 24, which included numerous poses, a bugler and three command figures.

I mostly seem to paint Napoleonic figures and I’m a member of the Victorian Military Society dedicated to the study of the British army from that era. So, why on earth have I opted to paint “la legion etrangere”?

As so often, it’s a case of indulging a childhood passion. The exotic tale of Beau Geste was to blame. The book depicted the beautiful wilderness of the Sahara desert; the brave and fierce Tuareg tribesmen; the brutal sadism of Sergeant Lejuane; an entire regiment of lost social outcasts; and included a beguiling scene of the eerily deserted Fort Zanderneuf with its garrison of dead legionnaires still at their posts. My boyhood interest led to the purchase of some Britains Deetail French Foreign Legion figures back in the 1980s, but my meagre pocket-money wouldn’t stretch to very many unfortunately!

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Britains Deetail range of French Foreign Legion

So in buying these figures I’m making good on a promise to myself to buy lots more when I was older. With 24 of these larger scale figures to paint, I’m intending to tackle small groups at a time. I’m no expert in painting at this scale but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ll be dipping into other projects in between tackling this one. Progress reports will be posted from time to time throughout the year but as you can see, I’ve already made a start!

Vive la legion etrangere!

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