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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Introducing the French Alpine Troops

The French Alpine troops, whose actual name is Chasseurs Alpins, is an elite unit within the French Army. They were formed in the late 1800s in response to the Italian unification and the perceived threat that the Italian Alpine units represented. They were spun off from the original Chasseurs (Chasers/Hunters) units and trained in mountain and winter warfare. Their head dress is a distinctive beret, referred to as a Tarte, because of its resemblance with the baked good of that name. The beret is decorated with a yellow bulge horn -played by one of the figures in pictures below- as music seems to be an important element in their unit culture. During WWII, the Chasseurs Alpins saw some action at the beginning of the war, specifically, they were part of the Allied forces who pushed back the Germans at Narvik, until they were withdrawn once the German offensive against France began in continental Europe. They also fought defensively that summer against the Italian attacks from the southeast, on the Alpine extensions of the Maginot line, where they managed to hold their position until the armistice was signed. In terms of WWII figures, I am only aware of the ones made by Starlux. Let's take a look.

Starlux French Alpine Troops - Part I
I find this set quite nice, primarily due to its uniqueness. The figures are very well proportioned and with a decent level of detail. The only thing that I would have preferred is to have a few more action poses and fewer guys just standing around. But still it is a very nice set.

Starlux French Alpine Troops - Part II
Again, these are perhaps not the most exciting poses, however they do have a certain elegance to them which makes them feel special. The paint job could have been a bit better, although it could also be that it has deteriorated over the years.

Starlux French Alpine Troops - Part III
A couple of musicians. One of them is playing the distinctive bulge horn which is the emblem of the unit and is work on the right side of the beret.

Starlux French Alpine Troops - Part IV
These three are my favorite poses. I just wish I had more of them to build a real patrol unit.

Starlux French Alpine Troops - Part V
The same three guys from another angle.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to see your Starlux figures. I note your comment about the paint job - I remember having these toys as a child and the paintwork wasn't perfect even when they were new.

    I still have a number of Starlux figures and something I've noticed is increasing instability in the material the figures are made of. The 'appendages' (guns, flags, drumsticks etc) were originally quite robust and are now they are extremely brittle. I wondered if others have had the same experience?