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Odemars

Set CF01

Spanish Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2005
Contents 42 figures
Poses 14 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Yellow, Blue, Light Tan, Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

The Spanish army on the eve of the invasion by France in 1808 was far from a perfect instrument of war, but the trauma of the French occupation of much of their country threw everything into confusion. The Spanish soldier was undoubtedly courageous but the Spanish officers were noted on both sides as being of poor quality, and it took time for matters to be remedied. Yet the Spanish victory at Bailen in 1808 was the first major defeat suffered by the French imperial army, and throughout the Peninsular War Spain managed to maintain several armies in the field despite the difficulties, contributing to Napoleon's 'Spanish ulcer'.

This set gives no indication of date for the figures, and the poor illustration on the box is little help. In the early months of the war, from 1808, the Spanish wore a white uniform with bicorn, but the enormous difficulties of supply during the war of liberation, coupled with the large numbers of insurgents joining the fight against the occupiers, meant uniform became very varied in both colour and style, and often defied the term uniform altogether. These figures wear a shako tapering towards the top, a short-tailed single-breasted coatee and trousers, which makes them most appropriate for the period 1812-13, when the 'English' uniform was issued in large quantities to finally achieve some conformity. The uniform, so called because Britain supplied much of it as well as weapons, was (more often than not) a blue coat with lighter blue trousers, which matches the box artwork, and is a good choice for this set under the circumstances. Much of the equipment was also British, but since local items were also sometimes used, and the British supply was not always consistent, virtually any style is possible, making it realistically impossible to complain that anything is inaccurate! Overall however these men do conform to the generally accepted standard dress.

The two officers warrant particular attention on account of their dress. The first (fourth figure in final row) wears something like that of his British counterparts, including a shako that does not taper, while the second more closely resembles his French counterparts. As usual officers were able to indulge their personal preferences more than the men, and both styles of costume would not seem unreasonable.

One other individual sticks out from the crowd. The last figure on the top row is a grenadier, easily distinguished by his very tall bearskin cap with the long bag behind, and also by the grenade emblem on his cartridge box. However this spectacular uniform is more fitting for the period 1808-09, so he is out of alignment with the rest of the set.

The poses are a reasonable selection without having any that stand out, but having three identical sprues means there are as many flag-bearers as men marching or standing firing, so the numbers of each pose are not well distributed.

The sculpting is of a similar standard to other products from this company, with quite chunky and unrefined lines and a tendency for items such as weapons to sink into the bodies of the men. The faces are not too bad but other detail is quite sketchy. Much of the figures have no flash but there are also some areas where the flash is very obvious, which at least means the effort of removing it is not as onerous as it could have been.

This is the first set made of the Spanish armies, although other manufacturers are planning more. It is good to see companies like Odemars widening the Napoleonic range with sets such as this, and those wanting to recreate the later battles of the Peninsular War will no doubt find a good use for them, but these figures will not be winning any beauty contests.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 5
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"La Batalla de Vitoria 1813" - Almena (Guerreros Y Batallas Series No.50) - Emilio Larreina - 9788496170957
"Military Dress of the Peninsular War" - Ian Allan - Martin Windrow - 9780711005099
"Napoleonic Uniforms Vol.4" - Emperor's Press - John R Elting - 9781883476205
"Soldiers of the Peninsular War" - Almark - René North - 9780855240660
"Spanish Armies of the Napoleonic Wars" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.51) - Otto von Pivka - 9780850452433
"Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars (3) 1812-1815" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.334) - René Chartrand - 9781855327641
"Uniforms of the Peninsular War 1807-1814" - Blandford (Colour Series) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780713708417
"Vittoria 1813" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.59) - Ian Fletcher - 9781855327399
Magazines
"Military Modelling" - No.Dec 76
"Tradition (English Language)" - No.11

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