Friday, September 14, 2012

28mm Spanish Civil War: Nationalist 'Guardia Civil' Infantry from Empress Miniatures


I was organizing my 'lead reserve' the other day and ran across these lonely Spanish Civil War figures that I had acquired years back, all primed and ready to go. It was interesting as I had just been thinking about Guillermo del Toro's terrifying but hauntingly beautiful Pan's Labyrinth. Well, the synchronicity was there and my interest was piqued, so I pulled them out and placed them at the head of the painting cue.

Image still from del Toro's 'Pan's Labyrinth'
This group of infantry depicts members of the Guardia Civil, a para-military police force which found itself split in its allegiance at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Its estimated that a little over half of the Guardia claimed themselves for the Republican cause to which they removed their old uniform, as, to them, it was a symbol synonymous with the rebels. From what I understand the remainder of the Guardia Civil were quite active during the opening stages of the war (especially in the outlying rural areas) and were always considered staunch supporters of Franco and his regime.

A couple NCO types with Bergmann SMGs and an Astra pistol
I was a little unsure about the uniform as I've seen several variations of its green colour. So I decided to ask my good friend Juan to get his opinion as he is both Spanish and a confirmed uniform junky. He first returned to me a few examples; the first being this:

Obviously members of the Guardia Civil's secret elite shock troops...
While certainly inspiring I have a nagging suspicion that the Guardia Civil used a different fabric (and cut!) for their uniforms... Juan anticipated my reluctance with the spandex (difficult as that may be to imagine) and so included a few additional images that were spot-on, allowing me to make a decision on colour tone and shading.

A more grizzled example, wearing the gorrillo isabelino side-cap instead of the distinctive (and slightly wacky) tricornio.

These 28mm figures are from Empress Miniatures' SCW range. I find the sculpting on the entire range is  just fantastic, with clean, flash-free molds, and so much character packed into each figure. From this group I especially admire the sculpt of the Guardia officer, with his foot up on a discarded Republican helmet, laconically smoking a cigarette. 


He just exudes that sense of confident arrogance which really reminds me of the sadistic Capitan Vidal in Pan's Labyrinth


So that was my fun little SCW diversion. I have scads of figures from this range left to do and with 'A World Aflame' and 'Bolt Action' out in force I'll have to make time to return to them soon.


36 comments:

  1. Lovely work Curt, and a great photo of the female members of the Guardia :)

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  2. Thanks Tamsin! Erm...Yes! A wonderful photo indeed. I'm a bit jealous actually. We Canadians just get strapping barrel-chested lads wearing big boots, red serge and jodhpurs, but nothing like this...

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  3. They look great Curt! That green just looks super!More please!

    It's a wonderful niche period served very well by Empress miniatures like you said with such variety and sense of atmosphere that I enjoy painting it very much.

    I already ordered 'A World AFlame! and I'm really looking forward to reading it!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks a bunch, Christopher! I think I'll probably follow your lead and pull out some International Brigade figures to do up as 'Mackenzie-Papineau' squadies (pretty hard nuts, those lads).

      My order for 'A World Aflame' is in transit, so I'm quite excited to read it as well.

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  4. Well done dude. I love those occasional "diversion" projects. They tend to lead to excellent "full blown" projects down the road.

    Excellent research assist by Juan also :-)

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    1. Thanks Gregster. Who knows, maybe I'll have enough done-up for us to have a small game when you're next in town.

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  5. What a fine lot of figures and the painted ones ain't bad either! Great work!!

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  6. Very nice, Curt; it is a really fine group of Guardias Civiles. I´m reading "A World Aflame", and I like a lot its style and rules. I think I´m going to remember my mates about an old project...

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    1. Excellent! I look forward to reading a review of the rules on your blog.

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  7. Great job Curt, that officer is just wonderful.

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  8. Beautifully painted figures, congratulations. One comment, in the 30s the most extended webbing colour was a type of Dark yellow to brown according to the book of Bueno on SCW uniforms. About the "shock" troops, unfortunately never bumped into one in the motorways here... Nonetheless, a good incentive to breach sometimes the speed limits and get caught, he,he :-)

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    1. I tried the yellow-cast webbing but they really didn't come through in the photos. I think they may be too light in tone - something to work on in the future.

      Yeah, I suspect that particular contingent of the Guardia Civil doesn't get deployed that much...

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  9. Great stuff, your pinging round the periods at the moment

    Ian

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    1. Cheers Ian! Yes, it must be the change of season. From time to time its nice to go where the wind blows you.

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  10. Nice stuff as always. I particularly like the officer - great pose as you say!

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    1. Thanks Phil! He does look like a bit of a pr*ck, doesn't he? I think I'll go back and give him a pensil moustache as a finishing touch - it would seem to suit him.

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  11. Nice looking pictures.

    Can we expect conversions for the female figures?

    Cheers
    PD

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    1. Now that would be a triumph of the will!

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  12. Heh... When I saw this in the reader I was wondering how you could have gotten so distracted!? I too, however, dig out old stuff and paint up a handful just for something different to do. For the last couple years I've been in the habit of basing and priming all figures as soon as they arrive - before putting them in storage- that way they're all prepped ready to go whenever the mood strikes!

    Nicely done, by the way!

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    1. Thanks Tim! Yeah, I needed to get away from the greyscale stuff for awhile and so am enjoying 'mining' through my toy reserves. I'm too embarrassed to say what is on my desk at the moment, suffice to say its a dog's breakfast of periods and scales!

      I do much the same with a lot of my figures: get them cleaned and primed so they're ready to go when I am.

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  13. Curt

    Keep working on the SCW. I'd be happy to see some Spanish Bombs exploding in a table top Andalusia!

    Peter

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    1. Very nice work Curt! I at first glance I thought they were 95th rifles, until I got a closer look...
      What odd shaped hats they have!
      Oh, and I did enjoy the mid post spandex interlude ;-)

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    2. Thanks Scott, glad you enjoyed them ;)

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    3. Perer, I'll see what I can get done while my interest holds. These thing go in cycles for me.

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    4. I actually own one of those tricornio hats, Scott (don't ask!). It's even odder in real life. It's made of very, very shiny patent leather.

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    5. I'm sure you cut quite the dash in it (but perhaps not as nice as the examples above).

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  14. They certainly shocked me, lovely work and I just watched Pans Labyrinth the other night, good movie and a sad period of time!

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  15. Hi Curt, how are you? I'm having a good time going through your last posts. Good fun as you cover so many different areas; battle reports, great painting, scenarios, pait reviews, you name it. Even a questionnaire, but cycling? What are you using ;-)

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    1. Mike! My god, I thought you had been devoured by man-eating tulips, fallen into a dyke or ascended to another plane of consciousness, but instead you were just on holidays. ;p Good to have you back my friend.

      Hey, don't dis the cycling! Especially you - you're from the bloody Netherlands - aren't you guys supposed to be born gripping handlebars, with you legs whirling like eggbeaters?!

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  16. Yep, just holidays. Northern Spain, west coast. Insane beautiful over there with the combination of forests, mountains (picos) and gorgeous beaches. Recommended...

    last time I cycled I broke my arm, bruised the other and had a face like a man-eating tulip...But yes, we do cycle :-) but not as drugged as those 'sportsmen' pretending they are in a honest race in France. Best days in cycling BTW were the days everone just used and no one cared.

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    1. Good for you, northern Spain is lovely.

      I agree with your assessment on cycling and doping - as long as its a even playing field, why not.

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