by: Costas Rodopoulos [ ]
Many interesting historical themes make up the range of Viriatus Miniatures from Portugal.After seeing some miniatures from Viriatus, you easily understand that this Company has dedicated in quality figures.
Here we have to review 54C008 Henry the Navigator - Conquest of Ceuta, August, 21st,1415
Description of the figure
This figure represents Henry, the Navigator just after the conquest of Ceuta, in the North of Africa, on August 21st, 1415. Prince Henry commanded the main assault and fought for 5 long hours without rest. Just before night fall, the Portuguese Royal standard was raised in the city and Henry was armed knight by his father, King João I, the following day. Henry is standing by the standard of the Order of Christ of which he was governor and holds a double-handed sword with a padded wooden grip and straight iron guards. At his waist, he carries a sword with Portuguese guards typical of Portuguese navigators of the XV century. On top of the armour the Prince wears a richly decorated tabard with his arms and on the ground there is great basinet with a round visor. After the heat of battle, he wears a fashionable unrolled chaperon which was very emblematic of Henry. The shield is also decorated with the arms of the Prince.
Henry, the Navigator was born on March, 4th, 1394 in Oporto and died on November 13th, 1460 the Sagres Cape in the South of Portugal. The prince was the 5th son of the Portuguese King D.João I and his English wife Philippa of Lancaster daughter of John of Gaunt. The prince was very much like his father and was fond of hunting, horse riding and heroic chivalry. He received a strong religious and moral education side by side with military exercise. He was a sober and strict man.
He embraced vigorously the initiative of the conquest of Ceuta, in the North of Africa and in 1412 he was in charge of setting up the Northern fleet while his brother D. Pedro was in charge of the Southern fleet. Henry’s fleet was composed of 70 large vessels and other small ships. All bear the prince’s standard with his motto ’talent de bien faire’. In total The Portuguese fleet was composed of 50.000 man-at-arms and 242 vessels and small ships. The fleet left the Lisbon harbour on July, 25th, 1415 and the assault on Ceuta took place on the 21st. At the age of 21, Henry took charge of the main assault through the Almina door. At the end of the day the city had been conquered and the following day Henry was armed knight by his father.
In 1418 he was confered the title of governor of the Order of Christ which was instrumental in the pursue of his dream of overseas exploration, discoveries and conquest. Therefore, Henry becomes the stimulator of a lineage of navigators that devote their lives to explore the Atlantic and the west coast of Africa reaching as far as Guinea and the Islands of Green Cape in 1460. In 1419, two of his squires discover the island of Porto Santo, and Madeira in 1424. In 1427, his navigators discover the Azores. Between 1433 and 1436, the Navigators Gil Eanes and Afonso Baldaia explore the African West Coast passing the Cabo Bojador and reaching as far as Rio do Ouro. In 1444, Senegal is discovered, and Gambia in 1457. Finally, in 1460 Guinea and Green Cape Island are discovered by Diogo Gomes.
In 1458, At the age of 64 he still participates in the Military campaign of Alcácer-Ceguer which involves a Portuguese force of 25.000 men and 280 ships, and where he distinguishes himself in battle and to whom the Arabs surrender.
The white hard carton box with inside foam protection holds safely all 15 white metal pieces of the figure and a piece of brass rod.
This carton box is inside an outer thinner cream colored, carton box that shows the box art figure painted by Victor Ribeiro de Almeida, while the sculpture is signed from same artist. After checking some Viriatus Miniatures I think that he is one talented and skilled figure man for sure
In the box, is also included a 6 page leaflet that holds detailed historical notes on the era and the figure, reference information, 4 different pictures of the painted figure. Also included is a special tip in order to paint the shield more easily.
Head: Very nicely sculpted with clear characteristics and detailed sculpture
Torso with Feet saves some time for getting parts together and shows Henry standing ,showing arms
Standard of Order of Christ
Double Handed Sword and right hand
Portuguese Navigator’s Sword with left hand
Great Basinet with round visor
Base as a piece of stone floor with a part of it raised
Quality and Detail
This is the fourth figure of Viriatus that I lay hands on. As I have said before they are made in only 200 pieces each. So this limited production makes them even more precious, at least to my humble opinion. My copy of Henry the Navigator is numbered 78/200. The white metal quality is very high, and the casting is in superb level. It wasn’t possible to find flaws or any kind of problems. A soft touch with fine wool wire, will move some traces of mold lines and you will be ready to wash and prime.
Sculpted Detail is more than crisp and clear. All parts are nicely detailed and the painter will have a nice surface to work on. Dry fit of the parts showed that Viriatus is once again doing a really good job !
I wouldn’t call this one an easy to paint figure. You have to paint, emblematic pattern on the standard and the shield and the cloth of the Navigator, and there are many colors to complete the task. Underneath his cloth there is a piece of chain mail. You have metals to do as well (swords, basinet, feet armor) and a lot of pieces to assemble before all this. So this figure could be addressed to the medium level painter and up.
This figure when finished will surely be one of the most impressive pieces of your collection, and especially after all the effort you would have invest on it !
Conclusion – Final Verdict
My case of interest, besides the quality, for Viriatus Miniatures, is that these ones represent an existing personality and you will surely be pleased. This specific figure of Henry the Navigator is bit more demanding in painting but if you really love figures you will not hesitate. High level of quality and detail will help the painter to get to the end with success.
You will add a historical person to your collection, and not a nameless soldier. For me as I said before, this is some important
Ernesto Soares, Camacho Pereira (1960), O Infante D. Henrique - Elementos Iconográficos, Livraria S. Carlos
Peter Russel (2004), Henrique - O Navegador, Livros Horizonte.
José Loureiro dos Santos (2002), Ceuta - 1415 - A Conquista, Prefácio.
Carlos Selvagem (1931), Portugal Militar, INCM (1999)
Museu da Marinha Museu Militar em Lisboa