The thirties had been a turbulent decade for Spain, with the fall of the monarchy and a succession of major political changes sometimes leading to violence and open rebellion. The army had been used to put down rebellions such as the 1934 Asturias uprising, but less than two years later a number of senior army officers attempted to stage a coup d'etat, which resulted in a civil war where everyone had to decide which cause they would support. Despite the military nature of the attempted coup many thousands of mainland Spanish soldiers stayed loyal to the Government while thousands of others joined the insurgents.
The figures in this set depict the Spanish mainland regulars, who changed relatively little over the period. Even when the civil war caused them to fight each other, differences were small and often dictated by supply rather than regulation, and such items as insignia and colouring are immaterial for unpainted miniatures such as these. What the box contains is soldiers wearing standard uniform of the time, with most apparently being in shirt-sleeve order with the correct belts, kit and granadero trousers. Some may be wearing the cazadora blouse but it is hard to tell. Two of the figures are wearing the easily identifiable capote-manta of typical design, and all are wearing the Spanish helmet (very similar to that of the Germans) apart from one man who sports a beret instead. Although there is not a lot of variation here, some have their thick socks rolled down over the tops of their short boots, which was a common practice. When supply was more difficult during the civil war all manner of items might be seen, but these figures are all authentic and quite smartly turned out.
Those with a particularly highly tuned talent for observation will have noticed that our samples come in two colours. In fact the grey figures are made in a fairly conventional type of plastic whereas the brown figures are in the much less robust version used for some recent BUM sets. However the standard of sculpting is at the wrong end of the scale for both. Detail is often vague and in places things seem to go seriously awry with poorly shaped items such as helmets and almost featureless faces. The brown figures have a rough quality to them and suffer from a number of air bubbles causing random cavities. The grey figures do not suffer this way, and at least both types are largely free of flash - something which cannot be said for the machine gun, which has large amounts on the tripod.
The machine gun is an M1914 Hotchkiss, a weapon widely used by the Spanish throughout the decade. This model is in two parts - the gun and the tripod - and is fairly basic. Apart from all the flash we found that the hole in the tripod needed enlarging to accommodate the appropriate peg.
The poses are not what you would call the usual suspects, which may be good or bad news depending on your point of view. Anatomically they are not always entirely convincing, but a reasonable effort has been put into making them fairly lively. On the whole the most generic and therefore useful ones are only present in single copies here, which is a shame. The two crewmen for the machine gun interact with the weapon rather well, but the trumpeter will mainly appeal to those who like the overtly heroic pose. The officer in the third row, who is labelled as a commander, is of General Franco himself and is taken from a photograph showing him before the war. He is pointing with a cane, which is certainly an unusual pose, although the ordinary officer above him is more conventionally armed.
At times during the civil war army regulars would have looked less uniform than these figures, particularly those fighting for the government, but individually each figure here is historically correct. However it is the sculpting that lets these figures down, particularly for the brown ones, which leaves the customer with much to do to improve them with knife and paint.