Thursday 9 November 2023

28mm - Napoleonic Portuguese - 9th Line Infantry Regiment


Well, this is a happy moment. The fruition of two months of work. Napoleonics are a real joy to see completed and they are an immense and enjoyable challenge for me, but they do take so much longer for me to paint than just about anything else from any other period.

These are the 28mm Portuguese Line Infantry from Warlord Games. Well I say that but in fact there are 6 interlopers to bring their numbers up.  Warlord put 24 figures in a box and I wanted to have a battalion 30 figures strong.  I wasn't sure whether to buy another box of Warlord or go elsewhere for the remaining 6 figures.  In the end I found that Perry Miniatures also produce Portuguese Infantry but in lead.  They fit in pretty well...See if you can spot them!

I must say that the Warlord figures didn't seem like the poorer cousin. They are really nice plastic figures, very cleanly moulded and nice distinct detail. This, unfortunately, was more than I could say for the other 6 figures which took a lot of blade work to get them devoid of flash and blobby detail.

I really do like the Portuguese infantry. Their uniforms have a distinct look with their own style of the British stovepipe cap (replacing the  Barratina, that very smart piece of headgear which some believe lead to the design of the British Belgic Cap (trying not to say 'shako' as I have been picked up for this by British Napoleonic re-enactors). It was always referred to as a cap in contemporary sources apparently).

The flags are by the wonderful GMB Flags. In this instance, they had the very flags that I was after. The 9th were in many of the Peninsular War battles and there is a very nice colour plate in the Osprey book on Portuguese uniforms (first book of the series).

Below we have the Grenadiers of the line battalion. Their identifying features are moustaches, Sabre Briquets and yellow and blue shoulder laced wings (at least in the 9th).  As I decided to expand my unit size I added two of the line figures (with moustaches - non-regulation for non- Grenadiers), I used Vallejo plastic putty to make the laced wings. Plumes seem to be the same colour for an entire battalion and did not follow the British model.

Some of my newly transferred Grenadiers didn't have sabre briquets, but I could live with that, I could imagine that supply shortages meant that uniformity was really a dream for almost any unit during that very hard war.  

As can be seen, I went for a mixture of trousers; winter, summer, locally produced and grey overalls.  I can only imagine how quickly these would wear out on campaign.  I still kept a general uniformity as I wanted my units to look nice.  A true campaign uniform figure might make an interesting large figure vignette, but for wargaming it would make it pretty unappealing in my eyes.  Uniforms of rags are not much fun to paint for whole armies.

I based the unit in close order on 50mm x 50mm bases. The exception being the command stand that had to be on a 60mm x 50mm as it was the only way that the flags were going to fit on there as well as 6 figures.  The drummer is slightly obscured alas, a shame as so much detail went into him and his drum!

My plan is to use these for just about all of my Napoleonic rules; Black Powder, Sharpe Practice and Valour and Fortitude when I get those play tested.  

As usual, I tried to give my unit a bit of personalisation with a decent unit label printed and glued beneath the magnetic sheet under the base.

So what's next? I have about 3 units on my desk from different periods that I'm de-flashing and undercoating. It could be any of them...I'm just awaiting the inspiration!