I spent a long time building up a Spanish Napoleonic army as it was one of the most colourful and diverse of armies during the Napoleonic Wars... that and the fact it was God Awful in the field... which of course made what few field victories that they had (Bailen and Tamames) all the more impressive and satisfying. Lets not forget of course that everybody loves an underdog.
Institutional corruption was so endemic and rife in the run up to the Napoleonic wars that its armed forces were all but run into the ground by the administration. The morale of the troops was at rock bottom and they routinely had to fund and feed themselves. Career soldiers were few and far between and what Corp D'esprit the Spanish had shown the War of Succession, the War of the Pyrenees and the Revolutionary Wars had been destroyed.
However the Spanish were a hardy race with a belief in God that was ingrained into the very threads of their soul and the lowliest peasant in Spain never lost belief that they would finally eject the hated French and their Anfrancesados! The Bonapartist collaborators.
The animosity and hatred that many Spanish Generals held towards each other did much to destroy any cohesive effort that may have been achieved throughout the early years of the war and the introduction of Sir John Moore and later Sir Arthur Wellesley to the Spanish Peninsular was felt to be tantamount to another invasion by a European power, more so because until the day after the French committed their invasion by stealth, Great Britain had been at war with Spain... but then the enemy of my enemy is my friend right?
Spanish Generals such as Cuesta (a decrepit imbecile by this point in his life) and Ballasteros (who incidentally was an enormously capable and vigorous field officer) disliked being seconded to the Sepoy General that many ideas and campaigns collapsed because of their hostility.
Not all Spanish Generals were so hostile to the British army however Lieutenant General Francisco Javier Castanos, the victor of Bailen was able to foster and continue good working relationships with his British counterpart and the Spanish Duc D'albuquerque and the Marquis De La Romana were also capable of playing at the professional table... sadly both D'albuquerque and La Romana died early in the 7 year war.
What beat the French in the end? The Spanish Guerrillas! The word guerrilla which we have today is a term that was coined in this war. The Guerilleros of Spain were described as Napoleons running sore and in Spanish, guerilleros means 'little war'.
When Charles IV and his son, Ferdinand VII, were deposed and replaced with Napoleons brother the whole country rose up in arms. The French realistically could only ever claim to control the patches of ground where they were able to aim their guns. Whole Spanish field armies were able to move undetected whilst even a forage party of the French would need considerable protection to complete their task.
Anyway a long long time ago on a painting desk far away I began painting a Spanish Army. These are some of the regiments and elements that I completed:
All of these miniatures are Essex miniatures. Cheap and with a good level of detail to look really good when painted and arrayed en masse. There is a smattering of Fantassin miniatures in there as well. Ive never been sold on the proportions of the miniatures bodies BUT there are some unique miniatures that a Spanish player would not be able to find anywhere else so I took the plunge and got a load of their miniatures as well, such as the Spanish Engineer Regiment... when painted they actually all look really good as well!