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Author Topic: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?  (Read 7761 times)

Online traveller

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French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« on: April 29, 2016, 03:37:01 PM »
Seems hard to find these in 28mm. Any recommendations (except Askari miniatures)?
Could maybe Artizan Algerian Tirailleurs be used as a proxy? Or could it be possible to convert the rifles of ACW zouaves to the Graz 1874 rifle?

Grateful for any comments!

Offline Arthur

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 06:11:59 PM »
I would go with the Artizan figures as they are wearing the white bourgeron smock rather than the traditional zouave jacket (I know many people mistakenly paint these light blue on their Artizan tirailleurs but if you take a close look at the figures you'll see that Mike Owen really did his homework on his turcos and sculpted them in the correct campaign gear). You will also need to do headswaps as the fez seems to have been quickly replaced by sun helmets, which better suited the South East Asian climate. Here's a contemporary picture by Dr Hocquard of tirailleurs algériens near Phu Doan in 1884 :   



The zouaves they were brigaded with probably wouldn't have looked very different, with their officers resembling this worthy:

 

Another Hocquard photograph shows French troops near Lang Son, the men being either zouaves or turcos. The rank and file are wearing the campaign uniform of white bourgeron and zouave seroual with dark sun helmets.



Both the turcos and the zouaves appear to have worn their Turkish jackets only intermittently, the lighter and looser bourgeron being the preferred campaign garment in the hot and humid Vietnamese climate. Beware of period pics like the one below, which were made by metropolitan artists who invariably depicted French troops in the splendour of their full dress uniforms for propaganda purposes :

     

Offline italwars

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2016, 06:57:39 PM »
Interesting period Traveller
what will you use for their opponents ....Annamites and Black Flags?
maybe Boxers..
years ago i received samples from the now defunct "London War Room" range for this periods (Coinchine-Vietnam)..they made very useful types..including Tirailleurs Annamites in French service..it would be fantastic if somebody revamped this range

Online traveller

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 07:06:05 PM »
Thanks both for your input!

Great that the Algerian Tirailleurs can be used! Quite a surprise though that the Zouaves did not use the turban even if it makes sense. I think I will add a few Annamites as well:

http://www.miniaturefigurines.co.uk/images/catalogue/FFM%2010.jpg

Black flags should be the opponents. I plan to use a mix of Foundry Chinese and Boxers

Offline Arthur

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2016, 08:36:54 PM »
Yes, there is no dedicated range for the Tonkin expedition at the moment.

Around four years ago, Mike Owen PM'd me here to ask for information on French uniforms for the Tonkin war and I e-mailed him quite a bit of stuff that I have on the subject, but nothing came of it and the Artizan French colonial range (a.k.a 'March or Die') ran out of steam and stalled - it is still largely incomplete and doesn't look like it will be added to in the foreseeable future.

Back to the Tonkin campaign, are you familiar with the full set of Hocquard photographs taken in Tonkin in 1884 and 1885 ? This is seminal stuff both for documentation and inspiration.   

http://hinhxua.free.fr/autrefois/docteur-hocquard/page1/photo_docteur_hocquard_1_fr.htm


Online traveller

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2016, 07:40:58 AM »
Wow! That link was a real treasure chest. Thanks!

Offline malto cortese

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2016, 08:44:48 AM »
Seems hard to find these in 28mm. Any recommendations (except Askari miniatures)?
Could maybe Artizan Algerian Tirailleurs be used as a proxy? Or could it be possible to convert the rifles of ACW zouaves to the Graz 1874 rifle?

Grateful for any comments!

Have you given a look at the Dixon range for the Dahomey wars? They have some Foreign legion types which may be used in Indochina too, perhaps:   http://www.dixon-minis.com/shop/dahomey-wars-1892-28mm/#pack-french-foreign-legion-4-pack
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made. Groucho Marx

Online traveller

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  • Posts: 3146
Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2016, 09:38:39 AM »
Have you given a look at the Dixon range for the Dahomey wars? They have some Foreign legion types which may be used in Indochina too, perhaps:   http://www.dixon-minis.com/shop/dahomey-wars-1892-28mm/#pack-french-foreign-legion-4-pack

Thanks Malto,

I have both the Artizan, OG and Dixon for the FFL. It is the Zouaves that seems to be a challenge. However, Arthurs insights solves the problem! While there are abundance of ACW zouaves, the lack of 28mm late 19th/Early 20th century zouaves is still a general problem...
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 11:09:41 AM by traveller »

Offline joroas

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2016, 11:58:57 AM »
I am using my Foundry FPW troops as proxy Zouaves.
'So do all who see such times. But that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that we are given.'

