In any Napoleonic army the elite infantrymen was the grenadier, generally recruited for reasons of stature, intelligence or bravery. In the Spanish Army grenadiers were generally excused the boring duties of policing and patrolling towns, and would be more likely to be called upon to provide guards for buildings or important personages. Their privileged status was indicated in a number of ways, of which the most obvious was the very tall fur cap with the intricately embroidered bag or 'flame' which was the focal point of their uniform. When the Peninsular War broke out in 1807, a typical Spanish regiment was made up of three battalions, the first having two companies of fusiliers and two of grenadiers, while the other two just had four companies of fusiliers each.
This set is part of a series released by HaT at the same time depicting Spanish infantry during the early years of the Peninsular War, before wartime shortages and supply difficulties brought a very diverse appearance. Put together, these sets deliver far more poses than most single sets, which generally either ignore the grenadiers or include just a handful - sometimes just one. As well as more poses overall, this split approach gives the consumer much more choice in what they buy, so there are many positives, but as you can see this set does not boast a lot of different figures. Essentially all the fundamentals are here - firing, advancing, marching and standing in line - but that is almost as far as it goes. For many wargamers this is all they need, but for those looking to create an attractive or realistic diorama, six poses, many of which would make little sense placed together, will disappoint. What poses you do get are perfectly fine as they are; nothing particularly interesting but all well done and appropriate for the period, while having the standing and marching poses as the most numerous makes a lot of sense.
Spanish line grenadiers wore ordinary infantry uniform of coatee with short tails, breeches and gaiters, but with a number of differences all designed to make them appear and feel special. Most obviously there was the very tall plate-less cap already mentioned, which certainly got them noticed and has been very nicely done here along with the long flame or bag at the back that in this case has wisely been left undecorated. Other distinguishing features were the match case attached to the pouch belt on the chest, the short sabre hanging with the bayonet and the grenade badge on the cartridge pouch - all of which are present on these figures and properly done. All the uniform and kit is well done here, although we were surprised that there were no canteens or other vessels.
The sculpting is pretty good, with nice detail and realistic folds in the clothing. The texture on the fur cap has been well done too, and the faces include the moustaches such men would have worn. There is virtually no unwanted plastic thanks to the careful choice of poses, but there is a little flash in places. Still with minimal work these men could be quickly ready for action or painting.
Having said we approve of this multi-set approach that HaT have been using for years, and the improved number of poses it offers overall, we still can’t help wishing there were at least a minimum of eight poses here, if only to introduce a little variety should you wish to put together an action scene of these men in battle. Indeed with two marching and one standing pose, we would have liked to have seen perhaps seven action poses to provide a credible live action mix. However, the figures are nicely done and accurate, and as so often HaT have delivered an interesting subject that no one else has as yet, so if you want to put together an early Peninsular War Spanish Army then you will certainly be needing some of these nice figures.