Well, le chat is out of the bag – the next plastic infantry kit for Bolt Action will be the early-war French Army! You’ve been asking for this one for a while, and it’s finally here, and it’s absolutely packed with options and awesome details – seriously, check it out!

So there’s just a bit to take in – this is arguably our most versatile sprue yet, and allows you to build four (count ‘em!) different troop types right off the bat – no additional parts needed – as well as outfit your squads in a variety of ways. Before we get into that, let’s look at the ‘generic’ bits you get!

The sprue contains a wealth of customisation options, like this bandaged head and the VB Launcher.

Each sprue contains six dynamically posed bodies clad in the iconic French Army greatcoat, with buttoned turnbacks to allow for greater mobility in combat (and just a touch of French style). These are perfect for representing the brave men who defended la patrie in the opening stages of the Second World War, and are absolutely unmistakable on the tabletop, even amongst other ‘greatcoat’ armies. They’re also dead easy to paint, which is always a bonus for people like me who value getting an army on the table quickly! Naturally, there’s also plenty of belt ‘gubbins’ to get them looking fully equipped, including 1935-pattern haversacks, holstered pistols, and a variety of useful tools, including saws, spades, and billhooks – perfect for getting comfy along the Maginot line!

You can’t take on the Germans with just fancy coats and élan, however – you’ll need some weaponry, and the new sprue has plenty of that to go around! The French Army was in the process of adopting the modern MAS 36 rifle at the outbreak of the Second World War, but there were never enough to go around (particularly considering the huge size of the French reserves), meaning that many men would be equipped with the Mle1907/15 Berthier rifle which would have been familiar to their fathers in the First World War. Both are well-represented on the sprue, allowing you to tailor the look and feel of your unit to match your army’s theme. No squad is complete without a rifle-grenadier, and for the first time the iconic VB Launcher is available in plastic, alongside the well-liked and successful FM 24/29 ‘Châtellerault’ light machine gun, and a variety of grenades. There is no chance these bold Frenchmen will be caught lacking in a firefight!

Châtellerault’ light machine gunner with loader.

Onto the heads – these are what allow you to build this sprue in so many different ways! We’ll start with the ‘basics’ – the absolutely iconic ‘Adrian’ helmet, an essential component of the traditional silhouette of the French infantryman. These are perfect for virtually all French troops, as they were widely issued throughout the army as the standard protective headgear, and as such have an enormous variety of uses – far too many to number here! Suffice it to say that you can’t go wrong with slapping an Adrian on your Pierres and Jeans! There are also some spare ‘loose’ Adrians on the sprue, perfect for base decoration, as well as a couple with canvas rain covers – it’s important to keep your kit looking snazzy, even in combat!

Fortress Troops

Next up we have some whacking great berets. These are ideal for representing the ‘Fortress Infantry’ units, second-line garrison troops deployed in defensive positions along the Maginot Line and elsewhere, making them a great option for your Inexperienced squads. As a certified Floppy Hat Enthusiast, I’m particularly looking forward to these, and there’s also scope for them to stand in nicely for the British Cap, GS if you want a slightly more relaxed look for your North-West Europe Brits!

Chasseurs à pied

Continuing the beret theme (this is a French sprue, after all!), we have the bonnets de police. These wonderful caps are the mark of the French chasseur light infantry regiments, and serve to mark out your elites, be they the green-hatted Chasseurs Ardennais or the black-capped mountaineers of the Chasseurs d’Alpin. I firmly believe that Bolt Action doesn’t have enough fancy headwear (although we’re working on that with our Italian and Hungarian ranges!), and on the tabletop the Chasseurs can be pretty solid units, so there’s no excuse for boring headgear!

Colonial Troops

Moving to the oft-underappreciated colonial troops of the French army, we have a set of heads perfect for representing the North African soldiers who found themselves defending metropolitan France. A great accompaniment to our metal Senegalese Tirailleur squad, these tall, striking hats let you field a wide variety of colonial troops, perfect for reminding your opponent that it wasn’t just Frenchmen defending France (and for fielding some pretty tasty units indeed)!

Lastly, there are the ‘odds and sods’ – there’s a Kepi (and arm smoking a cigarette), perfect for a nonchalant officer, and a poor unfortunate with a bandaged head – turns out the battlefield can be a dangerous place! These are great for adding some flavour to a force, and ensuring you don’t go mad painting all those Adrians!

All that lot on a single sprue – I’d say that’s a job well done by our sculptor, Wojtek; and a hearty thank you to Eric and Phillipe for their invaluable help in providing reference and advice on this project! The French are coming, in plastic at last, and that means it’s the perfect time to start a new army – I know I will be! I suspect the tabletop battlefields of Bolt Action are about to get tres chic!

En Avant!

Available To Order Now!

French Army – Bolt Action Starter Army Boxed Set

If you want to be among the first to get your hands on the new French infantry, there are a couple of ways to do so! The new French Starter Army is your first port of call, containing no fewer than 36 of the new figures, to be assembled and painted as any of the options outlined above. A medium mortar, medium machine gun and 25mm anti-tank gun provide additional firepower to these brave sons of France, whilst armoured support is found in the Char B1 bis medium tank. The comprehensive Bolt Action range has additional troops and vehicles to add to your army when you are ready to expand your French force.

French Army All-in Bundle

This bundle is designed to kickstart a Bolt Action French Army collection, it contains a wide variety of unit types with which to ply your trade in tabletop warfare. At the core of the bundle is the new French Starter Army, a solid core to your new force. The highly detailed multi-pose plastic infantry within can be assembled and painted as regular infantry, fortress troops, chasseurs a pied, engineers or colonial troops (Algerian, Moroccan & Tunisian), giving you a colourful army with plenty of variety and flexibility with which to face the German Blitzkrieg. They are well supported by HQ and weapons teams, and a Char B1 bis as armoured support.

Add in the other elements of this bundle and you’ll have a wealth of tactical options from which to choose from: cavalry, artillery transports and light tanks will all ably support your new infantry. It represents terrific value from buying its contents separately, you’ll get a weapons teams box, and two artillery pieces for free! And, armed with the Armies of France and the Allies Bolt Action supplement, you’ll have everything in hand to field your new army on the tabletop.

French Army Infantry Bundle

The standalone infantry boxed set will be available later in the year, but if you absolutely must get a hold of it early, consider the French Army Infantry bundle. This supplements three of the new boxes of infantry with armoured support in the form of a Somua S35 light tank and a transport option in the Lorraine 38L armoured carrier. Plus, you’ll get a free 75mm light artillery team for long-range support.

  1. I am very happy to see these figures and to see a 1940 selection released. The French are fun to play and will look great doing it.

  2. This is excellent news for players who want to play the May 1940 battles.
    @ Marcus: just a little mistake to correct your post. In 1940 the French had (…and still have now) units of Chasseurs Alpins but no Chasseurs Ardennais, who were (…and still are) part of the Belgian army.
    So, if you want to be correct, for France you have French Chasseurs Alpins and for Belgium you have Belgian Chasseurs Ardennais. Please don’t mix them all.
    On black and white pictures of the year 1940 you can easily tell the difference only by looking at the way the beret is worn. The French wear their berets tilted to their left side and the Belgians, like several other nations , wear them tilted to their right. Hope it was useful.

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