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"Portuguese East Africa colonial uniforms late 19th cent.?" Topic

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Glengarry502 Jan 2021 12:54 p.m. PST

Is there any information available on Portuguese Colonial uniforms for "Darkest Africa" (late 19th century) period? Are there any suitable figures in 28MM that can be easily converted to Portuguese?

Blackhorse MP02 Jan 2021 12:56 p.m. PST

A little while ago I made a post asking if anyone had any experience with Stone Mountain Colors Paint and cross-posted to several "Painting Guide" boards. Now it's gone. Poof! It would appear that it got zapped by the Powers That Be, but I have no idea why. I simply was wanting to know what experience others had with it and if it was worth spending my money on. I wasn't advertising anything and there certainly wasn't any objectionable language in it…

So what gives? Technical glitch…or did I cross some line? I sure would appreciate some enlightening from the zapper.

P.S. I didn't bother cross-posting this on the chance that this gets zapped too.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2021 1:02 p.m. PST

I think even this post got 'Bugged'!!!

Prince Rupert of the Rhine02 Jan 2021 1:59 p.m. PST

Glengarry@ I had that itch recently and info in English is practically non existent the best book I've found is the OOP Foundry book on colonial armies in Africa.

From what I can work out basically the African colonies had Cacadore battalions dressed (until the the reforms of the mid 1890s) in Brown uniforms. Uniformity in the colonies seems to have been pretty lax with native dress and out of date uniform mixed together with up to date uniform. Expeditions from Europe were much more uniform and white uniforms with Havelock seem common for metropoliitan units.

It should be noted that unlike other European countries the colonial units in Portuguese territories mixed Europeans, Africans and mixed race men in the same units and the Europeans where mostly military convicts.

Anyway I did a WIP on a few miniatures in preparation for doing
a full army this year you can see here

For miniatures to represent African Cacadore battalions I think Foundry's Mexican soldiers (from the oldwest range) in kepi or havelock work at a pinch, as do some of the Perry war of triple alliance miniatures, for Europeans and mixed race men. Foundry Askari, or Copplestone Zanzibari regulars with head swaps using Perry ACW black soldiers in Kepi separate heads make good African cacadores.

Glengarry502 Jan 2021 5:49 p.m. PST

Thanks PR of the R!
I'm looked at the Perry Triple Alliance figures and the Paraguayans look ragged enough to use as Portuguese Colonials with the ACW African-American head swaps. Unfortunetly the Argentine Infantry in kepis with havelocks are too heavily laden with backpacks for Africa. In a pinch I can make havelocks with putty. Can you tell me what weapons the Portuguese troops were armed with? Muzzle loaders, breech loaders?

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2021 6:09 p.m. PST

I am using Spanish troops from Old Glory's Spanish American War range as well as Spanish Troops from 1898's Spanish American War range for Portuguese colonial troops from the period. Here is an image of Portuguese troops from the battle of Marracuene in 1895. I think you will see why Spanish troops of the period would work if they are appropriately painted:


Glengarry502 Jan 2021 6:31 p.m. PST

The link to the picture doesn't work.

Glengarry502 Jan 2021 6:36 p.m. PST

But I looked battle of Marracuene on Wikipedia and I think I've seen the picture you were refering too. Metropalitan units in slouch hats, African in fez's, everyone wearing kahki tan.

Glengarry502 Jan 2021 6:37 p.m. PST

Some chaps in the back wearing kepi's with havelocks.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine02 Jan 2021 11:54 p.m. PST

With regards to firearms the Portuguese were a bit behind other European powers they were buying muzzle loading Enfield's from the British in the early 1860s, changed to Snider's in the early 1870s and in 1885 switched to kropatschek repeater rifles. Those are the dates for metropolitan units though the colonies where always late in getting the latest gear.

With regards to the battle of Marracuene
That took place around the time of Albuquerque's reforms of the mid 1890s with a new uniform which included a slouch hat. Eureka do miniatures for metropolitan Portuguese soldiers for the late 1890s campaigns if that's what you are looking for.

