by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
The American Civil War that took place from 1861 to 1865 was a dark period in the history of the United States of America. However, it was this war that eventually made America what it is today. The modeller has not exactly been inundated when it comes to replicating figures and equipment from this period in history. However, it is a period that deserves to be covered, and ICM has started down that road. ICM has released a four figure set, of Confederate troops, and a four figure set of Union troops. This set of Union troops, covers four riflemen. One of whom has been hit by enemy fire. When thinking about this war it needs to be considered that the last veteran only died in the 1950ís and that it was a war that set father against son and brother against brother.
This offering from ICM in 1/35th scale, is provided in a flip top cardboard box, with a separate card lid depicting the artwork of the figures inside. Inside there is a re-sealable plastic bag containing the sprues. This style of packaging does a very good job of getting the contents to the modeller in the condition intended. An examination of the sprues reveals clean moulding and no obvious issues of which I am aware.
The figures in the set depict four riflemen, one is crouched discharging his weapon, one is stood discharging his weapon, another is reloading his weapon and finally the last is falling back after being hit by enemy fire.
The American Civil War was put into motion when the Southern States seceded from the Northern ones and formed their own governments in 1861. The North in answer to this raised the largest army at that point in their history, until entering the First World War. The men that made up this army were both black and white, and I will say that it is a pity that the black people that served are not represented here. The uniform as in the field should consist of a peaked forage cap, a sack coat with the collar turned up or down, and blue 1861 regulation trousers. The colour of this uniform was a dark navy blue jacket and forage cap, the trousers could be a mix of colours depending on the unit that the men are depicted as being part of. The colours could be dark blue, sky blue, grey, scarlet, or sky blue with red stripes. Of these dark blue is the most common, with sky blue being the next most common as far as I can tell; and so if you wish to depict a specific regiment some searches will be needed. The uniform has been well replicated by ICM. Finger and facial detail of these figures is very well done, and I see no reason that any modeller would look to change them.
At the start of the war, the army of the North, suffered the same issues as the army of the South, in that troops had a mixture of rifles, but more importantly a mixture of calibres, and this obviously resulted in difficulty when it came to ammunition supply. As the war progressed great efforts were made to ensure that each unit had weapons of the same calibre. The standard weapon of the army of the North became the M1861, with 671,000 of these rifles being produced, with a large number produced by Springfield. Due to the mishmash of weapons used during the war all of the included weapons can be used with figures in the set, depending upon the period you wish to replicate. This offering really excels when it comes to the weapons and equipment provided. The weapons provided in this set, are a good mix, but I should say from the start that it is not an area that I excel at, and if I get identification wrong I apologise now:
M1842 US musket
M1861 US Rifled musket
M1853 Enfield Rifled musket
These are provided both with and without bayonets fitted.
Mass arms Co Greene Carbine
Spencer or Sharps carbine
Revolver wise, we have a Colt navy/army revolver, Remington Revolver. We have one sword (out of its scabbard), one sword in its scabbard, tassels detail is included, but I think these would be better replicated with cotton or some such. Equipment wise, you are provided with drinking flasks, gun powder flasks, a leather pouch for carrying ammunition, and interestingly cups.
This offering from ICM has exceptionally high quality moulding, which does mean that the figures scream out to be built. This is by far one of the best moulding efforts I have seen from ICM, or anyone else for that matter, and I would strongly recommend it to anybody with an interest in this period of history. And yes Bill I am thinking of you when I say that. While this period of American history is not one that has appealed to me previously, the Union and Confederate Infantry sets appeal loudly to my modelling nature, and I will build them. I am so pleased with what is offered here, that I really hope that ICM produce many, many more figure sets in this vain, as even the shortest of searches reveals that there is a plethora of uniforms that can be replicated and that is before taking into account that infantry, artillery and cavalry options are all out there and would make some really nice vignettes and dioramas.