The book has a historical introduction which is okay, and suffers from some idiosyncratic foot-noting, but otherwise it’s a gem. The chap who wrote it was a talented water-colourist. He’s clearly an amateur but he’s a military educated amateur so he knows what he is painting when he’s doing the military stuff. He served on land from time-to-time, which ultimately cost him his life at Abu Klea**.
Most of the military illustrations are of naval combat between the Peruvian and Chilean ironclads. He saw most if not all of the ships concerned, although I don’t know that he actually saw them in ship-to-ship action. If you want to model the ships the pictures are excellent.
There are some pictures of the land based forces, including of the fortifications built round Miraflores all of which are useful. Even more useful for me, already having the Caliver book on the uniforms, are the illustrations of the terrain, showing the colours, types of buildings and so on. One of the pictures at least is of a place I have visited that is now completely built over.
The diary text is of variable usage but all interesting as to what was important to a Naval office in the last quarter of the 19th century. Playing cricket against other ships and the locals features highly.
It’s a lovely book and thoroughly recommended to anyone with an interest in that period and not just in that part of the world. After all many of the ironclads that fought were built in Britain and most of ours never saw any action.
Don't take my word for this being an excellent book; Bob Cordery over at Wargames Miscellany got there first about 4 years ago, before I'd even heard of the conflict, let alone the book - Link
I have also managed to finish my first unit of Peruvian cavalry. These are the “Caballeros de Rimac”. They were so named because the unit was fitted out from the contents of a captured Chilean troopship called the Rimac.
|Caballeros de Rimac|
|Colonel and Bugler|
My next batch on the painting desk includes some more infantry and some artillery. It’s slow progress, but I’ll get there.
Now, off to think about how I make some South American buildings…
* Whenever possible you should always get your books from Dave ‘cos he’s a nice bloke who looks after wargamers.
** He is clearly going to be a character in my next SvP game.