At the beginning of the revolution the insurgents had very few artillery pieces, scattered between various independent companies in the colonies, but in time guns captured from the British were augmented by pieces sent by France and also domestically produced items to provide a very respectable artillery arm. The performance of this arm was sometimes patchy but often very good and it contributed its share in the effort toward final victory. This was in large measure thanks to the appointment of Henry Knox as commander, who proved to be one of the heroes of the revolution by bringing a professionalism to the artillery arm that made it an effective force.
Usually we begin our artillery reviews by discussing the crew, but on this occasion we will begin with the guns as they are the feature that captures the eye first. The four guns, all of which are the same, are noticeable because of their small size. The wheels are 16 mm (1.15 metres) in diameter and the barrel height is below waist level, making this the smallest cannon we have ever seen. The Americans used many calibres and sizes of gun (understandable given the variety of sources), but this model is very much at the bottom of the range. The barrel is 15 mm (1.08 metres) in length, which might suggest a 2- or 3-pounder, but even so the carriage is small, giving it the appearance of a mountain gun. However the poor roads and difficult terrain made all armies favour the lightest pieces, and such small guns were on occasion used by the Americans.
The men themselves are very typical of the period. They wear standard costume of the day, which was by no means uniform throughout the American artillery but is a good choice for a set like this. Two of the men have laid aside their coats and rolled their sleeves up, which gives a nice realistic feel to the crew. Some seem to have a feather in their hat, which was not particularly common but can easily be trimmed off if not desired.
The poses are pretty good, with the best being the gunner using the ramrod. This pose is achieved using a separate piece for the ramrod, but the result is a much better pose than the rather flat efforts we normally see. The IMEX penchant for men covering their ears is again in evidence here, but that is fair enough. Six poses is quite reasonable, but in truth there was nothing much to tell between the artillery of all sides so the figures to be found in IMEX's British Artillery set can be used to expand the range here. The figures are done in a hard, poseable plastic which allows poses to be changed, so that again increases the possibilities.
The sculpting on these is excellent. Detail is a bit shallow but well done everywhere with good proportions and not a trace of flash. Only the man with the ramrod requires assembly, but since the plastic makes a very solid join using ordinary polystyrene cement this is no problem. The gun carriage lacks some detail, including certain cross-pieces, but is well above average for its kind and even incorporates a hook for the supplied bucket, as well as easily accommodating the ammunition chest, also supplied.
This set is a scaled down version of the IMEX 1/32 set of British Artillery. Why the nationality of the set was swapped we do not know, although in truth it makes no difference. This set provides some very fine gunners and some unusual light guns, so many might be tempted to substitute guns from either Seven Years War or French Napoleonic sets.