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)


9 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

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