Today we get to look at a brand new set of Blood & Plunder miniatures from Firelock Games! These new French Compagnies Franches de la Marine models accompany the Pierre Lemoyne d’Iberville model that will fill out the last of the miniatures for the Fire on the Frontier expansion, but they can also be used in the new Raise the Black expansion that covers Queen Anne’s War as well.
This new French unit made its debut in Fire on the Frontier and then they are updated in their 18th-Century form in Raise the Black.
Compagnies Franches de la Marine Miniatures
The miniatures are new sculpts and high quality. The preview minis we received are 3D printed, as the masters would be for the SiOCAST production.
The four poses are solid and include one figure shooting, one crouching and two holding their muskets across their bodies. The two holding their weapon across their body might be a little too similar, but it doesn’t bother me.
These models exemplify the frontier version of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine with cloth fatigue caps instead of tricorns, and Native-style leggings and hatchet.
The crouching pose is reminiscent of one of the Braves models.
Each model has a powder horn and cartridge box with the anchor shape on it as was typical for these troops.
While these models are perfect for the northern Canadian conflicts, the plastic Soldiers can easily be mixed in or used exclusively for these troops further south in the Caribbean.
The multipart plastic models mix in just fine! You can even paint up the metal 17th-century soldier model to represent some of the earliest Compagnies Franches de la Marine troops.
Painting the Compagnies Franches de la marine
Uniform color schemes vary a good bit, but in general, you want a white coat with blue trim. You can find an excellent article on their uniforms here.
Uniforms could vary considerably, depending on the theater, length of service, wealth, rank, and decade. I stuck with white coats and blue trim, varying the color of the Indian-style leggings as I saw fit. The lighter leather straps also seem to be a very typical look.
I used a lazy combination of Contrast Paints, Speed Paints, and some conventional paints on these miniatures.
If you look closely, you will notice the bases on these models are considerably thicker than we are used to. Tests in the SiOCAST machine indicated that a thicker base will resist warping. These minis are actually two-part, with the model sliding into a slot in the base. I’m not a huge fan of the thick base, but I immediately forgot about base thickness when I got them on the table.
Compagnies Franches de la Marine in Blood & Plunder
There are two slightly different versions of this unit, the 17th-Century version in Fire on the Frontier, and the 18th-Century version in Raise the Black. Both are basically a hybrid between the woodsman and the regular soldier.
The soldiers cost 6 points for a trained model with a 5/76/7/5 stat line. That’s a very French set of stats, exactly mirroring the Flibustiers from the core rulebook. Good at melee, and good at shooting, but not particularly good at staying alive. But their special rules, equipment, and unit options make them a very different style unit.
17th-Century Fire on the Frontier Version of the Unit
The 17th version of the soldiers are equipped with a Firelock Musket, a Standard Melee Weapon, and Thrown Weapons by default. This makes them very good at Charging. Again, very French! Their special rules of Scouts and Expertly Drilled again double down on their offensive capabilities. Equipping them to deliver frightening volleys of musketry and maneuver through cover and forest areas without slowing down. The 17th Century version has the option to trade the Thrown Weapons for Plug Bayonets for no cost, making them more of a standard solider.
The 18th and 17th versions have the option to upgrade to Veteran for 1pt per model. They also have the option of dropping the Expertly Drilled Special Rule in favor of the sneakier Elusive rule. This makes them more better in the woods but takes away that conditional output of extra Fatigue.
18th-Century Raise the Black Version of the Unit
What sets the 18th-century Compagnies Franches de la Marine apart is that he comes with a Socket Bayonet instead of Thrown Weapons. Socket Bayonets are really good in Blood & Plunder! While fixed there is a slight penalty for long-range musketry, but on a charge, you will dish out a Fight Save penalty and you will always be ready to receive a charge with a defensive attack.
If you’d rather have the super strong re-rolls of the Thrown Weapons, you can swap the Socket Bayonets out for Thrown Weapons. This also offers you a savings of 4 points per unit. Or if you want to go hardcore and have bayonets and Thrown Weapons you can add them for 3pts.
However you set them up, the Compagnies Franches de la Marine are a solid unit to build a French Force around. Because you can customize them to your purposes, they will serve you well both in the woods of Canada and on the Caribbean beaches!
Release Timeline for the Compagnies Franches de la Marine Miniatures
The sculpts are done, and these miniatures are in line to be produced with Firelock Games’ new SiOCAST equipment. I don’t know when these minis will be for sale, so I’ll just say “SOON™”. As of June 2023, Firelock has released their first SiOCAST minis for sale on their website, so maybe we will see these soon!
I hope to see both the Legendary Iberville model and these new sculpts by late Summer or early Fall of 2023. We’ll just have to wait and see!
Additional Recommended Reading
- Pierre de Moyne d’Iberville Model Preview
- 7th Anniversary Firelock Games Interview with Mike Tunez
- Queen Anne Third Rate Frigate made from SiOCAST
- Guide to French Nation and Factions