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Set M023

French Infantry on the March (1)

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2008
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Blue
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)


While most figures are made with battle in mind, the reality was that a soldier spent far more time on the march than he ever did in battle. Roads were usually poor and, for the French in particular, basics such as food were often only what could be 'liberated' from the local inhabitants. A march was usually repetitions of one hour walking then five minutes of rest, but if the occasion demanded it the pace could be considerably more gruelling. Bad weather also helped to make the soldier miserable, and naturally the worst such example was the march back from Moscow in 1812, when the army was largely destroyed by the dreadful conditions and constant attacks.

When on the parade ground or the battlefield the French soldier could look well drilled and smart, but naturally for long marches covering many kilometres the bearing was much less formal, and very often the ordinary line infantry had to cover enormous distances using nothing but their own two feet. When moving with shouldered arms the musket was carried on the left shoulder by the private soldier, but here we find figures carrying their musket in several ways as might be expected during a long march. Many of the poses are quite similar, as you might expect, so when grouped together they give the impression of a realistically mixed group of men carrying their weapons by various means, so this set is not good for parades or formal movement while on the field of battle.

All the men wear greatcoats and some have covers on their shako, which might imply cold weather (although this look could also be seen in the heat of Spain and elsewhere). The coat means that many of the finer points of uniform are obscured, but all the men wear shakos which appeared from 1806. Every man has a sabre on his left hip, which means that he is an elite (grenadier or voltigeur), or possibly an NCO of fusiliers. However all also have their bayonet attached to the crossbelt supporting their cartridge pouch, which makes them all fusiliers. Furthermore all have fringed epaulettes, which again indicates elites, so these are very confused soldiers indeed. One possible alternative is they are light infantry, which would account for the epaulettes and the sabre, but still not explain the location of the bayonet. These men are also fortunate, because although every man wears his greatcoat he has the good fortune to have another strapped to the top of his knapsack, or at least a blanket! A couple of these men carry cooking implements in addition to their knapsack and pouch, but there is otherwise a lack of any of the extra items often seen on such men when on the march. In particular there are no canteens of any description. The coats themselves are of varying lengths but few reach the knee (there seems to have been no standard pattern for these, but illustrations suggest coats were usually longer than this).

The Strelets sculpting style with thick and shortened items is much in evidence here, with some of the sabres being no longer than an average knife. The bayonet also varies greatly in terms of position, and is on a rather exaggerated mounting. Elsewhere however the faces are quite nice and detail is reasonable, while flash and mould marks are minimal.

For long columns of marching infantry these serve well, and a decent effort has been made to introduce variations into items of clothing. However the confusion over what type of infantry they are is a real letdown, and as usual the stocky Strelets style does not work well with figures from other manufacturers.


Historical Accuracy 6
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 6
Mould 9

Further Reading
"French Napoleonic Infantryman 1803-15" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.57) - Terry Crowdy - 9781841764542
"Napoleonic Wars: Napoleon's Army" - Brassey - René Chartrand - 9781857531831
"Napoleon's Line Infantry" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.141) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780850455120
"Napoleon's Line Infantry & Artillery" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Special Series No.11) - Stephen Maughan - 9781859150535

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