Thursday, 18 August 2011

Le Petit Journal

We went to the local brocante today, which is a cross between an antiques fair and a junk shop, just to have a look around at the various overpriced bits and bobs that they try to sell to the tourists. Most of the stuff is expensive junk but there are a few interesting things to see and the occasional bargain to pick up for a few euros.

I bought a couple of factory reject diecast 1.100 scale planes in their packaging but without any decals or markings apart from the basic camouflage. I now have (another) MiG 17 and a Gloster Meteor to add to the AK47 air support collection for 10 euros for the two, which is pretty good especially as they don't need to be repainted.

I also found a trunk full of illustrated newspapers dating from the 1890's and 1900's but was put off buying any by the 10 euro per copy price tag. They were all originals of Le Petit Journal which was published in Paris at the turn of the last century. They have large colour front and back pages illustrating contemporary events and incidents, including a lot of colonial campaigns by the French military in Africa and the Far East.

After a bit of googling I've found a site with colour scans of most of the issues from the 1890's to the 1920's:

If you are in any way interested in colonial wargaming, Victorian Science Fiction or late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century history they are a fantastic source of contemporary illusrations of all manner of interesting things. As an example of the sort of thing I mean, here are some illustrations from 1892 and 1893 issues at the time of the French campaign against Dahomey:

I immediately thought of In the Heart of Africa when I saw these pictures and, in particular, the excellent range of 28mm figures by Dixon Miniatures of which I have a small selection. There are some new French colonial figures in pith helmets from Artizan as well which could be used for campaigns in West Africa. I also reckon they'd be great for Aeronef or other VSF games.

I'll certainly be looking for more of these atmospheric images as I trawl through the various on line issues. As you can search my year and month, you can even narrow down your search to particular events of campaigns, such as the Fashoda Incident or the French invasion of Madagascar, so it's a great resource for colonial gaming and Beau Geste style derring do in particular.


  1. An excellent find. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Fantastic find, and thanks for digging out the link to the resource page with scans - I've often seem these come up on E-bay, but again, have been put off by the price - now I can browse for free - ta!

  3. Great link. Thanks for this, might encourage me to finish those Dixon FFL I bought all those years back...

  4. I think I have the original le petit journal, 23 july 1892. How can I be sure? Is there a watermark I should be looking for or something? If it is the original what do you think the value is?