by: Costas Rodopoulos [ ]
Originally published on:
My first brush with Viriatus Miniatures was reviewing their “Christ of the Trenches” figure which earned me a certificate at the 2005 Athens Star Show. That figure was one of the most pleasing I have painted and one I will always remember.
Another of their offerings -- "Jose De Telhado – Soldier , thief and Benefactor. 8 Jan 1852 1838" (Ref. 54F009) -- makes me eager to get down to painting.
The one thing that amazes me about Viriatus miniatures is that all of their figures have a story tell since the figures are based on a real person that played a role in Portuguese history. I think that comnects the painter to the subject. It’s not another knight or another World War II German -- it’s Jose do Telhado!
This figure represents José do Telhado, a highly decorated soldier that became a thief and a benefector. He called himself ‘the public divider’ because he only robbed the rich and always distributed one fifth of the booty among the poor people of the region. Here the figure shows José do Telhado at a large cross in the ridge of Monte de Eiras in Penha Longa near the River Douro, where he distributed the booty after the robbery of the Carrapatelo house on January 8th, 1852. He told the gang to spread a blanket and pour out the jewels and silver ware.
He was a tall man with a thick beard and wore a felt broad-brimmed hat, a knitted jacket, cashmere trousers, a red silk sash and large boots. He was armed with an early 19th century flintlock blunderbuss and two Portuguese 1845 pattern cavalry pistols.
The figure is packed in a classic hard-carton box with foam holding all 18 white-metal pieces of the figure.
The carton box is inside an outer box that has images of a figure painted by Paulo Gago. He is also the sculptor of this figure.
There is also a six-page leaflet with historical notes on the figure, reference information, three different pictures of the painted figure and a detailed color chart. The chart includes Vallejo acrylic paint numbers.
Head: A long beard and angry face of Jose makes this a distinctive character to paint
Torso with Feet and left hand in one piece saves some assembly time and shows a tall and thin figure of the hero. A 1845 pattern cavalry portuguese pistol lies under his belt
A flintlock Bunderbuss short carbine with the right hand on it
Another 1845 pattern cavalry portuguese pistol with his left hand on it
Nine pieces of stolen goods such as plates, candleholders and a grail.
A very nice and heavy base made up of four pieces representing a Cross monument in the ridge of Monte de Eiras in Penha Longa.
Quality and Detail
What I always remind people in Viriatus miniatures is that they are limited to 200 pieces each. This short production run makes them even more precious. My copy is 05/200. The white metal quality is very high and the casting is also done to a high level. I tried to find some flaws or problems but I could barely find standard mold lines to clean. Figure-by-figure l have to put Viriatus in the "High Quality Figure Manufacturers" category.
To enhance an already fine figure you just need a soft touch with fine wire wool to polish the metal. Additional cleaning can be done with a bath with a mild detergent/water mix to get the figure as clean as possible before priming.
Detail is more than crisp and clear. All parts are nicely detailed and all folds and creases beg for careful painting to bring out all the shadows and highlights
I wouldn’t put this one in the so-called “hard to paint” figures, but its no easy task since it represents a historical personality. Additionally, there are a lot of cloth folds to work on so the builder will have to be patient.
Color combinations are standard since he wears specific clothing and the Viriatus color chart should be of some help.
With a little work and careful painting the builder should be able to bring out the character of the guerrilla in the facial details which will require attention to details in his flesh and facial hair.
The stripped pants will be of some notice when finished while smaller details like pistol, sword, and stolen goods will also stand out.
This one is on my “soon to do” list and it will be built out of the box there is no alternation I plan to do to the kit.
List of paints to be used
Colour References based on Vallejo acrylic colours
921 - English uniform, 947 - Red, 927 - Dark flesh
928 - Light flesh, 929 - Light brown
950 - Black, 965 - Prussian Blue
983 - Flat Earth, 877 - Gold Brown, 950 - Black,
917 - Beige
869 - Basalt Grey, 921 - English Uniform, 918 - Ivory, 951 - White
950 - Black, 921 - English Uniform, 955 - Flat Flesh
950 - Black, 869 - Basalt Grey, 884 - stone grey, 951 - White
997 - Silver, 950 - Black, 865 - Oily Steel,
800 - Gunmetal Blue, 998 - Bronze, 792 - Old Gold
Conclusion – Final Verdict
If you are not familiar with Viriatus Miniatures this could make a nice introduction to this line of limited-production figures. The fact that this is "civilian" figure should make it stand out simply by the fact that it's something different.
Additionally, since there aren't other compnaies making Portuguese subjects, Viriatus Miniatures are sure to stand out as an "alternative" subject for many figure painters.
José Teixeira da Silva, better known as José do Telhado was a famous Portuguese thief of the XIX century. He was born in Lugar do Telhado, Castelões de Recezinhos, council of Penafiel in the North of Portugal, in 1818. He became known as José do Telhado (Telhado means roof in Portuguese) because the place where he was born had roofs with tiles unlike the common houses of the time that had thatched roofs. His life was strongly influenced by the social, political and military confrontation that took place in Portugal during the civil wars of the first half of the XIX century.
At the age of 14 he went to Sobreira to live with his uncle and learn the trade of cattle-feeder. He lived there for five years and fell in love with his cousin Ana Lentina. Initially his uncle did not authorize the marriage because José was a poor man. Determined to improve his status and get the hand of his cousin, he left for Lisbon and joined the Army and set foot in Cavalry 2, Queen’s Lancers where he reached the rank of sergeant.
In 1837, the 2nd of Lancers joined the failed revolt known as ‘Revolta dos Marchais’ led by Marshal Saldanha to restore the 1826 constitution, and José got involved in the revolution. His bravery was well illustrated when in on of the fights general Schalback told him: ‘it’s raining bullets’ and José replied, holding firmly his lance ‘ here is the umbrella, sir! Let it rain’. After the Chaves convention that set forgiveness to the rebels, he received the news that his uncle would finally let him marry Ana. José leaves the army to get married and live a normal life.
In 1846 a popular uprising known as ‘Revolta da Maria da Fonte’ and the Patuleia civil war took place and found José joining the rebellious army and saves the life of the viscount of Sá da Bandeira in the fight of Valpaços. For that action, he receives the ‘Torre e Espada’, one of he highest Portuguese military decorations. The war ends with the Gramido convention in 1847 and José leaves the army. With five children and lots of debt, he ends up as a thief in 1849 and became famous for stealing from the rich and giving one fifth of the booty to the poor. He was captured in April 5th, 1861 while trying to run away to Brazil. He was condemned to Africa.
In Angola he participated in some military actions against the natives and became a small trader. He died in 1875 at the age of 57 and was buried in Xissa.
Gen. Ferreira Martins (1945), História do Exército Português, Editorial Inquérito.
Camilo Castelo Branco (1862), Vida do José do Telhado, Extrahida das ‘Memórias do Cárcere’, Frenesi (2003).
José Manuel de Castro pinto (2002), José do Telhado - O Robin dos Bosques Português?, Vida e Aventura, Plátano Editora.
José Manuel de Castro pinto (2003), José do Telhado - Culpado e inocente, Plátano Editora.
Museu Militar em Lisboa
Special Thanks to Miguel of Viriatus Miniatures for the review sample
Stay tuned for more Viriatus Miniatures figures to be reviewed soon