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Airfix

Set 01714

Civil War Artillery

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1962
Contents 15 figures, 5 horses and 2 guns
Poses 15 poses, 5 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brick Red, Tan, Blue, Black
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

Airfix announced all three of its American Civil War sets at the same time, and made this generic artillery set equally suitable for either side. The two guns have each been given an identical crew except for the hats, which are kepis for one and brimmed hats for the other, making them match the Union and Confederate infantry sets respectively. Though only one team has been provided, there are two outriders and one man seated on the limber for each side. Again these are identical below the hat.

The poses are all very static, with no one seemingly doing very much. While this would have been true for much of the time, we want a lot more action from sets like this. The ramrod is much too short, and no ammunition is being handled, which seems an odd omission for such a set. In short, a very boring selection of figures.

In general the participants in the Civil War took a pragmatic approach to clothing, so sculpting their uniforms is not particularly difficult. Apart from the dismounted officers all these men wear sack coats and trousers, and are mostly unencumbered by kit items. This is fair enough, so we can't really argue about the uniform, apart of course from the gross generalisation that all Confederates wore slouch hats and all Yankees wore kepi caps.

The guns are very simple affairs, and lack almost every feature of the genuine article. Even the shape of the barrel, which would normally be either the Napoleon or the Parrott, is nothing like either, and in fact it most closely resembles the uncommon but simple 10-pounder James Rifle. While it could be argued that the technology of the day limited the potential for fine detail, it would have been no more difficult for Airfix to shape the barrel to represent one of the more common types of ordnance.

The limber and team are equally plain, and again many corners have been cut. Civil War guns were pulled by at least six horses (more if there were riders on the limber, as here), and Airfix have made no effort to reproduce the harness etc., settling instead for pegs sticking directly into the sides of the horses. The seated crewman has a peg which fits into a hole on the limber, though the fit is loose and does no more than steady the figure.

All the Civil War sets are very firmly in the 'early period' of Airfix, with poor and shallow detail, plenty of flash and a fairly crude look to them. As a toy, all our criticisms might seem unimportant, but when compared to the other Civil War artillery sets also available this set has been left far behind. As about the first artillery set ever made in this scale this is a landmark, but not particularly useful today.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 4
Pose Quality 3
Pose Number 4
Sculpting 3
Mould 4

Further Reading
Books
"American Civil War Armies (1) Confederate Troops" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.170) - Philip Katcher - 9780850456790
"American Civil War Armies (2) Union Troops" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.177) - Philip Katcher - 9780850456905
"American Civil War Artillery 1861-65 (1) Field Artillery" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.38) - Philip Katcher - 9781841762180
"American Civil War Union Army" - Brasseys (History of Uniforms Series) - Robin Smith - 9781857531749
"Confederate Troops of the American Civil War" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Series No.16) - Jonathan Sutherland - 9781861267689
"Redlegs: U.S. Artillery from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War 1861-98" - Greenhill (GI Series No.11) - John Langellier - 9781853673092
"The Gettysburg Companion" - Aurum - Mark Adkin - 9781845133412
"Uniforms of the American Civil War" - Blandford (Blandford Colour Series) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780713707571
"Union Troops of the American Civil War" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Special Series No.17) - Jonathan Sutherland - 9781861267696

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