Saturday, November 21, 2020

More Caçadores - 1st and 2nd

The 1st Caçadores in line

I've been working away at creating Crauford's entire Light Division, and up until now had finished the Rifles and the 43rd. Recently I decided it was time to complete the 1st and 2nd Caçadores. 

About a year and a half ago I posted some simple conversions of HaT British infantry into Portuguese Caçadores, that I had painted up as the 6th. You can see that post here.  Since then I have added a couple more battalions, spurred on by receiving a number of Peninsular war figures from a friend that he had come to the sad conclusion he was never going to paint. In this grab bag of new recruits were the Revell Rifles, and as to date none of my Caçadores were armed with rifles, I decided they would convert nicely to Portuguese light infantry.

I painted up about 100 new figures, all of the Revell Rifles and some more converted HaT figures. I decided to head swap the Revell figures into the high-fronted barretina shako, just to make them stand out a little more as the elite, rifle-armed atiradores (sharpshooters) of these units. 

The results gave me enough new stands to create three large battalions of eight stands each, the newly minted 1st and 2nd along with the previously existing 6th. Now all of my Caçador battalions have more or less the requisite number of rifle-armed troops (historically about 150-200 per battalion) who as I mentioned, I made the atiradores with their black shako plumes.

So now with just the 52nd to complete, I am coming close to completing my Light Division. However, as you will have seen from my previous post, a few hundred British horse have landed in my lap and they are also demanding attention! So many projects, so little time...

A Bit of History

Michael Chappell's wonderfully executed illustration of Portuguese Caçadores from Uniforms of the Peninsular Wars 1807-1814. The officer still wears the older style Barretina shako.

Wellington referred to his Caçadores as the "fighting cocks" of his Anglo-Portuguese army. The 1st and 2nd were fully integrated into Crauford's Light Division and fought with distinction throughout the Peninsular War. A decree of October 1808 set the Caçador battalions at a complement of a headstaff corps and five companies of 123 men each. One of those companies was composed of atiradores (sharpshooters), and it was these that were given the Baker Rifles when they finally arrived in 1810. The other companies continued with the smoothbore muskets. 

By 1810 the uniform was becoming more similar to that of the British Rifles. This was largely due to supply issues, and although my own atiradores continue to wear the barretina, in reality all would probably have been in stovepipe shakos by this time.

And some pics...

The 1st Cacadores with rifle-armed atiradores skirmishing out front.

Close up of rifle-armed stand. As these were converted Rifles they already had the pointed cuff, and only required the shoulder tufts to be added (along with a few moustaches!) I also head-swapped them into barretina shakos to make them a bit more distinctive.

Rear view. Again, I went with the green canteens, for reasons explained in my previous Caçador post.

My three Caçador battalions, 1st and 6th behind and 2nd in front.


  1. Fantastic painted figures Bill!


  2. They are looking great. Now I know what else to do with the unpainted stuff:-)


  3. That’s great, Uwe. The Revell Rifles were too small to integrate with the nicely sculpted but largish Italeri I already had but they serve well as Portuguese Caçadores.

  4. Great job again, Sir .

    Sadly ,I 've learned on Wiki the death of Michael Chappell on August 15th 2020...

    Eric , from Belgium.

    1. Yes, a real loss to those interested in military history. In my opinion his illustrations stand head and shoulder above most in the genre for their strong character and execution. A real master of the art.