By Rob Morgan
My colleague and friend Jaime de Miguel of Madrid sent these photos to me: Spanish soldiers of the 1898 war with the USA, at a recent re-enactment. The kit is attractive, the rayadillo striped blue and white cotton ticking jackets and trousers for tropical wear in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. With customary straw hats, the royal coat of arms pinned at right. The collar regimental number in gold is 5. The rest of the kit and equipment is perfect if my reading of Alejandro de Quesada’s Osprey No. 437, “The Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection” is correct. They’d make a lovely table top unit and, in Cuba, caused the headstrong Americans some problems at El Caney.
The war, which began with the explosion aboard USS Maine, didn’t truly end until well into 1902, beyond that, arguably, into the years of the Great War, and it provides a wide range of scenarios suitable for the solo wargamer. I have gamed the naval encounters, rather one-sided as they tend to be. All you need can be found in 1/3000th scale.
In terms of figures, the new manufacturer GerMan makes two packs of Spanish infantry in 20mm plastic, one pack identical to these re-enactors, the other in sun helmets and garrison caps. You could use Red Box’s Boxer Rebellion Americans to oppose them, but you’d be grubbing around for artillery and cavalry, I think. It crosses my mind that there must surely be a number of US manufacturers of figures for these wars, and I’m sure that if there are, someone will mention it.