Sunday, April 26, 2015

Strelets Zouaves

The Zouave by Van Gogh

There is something about a Zouave that provokes a romantic response.  My tastes in painting tend more to the Academic or the Romantic, than post Impressionists like Van Gogh, but I still like this piece.  My old mucker Vincent however did not care for his work - I think it captures the essence of the man in a way that photography simply can not. What strikes me most about the painting is the insouciance of the soldier and the gorgeous rich red of the uniform.  

I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the largesse of a fellow wargamer, who passed on a box of 1/72 Strelets plastics to me. This box not only contained more British infantry than I could shake a stick at, but a massive bag of Frenchmen. 

Not only that, but a goodly number of them were already painted.  So much so in fact, that I've been able to add five fully fleshed units of infantry to my Crimean French forces.  The freemasonry of the hobby working its magic yet again.

I needed one or two extra figures to finish of one unit of Zouaves, so I added these fellows myself. 


Sergeant & Officer

I used the marching figure as an officers as Strelets set comes with a lot of acrobatic Zouave types, throwing themselves around as is their wont. I decided that this slightly more staid fellow would do for an NCO.  

I notice from my photograph that some strands of static grass have attached themselves to the officers kepi - drat, drat, drat. 

A crawling Zouave - very inconspicuous I think you will agree

These chaps were painted in an off fashion to match the figures my friend had sent me.  He primes everything in black and then adds a drybrush of white over the top. The result is to give some shading and so forth.  He makes a far better fist of it than I, but I think you can see some of the results here. 


Much like our pal Van Gough, my friend paints his figures in a deliberately expressionist style which I think works very well for such brightly coloured gentry as these zouaves.  I have done my best to replicate his style - I will add some pictures of his figures very shortly - though I did experiment with adding some shading to the trousers.  I painted these Scab red and then built up a series of highlights using translucent Vallejo acrylics. 

A wounded Zouave & a bugler

Normally I'd chop up a figure to use as a casualty marker, but it would be silly to do so, when the Strelets have gone to the bother of including a wounded figure. Given that I should be studying right now and that my next wargame will almost certainly involve the Hundred Days, there is absolutely no reason why I should be painting Crimean War French. 

Perhaps he's just done his ankle while he was leaping about?

It just goes to show that Homo Ludum Bellum will almost always find a reason to paint the last thing he should be painting.  Still it was a nice distraction to put a brush to some figures.  These took me about two hours all told, most of it spent on the couch with Mrs. Kinch.  I've found that I've lost the knack of watching television without something to do with my hands. 


  1. Dashing fellows indeed. Did you undercoat them in pva first or what?

  2. Very nice, you can't beat a suave Zouave.

  3. I think these Zouaves are splendidly done, suitably vivid and heroic, and who wouldn't feel like a hero in a giant red pair of trousers? Lovely work, and very kind of your friend.
    I didn't know that Van Gogh painting at all. I wonder how he found his model? Did he meet him in an estaminet somewhere and stand him a round or four? (Four at least, judging from his posture). There's some suggestion that they were friends:

  4. Great paintjob. Good to see what is possible with Strelets figures!