Thursday 11 December 2014

Portuguese Cacadore Battalions

I have recently managed to complete four Portuguese Cacadore  battalions, starting with the 1st Castello de Vide regiment:

The Portuguese Cacadore regiments were comprised of one battalion each, and distinguished themselves in many battles in the Peninsular and Southern France. One of the most distinguished is the 2nd Moura regiment which saw action at the battles of Bussaco, Salamanca and Vittoria among others:

The 4th Viseu is quite similar to the 1st, but with a Light Blue collar instead of brown:

While the 5th Campo-Mayor is the same as the 2nd, but with a red collar:

One company in each battalion were armed with rifles, which is a nice surprise for an unsuspecting opponent. These troops were distinguished by black shako chords and plume:

The Essex figures are quite good, if a little smaller than their equivalent AB figures, but mounting them on a 3mm base gives them a bit more height:

Another five Cacadore regiments to go, which is probably disproportionately too many but I appear to have accidentally over-ordered somewhere along the line. Hopefully I will have them completed over the Christmas break and can then move on to some artillery and the cavalry.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Viera Tellas and Serpa Portuguese Regiments

The last two of my 15mm Portuguese line regiments just completed, making eight in all (or the equivalent of sixteen battalions). Firstly, the 16th Viera Tellas:

and the two battalions of the 22nd Serpa:

These figures, while still being a true 15mm, are much more enjoyable to paint than some of my other Essex figures. There is quite a lot more dynamism in these, and I am pleased I added a few "firing" line figures into the mix:

Now, on to complete eight regiments of cacadores (I still have no idea how I ended up with so many)...

Thursday 6 November 2014

Spanish Light Battalions

I have finally managed to get around to putting the finishing touches on a few Spanish light battalions, including the Gerona and 1st Cataluna light regiments:

With the Gerona battalion at the front:

These are probably not the most "dynamic" of the Essex figure range, and quite noticeably shorter than, for example, AB Miniatures (by at least 3mm), but they do the job nonetheless.

The 1st and 2nd Aragon battalions:

The 2nd Barcelona:

And a formed unit of 2nd Cataluna, just in case I need to pull one back into the line:

That's it for the Spanish light. Now I just need to put the finishing touches on 19 battalions of line, and half a dozen rural militia battalions...

Friday 26 September 2014

Portuguese Line Regiments

Another four regiments, or eight battalions of nineteen figures each, completed over the past couple of months.

Firstly, the first and second battalions of 10th/2nd of Lisbon line regiment:

Again using 15mm Essex Miniatures, with GMB flags. There are a few variations included in each pack of line, which relieves the monotony somewhat. These seem to be mainly around the direction in which the heads are facing, although there are two distinct styles, one of which is slightly squatter than the other and which would appear to be of a later vintage.

That said, they are the same height, which is 15mm from top of base to eyeball, rather than the 18mm of other figures such as AB. To compensate for this, I have used the larger 3mm Litko base, so that they won't appear too small against their AB protagonists:

Here are the two battalions of 1st of Lisbon:

Both regiments formed part of the first or Central division in the Portuguese army, as indicated by the white piping and regimental flag. As mentioned, all battalions are of 19 figures which at a 1:40 ratio represents a full paper-strength of 760 men.

I also managed to complete two regiments from the second or Southern division. with red piping and standard. First, the two battalions from the 5th regiment, or 1st Elvas:

and two from 14th Tavira:

This is how all eight battalions arranged together appears:

All  the above formed part of Beresford's Portuguese contingent at Albuera although, by that stage, they had probably all adopted the later British-issued uniform with the stovepipe, as opposed to the barretina shako.

Only two more line regiments or four battalions to complete now, and then on to some Cacadores.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Portuguese Lagos and Freire Regiments

Here are the first two regiments of my 15mm project completed. Firstly, two battalions of the 2nd Lagos regiment:

Essex figures again, but there is a lot more variety in their Portuguese poses than with their Spanish range. Some of them are almost AB in appearance and are well-proportioned, although still shorter at a "true" 15mm in stature:

It was nice to have finally put some paint on these as they have been lying around for the best part of ten years:

I have also managed two battalions of the 4th Freire regiment:

All the figures wear the distinctive Barretina shako which is probably good up until 1810, or 1811 at a push, until the British-supplied uniforms with the stovepipe shako gained predominance. I have always found it ironical therefore that the British ended up introducing the Belgic shako from 1812 onward, which itself was almost undoubtedly modelled on the Barretina. Personally I have always preferred the Belgic and Barretina for their respective armies, rather than the more plain stovepipe:

Portuguese line regiments typically consisted of two battalions, which would usually be found together. Both battalions of the Lagos and Freire regiments were in Beresford's army at Albuera. Regiments were also organised into three main divisions, with the 1st being the "Central", the 2nd the "Southern" and the 3rd the "Northern" division.

