French Foreign Legion Update #1: Nous sommes des légionnaires!

“If the Legion doesn’t get you, the desert will. If the desert doesn’t, the Arabs will. And if the Arabs don’t, then I will. I don’t know which is worse.” Major Foster in the 1977 movie ‘March or Die’.

I’d spent some free time in the day yesterday painting my Artizan legionnaires, which are progressing nicely. After everyone had gone to bed, I decided to watch a movie and what could be more appropriate than the 1977 movie on the French Foreign Legion “March or Die!”?

March or Die Legionnaires (1)

Digging out my DVD copy, I sat down and watched it into the small hours. As with other narratives on the FFL, the familiar motifs were there; the brutality and loneliness; the wide expanse of desert sands; a band of desperate social outcasts drawn together by ‘la legion’; and of course the ever-present menace of the fierce Tuareg tribes.

The Legion marching song was a common musical presence in the film, and is something that has been going through my head ever since receiving the figures through the post. All together now…

Tiens, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin
Pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains.
Pour les Belges, y en a plus, pour les Belges, y en a plus,
Ce sont des tireurs au cul. (bis)

des boudin
Click to hear the marching song scene from the film “March or Die”.

March or Die, as with Beau Geste, is a good yarn rather than a work of art. Nevertheless, it was hugely enjoyable to watch, the scenery was terrific and it was an inspiration to keep me going with painting those figures.

Ah, the figures. I spend a probably unhealthy amount of time wondering whether my painting technique for 28mm figures is a successful one. I’m sure there are better or more effective ways of painting at this scale. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased with them, but I sense that I could make them look better with more 28mm experience. I’m still experimenting and finding out new things as I go along at this scale but the first batch of legionnaires are virtually done. I’m now just waiting for some desert-type scenic sand to come through the post so that these chaps will be suitably Saharan.

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