An army on the march during the civil war was not usually a welcome visitor to a district, even if they were on your side. In the winter the roads might be little more than mud tracks, and in the summer they would produce clouds of dust that the soldiers found clogged their lungs. In both cases soldiers sometimes struggled to maintain the pace, and the roadside would often be littered with jettisoned equipment of all kinds as well as stragglers. Local amenities like livestock and fence rails might be taken with or without permission, despite the best efforts of commanders on both sides. So a march could be an unhappy experience for both soldier and bystander, yet with few transport alternatives it was a major part of the military life for any field army.
This set of marching figures should be viewed in conjunction with the second such set from HaT, which was released at the same time and depicts exactly the same thing. Indeed four of the eight poses here are also to be found in the second set, but in truth there is not a lot of difference between any pose in either set. All are of men on the march in the carry arms position, which is holding the musket by the stock just below the trigger guard, and alongside the right side of the man with the rammer facing forward. This was a normal marching pose and has been properly done here. Since this is the only pose here there is nothing more to say.
The variety between these figures comes in the clothing and kit that they have. For headwear, five of these men wear the very recognisable peaked forage cap, which was usually the most common headwear in the Northern armies, and this has been well sculpted here. One man wears the dress hat with brim turned up on the left side and a bugle-horn badge on the front. This is the Hardee hat, and while not well-liked by many, it was quite widely worn on campaign, being particularly associated with the Iron Brigade. The remaining two men wear brimmed hats, one of which looks civilian in origin. Moving down the body, five poses wear the sack coat (the most common coat of the war), two have a waist-length jacket (known as a ‘roundabout’) and the man with the dress hat also wears the dress coat. The trousers all look fine, with a couple having the bottoms turned up and a couple more apparently having stuffed theirs into their socks, which was common practice. Uniforms could be very diverse, North and South, particularly when the various militias are included, but the array on show here is typical and all authentic.
Kit too is varied, with cartridge pouch on the right side and percussion cap pouch on the waist belt. They have a haversack and water bottle on the left hip, along with a bayonet scabbard, and two also have a blanket rolled and worn across the chest. All this kit varies in minor detail and position, but everything here looks good. These are men in ‘light marching order’, so they have no knapsack or other impedimenta, either official or otherwise.
The sculpting is obviously done on a computer and is very good. Although finer details tend to be quite ‘soft’ (i.e. not sharply defined), everything is pretty much there. The facial hair on some is particularly nicely done, but there are areas of the jackets and trousers, especially at the back, which are much too smooth and featureless, so don’t really convince as clothing. Because the muskets are not side-on to the mould there is little detail on these, but all have a strange length of plastic mid-way along the barrel and below the rammer. This is where the sling would be if they had them, but clearly this is not a sling, so we cannot guess what this is supposed to be. Generally flash is minimal except round some of the legs, where it can be quite considerable on some poses.
Sets like this have a limited scope and so although there are only eight poses, they cover it pretty well, even without the extra poses in the second set. Similar sets from Strelets have not included this important pose, so this is certainly a worthwhile collection, and it is also much better made overall. Soldiers on the march could be much less neat in appearance than these men, but that applies to almost every set we have ever reviewed, so this is a significant addition to the American Civil War range which should please many enthusiasts.