Portuguese Napoleonics

I’ve been very quiet on the blog lately, mostly because I have been so busy with other things. But a question on TMP about converting Victrix Brits into Portuguese caught my attention. I have scraped a few figs and prepared them to be Portuguese, but they aren’t due to be painted until after I’ve done 4 battalions each of French and British.

But as the request was there, I thought I’d make myself do some painting and practise a Portuguese figure to see how it would turn out.  Here is the result:


I used a craft knife to remove the tufts on the shoulders, the lace from the front of the tunic, the brass shako plate and the lace on the cuffs. I could have used green stuff to create raised buttons and the new brass shako plate, but decided it could be painted on instead. The uniform isthat of the 20th Line regiment as found in the Histofig plate http://empire.histofig.com/-Portugal-.html .

Please remember that this is a rushed figure (wargames standard). I just wanted to see if the conversion came off without green stuff. I think yes. But you can judge for yourself.



11 comments on “Portuguese Napoleonics

  1. Hi, I saw your post on TMP about using plastic British for Napoleonics. If you have a moment, I have some questions about your converion process. I don’t know if my posting here will provide you my email, but if it does, can you contact me directly since asking the questions here might get a bit cramped.


    • Hi. Nope it didn’t give me your e-mail address, but feel free to ask your questions here. If you have questions others might too.

  2. Thanks. I’m trying to find the quickest & cheapest way to start on a Peninsular war force for Sharp Practice.

    How long did it take you to do the conversion for this figure?

    Scraping off the shako plate, shoulder wings & cuff lace might not be too bad, but how difficult was it to get the jacket lace off?

    The picture looks like you did a great job with all the conversions since I don’t see any bumps or lines left. Did you use sandpaper in addition to the knife?

    Did you use a Peninsular or Waterloo figure? The shako looks more like a stovepipe than a belgic. I know British & Portuguese kind of flip-flopped shako styles & assumed the figure would have a belgic to be a stand in for the barritina shako.

    In the TMP thread where you posted a link to this blog entry, someone else mentioned changing the shape of the shako belgic shako to more match the barritina. Have you tried that?

    Why are the Victrix a chore to put together? Getting all the pieces to work together, or just the fact that it’s 5+ pieces?

    Have you put any of the Perry plastics together? I’ve heard Perry’s are easier, but they look to have a similar number of pieces. Do you know why that would be the case?

    It looks like this uniform might be one of the simplist to paint in the Napoleonic period since it’s pretty much 1 solid color. The simple uniform & cheap plastics might be what sells me on a Portuguese army if the conversion & assembly aren’t too bad.

    Thanks for your time,

  3. Oh,& one more thing after that long post. Cacadores… So same conversion as the line infantry, but using British riflemen instead, & only take off the shako plate & shoulder wings? & leave the jacket & cuff lace. That makes it even easier.

  4. Hi Nils
    OK, I’ll see what I can do.
    1. It took me about 2-3 hours to do the scraping on the 32 figures of my 2 Portuguese line battalions.

    2. I simply used a hobby (stanley) knife. I used the point and placed it where the cross belts meet. I then use the edge to cut (scrape) the lace off. Note that I don’t actually scrape – I slice through the lace. It leaves a clean finish. sometimes it might look like you’ve gone a bit too deep, but it looks fine when you paint it. I don’t know that sand-paper and filing really work on plastics, as it tends to tear rather than smooth.
    These are Peninsula figures. In 1810-11 the Barretina was dropped for the stovepipe shako. The British infantry continued to wear the stovepipe throughout the Peninsula, so no probs with compatibility. My armies are based on 1812 9roughly) and that gives me an excuse to field all the stuff i like – Light Dragoons in the Tarleton helmet and Hussars in the Busby, as well as French in the Bardin uniform while their artillery crew are still in the old habit-veste. Tecghnically I should have waited for the Victrix French, as the Bardin didn’t really see the light of day until 1813, but I like the Perry figures!