These were essentially distinguished by their respective piping and standards, with the Central division being white, the Southern red, and the Northern yellow, which also extended to the shako chords. In this case the Freire regiment can be recognised as belonging to the Southern division:

Friday 11 July 2014

Spanish Guard

I used standard Essex Miniatures 15mm figures for the guard battalions. Even though they had a longer coat than the standard line, at 15mm I really don't think many will be able to tell the difference, especially as the tails on coats of the Essex figures come down to back of their knees anyway:

The Walloon Guards are in front, with a battalion of Spanish Guards to the rear. Both flags are from Adolfo Ramos. Great flags, although you do have to be careful to correctly position them at the first attempt as they are more porous than, for example, those from GMB or Maverick models:

A second battalion of the Guards is to the left, and carries a Maverick Models flag:

Spanish Guerrillas and Urban Militia

No Spanish army would be complete without a band of guerrillas in my opinion, and those from Essex have a fair bit of variety:

As with my 28mm efforts I tried to restrict myself to a predominance of a variety of browns rather than try to splash around too much colour:

The same figures double up for urban militia, which are still loosely-based but in a slightly tighter formation than the guerrilla units:

There is a common perception of guerrilla units lurking around French supply lines, ready to cut down stragglers or intercept communications. This is probably true for the most part and they played a vital role in continually harassing the French and inflicting some fairly substantial losses, and also augmenting allied intelligence with regard to French movements.

I remember being quite surprised to read about the deployment of Julian Sanchez's guerrillas on the British right or Southern flank at Fuentes de Onoro, however short-lived that deployment may have been. One of Sanchez's men rode up to the French to taunt them before the battle, but some British light troops apparently mistook him for a French officer and shot him. Sanchez was (probably not unreasonably) upset, and quit the field of battle.

The British did manage to subsequently convince Sanchez to redeploy behind the field of battle and defend some of the approaches to the town of Fuentes do Onoro. I personally find the episode interesting because it confirms the potential for guerrillas to be deployed in the line of battle, rather being relegated to skirmish games.

Friday 4 July 2014

Spanish Converged Grenadiers

I've always wondered whether the line battalions were tempted to say "Where did they go?" when the grenadiers were pulled out of their respective line battalions to form "converged" units. I have tried to keep them in the same facing colours as the main units from which they were they were notionally drawn:

The Spanish grenadiers are among the most distinctive of Napoleonic uniforms in my opinion, using seal-skin for their distinctive caps. Obviously not the most environmentally-friendly of headwear and it is difficult to imagine this being put forward as a good idea today but, that said, cultural mores were much different in the late 18th century when they were first adopted:

I have probably gone a little heavy with the black between the waistcoats and crossbelts, and could possibly have put a bit more into the design on the cap bags, but am still quite pleased with the overall appearance:

Friday 27 June 2014

Swiss and Irish in Spanish Service

Amongst my favourite Napoleonic regiments, I have completed three Swiss battalions in Spanish service - Reding, Betschart and Preux:

This is possibly where the lack of variety in some of the older Essex Miniature 15mm range is highlighted, in that there isn't a figure with the longer tails of the guard, and there are really only the two poses of the line. This is in direct contrast to their Portuguese for example, where each bag can contain six different poses across eight figures. That said, this is 15mm so I suppose the object is to put as much on the table as possible, and the detail is still just as crisp on these as later figures:

I have only managed one Irish unit in 15mm, but am quite happy with them all the same:

Another of my favourite Napoleonic uniforms, with a combination of colour that really stands out on the table:

Now to affix the flags on some converged grenadier units...

Spanish General Staff

I finally completed the General Staff for my Spanish over the past week. The personality figures and some of the ADCs are by Warmodelling Miniatures of Spain, while the foot and general cavalry figures are Essex Miniatures 15mm.

I think the two mix reasonably well, although the Warmodelling miniatures are much slighter. I certainly found myself struggling with them a little more than the Essex at this scale, mainly because I couldn't find the necessary and obvious detail I need more nowadays, although to be fair it was probably there but I may have been unable to realise it:

There is quite a range of personalities to choose from, and I purchased one of each, even though most of them didn't actually serve together in the same theater. I made General Gregorio Garcia de la Cuesta the overall Commander-in-Chief:

Along with Jose Pascual de Zayas, who was probably the most competent Spanish commander of the war, as evidenced by the additional training he put his troops through prior to Albuera which enabled them to perform so admirably:

Don Pedro Caro y Sureda, better know as the Marquis de la Romana who effectively covered the retreat of Sir John Moore before "melting" away into the hills after the British had embarked at Corunna, and with whom Wellington worked quite effectively until Romana's death in early 2011:

That's the generals and staff finally completed. A few more pictures of Swiss and my favourite regiment, the Irlanda, to be posted now.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Spanish Artillery

I have probably overdone the overall number of these and am not sure when they could actually all see the field of battle, but at least I am fairly confident now that I won't run short:

I quite like the Essex 15mm equipment and they have a fairly rounded range to choose from. There is also some variety among the artillery figures - enough to have kept me interested, at least:

The only thing lacking were appropriate limber figures, but I threw some Essex renaissance ox-drawn limbers together with some spare figures which I hope look the part. These don't take a big part in the battles we play, but I wanted to include them more for the sake of completion than anything else:

I'm not overly sure that I managed to capture the faded cobalt-blue of the Spanish artillery pieces as well as (I like to think) I did in 28mm, but they were a lot of fun to put together.

Friday 20 June 2014

Spanish Heavy Cavalry

The last of the cavalry for my 15mm Spanish army, here are three regiments of Spanish Heavy cavalry:

These represent the Principe, Rey and Reina heavy cavalry regiments (from front to rear) of sixteen figures each:

The figures are all Essex, with Maverick Models cavalry standards.