To begin with we will identify all the figures above as detailed on the box. They are:
- William Tecumseh Sherman (1829-1891)
- Abner Doubleday (1819–1893)
- Oliver O Howard (1830-1909)
- Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886)
- George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876)
- Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885)
- Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914)
- Van Horn Ellese – No one with this name fought in the Civil War, but it has been suggested to us that this should read Augustus Van Horne Ellis, who was Colonel of the 124th New York Volunteers.
- Prince of Orleans – Strelets seem obsessed by this character as a figure with the same label appeared in their first staff set. While several theories were put forward when that set was reviewed, the most likely candidate for this title would seem to be Louis Philippe Albert of Orleans, who was on the staff of General McClellan.
- Alfred Pleasonton (1824-1897)
- Philip Sheridan (1831-1888)
This is a rather odd bunch. Certainly it does not reflect all the higher command of the Union army, with notable omissions including McClellan, Burnside and Hooker while obscure individuals like this ‘Prince of Orleans’ get in. Having said that these gentlemen are all dressed in regulation uniform with only the minor individual touches of the likes of Custer and Sheridan to distinguish them (plus of course the missing arm of Howard), so you can pretty much nominate most of the figures to represent who you like.
Strelets sculpting is usually pretty consistent and this set is no different. While the figures have a chunky feel to them all the necessary detail on these admittedly quite simple uniforms is present and correct. Flash is minimal but some figures fit some horses better than others. The only really odd feature is the swords, or rather the scabbards. These are quite short, and on some, particularly Sherman and Grant, they are so short as to appear to be knives.
The poses are mostly fairly dull but then that is precisely what they should be. While commanders were expected to lead from the front on occasion the norm was to observe and direct, which is what most of these figures appear to be doing. However there are poses with sword or pistol drawn if you want something a bit more energetic.
The horses largely match the riders in terms of pose, with some advancing quickly but others walking or stationary. Some of the poses are not particularly realistic but there are no obvious horrors there. Most of the horses have the basic saddle and horse furniture but not a shabraque, to which they were entitled but which seems to have been rarely worn in the field. One however seems to have a rather pathetically small one just visible under the saddle.
Apart from the few individuals who had obvious defining characteristics a collection of senior Union officers could expect to be fairly unvaried, and that is what we have here. This set certainly satisfies a need as until its release the only Union command set was all dismounted, so surely this one will find plenty of use with Civil War fans. Another unspectacular but workmanlike effort from Strelets, a bit like some of the characters this set portrays in fact.