Glengarry503 Jan 2021 3:17 a.m. PST

Yes, I saw the Eureka figures but honestly I don't want to raise a force based on 4 figure variants with no command! Gets tedious. I'm also thinking more of the 1870's to 1880's. Breechloaders for the "Europeans", before the firepower of their repeating rifles ans Maxim guns totally destroyed any chance of success for the native Africans.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine03 Jan 2021 3:47 a.m. PST

Yeah I agree.
In that case I reckon a mixture of European, mixed race and Africans (using the mix of miniatures I referred to before) soldiers all mixed together into units armed with percussion rifles or snider breech loaders (luckily Snider's being converted muzzle loaders are practically identical to Enfield's in 28mm) will work for colonial cacadores from around the late 1860s to the mid 1890s.

For Uniform colours, for the cacadores, you can't go to wrong with brown jackets and trousers with green piping but you could mix in white trousers and local civilian clothing. Equipment like belts and cartridge boxes should be black.

European expeditionary units would probably best be represented by ACW union miniatures painted with blue jackets and white trousers or full white uniform in kepi or Havelock. It's not a perfect match but probably as close as you'll get.

You could also add in foundry Askari as 2nd line soldiers of local origin like the chikunda and in Mozambique native allies were heavily influenced by the Ngoni so look a lot like Zulus.

Lilian03 Jan 2021 9:05 a.m. PST

It should be noted that unlike other European countries the colonial units in Portuguese territories mixed Europeans, Africans and mixed race men in the same units

not remountig until the particular case of Maurice de Saxe's black company in his white regiment, it was already the case in the French Army at the end of the 18th century, in the 19th century intially the Zouaves mixed arabs, turks, and pure Frenchmen, then the Algerian Tirailleurs raised in 1841 mixed arabs, turks, mixed Turkish-arabs, black sudanese and Frenchmen including as rank and files,
of course as French citizens the French Marine Infantry can also receive in the ranks French black and mulattos citizens from the "Old Colonies" where the inhabitants were French, from soldiers to officers with their "whites" European compatriots, for example among the officers coming from the Marine Infantry the General Dodds in the conquest of Dahomey is mixed by his father (quarteron) and by his mother (mulatto)

Despite that it is not Eastern Africa Moçambique
but Western Africa Angola c.1909
a turkish/Zouaves/north African Tirailleurs-style uniform

Lilian03 Jan 2021 11:13 a.m. PST

Moçambique 1895 campaign against Gungunhana

4 Engineers officers from the Regimento de Engenharia
Companhia Expedicionária enviada para Moçambique.

pictures shared by Memorias do Reino de Portugal

Glengarry503 Jan 2021 3:46 p.m. PST

Thanks Lilian!


Good thing I already have hoards of Copplestone Ngoni!
The way my thinking is evolving is Perry figures (my favourites) War of the Triple Alliance Paraguanians converted into colonial troops and Portuguese Metro troops a mix of ACW in kepi & slouch hats and WotTA Brazilians in slouch hats. I am assuming it's likely that some Portuguese troops wore slouch hats before 1885. Some of the WotTA castings are based on the ACW figures anyway. Foundry "Almost Uniformed Askiri" for 2nd line local troops as you suggested. Now… what to do for Portuguese cavalry!? :)

Prince Rupert of the Rhine03 Jan 2021 10:36 p.m. PST

I don't think slouch hats are out of the realms of possibility in Peter Abbots Foundry book figure 183 is a European Cacadore de Africa 1870s wearing a single breasted brown jacket, brown trousers, buff gaiters and a broad brim black hat turned up on one side, The gaiters where standard issue but not often worn the hat certainly seems to have been a local addition.

I used a Perry Sudan war Egyptian with a hat swap (the gun is all wrong as its a Remington rifle) that came out to a very close approximation of the line drawing in the book

marco56 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2021 11:26 a.m. PST


marco56 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2021 11:27 a.m. PST


marco56 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2021 1:39 p.m. PST

Here's a book on Portugal in Africa in the late 19th century. link

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