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Set 501

Union Artillery

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 1993
Contents 25 figures, 1 four-horse team and 3 guns
Poses 12 poses, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Blue
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


During the war with Mexico US artillery had flourished like never before, but by the start of the civil war it had declined. However, as the war progressed, the artillery expanded along with the rest of the army, though its effectiveness was reduced due to the crew's vulnerability to well aimed rifle fire.

This set from IMEX bears a strong likeness to the Accurate/Revell set, so the same sculptor may have produced both. Here we have three cannon with each having a crew of four. The poses are OK, though it is a pity none are manhandling the gun as all crews would have had to do this all the time. The man pulling the lanyard is a little awkward, though the desired pose is not an easy one to model. The man carrying a bucket is useful for all arms in the army.

The limber has two men sitting on the chest, one of which carries a musket, which were not issued to the artillery. Both slot into the limber, though this is not a firm fix, but it should be pointed out that crew were only permitted to ride on the limber in this way if great speed was required for a short period - the extra weight put a lot of strain on the six-horse team, so usually the limber was left clear. There is also one outrider, and he is in a very peculiar pose that is just comical when viewed by itself. Four horses draw the limber, though guns had teams of six, or even more if travelling uphill or over difficult terrain. Also the Airfix approach to hitching the horses has been used, with pegs going directly into the sides of the animals with no attempt to accurately portray the harness. This makes things simple for the sculptor but ruins the look of the team. The guns themselves have barrels that are far too short and have been sculpted as straight tubes, so they look nothing like the common Napoleon or Parrott guns, and they are little better as 3-inch ordnance rifles or similar. Two small sizes are included, with one carriage used for both, but these have 12 spokes on each wheel rather than the proper 14 (the same applies to the limber wheels). Better guns and limbers are now available from other manufacturers, notably Italeri.

For some reason IMEX have also included some standard-looking infantry poses. Certainly some artillery did perform as infantry when the circumstances required, but we would have preferred to see all figures serving the guns.

All the men wear sack coats and forage caps, and though uniform varied in the artillery as in all other branches, this style is as good as any. Equipment is limited to a haversack and a canteen. The officer is particularly nice, wearing a long frock coat and a forage cap that would doubtless have been better decorated than the men's. He is armed with a revolver and his sword, and he also holds a pair of binoculars. What particularly marks him out is his splendid handle-bar moustache, which gives the figure a lot more character.

The detail is good on these figures, though their uniform is not complex. Nevertheless there are several annoying small errors such as the straps on the kneeling figure covering his ears, which are confused and wrong. Also this figure seems to have a bayonet scabbard - a nonsense for a gunner, and if it is supposed to be the short sword that was sometimes issued then it is in the wrong place and the wrong shape. The artillery poses are reasonable but the infantry figures are rather pointless inclusions except to bulk out the set. The over-simplified limber and short team are more disappointing aspects to this set, as is the sculpting of the gun barrels, which therefore can barely be described as adequate.


Historical Accuracy 5
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 7
Mould 9

Further Reading
"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
"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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