Saturday, February 22, 2020

Tiradores de Doyle

I thought I would try my hand at painting up some Spanish round hatted infantry, representative of the many and varied forces raised in Spain as a result of the Central Junta’s call for 400,000 new recruits in October of 1808. I wanted to do something different then the ubiquitous brown and my friend Brian North suggested the Tiradores de Doyle, a unit originally raised as Batallon de la Reunion de Osera. Its name was changed on August 10, 1808 by the Aragonese Captain General José de Palafox to honour the English agent Charles Doyle who arrived in Zaragoza in 1808 and helped organize and take command of the battalion. Few officers of this battalion survived the second siege of Saragossa but Doyle managed to recompose the battalion not once but twice during the conflict. Eventually Doyle lost favour of the court in 1813 and the name of the battalion was changed to the Barbastro Infantry Regiment and backdated to 1794, long before it was ever constituted!

In skirmish order, with pairs of figures pulled off magnetic bases.
The uniform of this light infantry changed many times over its history but while under Doyle’s command the small bit of information I could find indicated they were dressed in red uniforms with white waistcoats and trousers, and round hats. I liked the idea of painting some red-coated round-hatted Spanish infantry and so I went with that. I was unable to find any visual reference for this unit at that time, especially any mention of facing colour, so I took artistic license and made it yellow. Later the uniform seems to have changed to the English style, with stove pipe shako, dark blue jacket and trousers and red facings (at least this is how they appear in the photo below that I found of re-enactors of this regiment).

This was the only visual reference I could find of the Tiradores de Doyle, re-enactors in the later English style uniform.

These miniatures are the round hatted figures found in the 1/72 HaT guerrilla box. The uniforms have mixed styles but I like the ragtag look they give to this unit. Other than the command stand they were painted straight out of the box. The commander is from the Spanish Command set as are the standard bearer and the drummer. The latter two, however, were given top hats that I’m proud to say I sculpted myself!

I’m happy with the results. At the moment I am having some problems with my vision so painting may not be totally up to scratch, but the simplicity of many of the 1808 Spanish uniforms with little or no piping made the job a little bit easier.

My foray into round hat sculting for the command stand, done on some very ancient Airfix civil war figures. The plastic had become so brittle I could easily carve the figures away afterwards with a scalpel! 
Round hats mounted on Spanish command stand standard bearers and drummers. The second pair will be for my next project.

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