Thursday, June 20, 2013

Military Museum, Bogota

When in Bogota recently I had the chance to go around the small but interesting military museum there. It's built around a courtyard which holds some examples of artillery used by the Colombian armed forces over the years.

Not surprisingly, given the nature of the terrain in the country, it was largely of the mountain gun or heavy mortar type.  I was pleased to see an example of the De Bange mountain gun there which will feature in my Zambezi Campaign in due course.

De Bange

Other artillery there was of German or Czech manufacture.  The Colombians seem to have bought their equipment from a variety of sources over the years.



There were a couple of aircraft outside the museum including a Lockheed T33.  Colombia bought some of these Canadian-built Silver Stars, which is what the Canadians called their version of the Lockheed  Shooting Star, in 1954 as the country's first military jets.

I think that the Colombian space programme needs a little bit more work, however.

Inside there were a number of rooms devoted to the navy the airforce and several to the army.  I hadn't realised that Colombia had 4,000 troops that fought in the Korean War!  The first historical room featured the Colombian struggle for independence with a lot of uniform prints of Simon Bolivar's army and even one of his cloaks.

The Battle of Boyaca in Colombia by Martin Tovar y Tovar

They had several full sized uniforms as well. In the earlier period the Colombian troops were not exactly well equipped and many didn't even have firearms.  By the time of the Battle of Boyaca in 1819 they were  equipped with British muskets however.

By the Battle of Carabobo in 1821 the armies of what was now known as Gran Colombia (consisting of Colombia, Venzuela, Ecuador, Panama, Northern Peru and North West Brazil) were more formal in the typical, colourful Napoleonic style.  

Gran Colombian troops at the battle of Carabobo (in what is now Venezuela) by Martin Tovar y Tovar

Needless to say I thought it would be great if someone made 28mm figures for this period.  No sooner had I got home than I saw on The Miniatures Page an announcement about the fact that Orinoco Miniatures in Prague had just released some figures for the British Legion for the period.  Up to 7,000 British (and Irish and German - ex KGL) fought in the British Legion of mercenary troops in Simon Bolivar's army and their contribution was critical to Bolivar's victories at Boyaca and Carabobo.  More British than Colombians died in the battles for Colombian independence, I was told on my recent visit to Bogota.

I placed an order Friday night and they arrived the following Wednesday morning.  These are really lovely figures; virtually identical in size and proportions to Perry Miniatures figures.  The detail is superb with no flash and hardly any discernible mould lines (North Star take note!).  If anything, the detail is even crisper than the Perry figures with none of that guess work you sometimes need on an obscure strap or belt. Very, very impressed with these with Spanish on the way (see their blog) and Gran Colombia troops next.

I was over at Mike Lewis' house (of Black Hat Miniatures) this evening, picking up some of his old scenic boards (more on which another time) for my Zambezi project and he told me that Parkfield Miniatures also did some nice South American Wars of Liberation troops.

Just what I need, another period!


  1. Interesting Museum especially those Artillery pieces...always had a thing about Artillery & enjoy building and painting those units the most in any army. I think I will be getting another project soon too despite my resolution, as I have discovered a wargame enthusiast in Hazels Morris group & we have decided upon 10mm Kallistra Wars of the Roses...

  2. That's a nice find mate, never knew myself about Colombian troops in Korea!

  3. It's always nice to visit these cool museums. What a wonderful and varied collection of military history. Those new minis do look great too. Best, Dean

  4. It is a new period, but a very colourful and interesting one.

  5. Great pics and an interesting post, LH. I started off doing the Liberation Wars in 15m, as John Fletcher has a massive range in that scale. I'm now tempted to change tack and go 25mm.