    3. Victrix are a chore compared to the Perrys because of the 5+ pieces for assembly and the need to cut them off the sprue and remove the flash on individual pieces of equipment. It becomes an issue when you are looking for 16 poses to be identical and don’t need the poability that Victrix provide. For Sharpe Practice, or any skirmish, they will be fantastic.

    4. I haven’t put the Perry Brits together. They look just slightly less cumbersome than the Victrix. same issue with removing mold lines etc.

    5. Cacadores – use ordinary Peninsula line infantry, centre companies – not flank companies. Remove the cuff lace, leave the lace on the jacket and tufts on the shoulders – these will be painted black. Remove the Shako plate. Use assorted dynamic poses. remove the bayonets from the muskets and they look like rifles. Thre end. Cacadores are an even easier conversion!

    The uniform is pretty simple, but don’t forget that the trousers could be grey or brown or white as well as blue. It is up to you. I would say that converting Portuguese is easy to do, nowhere near as time consuming as earning the extra money to buy metal ones and the plastics allow you to pose your figures dynamically. For Sharpe Practice i would recommend using the Victrix French for your opposition rather than the Perrys – they look fantastic and are a better uniform option for the Peninsula.
    Hope that this helps
    All the best

  5. Thanks a lot for all the great info. A few more questions:

    1) How long did it take to assembly a complete Victrix box?
    2) Oh, so don’t use British Rifles for the Cacadores? From the very few pictures I’ve seen of the Cacadores, it looked like they had a bugle badge like the British Rifles, so I figured the Rifles would be a better basis. Or are you suggesting to use the line infantry for the Cacadores just because Victrix doesn’t have any rifles?

    Thanks for the trousers color options, but for ease & speed of painting I’ll probably leave them all the same color as the jacket. Unfortunately, for Sharp Practice, I wouldn’t need both a whole box of Victrix Waterloo infantry for the Portuguese Line & a whole box of Peninsular infantry for the Cacadores. So just that is making me lean towards the Perry Plastics. & also the lower cost of the Perry box too since I’m planning on doing the smaller sized skirmishes. I guess I could get a Victrix Waterloo box & try to get some unused Perry Peninsular heads to swap for the Cacadores.

    Thanks again

  6. Oh yeah, of course, one more forgotten question.

    When you were removing the badges & lace, did you do it before you put the figures together or after? It seems like doing it before would make it tough since all the indivdual pieces are so small. But if after, I’d worry about popping the pieces apart from the pressure of cutting.

    • Sorry, I’ve edited it now, but if you only got my original message it was supposed to read that 1 box of CENTRE company Peninsula British gave me 32 line and 16 Cacadores. By the way, the Cacadores contain all of the kneeling troops. And as I had a couple of centre company boxes I had extra arms to put my line units all in the same pose.

  7. Nils
    I think you missed that all the troops I use for Portuguese are the Victrix Peninsula Brits. My Portuguese are not in the Barretina, they are in the Stovepipe shako. This means that one box of Victrix Peninsula Centre Company has given me 32 infantry and 16 Cacadores. By 1811-12 the Portuguese were in Stovepipe Shako, and wearing overalls, so the Stovepipe seems to me to be the way to go. For the Cacadores I aim to paint on the bugle badge.

    I didn’t put my Victrix together one box at a time, but a unit at a time, which makes it hard to estimate how long a single box would take to put together. Maybe 3 hours?
    I did all shaving before gluing together. If you have a sharp blade and a firm surface to cut against it is easy to do.

  8. The hat, yes, it would pass. As mentioned on TMP the front was higher than the British front, but this can be ignored unless you are a real stickler for detail. There was an oval plate above the cords and lower plate, but this was much smaller than the British one, so it would still pay to shave it off.
    Cacadores were also equipped with the Barretina in the early uniform, so no problem to use the Waterloo box for them too. Again, they had an oval plate above the bottom plate. The bugle was inscribed into the bottom plate instead of the regimental number.
    Hope that makes sense.

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