Voilà les Poilus: French WWI Infantry (1914)

You’ll be pleased to note that this will be the last of my ‘franglais’ titles for a while because the French infantry are all finished. After posting on the machine gun teams from this set, I hereby present the remainder of my box of Caesar French WWI Infantry from 1914 (apologies for the slightly dingy photos lacking in daylight – I hate this time of year):

Caesar French WWI infantry (26)

Yep, these Caesar figures are very impressive. The proportions are good and the sculpting and mould are too.

Caesar French WWI infantry (31)
French WWI infantry Caesar (13)

French WWI infantry Caesar (16)

The only downside is that the soft plastic has allowed the rifles to occasionally bend and I have been unable to put them back into the correct position without them just bending right back again! I wouldn’t expect that the poilu on the left below will hit a great deal at any range…



Aside from the machine gunners, the box also came with a small group of infantrymen lying prone on the ground. I’ve placed these together on the same base in a kind of firing line. Half of them are loading and the other half firing from behind a small rise in the ground. Despite the cover, the German army will have an easier time identifying where they are thanks to the bright red kepi on their heads. Furthermore, the kepi will not offer much protection when the bullets fly. The dull, all-metal Adrian helmet is yet to be adopted…

The officer I’ve painted with a blue cover over his red kepi, which is I believe named the ‘Saumur’ version,  which was usual by the time of the Great War. He has binoculars in  a case; a sword, which was pretty useless in modern combat; and a revolver, which was more useful in close combat. He has been sculpted blowing a whistle, a nice touch by Caesar as it was a vital communication tool on World War One battlefields. He also has spurs on his ankles which horse riding company commanders such as captains or lieutenants would have had. My rank cuff stripes of gold lace have been too widely spaced, I reckon.

Caesar French WWI infantry (28)
French officer blowing a whistle. Would have been handy for refereeing duties during the 1914 Christmas Truce…

This nicely thought out set also came with an interesting ‘walking wounded’ figure. He has presumably received a bullet or shrapnel wound to the left arm and been subsequently treated at a dressing station behind the lines. On reflection, I might get a bit bloodthirsty and add a little seeping through red paint to one or two of them white bandages. Convincingly, they have had their backpacks and weapons removed prior to receiving their treatment at the front. Presumably, they will be transported off somewhere to convalesce – lucky buggers!

So that’s the Caesar French poilu ticked off; the third group of figures from the First World War. Going through my embarrassingly excessive collection of soldiers, I’m in the process of considering what to do next and will no doubt reveal all soon.

Caesar French WWI infantry (27)


15 thoughts on “Voilà les Poilus: French WWI Infantry (1914)

  1. As always, these are beautiful. I love your palette – those dark blues and faded reds. So nice!
    Can I ask what you do to get those dark blues? It’s a colour I struggle with to get looking right.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the kind comments, Bill.

    As for the blue colour – I use Vallejo “dark prussian blue” followed by a black wash. That black wash just dulls down the blue colour a little.

    After that dries, I might add a gentle dry brushing of the dark prussian blue followed by more directly applied dry brush highlights of just vallejo “prussian blue” (i.e. not the “dark” prussian blue variety). Sometimes I go straight for the “dark blue” highlight, just a case of experimenting as it develops. Btw, Vallejo’s “dark blue” is not remotely dark but quite light incidentally – hence it’s a highlight!

    I get a bit of shine off all the Vallejo matt blues that I use so I find Daler Rowney Matt acrylic varnish dulls it nicely, though sometimes requiring a couple of thin coats.

    Best of luck with your painting!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent mate!! The group shots are fantastic. With the bent rifles have you tried heating them up, slowly, I use a stove top lighter/ignighter. Heat up then straighten with tweezers and hold in position until the plastic hardens again. Works a treat. I really like the officer. Wel done mate

    Liked by 2 people

  4. These are a great set of figures, exquisitely painted. Your painting style has inspired me to try my hand at 1/72 scale having only ever tackled 28mm. Fantastic site Marvin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Very pleased it has inspired some 1/72 painting. I occasionally paint 28mm but 1/72 is my main scale.

      Curious thing about these Caesar figures is that they are now all glossy and sticky as though the paint has reacted with the plastic. It’s only ever happened with these figures and I’ve no idea why! Could be something to do with Caesar plastic.


      1. Sorry to hear that Marvin. I’ve got myself a box of the Caesar WW1 and will have ago. At the same time I’m having real difficulty getting paint to attach itself to Zvezda Saxon Cuirassiers (again inspired by your set). Do you use any particular primer?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, yes paint on Zvezda is a problem – perhaps something to do with the releasing agent left over from their moulds?

    With this problem, (once they’re dry after first cleaning them with a toothbrush in washing up liquid), I always paint some white PVA glue on to the figures. Once that’s dry, I add my primer which is just cheap black acrylic car spray paint – quick and easy! The glue sticks to the figure and the paint then sticks to the glue. It’s really helped me with Zvezda in the past.

    So long as you don’t lay on the PVA very thickly, there will be no problem with all the crisp details coming through when dry.

    If you’ve any other questions, feel free to ask! Cheers,



    1. Thanks Marvin, I’ll try that. Well, my box of Caesar WW1 Infantry have arrived, surprised that they were in a bag rather than on sprues and a few of the rifles were bent (as you have pointed out above). I cured the problem quite easily by holding the figure with tweezers and dipping just the rifle in boiled, simmering water for 2 seconds and then a few seconds under the cold tap. Instantly the rifle is straight. Now for the painting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s exactly what I should have done with my figures but I just ploughed straight into them… Best of luck with painting the figures! 🙂


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