by: Engin Kayral [ ]
Originally published on:
about the figure
The origins of the Zouaves can be traced to the Zouaoua, a fiercely independent Kabyli tribe living in the rocky hills of Algeria and Morocco. In the early 1830's, the French Army attempted to pacify these warriors, they decided to integrate the Zouaoua into their own Colonial Army. This was accomplished by General Clauzel and in October they were organized into two battalions of auxiliaries. Over the following decade these Zouaves proved their valor in dozens of bloody desert encounters under the command of General La Moriciere.
In 1852, Napoleon ordered the Zouaves restructured into three regiments of the regular French Army. They were made up entirely of Frenchmen, henceforth Algerians and Moroccans would be assigned to units of the Tirailleurs Algeriens, or Turcos, as they were popularly known, and would wear their own distinctive light blue version of the Zouave uniform.
In 23 December 1854, the Emperor created a fourth Zouave regiment from the best soldiers of the other three, and assigned it to his Imperial Guard - Zouaves of the Guard. Each unit of Zouaves was distinguished by the color of the false pocket, or tombeau, on the front of the blue jacket: red for the 1st, white for the 2nd and blue for 3rd Zouaves. The Zouaves of the Imperial Guard sported yellow rather than red trim on their uniforms, and their tassels were likewise yellow rather than the blue of the other units.
The Crimean War confirmed the fighting reputation of the French Zouaves, and their exploits were widely publicized in European and North American journals. At the battle of the Alma on September 20, 1854, Zouaves scaled a precipitous ridge and captured the Russian position, impressing even their stolid British allies with their rapid light infantry tactics and prowess with the bayonet. In the engagement at Inkermann on November 5, the 3rd Zouaves lost heavily in a hand to hand grapple with their Russian assailants, and Zouaves also served at Balaclava, where the English Light Brigade made its famous charge. But it was in the protracted and costly siege of the fortress city of Sebastopol that the colorful warriors won immortal renown. On June 7, 1855, more than 500 Zouaves fell taking the earthwork known as Mamelon Vert at the point of the bayonet. Three months later, on September 8, Marshal MacMahon personally led soldiers of the 1st Zouaves in a charge that overran the Malakoff, a strongpoint that was the linchpin of the Russian defenses.
The figure comes in 125 x 85 x 30 mm.standard Romeo Models light blue cardboard box. The front cover shows a photo of the painted figure.
Inside the box, there is an A4 paper sheet including short historical info and painting instructions for this figure. This document is represented in 2 languages; Italian and English. The historical search of this figure is made by Fabrizio Fraschetti and translation is made by Riccardo Carrabino.
Parts are well protected between two slabs of thick white polyfoam and figure base is placed under the polyfoam not to damage the figure parts.
The figure is sculpted by Russian master sculptor Victor Konnov and made up of 7 white metal parts. All parts are cast clean and crisp in very good details. No need for a serious clean up, filling or sanding.
The main part is torso legs and right arm. Zouave units were increasingly comprised of native Frenchmen, their distinctive uniform remained a derivation of traditional North African dress. He wears a collarless jacket or tunic with a vertical yellow chevron on front and V shaped chevrons over red cuffs on sleeves. Over the tunic; he wears a thick vest named Sedria or Gilet with chevrons on both sides. The voluminous trousers is called Seroul and is typical with vertical stripes on both sides and chevrons around the deep pockets. He wears a wide woolen sash about 12 feet long named Ceinture and a leather belt with a brass/gilt buckle to carry cartridge box and bayonet is tied over the sash. The under-knee leather greaves with bone buttons on outer sides cover the lower legs and are called Jambieres. He wears white canvas gaiters named Guetres over his leather shoes.
Cloth folds, chevrons, belt details are well represented on the figure. The 2 holes on the back makes the cape assembly easier and good fit as holes to attach cartridge box and bayonet holder are made on left and right side of the figure.
Caban a capuchin : He wears a cape with hood. Represented in nice cloth folds, it makes a good fit to the main part and 2 holes on the hood makes the face assembly easier.
Face : It shows good eye, beard and moustache details. A small part of typical headdress of Zouaves ; Chechia - tasseled fez is represented. Some members of the Zouave troops prefer to wear turbans named Cheche.
Right arm : Posed to grab the stock of rifle; it makes a good fit to the right shoulder.
Rifle : He carries a French Model 1842 percussion rifle. The hands are cast on the rifle.
Cartridge box : He carries a leather box with a gilt eagle symbol on it on the right side.
Bayonet : He carries a bayonet with locking ring on its scabbard on the left side.
Figure base : A simple figure base with a nice ground texture and small rocks.
Another nice Crimean War subject from Romeo Models especially for Zouave fans. Clean casting, easy assembly and perfect fit on parts.