Offline italwars

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2016, 11:07:20 PM »
traveller...a good miniature army to set up the French Colonial one..but why limiting yoursel with the most realistic but non-iconic Zouaves or Turcos deprived of their characterisc and flamboyant uniform and choose a version (bourgeron, shirt, casque) which will limit themselves to that particulat teather...after all one of the amusements of our hobby is to use nice minis with famous uniforms..(which also historically serve to impress the naive natives opponents)...also take into account that Indochine is visually associated more with Infanterie de Marine and Légion..plus sailors and few Annamites Tirailleurs..than with  Zouaves ..if i was you i would choose, if you really want those zouaves, the classical Zouaves from Askari of Foundry and allow you to use them  also in North Africa scenarios ecc...
a last consideration.maybe i could be wrong but ...except earlier European and Mexican Campaigns the later Zouaves did'nt see much real fighting outremer at least untill WW1...simply because being conscript white citizens/ colons from Algeria/Maroc/Tunisia they were less willing, less fit and less expendable than the professional scum of Bat d'Af, Troupes de Marine and Légion..or the native troops ..in that way they could be considered more as garison than shock troops....that's my impression but maybe our French members expert of the period can tell us more
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 11:09:35 PM by italwars »

Offline Arthur

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2016, 02:03:02 AM »
in that way they could be considered more as garison than shock troops....

They definitely weren't garrison troops. Just like the turcos/tirailleurs algériens, the zouaves were primarily meant to be stationed in North Africa and thus were not frequently deployed overseas between 1870 and 1914. The Tonkin expedition excepted, the native tirailleurs algériens didn't serve much outside of the Maghrib either - two bataillons de marche were involved in the Madagascar campaign of 1896 but that was about it.  

But the zouaves saw continuous action throughout the 1890's and 1900's in Algeria and Tunisia, where they were heavily involved in 'peace-keeping' operations of varying magnitude and intensity - meaning they helped maintain the French colonial order. Eight zouave battalions took part in the Morocco campaigns of 1907-1912 and outside of North Africa the French expeditionary corps sent to China in 1901 included a four battalion zouave régiment de marche. I don't think anyone would have challenged their status as shock troops at the time.

Incidentally, for operations in North Africa between 1880 and 1914, both the zouaves and the turcos tended to use the white summer fatigue uniform I described above rather than their more colourful full dress garb. Meaning that they often looked pretty much like this :





Offline italwars

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2016, 10:11:17 PM »
Back to the Tonkin campaign, are you familiar with the full set of Hocquard photographs taken in Tonkin in 1884 and 1885 ? This is seminal stuff both for documentation and inspiration.   

http://hinhxua.free.fr/autrefois/docteur-hocquard/page1/photo_docteur_hocquard_1_fr.htm

Arthur merci beaucoup pur cette info...
marvelous source that i did'nt know...
my only good sources..if not pictorial..at least to vget ideas for wargames of my favourite period which happen to be exactly the French Colonial..is the reprinted books official histories and officers memoirs published by Ediation Lavauzelle...trés chers mais trés precieux
bonne nuit

Offline JBaumal

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 04:27:37 PM »
Hi Arthur,
I'm planning a Tonkin project and have just read this thread. Very interesting and informative! I was hoping you would share some of your research? Could you point me in the right direction for painting guides and figures, especially for the Black Flags and Chinese??? I've found enough French data to get started on those. But would also appreciate any assistance there as well.

Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.

I've got some outstanding gunboats in 25/28mm looking for a campaign!

Cheers,
JB
http://sgtguinness.blogspot.com

Offline italwars

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2017, 10:49:36 AM »
Jbaumal.  We share the same wargame dream ..to game in 28mm this conflict
After years of research i Can conclude that the only annamites pavillons noirs minis expressily designed for this colonial Theatre had been produced from 2 very elusive ranges:
Falcon / matchlock miniatures
http://plasticpelisse.blogspot.it/2012/10/matchlock-25mm-vs-esci-172-colonial-foot.html
And, above all, a full very nice and detailed range from the defunct The London War Room of which i have a couple of nice samples ,, they had a very comprensive list with both chineese, pavillons noirs, annamites and tonkinese French ausiliarie,,,maybe as you live in USA you Can try to tackle who have still the moulds or some stocks

Offline ecwcaptain

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Re: French zouaves ca 1885 for the Tonkin expedition?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2017, 02:29:26 PM »
This is one of my back-burner colonial periods that I've always wanted to game. It went on the back-burner when one of my fellow Colonial Boys Club friends (Mark Hayes) died, as he was very interested in it as well. Instead, I turned to French West Africa (against Semori Toure) and US in Philippines (Insurrection and Moros), to finish them up first.

With regard to figures, I have painted Old Glory French Marines in dark blue coat, khaki helmet, white pants, to reflect one photo I saw in Tonkin (these were started by Mark Hayes, so I picked them up and finished them). I too use the Foundry Turcos from the Franco-Prussian line for North Africa, as they fit nicely.

With regard to the Black Flags, while they might appear a bit different, for now, I would go with Boxer Chinese. If you can find info on their flags, then must add in some leaders and standard bearers painted 100% Black Flag, carrying the right flags (else use Boxer flags).

At least the above allows one to start to game the theater, once you pull together the wargame scenarios, that is. :-)

Bob

 

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