When war broke out on Spanish soil in 1808 the Spanish Army had 12 regiments of light infantry (Cazadores), each having a single battalion. They performed all the usual light infantry tasks, but were particularly distinctive thanks to their 1802 uniform. This was a rather extravagant hussar-type green uniform including a dolman and 'Tarleton' style hat, which certainly made them stand out from the rest of the infantry and attracted the eye of many an artist. In 1805 or 1806 a new uniform was authorised, which closely followed that of the line infantry and differed mainly (apart from colours) in having the traditional belly box for cartridges rather than one suspended from a shoulder belt. It is this new uniform that is modelled on these figures.
The uniform here is as per regulation, with a short-tailed coatee and a bayonet hanging from a shoulder strap. One unusual feature is the blanket each man has draped over his left shoulder. This was a popular feature of Spanish dress - both soldier and peasant - but we have to wonder whether it was carried this way when actually in action. It would seem quite inconvenient when running around and using a musket, although it is often portrayed in illustrations, which of course are of men at ease.
There are only six poses in the box, which is not a lot although as these are light infantry there is less call for them to be in formation or tightly bunched, so this is not as bad as if they had been ordinary fusiliers. If we had had to choose six poses then these are probably the ones we would have gone for, and all are perfectly serviceable. Nothing exciting but then with only six you can’t really afford anything out of the ordinary.
The sculpting is quite good, with good detail and proportions. The belly box on the advancing figure has either been missed off or is not well done, and the kneeling figure is rather awkward as the sculptor has had to add a bit of plastic below the right knee (if you cut this off - not an easy job - then the man looks unbalanced and uncomfortable). There is only a tiny amount of flash, and no excess plastic.
Although authorised in 1806, it is far from clear how widespread this uniform had become by 1808. Certainly it seems that the light infantry that formed part of the la Romana Expedition to the Baltic still wore the old hussar uniform, and we could find no contemporary illustration of the 1806 uniform. Whether this was because the new uniform was still little issued by 1808, or simply less attractive than the old one, we cannot say. However while men might easily wait two years for issue of new clothing, surely many regiments of light infantry must by 1808 have received this simpler uniform, so these figures are accurate. The supply situation soon broke down as the war progressed, and uniforms quickly became a vast array of different styles and colours, so these figures are appropriate mostly for the early part of the Peninsular War.