Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Los Tercios de España

Much earlier this year, I inquired with North Star Figures about Spanish troops for the North Star 1672 range. I was told then that they were planning on doing the Spanish at some point. I thought maybe 2013 or beyond, but I got a nice early Christmas gift of the first(?) releases of figures for Spanish infantry ca. 1672.

My 1672 project was inspired by the line of figures created by Mark Copplestone as his Glory of the Sun range. Then Mark's formerly fulsome enthusiasm for the period waned and the range looked like it would die of neglect. Mark had completed several figures for the range, but not enough to make complete armies. Such is the fate of too many figure ranges. Then Nick Eyre at North Star acquired the range and resurrected it with Steve Saleh as the new sculptor. Steve produced several more figures that rounded out the range (artillerymen, more mounted, Swiss...). I'm not sure if Steve has made an exit from the range, but the torch has either been passed or shared.

Phoenix Miniatures produced a very nice mounted Louis XIV figure earlier this year sculpted by Tony Slocombe. Now Tony has produced the aforementioned Spanish for a new Phoenix 17th century range. So far, the range includes the figures needed for foot battalions: pikemen, matchlock musketeers, firelock (i.e., flintlock) musketeers, and command. They also have dismounted dragoons, which surely portends mounted dragoons and horse-holders.

The range looks good, as these pics from the North Star site attest:

Spanish pikemen

Spanish command

Spanish matchlock musketeers
I like that the command includes a piper as well as a drummer and two open-handed officer/sergeant types. With my order I also received a nice lagniappe in the form of a Spanish bagpiper, which is not available for order directly on the site.

The figures display the unique Spanish uniform with its characteristic full-length lapels. THis was what I hoped they would do ever since I saw the uniform plates from New York Public Library's online collection.

Spanish armored pikeman
The Spanish uniform colors are also unique. Charles Stewart Grant in From Pike to Shot 1685 to 1720 cites evidence from ca. 1690 that gives uniforms of 10 new tercios with colors like turquoise, violet, sky blue, yellow, and emerald green. I'm eager to paint some violet uniforms.

Spanish musketeers
I'm planning on using 30 Years War flags that are available from Adolfo Ramos flags ( I picked up some War of the Spanish Succession flags from this range in my order from North Star. There doesn't seems to be a significant style difference between the Spanish WSS flags and the TYW flags. My guess is that, like the French, the flags remained unchanged for a long time. Most French standards remained unchanged from the TYW until the revolution (about 150 years).

Spanish ensign
I have enough figures for two battalions and I've already cleaned and primed the pikemen and command/musicians. With time off over the holidays, I hope to get a a good start on completing the units.