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22Oct/160

Inspiration from northern Spain

I'm just back from my vacation in northern Spain. I visited Cantabria, Asturias and the Basque Country. Usually the trips to Spain are family related and for recovery, but this time I added a bit of cultural sight seeing.

Santander - Bay of Biscay Santander - Bay of Biscay Santander - Bay of Biscay

As a wargamer, with a few projects that have spanish topics, I packed my DSLR and gathered inspirations for them. I want to comment on these pictures and give you ideas for your own projects. First of all, for what settings can these images be interesting? In my case it is ancient Spaniards / Iberians for the punic wars, SAGA crusaders from northern spain and a spanish army for civil war / Bolt Action.

Where to begin? Well, you have to properly base your miniatures. The northern part of spain is much greener, than most people would expect. It's less sandy, less yellow coloured, but more a verdant green and some rocky, light grey areas. If you head further west, towards Galicia, it looks pretty similar to the greens of eire / ireland.

Santander - Bay of Biscay Santander - Bay of Biscay Santander - Bay of Biscay
Santander - Bay of Biscay

So now you know, how i'm going to base the miniatures of those armies mentioned above.

While in Santander, I came across this memorial at the light house. It remembers the victims of the spanish civil war and Franco-dictatorship. The regime used to throw politic enemies down the cliffs. A very sad and dark part of spanish history.

Santander - Faro de Cabo Mayor Santander - Faro de Cabo Mayor

Heading west, to the Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe), a range of mountains that spread over Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León. I went to the western part of the Picos, to Covadonga. Why Covadonga? Because of in 722 AD, at Covadonga the Iberian Christians won the first battle against the Arabs and Berbers invading the Iberian Peninsula. It is considered the start of the Reconquista.

Covadonga - Basilica of Santa María la Real of Covadonga Covadonga - Rey Don Pelayo
Covadonga - Picos de Europa Covadonga - Picos de Europa Covadonga - Picos de Europa Covadonga - Lake of Enol Covadonga - Picos de Europa

Between Santander and Covadonga lays Santillana del Mar, near to the caves of Altamira. It is a beautiful historic town, and the buildings, among them the Church of the Colegiata, is a great ressource for terrain for the crusades, peninsular wars or even the towns of Freebooters Puerto Alto. I added some full frontal images of walls and doors, as a ressource for painting, things like the Renedra tower / castle - like the magnificent Captain Blood did.

Santillana del Mar Santillana del Mar Santillana del Mar Santillana del Mar Santillana del Mar Santillana del Mar Santillana del Mar Santillana del Mar

Another stop was east of Santander, towards the Basque Country, the city of Castro Urdiales. Close to the waterfront is the church of Santa María de la Asunción. It was built in the 13th century (finished in the 15th century), it is a basilica church with three naves. The colours of the stones, the combined works and styles through two centuries of building make it an interesting ressources for your own projects. Either as a building or colour reference.

Castro Urdiales Castro Urdiales Castro Urdiales Castro Urdiales Castro Urdiales Castro Urdiales

Same goes with this town building, that be a great addition to napoleonic or pirate table. What do we notice about the architecture in northern spain? It is clearly different to the one in middle and south spain, that is due to the early mentioned Reconquista and following that, the less or non excistent influence of Arab or Berber culture to the everyday life and architecture.

Castro Urdiales Castro Urdiales Castro Urdiales

I hope you'll find these images helpful for your own projects. I'll cover my visit to the Museum of Cantabrian Prehistoric and Archaeology in a separate post. This is not the only post on here, covering historic references, so maybe you want to take a look at these:

Closing with this, I'll get back to my desk and wish you a great weekend. Looking forward to read your feedback.

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