Mexican Infantry Skirmishing

To add to my ongoing review of Blue Moon’s Texas War for Indenpendence range, I have inked the Mexican Infantry Skirmishing pack and mounted them on washers. A very nice set, I must say, with 30 figures in 9 different poses. These are uniformed and equipped exactly as the previous Mexican infantry sets so I refer you to those posts for the specifics. This set really reminds me of the original plastic Marx set in some respects, especially the soldiers clubbing or bashing with the butts of their muskets. They leave the impression of troops who have finally managed to break into the mission and are engaged in fierce hand-to-hand fighting. Two poses appear to be either standing on the parapet and firing down into the courtyard, or are giving the ‘coup de gras’ to Texian wounded. As previously mentioned, two Soldados are using their musket-butts, one appears to be parrying with his musket, while the remaining four are charging with leveled bayonets.

This one must-have set.

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Painted Fusileros Advancing

These are the five poses from Blue Moon’s Mexican Infantry Advancing painted up as Fusileros from a Permanente battalion. These are wearing the regulation dress except they lack brogans and wear sandals instead. Coats are the 1833 pattern dark blue with red facings and epaulettes. These should have red piping along the front of the coat and around the pocket-flaps on the coat-tails, but all my brushes are fairly worn and I need to buy a newer, more pointed brush to finish the fine lines. I’m distinguishing my Permante battalions with uniform medium blue trousers with red stripe. Later, when I paint some as Activo companies, I’ll paint the trousers a mix of white and grey. When the troops are wearing sandals the trousers are shown rolled-up with the inside showing white. I painted the rolled cuff very light grey under the assumption that the white would not stay white for very long in the field. Belts and rifle-sling are white and the cartridge box black without badges.  Shakos are black felt or leather with a black visor. Chin-scales, shako plate, and lace are brass, but I have found some sources that indicate yellow lace. These very same sources show brass in the accompanying color plates!

Mexican Infantry Firing Up At The Walls.

Here is another pack that I am currently painting. This is the pack of Mexican infantry firing up at the walls of the Alamo. These are armed and equipped identically to the pack of Mexicans Advancing: minimal equipment and sandals. Though clearly aiming upward, the angle is shallow enough to use the figures within a regular firing line. Mexican powder was very poor and the soldiers often ‘overcharged’ their muskets. The figures in this pack may have just pulled the trigger and the kick is forcing the barrel of the Brown Bess to climb. In fact, Mexican troops were often seen firing from the hip to avoid the powerful recoil of their muskets. One assumes this did nothing for the accuracy of their shooting. Come to think of it, a pack of Mexican infantry firing their muskets from waist-level would be pretty cool. The pack itself contains 15 figures in 3 poses.

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Mexican Command painted

Here are the first painted test figures. They painted up quickly and easily despite my old eyes.  The basic coat color is very dark blue, basically the same indigo dyes used for contemporary French uniforms. The officers have the 1832 coat with red lapels. I just used gold piping to show the lace around the lapels, cuffs, etc, but in reality the gold lace could be a fairly elaborate design, especially for colonels on up. The first officer in bicorne will be a battalion commander. According to regulations he should wear the shako when serving with his battalion, but has opted for a bicorne with gold laced decorations. Two of the other officers would command companies so wear shakos. On the officer’s shakos I used a bit of artistic license by having lace, shako plate, and chinscales as gold as opposed to the brass of the rankers. I have no proof that this is correct, but makes sense that the officers would wear a more elaborate kit. Officers are also wearing gold epaulettes, swords, and a crimson/red sash. The charging officer looking back over his shoulder to make sure his men are actually following him wears the stylish 1830s-style sombrero that was reported worn during the campaign. These hats were civilian items and could be any reasonable color. I opted for a common tan, but black, grey, brown are all possible variants. Officers also tended to wear privately purchased breeches. I painted two with white breeches and two with grey.

The three Fusilero sergeants are dressed in enlisted men’s uniforms with their rank being indicated by red fringed epaulettes. The solid red epaulettes would mark these NCOs as members of a Permanente battalion. In the Activo battalions NCOs had red epaulettes with green fringe. For Fusileros I tried to paint the shako pompons as the tricolor green/white/red but with only moderate success. They look okay at arm’s length. The trousers for enlisted men were officially suposed to be medium blue with red stripe in winter and white canvas in summer. I’m giving all Permanente soldados the mid-blue type, but these photographed as grey, but trust me, they’re medium blue. The brogans are painted black.

The standard bearer is dressed as a regular enlisted man and would be a Fusilero. I could not find any reference regarding the painting of the flag pole. I just painted it brown, but it’s possible that the pole was some other color-green? red? blue? As painted the bearer would be a private, but I think I’ll add corporal’s stripes to the lower sleeves. The drummer presented a bit of a problem since I have found references showing both blue coats and reversed coats. I went with Chartrand’s “Santa Anna’s Army” and gave the drummer a reversed coat (red faced blue), but chickened out on the sleeve lace. I’m considering having red-coated drummers in the Permanente companies, while the Activo drummers will have the blue coats.

In the Mexican Army of 1836 the Fusilero companies would have a pair of drummers, while the Cazadores and the Grenaderos had a pair of trumpeters. The last figure is painted as a Cazadore with blue coat faced green and green pompon. I had no luck finding out what color the trumpet cord should be so I just painted it green.

Overall, I’m happy with the results as they look fine at arm’s length, though the close-ups look a mess.

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The Command Pack

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For starters I’ll have a look at the command pack. I mounted the figures on #10 flat washers and then used future floor polish/water/black ink wash to bring out the details. I’m mounting my figures individually and then will have magnetic movement trays to make things easier than moving 1200 Mexicans one at a time.

The command pack has twenty figures in 11 poses-officers, NCOs, musicians, and standard bearers. I only photographed ten poses and it appears I forgot to take a picture of an office in bicorn waving a sword. I’ll have to check to see if I received that figure. The officer on the left in bicorn appears to be a staff officer or possibly a the colonel in command of a battalion. According to regulations, regimental officers should wear shakos when serving with their battalions, but it appears some leeway was allowed. The officer on the far right wears a common sombrero which concurs with surviving accounts of the Texas Revolution. All the officers wear the 1832 coat with long tails, sash, epaulettes, etc. Officers on campaign in Texas would often wear a tailess, undress coat as an alternative, but I’m thinking these guys put on their flashiest uniforms for the final attack.

Here are four of the officer poses.

Next up are the three NCO poses. The sergeants three are dressed in the standard Mexican infantry uniform with their rank indicated by fringed epaulettes. They are in nice “get the lead out, Paco!” poses.

The three NCO poses

Finally there are the standard bearers and musicians. These consist of one pose each of a flag bearer, a drummer, and a bugler. The drummer is good for my Fusilero companies, while the bugler will signal for the Cazadore and Grenadero companies. The bugler carrys a brown bess so will fight along side his comrades when not blowing his horn. The flag bearer is dressed like an ordinary infantryman with non-fringed epaulettes, enlisted man’s coat and accoutrements. I would think the flag bearer would be a subaltern, but maybe the Mexicans were different. Of course my sources have no information on standard bearers at all! I’m going to add a drummer to each Fusilero company, but I suspect they were really used to carry off wounded since the attack was at night in silence.

The drummer, standard bearer, and bugler