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Collis' Zouaves de Afrique

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  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Collis' Zouaves de Afrique
Posted by EdGrune on Friday, January 8, 2021 11:22 AM

First figure I've finished in a while, 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Collis' Zouaves de Afrique



I used the ICM 1914 French Zouave Infantry figures and replaced the weapon & kit with items from the ICM Union Infantry set.  The haversack & canteen straps are ApoxieSculpt, the rifle sling is wine cork lead.   The figure is painted in Vallejo Model Color, Model Air, and Reaper MSP colors.

Prior to the Civil War, Zouave units were civilian march and drill exhibition teams, often with bright uniforms.   At the start of the Civil War, Charles Collis raised a company of volunteers from the Philadelphia area.   He purchased the uniforms from the French government (see; using the ICM French Zouaves is appropriate).  The company was attached to various regiments and saw early action in the Shenandoah Campaign and at Antietam.   

Following this, the unit was augmented to regiment strength and given the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer identifier.   The 114th participated in the Battle of Fredericksburg where Colonel Collis earned the MOH for his actions in rallying the unit to resist a Confederate counterattack and prevent a Union artillery battery from being captured.  At the Battle of Chancellorsville they suffered a great number of casualties and took more at Gettysburg where they defended the Peach Orchard salient.

Thereafter the unit was disestablished due to depleted numbers.  However, the unit was used as provost guard at General Meade's headquarters.  Meade, a Philadelphian himself, appreciated the colorful uniforms and military bearing of the Zouaves.   He also liked their band, he called the best in the Army of the Potomac.  Because of their headquarters guard duty and colorful uniforms. they were the most photographed Zouave unit of the war.   They were given the honor of leading the V Corps Zouave units during the Grand Review in May 1865.

The 114th uniform consists of, from top to bottom, a red Moroccan style fez with a yellow-gold tassel worn crushed downward on the back of the head like a skull cap. Some men were issued fezzes that were too large so they compensated by turning up the brim giving the fez the appearance of a beanie. For dress parade and guard mount duty, the fez was augmented with a white turban which was wound around the head in Arabic style. Although the turban was not worn on the march or in battle it has often been erroneously portrayed as such in post-war art.

The collarless jacket was dark blue with sky blue cuffs and red trim. Arabesque designs on the jacket breasts were called tombeaux and gave the appearance of large false pockets trimmed in red.


A sky blue sash was worn wrapped tightly around the waist with Chasseur style madder red trousers, white leggings (gaiters), and leather jambieres (cuffs) rounding out the ensemble.


  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, January 8, 2021 1:44 PM

Nice work on converting and painting the figure! And excellent work on the description of the uniform, equipment, as well as the history of the unit.


F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton



  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Friday, January 8, 2021 3:47 PM

Cool!  I've seen many zouves done at figure shows and they are so eye catching.  Thanks for the history as well.  



  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, January 8, 2021 4:26 PM

 Wonderful figure, Ed.

Here's an interesting snip from a website concerning the Battle of Gettysburg.

'There were ten Union Zouave regiments that participated in the Battle of Gettysburg: the 10th New York Infantry Regiment, the 41st New York Infantry Regiment, the 44th New York Infantry Regiment, the 73rd New York Infantry Regiment, the 146th New York Infantry Regiment, the 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, the 95th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, and the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment (which did not become a Zouave regiment until 1864).

       Many of the regiments had discarded all or most of their colorful Zouave uniforms by the summer of 1863 for the standard Union uniform, but generally speaking, three regiments did appear in full Zouave or Zouave-inspired uniforms at the Battle of Gettysburg: the 84th New York Infantry Regiment (14th Brooklyn Infantry Regiment), the 146th New York Infantry Regiment, and the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, while a few others wore a “mix” (like the 95th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, which had retained only the Zouave jacket). Of course, there were no doubt exceptions to the rule in each and every regiment.
       On the Confederate side, the “Louisiana Tigers” of General Harry T. Hays’ Brigade in General Jubal A. Early’s Division of General Richard S. Ewell’s II Corps is often mistakenly believed that they wore Zouave uniforms at the Battle of Gettysburg, but that was not the case although the original “Louisiana Tigers” of Major Chatham R. Wheat’s Battalion did wear them earlier in the war. "


 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, January 14, 2021 9:06 AM

I love Zouve uniforms! Great job painting him!!!

I remember a movie on MST3K where they the film had some reinactors dressed in Zouve uniforms and one of the 'bots yelled 'that guys not a soldier- he's a pirate!!!'  

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen


  • Member since
    August 2020
  • From: Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia.
Posted by Dodgy on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 3:29 AM

Very nice conversion and paint job Ed. I too enjoyed the history.

I long to live in a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 3:29 PM

That's a nice kitbash and finish, Ed!

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.




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