Before his death in 1700, Charles II of Spain named as his successor Philip, Duke of Anjou, a grandson of the French king Louis XIV. The prospect of a close alliance between France (the most powerful state in Europe at the time) and Spain, and even the possible union of the two crowns, so alarmed much of Europe that war - the War of the Spanish Succession - quickly followed. When Philip claimed his Spanish throne as the fifth of that name, he had to fight to win his new domain, and this was done with the help of a French army as well as his own Spanish forces. Thus the Army of Philip V was a mixed Spanish and French force, which fought for many years and against both foreign and domestic armies before finally securing the throne.
It can come as no surprise that the Spanish followed the French in most respects at this time, and so it was with the army, particularly after a royal order in 1707. The basic infantry uniform was little different from that of any other European country of the day, which is what we find on these figures. There is one distinction however, and that is the cap that the majority of these figures wear. The cap marks them out as grenadiers, and here it is of a uniquely Spanish design, with a front plate and a bag behind falling to the rear. This is invariably represented with a cloth or fur band around the base, yet such a band is missing from these figures. In all other respects they are properly clothed. GerMan say that this set is intended to represent many tercios or regiments, but since such distinctions were mostly in small details such as buttons, pockets and lace (plus of course colours), most of the figures could quite happily be deployed together.
For the most part the poses are fairly standard and quite suited to the subject at hand. Two of the figures in the top row are actually handling grenades, which is fine, but we puzzled over the NCO holding the halberd who is kneeling for some reason. The dismounted officer is firing a pistol, which would be an unusual but not impossible action, while the mounted officer is waving his sword in the air in a very realistic pose.
The level of detail on these figures is quite pleasing although certainly not on a par with the best that is being made today. The proportions are fairly chunky with limbs that are quite fat and short, betraying the fact that these figures are sculpted in this size rather than larger and then reduced, which makes the task easier. As a result finer details are very limited and areas such as faces are adequate rather than impressive. None of the figures have any flash, but they are made in the usual BUM/GerMan soft plastic which makes them break fairly easily, particularly in areas such as weapons.
The large grey resin piece shown above is exactly the same as that contained in the GerMan set of Siege of Barcelona Catalans, so we will not repeat our comments on that here. Some Bourbon paper flags are also included.
By concentrating on grenadiers this set falls far short of representing Philip’s army, but others in this series include the ordinary 'hat men' so when seen as part of the total collection this is a useful and interesting set. The style of the figures may not meet with approval by many and the fragile nature of the material is never going to win any friends, yet this is a set with merit.