This set is the same as Atlantic set 1004 'US Cavalry' done in grey plastic and put in a Waterloo 1815 box. By far the best thing about this set is the box, a wonderful piece of artwork, but if you were to use this to guess at the quality of what’s inside then you would be badly disappointed.
The Atlantic American West range was not their best, with nearly all the figures being small (they were made as 1/87 scale after all), very thin and very poor anatomically. This set is as good an example as any, with all the figures looking emaciated and just plain wrong. Regardless of scale, the large heads and thin legs look terrible, and while the faces are actually quite nice the detail in general is pretty bad. For example, non of the troopers wear a shirt with any distinguishing features whatsoever, so no opening at the front, so this is some sort of long-sleeved T-Shirt perhaps? No, just a lazy way of showing a shirt. Our example had some flash around an occasional horse, but was largely clean, though as is evident the plastic had failed to fill much of the guidon being carried by the top row man, making him appear to have a handkerchief on the end of his staff. The anatomy of the horses is no better, with a very odd look to them, and both they and the men suffer from round marks where the plastic entered the mould – a common problem with figures of this vintage. Also of note is that all the horses have their manes standing upright, suggesting either incredible forward/downward movement (something some of the leg arrangements make impossible) or else some form of equine ‘mohican’ treatment!
It is immediately apparent that these figures were originally done as US cavalry for the Indian Wars, and simply made in grey plastic to produce a further product at minimal extra expense, since Atlantic never made any other Confederate sets. The men look so little like real confederate cavalry that there is no hope for them. Apart from the featureless shirts already mentioned, the men were the classic braces so beloved of many toy soldier makers, and all have the kepi cap, which was certainly issued in the Confederacy but was worn by only a minority of the men in the field. The kerchiefs round every neck do not reflect a widespread practice in real life, and while they all have holsters for pistols, which is fine, none have any cartridge boxes for carbines – which most also lack – and also missing are the cap pouch on most, and the canteen and haversack on all. The two swordsmen – whom are probably intended to be officers – are better by virtue of wearing brimmed hats, and also a form of jacket, though waist-length shell jackets were much more common even amongst officers. The first ‘officer’ lacks a scabbard for his weapon, and where the man firing his carbine is getting his ammunition from is anyone’s guess. Finally, everyone has long boots, which were something of a luxury in the Confederacy and so should not be universal as here.
The horses have a generic saddle and blanket, the former looking nothing like any of the many types of saddle used by the Confederacy. They have a rolled blanket or coat behind the saddle, and a small pouch or box strapped to it, but otherwise have none of the sort of bags and tools so often found on horses.
Many of the horse poses are similar, and quite hard to distinguish at a glance, but we did not much care for most of them. Some are completely wrong, but the galloping ones with front hooves off the ground are not so bad. Their riders are reasonable poses in principle, though both the man with carbine and the one with pistol are firing high and so probably achieving nothing. Sabres were not commonly drawn in actual battle, and of course the set includes as many men holding a flag or blowing a bugle as firing a carbine, so is wildly unbalanced.
This reissue of a mould long thought lost may have pleased some, but for those looking to build a convincing body of Confederate cavalry there are several other sets available that are immeasurably better than this one, which we would not recommend even for making up numbers at the rear of a formation.