The Risorgimento or Italian wars of 1848-1866 have been of interest to me for several years now, since first reading about these battles of which I had previously known nothing virtually nothing. I've been looking for flats depicting this era off and on and the pickings seem to be slim when it comes to figures currently in production. However, the antique flats do appear on eBay and the Berliner Zinnfiguren Flea Market from time to time.
That's how I acquired this old set of French infantry. Actually it took about 3 purchases of smaller groups to scrape together a minimal battalion of 21 foot plus a mounted commander. As you can see in the first photo, the factory paint has seen better days. As indeed you'd expect given that the figures were probably produced when battles like Solferino were current news.
First of all they are small:
Nor have even the Germans been entirely consistent in scale over the years. From left to right, old Heinrichsen 28mm & 30mm, Keiler, Rieche Brothers.
How do they look when stripped and repainted ? Not too bad, I think. Somewhat crude compared to the newer flats but they do appeal. As you can see, the pose is the same but the men in overcoats are executed in a different style from the guys in tunics. Judging by the shakos, they predate the Franco-Prussian wars. 2nd Empire experts can help me out here, but I'm guessing ca. 1855-1860 is about right.
And on the plus side, their simplicity and diminutive size makes them the fairly easy to paint. I'm painting them five at a time in assembly line fashion and should finish the battalion within three weeks.