On parade! Troops of the American Civil War

jan05_rebs7

I’ve been wargaming since the 1990s, and during that time have amassed many miniatures across a range of periods. However, I’ve never really catalogued them all, and some of them haven’t seen the light of day for many a year. So I’m now parading each army for inspection so as to take stock of what I’ve got.

Some of my earliest wargaming figures were for the American Civil War. My original plan was to paint both sides in 28mm, but by the time I had finished these three units, my interests had moved onto other periods, and that was that! But they’re still beautiful units, and so I’ve kept them all these years for old time’s sake.

 

1st Maryland Infantry at Gettysburg

b_20190629_144605

At about 10.00am on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 400 men of the 1st Maryland Battalion launched their attack on Culp’s Hill. They charged towards the Federal breastworks, but were eventually repulsed and had to fall back. By that time, they had lost nearly 50% of their number.

Band of Brothers

The sacrifice of the 1st Maryland has been immortalised by noted artist Don Troiani in his painting ‘Band of Brothers’. Redoubt Miniatures produce a set of 28mm figures partly based on this picture, which are the basis of the miniature regiment shown in these photos.

Painting Confederate troops was a real pleasure, as they tended to wear a range of uniforms and equipment. The 1st Maryland were dressed somewhat “nattier” than other Confederates, being uniformed mainly in grey, and nearly all wearing the little kepi cap instead of the hodge-podge of hats worn by other units. But they still have a range of different accoutrements (especially the blanket rolls that some of them have slung over their shoulders).

Redoubt also produce some very animated groups of casualty figures. I included six extra wounded men in this unit. The casualty figures didn’t come with rifles, so I glued some spare ones onto the falling figures as though they were in the act of dropping their weapons.

b_20190629_145339

It is known that a mongrel dog went into action with the 1st Maryland that fateful day (and was shot down). If you look very carefully, you will see it in this picture. It didn’t come in the Redoubt set – I advertised on the internet for a miniature dog, and was kindly sent this miniature. It is probably the wrong sort of dog, looking a bit too lean and thoroughbred!

The flags of my 1st Maryland Battalion were by GMB Flags, who produce stunningly beautiful paper flags for many famous Civil War units. I folded them so that they look as if they are streaming out as the standard bearers run forward.

b_20190629_145305

The figures were glued in groups onto 4cm wide cardboard bases, about four or five figures to one base. This size of base was not selected to go with any particular set of wargames rules, but rather because 4cms is just wide enough to show off these figures to their best advantage.

 

5th New York State Infantry (Duryea’s Zouaves)

a_20190615_140307

Some of the most colourful units of the Civil War were those who styled themselves as zouaves, named after the French colonial troops of that time. And one of the most famous zouave units was the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, known after their founder as Duryea’s Zouaves.

Redoubt’s 28mm zoauve figures are beautifully sculpted. This is especially so for the typical baggy trousers, where the folds of cloth look very natural. And of course these are set off by the distinctive red colour worn by Duryea’s Zouaves, giving rise to their nickname, the ‘Red Devils’.

The flags were again products of GMB Flags. These flags are absolutely exquisite! I also added Front Rank finials and cords to the top of each flag pole.

a_20190615_140653

The officer figure wears a frock-coat and trousers which are not quite so baggy as those of his men. He is running forward, holding his pistol out in front of him. I purposely made my bases quite deep so that I could have the officer running in front of the double line of men.

a_20190615_140204

The bases were textured with real sand and small stones, static grass, and clumps of long model railway grass, to give the effect of rough ground – perhaps the field of Gaines Mill, where in 1862 the Red Devils first made their reputation.

 

Major Pelham’s Artillery Battery

c_20190629_145102

Redoubt don’t specifically say so in their advertisement, but I suspect they were modelling the moment at the battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, when ‘the gallant Pelham‘ used two guns (a Napoleon and a Blakeley rifle) to great effect against the Federal flank. Certainly the models and the poses of the figures lend themselves to recreating this event.

c_20190629_144723

Back when I bought these figures, miniature artillery units were often sculpted with gunners in very static poses, or in a mix of action poses that are not coordinated together to show a particular part of the gun drill. These Redoubt teams, however, all appeared to be working together. One team is positioning their Napoleon 6-pounder ready to fire, while the other team is lifting a 3″ ordnance rifle gun by the trail, ready to swing it around to a new firing angle. Note that the latter should have an iron rather than bronze barrel – I must correct it one of these days!

c_20190629_144753

The figures include:

  • Major Pelham himself. He wears tall riding boots, and is standing with his arm held up behind him, as if to say “hold it there, guys!”. His shell jacket is secured only by the top button. On his belt is a pistol holster and a cartridge pouch.
  • Two men holding the trail of one of the guns. Very cleverly animated – you can just feel them heaving the weight of the gun. One is in a shell jacket, while the other is stripped down to his shirt and braces.
  • Two figures pushing the wheels. One is really exerting himself. He is wearing a shell jacket and long baggy trousers. The other is a bit more subdued in his efforts, pushing with one hand on top of the other. His shell jacket is nicely cast falling open.
  • One figure levering the gun round with a bar. He is leaning forwards very realistically. Once again, he is wearing a shell jacket and baggy trousers.
  • A gunner standing with his hands down by his sides. This fellow adds a bit of variety, as he is wearing a waistcoat and trousers. I wasn’t really too sure what he was supposed to be doing, but he looks OK just standing there, waiting to do whatever he has to. He could also be a gun-corporal, ordering his men to push harder.
  • Another gunner sighting along the barrel of his gun, with his hand out behind him, indicating to his men “this way a bit more!”.

animation2

Next time in On Parade! we’ll move to a totally different army from my wargaming collection. I haven’t decided which period yet, but it could perhaps be samurai, pirates, WW2 French or Dutch, the Wild West … or something else. Who knows! 

One thought on “On parade! Troops of the American Civil War

  1. Really enjoyed the post mate. I have yet to paint any AMCW minis but I do look forward to painting the confederates for the same reasons you mentioned. “Nattier” is a great word 👍🏼

I hope I've given you something to think about - please do leave a comment with your thoughts or reactions.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s