Napoleonic Portuguese fighting cocks on parade

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In this continuing series of postings where I inspect the various armies in my wargaming collection, we come to one of the smallest – the Napoleonic Portuguese.

This army is so small because I intended to brigade it with my British units. The Portuguese were an integral part of Wellington’s army during the Peninsular War, fighting so well that they were colloquially known as the ‘fighting cocks’.

Portuguese 8th (Evora) Line Regiment

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I painted these beautiful 28mm Front Rank figures as the 8th (Evora) Regiment ,with its yellow facings and red lace. The Portuguese wore blue uniforms with distinctive shoulder straps, and the ‘barretina’ cap which later became the model for the new British shako.

The only misgiving I had about these figures was that Front Rank didn’t have the same range of variations for their Portuguese as they did with their British and French ranges. There were no NCOs, soldiers turning their heads, bare-headed, wounded and so on. So I painted some patches and tears on their trousers to give them at least a small amount of variation. The end result was still a very attractive regiment.

The exquisite flag was by GMB Designs, a true Rolls-Royce of miniature flag makers to this day. Sadly the red and yellow parts have faded a bit over the last thirteen years (the only GMB flags I’ve had where this has happened). I’ve retouched the yellow, but the red needs some more work, as you can see by comparing these pictures with the header photo that was taken back when I painted this unit in 2006.

Portuguese 1st Cacadores

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The 1st Cacadores (‘hunters’ in Portuguese) were light infantry, and armed with rifles. They wore brown uniforms, unlike the Portuguese line infantry in blue.

The 1st were part of the famous Light Division, brigaded together with British riflemen and light infantry.

These are Front Rank figures again, which were kindly donated to me by a very generous friend in Japan who said he would never get round to painting them himself.

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So there we have it – a small but feisty force of Fighting Cocks.

Click to see my previous inspection parades:

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