The American Civil War has long been a popular subject both in the US and the rest of the World. This is reflected in the decision by Airfix to include some sets amongst its first non World War II historic figures. However there may have been another incentive, for sharp-eyed observers will notice that this set is very like the Union Infantry set. In fact, most of the figures are identical below the neck, and are simply the same body with a slouch hat instead of the kepi, thus saving on sculpting costs.
Of course this set was made as a toy, and the standard of sculpting is pretty poor when considered over half a century on. The figures are chunky and ill-defined, with muskets that have almost no detail at all, yet they are by no means as poor as some more more recent products from other companies. Flash can vary a good deal depending on whether you find a good set or a bad one, but the average is pretty poor and if you really want to show these figures at their best then you must expect a lot of trimming - those photographed above are much better than most we have seen.
The poses include a number of Airfix favourites like the man holding his musket rather like a guitar. Another one seen in several sets is the man holding his rifle diagonally down, a curious pose that is perhaps meant to be bayoneting, though none of the figures have a bayonet fixed, which is a pity. The man running and holding his hand in the air is a strange one too, but having a marching pose and one at attention is useful for many reasons. The only pose that does not feature in the Union set is the man advancing with musket level (first figure, bottom row), and he is there because the two crawling poses in the Union set have not been copied across due to the difficulties of doing such poses with broad-brimmed hats.
Every man in this set wears what looks like a sack coat and identical slouch hat, and is reasonably well equipped. On actual campaign there would usually have been much more variety of clothing and equipment than this, with some frock coats, shell jackets, fatigue caps and so on, which we would have liked to have seen reflected in these figures. Every figure has a pair of pouches on the front of their waist belts, which is a very twentieth century arrangement that was not used during the Civil War, so is wrong. While one could be used as a cap pouch (at a stretch), it means they lack the correct ammunition pouch, which would have been held from a belt over the left shoulder. Other equipment is limited to a haversack and canteen, and some have a square knapsack with a blanket rolled and attached round the side, which was not how it was actually done (the blanket should be worn across the body, over the knapsack). The officer wears a frock coat and is dramatically brandishing a sword, a weapon that was of little practical use much of the time and mostly a status symbol (reason enough for many officers). He also holds a pistol in his left hand, which is another close-quarter weapon, so presumably he is in close proximity to the enemy here.
Unlike many of their other sets made at around this time, Airfix never retooled their Confederates to bring them up to modern standards, and instead discontinued the set. With featureless hands and weapons, poor accuracy of kit and some odd choices of pose, these figures could fairly be said to be bottom of the league table of Confederate infantry. but happily there are plenty of alternatives these days, all of them better than this.