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A Call To Arms

Set 60

Union Regiments

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2002
Contents 32 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Hard)
Colours Light Tan
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

Having already produced a set of standard Union infantry, this set is a scaled down copy of two A Call To Arms 1:32 sets - 'Union Iron Brigade' and 'Union Coloured Infantry'. As a result we get the 4 poses from each of these sets.

The Iron Brigade was formed in October 1861 from several regiments from the Western states, and got its nickname after the Battle of South Mountain in September of the following year. Though it suffered appalling casualties it continued, in one form or another, throughout the war, and earned a considerable reputation. Its commander, John Gibbon, introduced the uniform most associated with it at Fredericksberg. This uniform, of Hardee hat, long frock coat and white gaiters (which were found to be unsuitable and disappeared inside a year) is accurately depicted here in every detail. Equipment in the field varied widely over time, but these men seem to be well equipped.

For the men with Hardee hats four poses is never enough to depict a body of men involved in all aspects of a battle, and here we have a man marching, one standing with bayonet forward and two in the act of reloading. Anyone wanting to build up a representation of the Iron Brigade is unlikely to find that sufficient. Of course the frock coat and Hardee hat were not exclusive to the Iron Brigade, and were worn alongside the more familiar sack coat and fatigue hat by many men, so these figures can be dispersed in other units too.

Many tens of thousands of 'coloured' troops fought for the Union during the war. The first 'black' regiment was mustered in 1862 and by the end of the war 10% of the whole army was coloured. However these regiments wore uniforms with no special distinctions, and in figures in this scale it is indeed a tall order to portray a particular racial type in the features of the face, though clearly such an attempt has been made here. All these men wear the frock coat and fatigue cap common throughout the army, and are similarly equipped in standard fashion (however many black troops chose to wear the smarter frock coat, as here, due to their pride in fighting for the Union). Our only observation is with the knapsack given to the marching figure in the bottom row, which is very square and regular; most knapsacks were 'soft' - essentially bags - although some militia did have stiffened boxes like this, but by the time black troops were raised the 'hard' pack would be unlikely. Once again we only have four poses, though the four chosen are more likely to find favour with customers. The poses of marching, advancing, firing and standing are more useful than those of the Iron Brigade, but again four poses is really not enough.

As with all the original A Call To Arms figures so far released, all in this set are nicely sculpted with plenty of clear detail and natural poses. Flash is more of a problem than on some other sets, but this is not too serious. However the very small number of poses simply leaves the customer wishing for much, much more.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 10
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"African American Soldier in the Civil War" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.114) - Mark Lardas - 9781846030925
"American Civil War 1: Infantry" - Histoire & Collections (Officers & Soldiers Series No.1) - André Jouineau - 9782908182859
"American Civil War Armies (2) Union Troops" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.177) - Philip Katcher - 9780850456905
"American Civil War Union Army" - Brasseys (History of Uniforms Series) - Robin Smith - 9781857531749
"Billy Yank" - Greenhill (GI Series No.4) - Michael McAfee - 9781853672385
"The United States Infantry 1775-1918" - Blandford - Gregory Urwin - 9780713717570
"Uniforms of the American Civil War" - Blandford (Blandford Colour Series) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780713707571
"Union Infantryman 1861-65" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.31) - John Langellier - 9781841761763
"Union Troops of the American Civil War" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Special Series No.17) - Jonathan Sutherland - 9781861267696

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