Something like one million men served in the armed forces of the Confederacy during its short life, and one third of them were killed or wounded, or died of disease or neglect. Though in retrospect their task may seem almost impossible, still their story has inspired many books, films and models such as this set from Esci.
The poses in this set include some interesting and unusual ones, though not all of them are wisely chosen. The man leaning back and using his bayonet is a familiar Esci pose, but one of the least realistic or useful, and the two very similar figures holding their muskets across their stomach are also an Esci favourite. The man using his musket as a crutch is plausible, but the 'carrying a wounded buddy' is the most unusual piece. This is made up of two separate figures which fit together as shown in a rather lose arrangement. Nonetheless the result is both worthwhile and authentic, and must echo a frequent scene from the battlefields of the War. Prone figures are not always welcomed be some people, and firing while on the ground was unusual in pre-twentieth century armies, so this man is presumably a skirmisher. Such figures are also difficult to sculpt properly, and in many cases, as here, the man is not looking at his target. The crawling man is interesting in that he has been sculpted sideways, which has been made possible by his unusual stance and which allows a more animated figure than normal. Some more useful poses are missing, such as a man holding his musket as he manoeuvres on the battlefield, so an interesting but less than ideal selection here.
The majority of the men are wearing more or less typical uniform, although a few have non-regulation garments which adds to the air of authenticity. Most have the short jacket with stand collar, which is quite typical, but a few seem to have more civilian items, which is certainly possible too - the odd braces of the bugler boy are certainly not regulation. A majority have kepis, which over represents this item, when the brimmed hat was much more popular over the whole course of the war, particularly in the West, though only a few of these poses wear one. That apart we had no problems with the accuracy of any figure in this set, nor with the weapons they carry, which could be either flintlocks or percussion muskets.
The man with the flag wears a most unusual tunic, and also carries what looks like a Sharps carbine. However his flag is a poorly designed piece that is much too small for an infantry battle flag, which was officially meant to be 123cm square. It has also been engraved with the battle flag, but with only nine stars when there should be at least 12 or better still 13!
When Esci released this set the only other Confederates on the market were the poor figures in the Airfix set. These are certainly an improvement on those, with elegant sculpting, crisp, clear detail and no flash (at least on our examples). Apart from the useless flag the only other accuracy problem is the bugle, which has been very poorly done. Esci poses are sometimes accused of being flat and quite lifeless, and that seems a fair observation in this instance. Otherwise these figures are adequate and technically sound if less than exciting.