French Foreign Legion, 1886–1927

ESCI 1:72 Scale Figure Review

French Foreign Legion infantry in shirt-sleeve order, 1886–1927, 1:72 Miniatures ESCI P-237

A French Foreign Legion infantry platoon based for Crossfire simulation games of the 1925-1927 Rif Revolt in Morocco. Khaki Uniforms were introduced in 1895, and they were slowly adopted by the Foreign Legion. The blue regulation kepi with red top was worn with a white kepi cover on campaign, replaced by a khaki couvre képi in 1907. Exposed to the sun and washed frequently, the khaki couvre képi faded to an off-white colour which differentiated veteran legionnaires from raw recruits and regular infantrymen. In recognition of the Foreign Legion's long service under the African sun, the famous képi blanc was officially introduced on 14 July 1939. The ESCI figure set contains legionnaires wearing full campaign dress, and a similar batch of miniatures wearing shirt-sleeve order. The different dress orders should not be mixed at the unit level where uniform appearance is the rule, but diorama builders may use both figure types to depict a besieged garrison and its relieve force.

Contents

50 Figures in 15 Poses – 24 mm height equals 173 cm

  • Officer with sword, wearing pith helmet
  • Officer with pistol, wearing kepi
  • Legionnaires in campaign dress
    • Legionnaire marching
    • Legionnaire charging
    • Legionnaire advancing
    • Legionnaire advancing, waterbottle in hand
    • Legionnaire standing, firing
    • Legionnaire kneeling, firing
    • Legionnaire kneeling
  • Legionnaires in shirt-sleeve order
    • Bugler charging
    • Legionnaire charging with fixed bayonet
    • Legionnaire in melee
    • Legionnaire standing, firing
    • Legionnaire kneeling, firing
    • Legionnaire kneeling, loading

Evaluation

Excellent choice of subject. French Foreign Legion infantry served
in many colonial campaigns in North Africa and Indo-China.

Good detail, buttons, straps, equipment, metal parts, and folds in
clothing are clearly visible and easy to paint.

These legionnaires are wearing the leather equipment and
ammunition pouches introduced in 1886.

Useful historic poses.

Compatible with Airfix, Revell, and Reviresco.

Machine gunners and bombers are not included in the set, they need to be scratchbuilt to portray Foreign Legion infantry serving in the Second Moroccan War. Hotchkiss machine gunners from Revell's French Infantry of World War One may be used, by replacing the Adrian helmet with a kepi. Lewis machine guns may be scrounged from EMHAR's British Artillery of World War One.

The figures in campaign dress are not cast very well, some of the overcoats are marred. Airfix French Foreign Legion in campaign dress are clearly the better choice.

Obvious mould lines across the kepi need to be removed prior to painting. This is best done with the Rai-Ro Wachsspachtelgerät heated modelling spatula.

Historical Employment

  • French Foreign Legion Infantry, 1886–1927
    • Algerian Touareg Revolt, 1877–1912
    • The Franco-Moroccan War, 1911–1912
    • The Rif War (Second Moroccan War), 1925–1927

Possible Conversions

  • French Line Infantry, 1890–1915
    The figures in campaign dress are fitted with new heads
    wearing the line infantry kepi without cover.
  • The kneeling, loading legionnaire may be converted
    to a gunner or assistant machine gun.

Related Films

  • Beau Geste
  • Laurel and Hardy
  • Legionnaire

The French Foreign Legion figures in shirt-sleeve order are superb and they extend the usefulness of these soldiers well into the Second Moroccan War. The figures wearing campaign dress may be converted to represent French Infantry of World War One.

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