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'The Fighting Third' Peninsular War Army

'The Fighting Third' Peninsular War Army

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“Publish and be damned” -An Introduction to my Peninsular War PLOG-

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“Publish and be damned” was the Duke of Wellington’s response to a blatant blackmail attempt from one Joseph Stockdale.[1] The attempt regarded the publication of Harriette Wilson’s memoirs (a famous London courtesan), and contained details of her alleged affair with the Duke himself. Publish and be damned also seems a fitting way to open this PLOG, albeit in an entirely different context!

I’ve been a member of the Beasts of War community in name only for the past four years; content to read community posts and follow the team without engaging any further beyond that point. It has long been my intention to change that, but for a variety of reasons, I never did get around to it. This then is my opening volley, my powder is dry and muskets have been primed. Hopefully it will find it’s mark!

My dad got me into wargaming when he bought and painted up a number of battalions of 15mm British Napoleonic infantry. Since then the hobby has become a central part of my life (much to the chagrin of my wife who refers to all figures, regardless of provenance, as “trolls”). My dad is coming up to retirement now and I wanted a way to repay the huge debt that I owe him both metaphorically and financially! How do you pay someone back who has played such a pivotal role in your life?

You paint them a Napoleonic army of course!

Napoleonic wargaming has often been referred to as the pinnacle of the table top wargaming hobby (usually by Napoleonic wargamers themselves)! Whether you agree with this or not, a fully deployed army replete with unfurled colours on a bespoke gaming table is a sight to behold. It is not however, an easy period to get into as a wargamer, not for lack of excellent model ranges, rules systems or historical material; rather down to the daunting prospect that to do it justice you need to paint up hundreds of figures. I am aware that there are some brilliantly written skirmish rule sets out there (I am thinking of Sharpe’s Practice in particular) but the Napoleonic era in its purest form is all about massed formations of infantry, batteries of cannon and ground-thundering cavalry charges. To do it justice requires dedication beyond that normally seen in other genres or time periods (or perhaps more accurately: the ability to paint hundreds of mind-numbingly similar looking miniatures over and over again).

This said, my aim is to paint up the entire 3rd Division of the British Peninsula Army (more on this in future posts) complete with a bespoke battlefield to fight over. Talking through things with my old man we came up with the following…

  • The army was to be in 28mm (for the sheer aesthetics, smaller scales just don’t compare in my mind).
  • The army was to be all metal (there is something about the weight of the models that sets them apart from the, admittingly great, plastic kits available now).
  • My dad has long had a deep interest in the Napoleonic era and the Peninsula war in particular. Therefore it would be to the Iberian Peninsula that I would look to for inspiration.
  • Thankfully, my uncle wanted to get involved too and is taking on the building and painting of a French army, so for now I can concentrate on the British and their Portuguese allies.
  • A central part of the project is the building of a full battlefield for the armies to fight over.
  • I would like to finish all of this in time for my dad’s retirement (a year and a half away).

Both my dad and I are History teachers by profession so this would also give me the opportunity to delve into the history of the conflict and the regiments and individuals involved. I plan on using the excellent Perry Miniatures for the majority of the army with a few Warlord models mixed in to provide some alternative poses.

There is no going back from this project once it is published, so to hell with it and be damned…



 Test Stand of the 88th (the final figures will include some further highlights/revamped bases and be in pre-1812 ‘stove-pipe’ shakos). Test Stand of the 88th (the final figures will include some further highlights/revamped bases and be in pre-1812 ‘stove-pipe’ shakos).

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