A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 1 June 2015

1809 Spaniards - Interim Group Photo

The new guys are at the far end
It's still early days for my 1809 Spanish army, but they are shaping up nicely, and the arrival of some long-awaited flags allows a first attempt at a mass photo. I haven't started on the grenadiers yet, the light and line infantry still have a lot to  come, and there is some more artillery (including some excellent stuff from GB Miniatures at Hagen). The light cavalry is about there now, but I haven't begun the dragoons or the line cavalry.

There is no attempt to line these up according to any OOB for this photo - the group on the viewer's left is the new stuff, painted up specifically for 1809. The group on your right represents the bits of my existing army which will fit in for 1809 - they are what in 1809 are termed "new regiments" - formed from May 1808 on.

I also have a sizeable force of irregular, partida-type troops who will be OK for 1809, but I've left those out of the picture simply because I felt it would be cheating to include them.

Current logic, then, is that anyone from my existing army who is wearing any British-style uniform, any artillery in shakos, plus any units which did not exist as early as 1809 (such as the Coraceros Españoles) are excluded from the new 1809 line-up. Rules, you see.

New, bicorne-hatted infantry

Light cavalry - 2 regts of cazadores and 2 of hussars - which reminds me - that
blue unit of Kennington figures at the back does not exactly fill me with delight
 - some creeping elegance required, methinks

Assorted Staff bods - more to come

The voluntarios and other units shared with the 1812 army

The new infantry march proudly into a stiff breeze, complete with flags at last
So it's a work in progress, as you see, but the arrival of the batch of new flags means that quite a lot more of them are suddenly ready for action.

* * * * * * * * *

Late edit: Completely different topic...

Anyone who, like me, got slightly burnt in the demise of NapoleoN Miniatures in 2009 may be interested to read a recent announcement from the management of Napoleon at War, which is an ambitious rules-plus-figures project run by some of the same people. I don't really have anything informed or worthwhile to say about what is going on there, other than that it would be a pity if it fizzled out, since the rules package and the 18mm(?) figures which are marketed under the same branding are really rather good, and since a lot of customers seem to have invested in the game and might - if things don't work out - end up stranded and out of pocket.

I didn't fare too badly at the end of NapoleoN - just some incomplete orders; other customers did much worse. In hindsight, NapoleoN was not such a strategic loss to the wargaming world as the Napoleon at War set up could be, since there were, and are, other suppliers of 1/72 metal figures - 18mm is much more rarified. [Though the loss of the NapoleoN-owned Les Higgins Napoleonics reissue was another matter altogether...]

I bought a lot of NapoleoN figures over the period they were active, and I purchased some stock remainders after they went under - a large part of my new 1809 army is built from exactly those NapoleoN figures. I don't know how NaW's 18mm soldiers match with other 18mm or with big 15mm (or small 20mm), but that sounds more tricky. I would be very nervous indeed at the prospect of committing my long-term hobby interests to a single supplier if there were no obvious back-up in the event of a commercial failure. Over the years, how many of us have eventually regretted getting involved with the little RSM figures, or Bataillon Fleur, or Hinchliffe System 12, or whatever else was heralded as the New Big Thing when it started up? Left snookered with incomplete armies, and no hope of rescuing the situation - especially in the days before eBay.

I bought the Napoleon at War rule book, and it really is well done. I never had any intention of going anywhere near their 18mm soldiers - even if I were not already committed to another scale, I wouldn't have entertained the idea. Too risky by half. Anyway, I hope they come through whatever problems they may be having at present, but - especially - I really hope that their loyal followers and collectors don't get hurt in the process.


  1. Nicely done, I tend to call them Old Army, Junta and New Army

    1. Thank you, Drew - the three army names are good - I like that.

  2. The Spanish army looks a treat, I have had Spanish armies since my youth and its always pleasing to see another wargamer with forces on the table.


    1. The Spaniards are an attractive army, but I get a lot of banter for having a Spanish army at all - I am frequently told that I should have an army consisting entirely of the French Old Guard, or some such tosh. I sneer and blow cigar smoke in their faces - it takes a better general, with bigger cojones, to command a Spanish army. The Old Guard are for wimps.

      Thank you, young sir.

    2. Ah that old chestnut. One of the reasons I don't enter tournaments (apart from the inevitable public humiliation) and am so choosy about opponents is my distaste for those who constantly tweak their lists in search of the "killer army". A poor workman blames his tools. In any period my preference is for an army that actually fought, and a mix of workhorse units that fought often. In WWII for example my armies are built around ordinary rifle companies and common tanks. No storm troopers and King Tigers for me. Line infantry, foot artillery and dragoons are the proper building blocks of a Napoleonic army for the same reason.

    3. Part of the reason I will soon have two Spanish armies is because I am astounded (not to say penitent) to think that I wargamed the Peninsular War for 20-something years without any Spanish troops at all. Reason? - well, I was raised on Michael Glover, Jac Weller, Napier, Featherstone - when I wrote to UK wargames magazines asking why there were hardly any Spanish troops available on the market for what, after all, was primarily their war (considering that you could get Wurtembergers and Badeners and all sorts), I got answers such as "because who in their right mind would want a Spanish army?" (insert your own snorting laughter). There was always Southey, but, whatever other faults it might have had, Southey's history started from the viewpoint that the Peninsular War was mainly a Spanish matter, which did not go down well at all - a strange denial, really, since you can bet that if Napoleon's boys had invaded Britain it would be difficult to read of anything else in our British history. I still was not convinced. They had some disadvantages, surely, but the Spanish army seemed to deserve better than their standard role as the Ugly Sisters in the pantomime of British Wellingtonian history (oh yes they did). Esdaile has been a revelation, and modern Australian and American writers have changed our traditional view a bit - why, some of these chaps even use Spanish sources, which would have been unthinkable in the 1970s.

      As for wargaming, I have never regarded winning a wargame as a high priority, so trick armies have never featured - it may be because I play solo a lot, but it also has to do with the fact that in my games I see myself more as a facilitator for a piece of sham history than a competitor. I apologise unreservedly to anyone who thinks this is a poor show, or the wrong attitude - obviously I'll give the game my best shot, but I'm fascinated to see what happens, and the closer things are to factual history the more informative and interesting that is.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ray - I'm pleased with what I've got thus far.

  4. Your Spanish army is shaping up very nicely!

    1. Thanks Jonathan - when I get to the point where I could involve them in a small battle, it feels like real progress!

  5. "I sneer and blow cigar smoke in their faces" - Ha! I like that phrase, though I fear such behaviour will lead to brawling in the parking lot. That's a terrific looking army, Tony. The flags are the icing on the cake, or whatever the Iberian equivalent of that phrase might be. You're giving me thoughts of replicating that in 6mm - maybe a few years down the road.

    1. The phrase seemed appropriate for a Spanish general. In 6mm, I guess it doesn't matter which city's arms are on each flag.

      Thank you, Michael.