Bruno de Peyret, Soldats de Plomb

Bruno de Peyret, <i>Soldats de Plomb</i>

If you missed your chance to enroll in the French Foreign Legion, you can compensate for the lost opportunity by having the entire Légion Etrangère chez vous, in the miniature form of toy soldiers made by Soldats d’Europe et d’Ailleurs (Soldiers of Europe and Elsewhere), a French company created by Bruno de Peyret, a former business executive who has more than 40,000 toy soldiers in the personal collection he started as a boy. In 1994 he decided to make his passion his job and founded his small company in the Paris suburb of Chatou. Peyret does everything from creating the lead prototype to hand-painting all the minute details—buttons, ties, tunics, even the lettering on the flags, which he insists must be strictly identical and readable. The figurines, whose average height is a little over two inches, are all completely handmade and range in price from €30–€60, depending on whether or not the customer’s order is for a simple soldier or for a gift case with a decor. Peyret’s coalition of forces includes the white-garbed French Chasseur Alpin and the troops of France’s elite Ecole Polytechnique in their dress-uniform bicorne hats. To make sure his replicas are exact, Peyret works in close conjunction with military advisers. The company also makes other toy figures, such as golfers and boy scouts, on request. Each figure uses six to twelve different colors and takes about five days to complete. The biggest order the company ever got was from a client who in nine months assembled the Foreign Legion’s entire Second Foreign Parachute Regiment—800 soldiers in all. “I had a hard time keeping up with it,” laughs Peyret.



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