Sunday 3 March 2024

Great War Spearhead II - Gallipoli 1915 in 20mm (part 5): The French 1st Provisional African Regiment


The 1st Provisional African Regiment ( 1e Régiment de Marche d'Afrique) was the second regiment of 1st Metropolitan Brigade (the 175e RI was the first and you can see a post on it posted some three weeks ago). Building in miniature the Corps Expéditionnaire d'Orient is a challenging task as you can´t find as much information as say, the ANZACS, as in fact this was a small business for the French compared to the huge task they had in the Western Front. 

So here is the 1st RMA with one battalion of Foreign Legion and two of Zouaves. 

The French Foreign Legion (FFL) at Gallipoli had, apparently, this uniform with the 1897 capote and pith helmet. Funnily enough, or maybe because the FFL participation was rather small with just one battalion, there aren't  many period pictures of this unit available. Some period pictures even call FFL to clearly infantry units, probably in the absence of proper pictures. 

StreletsR already has a few figures in pith helmet and capote in one of the several sets of FFL but they are hard to get these days. So, as usual I went on with some conversions using Airfix, Hat and Esci bodies with British colonial heads.  

The result is quite nice in my opinion. And, as only 19 figures were necessary, this was a quick job. 

The Hotchkiss MMG has two Hat 1914 figures with new heads. 

I painted the base of the MMG with the light blue color of 1915 equipment simply hoping to be right...

In Militaria Nº87 you can have very nice information on the 1915 Zouaves. To the left you have their parade and maneuver uniform (seen in famous picture of those day at Lemnos) and to the right the one they used in combat. 

Inside the article you have this colorized picture showing beautifully the Zouave uniform, all khaki, with an iron blue 1877 capote, covered chechia and blue puttees. 

The only thing I did was to cut the hat peak of the Airfix FFL and Hat 1914 figures and paint two battalions in the above colors. The officer is a Chinese copy of the Airfix French officer with a new right arm from Caesar. 

The same happened to the MMGs stands with the difference of the main server of the gun, and the gun itself. Can you find its origin? No?... C'mon one more chance!... That's right, and congratulations to that old sir in the last row who still has figures from the 70's ! It's exactly the Matchbox Vickers No1 server modelled with Milliputt to look like a Zouave and with the Vickers converted into an Hotchkiss. 

After a few more cuts and twists here they are looking like reasonable Zouaves. 

Next: Pictures from my visit to V beach of  SS River Clyde fame.


  1. I am always impressed to see your conversions! Great job!

  2. Thanks Uwe, its cheap and a pleasure as you get something unique even if far from perfect.