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.