Fighting 15s: 40mm Portuguese Napoleonic Infantry

Fighting 15s announces the latest release for its Flashing Blade range of 40mm figures: Portuguese Napoleonic infantry. The new releases join the existing line-up of Portuguese cacadores.

There are two types of Portuguese infantry: the early version for 1806 in barretina with hide pack and French musket, and the later 1811 version in British-supplied uniforms with stovepipe shako and Brown Bess.

These new releases mark the start of our work to expand on the ranges originally begun by Mark Rowsell of Flashing Blade Miniatures. Fighting 15s acquired Flashing Blade’s 40mm lines way back in 2012, and frankly we were too busy with AB and Eureka at the time to develop the range. Eleven years on and we’re actually doing something.

The following codes are available, priced at £3.80 inc VAT per figure:

NPG020 Portuguese centre company in barretina, marching
NPG021 Portuguese elite company in barretina, marching
NPG022 Portuguese officer in barretina
NPG023 Portuguese drummer in barretina
NPG024 Portuguese standard bearer in barretina

NPG030 Portuguese centre company in stovepipe shako, marching
NPG031 Portuguese elite company in stovepipe shako, marching
NPG032 Portuguese officer in stovepipe shako
NPG033 Portuguese drummer in stovepipe shako
NPG034 Portuguese standard bearer in stovepipe shako

All figures are cast in lead-free pewter. There are five possible body variants for the centre and the elite companies, four centre company or command head variants, and one elite company head.

Fighting 15s is grateful to Alan Mercer, formerly of Eagle Figures, for his help in researching and project managing this range.

Assembly notes
Standard bearers The standard bearer’s hands require drilling out to take the supplied cast flag pole. Although a 2mm bit for metal will do the job in one go, Fighting 15s recommends drilling a narrower pilot hole (for example 1mm or 1.2mm, and even those followed by a second pilot 1.6mm) first to reduce the risk of damaging the hands. Alternatively, drill a narrower hole to take a wire pole and use the finial and cravat cut from the cast pole, making good the hands with green stuff.

Let’s be clear, we’re not trying to teach your grandmother how to such eggs, but there are better ways than only using superglue or gap-filling superglue to stick a 40mm metal head to a metal body. But if you want a frustrating time holding a head to a figure until it sticks because humidity levels aren’t right, please feel free to ignore our advice.

First off, the 1806 Portuguese use a different head and body location system from the 1811 Portuguese. This is quite simply because it was our first go at this sort of figure, and experience assembling the early Portuguese made us change how the later Portuguese work to a more positive plug and socket. As soon as possible we will be changing the early Portuguese heads to the same system, mainly so that heads may be interchanged to get figures representing transitional uniforms.

The manufacturing process inevitably leads to a slight mismatch between cavity on the shoulder and the plug or stud on the underside of the head. Fighting 15s recommends the following process for trouble-free assembly.

You may need a 2mm drill bit for metal to drill out the socket on the body if further depth is required for the plug on the later Portuguese. If necessary, slightly bend the musket outwards to one side to provide better access for the drill bit. Dremel does a good range of small bits for metal including a 2mm bit.

For both types of assembly, use a small ball of green stuff (epoxy putty), firmly applied to the plug and underside of the collar of the head, and plunge it into the shoulder cavity – the excess will squidge out. Remove, trim off excess green stuff from around the outside of the collar, recheck the fit by reinserting into the cavity, remove again and leave to set for 24 hours. To prevent green stuff sticking in the cavity, wet the shoulder cavity with a little water applied using a small paint brush. The green stuff makes sure the fit between head and body is snug.

Once everything is set and dry (allow 24 hours), use a standard superglue to assemble the head and body: it should stick within seconds. This process works because superglue sticks metal to epoxy quickly because of moisture levels in the plastic.