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

Saturday, 15 October 2016

1809 Spaniards – Regimiento de La Coroña – got there eventually

The Mojo Breakers - painted at last - just waiting for flags. Mostly NapoleoN 
figures - some Falcata and some conversions in the command
I checked some dates – I painted up some test figures for a couple of regiments, including this one, in September last year. At that time (unusually for me) I had been progressing well with figure painting, and my Spanish army was coming along nicely, but it was becoming obvious that I would have to cope with increased exposure to Real Life for a while, so I was attempting to plan what to do next. What I did next was to paint up the command figures for two 2-battalion regiments (pics appeared here in Oct ’15), and ship off the massed fusileros to a painting service I’ve used before.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my philosophy with these paint shops is that they do a so-so job, requiring a fair amount of correction and retouching, but if they are cheap enough then the time saved is worth the cost – even comprehensive retouching is invariably quicker and easier than painting from scratch.

Well, maybe not invariably. In this case, I sent the figures away with uniform artwork and a couple of painted samples, which is the normally the best way of ensuring an effective job. They were a long time at the painting service, and I started to get worried when the customary progress photos did not come back by email. When I chased the batch up, they simply returned them, painted to what I regarded as a very disappointing standard, and with a few breakages to add insult. One of the regiments was a fairly straightforward job to sort out, and they duly took their place in the line (well, the box file) within a week or so. The other – 2 battalions of La Coroña – was just a mess. I started tinkering around, to find matches for the paint shades, and to work out how much effort was needed to sort out the facings and piping. To be quite honest, it would have taken me a couple of weeks of evenings to make a really nice job of them, but instead I went into a major sulk. La Coroña  are my only Spanish regiment to wear the older 1802 regulation uniform (which is very smart, though a bastard to paint), and I was upset out of all sensible proportion that they had gone so wrong.

My last emails to the painter, expressing my disappointment, are dated the end of November last year, when I put the figures away in a plastic box – all mounted on the official painting bottletops and everything – and left them to fester for a while. A week or so later, my mother was admitted to hospital for the first of a series of episodes which has severely limited my hobby time. We got a reprieve from March to August, but otherwise this has not been a good year for a lot of reasons, and figure painting is well down the list of priorities that didn’t make progress this year.

So – no hard luck stories – I simply got timed out on the Coroña boys, and they have sat like an itching sore in the plastic box for best part of a year. I could have done much better, but I managed to find more pressing things to do and – I have to admit it – my spirit was rather damaged by the episode with the painter. One thing for sure, this is the last time I learn that particular lesson…

Time passed. I was pleased with the things I did with ECW sieges, but the Spanish infantry stayed very definitely in the Sulk Box – I felt worse and worse about them. My mum has now been back in hospital for a month and – paradoxically – this has helped, since it has broken my spare time down into definite times and fairly short sessions. Almost out of spite, I dug out La Coroña, and over a week or so I have finally got them finished to a standard that I am happy with. It was fiddly, and it took a lot of coffee and Chopin and Stan Getz and Bill Evans and the Yellowjackets to get the job done, but it’s done.


The 1st Battalion - almost all my 1809 line infantry are in the better-known white
1805 uniform. I think the 1802 uniform, as illustrated here, was very attractive
- all regiments were the same, and the look was permanently tainted by
association with the despised Godoy. It is correct, I understand, that La Coroña
were one of the units still in the 1802 kit at the Battle of Ucles (1809),
so here they are, just to add a bit of variety to the army.

2nd Battalion

They do not have their flags yet – I believe I have already printed the flags, so they will be in the folder somewhere. I’m not worried about that for the moment – the main point is that I have defeated the mojo-breakers. I’m back on track, and am feeling a lot better about painting.

I have plenty more Spaniards to paint - I also have a couple of units farmed out to friends who have kindly offered to do some painting for me, so I expect to make better progress now – even if things crop up to delay me, I know I can get the job done when I am ready. These things are important, it seems.

I was going to put up a short list of things which I have to paint next, but when I started thinking about it I found my enthusiasm starting to waver, so I’ll just stack the plastic boxes in order, and work through them. Stand by with the coffee and the CDs.

In passing, my thanks to Stryker for invaluable guidance on paints, and on the technique for painting buttons with a cocktail stick (a potential sanity-saver), and to Arlen de Vries for spiritual support and occasional Dutch jokes.


  1. They look splendid Tony - worth the hassle!

    I look forward to seeing them on the battlefield.

  2. Yes, they look great to my eyes.

    Best Regards,


  3. Hi Tony, sorry to read of your poor experience with the painter, I do feel guilty as I had intended to paint your Spanish army to completion. But they have turned out nicely with your extra work and will sit well with your collection.

  4. Surely a unit that spent so much time in training and has now emerged looking so well shall have a ...... remarkable record on table once the dice start flying.

  5. A very fine unit, Tony, most gallant. I have been looking at your light infantry in their little box on my painting table and thinking I need to get them home to you before Christmas, but I want to do a better job than that painting "service" that let you down.
    Glad your mojo is returning.

    1. To misquote Napoleon - I knew Michael was there, I was calm.

      Listen, my man - I have seen your painting. One of the more subtle joys of this hobby is that units painted by friends forever carry a little of the painter's soul. I am more than happy with such a deal. I already have a good number of units painted by such friends - some of them, let it be said, dead friends - and I am always delighted to have them join in my games.

      There is no rush - when you are ready, I shall be honoured and privileged to have such a unit to call upon. What greater pleasure could the hobby of playing with toy soldiers offer?