Sunday, March 23, 2014

Portuguese Colonial Infantry , circa 1890

    My long time freind, Joe, has had a loosely organized "Darkest Afrika" type project going fora long time, involving a number of Connecticut wargamers. A number of years ago, I decided to raise a small force so as to be able to participate if and when the occasion might arise. I wanted something a little different than standard fare, and NO KHAKI under any circumstances. Family legend from my father  has it that one of our ancestors on his mother's side was a Spanish explorer by the name of Francisco Leandra. My dad was absolutely terrible with foreign languages, so the name is probably all wrong, and I've never been able to find anything about the existence of such a person. On the other hand, another family legend turned out to be all too true when my sister investigated the mysterious disappearance of my mother's father, back when she was in her early teens. In the process, she discovered that after enlisting in the army in World War 1, my maternal grandfather served in Europe, and while there taught himself to speak French fluent. After being discharged from the Army as a Sergeant, he then went to Senegal, where he spent several years as a French interpreter at the American Embassy there. This time he spent in Africa at last explained how we came to have both a pair Rhinoceros tusks and a circa 1880's rifle in the study of my parent's home!

    The Portuguese were of course great explorers, dating back to at least Prince Henry the Navigator  (1415 - 1488). The explored down the west coast of Africa, establishing trading missions and forts. Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa in 1488, and Vasco de Gama further extended Portuguese exploration, discovering a sea route to India in his voyage of 1497 - 1499. In 1500, Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil on his way to India. The list of further Portuguese discoveries is extensive, to say the least. I decided that I would use family myth as a take off point for my small African project, but use a Portuguese character rather than a Spanish one. With a little tinkering, the lead character would become "Francisco do Leão", with a back story of having been lost in the wilds and raised by a lioness along with her own cubs (sort of a la Romulus and Remus). As a result, Francisco has a special affinity for and can communicate with, and often summon lions. He is usually accompanied by at least one. Some local tribesmen have even spread rumors that Francisco might be "um licanthropo".

    Somewhere in the basement I am pretty sure I have an unpainted  Lioness, but I have yet to acquire a character figure for Francisco and any entourage he might have. However, I did purchase a group of 24 Eureka Portuguese Colonial infantry. I painted them about 40%, and then other projects called. With no immediate need for them, they sat incomplete for at least the past 5 years, along with another 24 unpainted African auxiliaries and 2 pack camels (which I think are Coplestone designs). Then Joe did his post this month about his new IHMN (In Her Majesty's Name) faction, the Landshark Company. Well, as fast as you can chant "Candygram", I was told to finish up my Portuguese, as they were to have... visitors. Hmmm, Portuguese... the Sea... Landshark?  Sounds ominous!

Anyway, here is the first 8 man squad of Portuguese, wearing their European uniforms but with white pants and a broad hat.

No khaki here boss, no sirree!

I did decide to give each squad there own (ahistorical) shoulder strap color to differentiate them. The NCO for each squad also has a hat band in that squad's color.

This first squad has yellow shoulder straps; the NCO's stand also has a clump of flowers on it as well to make it stand out better. 

I further decided to base each squad with a different flocking and paint color. Squad A here has yellow-orange bases and a deserts stand and rock terraining.

The Egyptian Statuary are by  Monolith designs. I picked them up over 10 years ago, at Historicon, and just  now spray painted them. The statues will be painted "lifelike" colors for use as table dressing for my New Kingdom Egyptian army, but while they were still just "sandstone" color, they are being used as part of the backdrop here. 

Squad "B", sen here, has red shoulder straps.

The NCO has a red hatband and a clump of red flowers o his base, as you can see here. 

The bases themselves were painted red brown, and flocked with a green and earth tones mix. 

This top down view shows the hats nicely... somewhat suggestive of Indiana Jones, I think. 

Her is squad C, deployed among some Egyptian ruins. Beware the Mummy, guys!

This squad has light blue shoulder straps

and the NCO has a light blue hat band, and clump of lavender flowers on his base.

C squad's bases are blue green, with "Alpine Meadow" flocking.

A painting of Portuguese colonial soldiers in Angola.

Some limited but hard to find information on the Portuguese Colonial troops of circa 1870-1910 can be found on the King's Carbine site. I have of course taken the least khaki like interpretation!  :-)

A little mood music, maestro!


  1. A great post, no doubt! Love the minis and the presentation...hope the mummies won't be too cruel!

    1. Thanks, Phil.
      I'm more worried about the Landshark!

  2. So nice to see the Portuguese figures, finally! Came out really nicely. I like the idea of the basing you carried through. Oh, if your lioness does not show, I may have an extra!

    1. They just needed a little incentive. Of course, they're probably kind of a bit like the "red shirt guys" in Star Trek as far as IHMN is concerned! :-)

  3. I think if I ever get tempted into another era it will have to be the colonial periods. Very nice to something aside from the British.


  4. That was the point of doing Portuguese! :-)

  5. That's a turn up for the books; quite a change. Good to see you bringing in Napoleonic-style facing colours though (he he!)

  6. It is definitely along the line of a minor diversion to have some toys to lay with in this genre. I have another 24 assorted Afircan types in Fez and Turbans, and 2 pack camels to paint; maybe a handfull of charcaters and a lion or two to purchase, and this project is done.

    At least that's my claim and I am sticking to it!

  7. 1890s Portuguese? Those are figures I have never seen. They look great!

    1. As noted on TMP, the castings would probably work as US troops for the Spanish-American War, too.

    2. btw, I noticed the San Juan Hill scenario is in the files ection of the Piquet Yahoogroup. I can download it and forward it to you if you like, Jon.

  8. It´s very pleasant to see my countrymen so nicely painted... :D The officer on the painting is Mouzinho de Albuquerque: Cheers!