This is the second set of American Civil War Union artillery that Italeri produced, and while it shares some components with the first (6032), it has one important addition - a limber.
Looking at the crewmen first, all eight are in different poses and are quite unusual. The privates wear frock coats and capes, which was the regulation uniform but was increasingly rarely seen on the battlefield as the simpler fatigue-blouse was preferred. Serving the guns was hot and heavy work, so these men appear to be working in cold conditions, though even so they look a little too smart for our liking. Several also wear bayonets and cartridge pouches, which is very unlike the artillery and would imply that these men are infantrymen detailed to assist the gunners, though many are clearly the gunners themselves and not infantry. However all do wear the kepi hat, as does one of the two officers. These are more appropriately dressed, with both having a pistol and sabre. One man carries a slow match for firing the gun, but almost all guns used during the war were fired with a lanyard.
The two men seated on the limber are similarly dressed, and therefore the same comments apply. However, while both are beautifully carved, they are not appropriate for their current situation. One of them is smoking a pipe and the other is cracking a whip, which is not right as the horses would be controlled by the outriders rather than the men on the limber. In addition, neither of them are holding on to anything. Riding a limber on any surface was a bumpy experience, and both men are in severe danger of being thrown off. The pipe-smoker also seems far too relaxed - he would have struggled to keep a pipe in his mouth while in motion. Both only look correct if the limber is standing still, yet the driver is apparently cracking the whip and the horses are clearly moving. Lastly, men rarely rode on the limber anyway since the extra weight put an increased strain on the horses and so was only an emergency measure.
The limber itself closely resembles the one in the Napoleonic French Artillery set, and has a six-horse team, which is great as all guns were pulled by at least six-horse teams, and this is the first set of Civil War artillery to include a full team. The limber box itself is not particularly accurate, having horizontal 'layers' around it instead of being a basic wooden box with iron fittings. The team are harnessed up well - far better than the 'peg-in-the-side' affair of other manufacturers, though of necessity this is still rather simplified.
The outriders for the limber are very strange. There should be three - one per pair of horses, but Italeri provide two, and suggest one sits on the front left horse, and one on the right wheel horse. This is an arrangement we are sure never actually happened, and it seems highly illogical. In addition, both are carrying guidons, which would have seriously impaired their ability to control the team and never happened in battle.
In addition there are two further horses, and one mounted officer holding binoculars. There seems no use for the second horse, and presumably this originally had a rider which was lost during the design process and no-one thought to withdraw the horse. They should have substituted this horse for another outrider!
The two guns are the common Napoleon cannon, which have been correctly sculpted with the distinctive tapering shape. The carriages are disappointing as they are missing most of the detail that should be present, and indeed they are virtually featureless apart from the trail handles and lunette. Whilst many of the details are impossible to model properly because of the limitations of the mould, better efforts than this have already been produced elsewhere so there is no excuse. Some obligatory small piles of shot are also provided.
The set boasts the usual top class sculpting and mould quality from Italeri, and though some of the team harness was a bit fiddly to put together the end result justifies the effort. Italeri deserve much credit for producing two sets of artillery which between them provide a very wide range of pieces which allow all manner of batteries to be constructed. The strange design decisions are disappointing, but there is much to recommend this set.