Munitions Wagon, 1861–1865

IMEX 1:72 Scale Vehicle Review

Munitions Wagon

Munitions wagon, loaded with ammunition boxes, bags, and barrels. The cargo insert may be removed to empty the wagon, and it doubles as a barricade in wargames. Similar cargo inserts may be built, using crates and barrels available from several manufacturers of model railway equipment. The civilian or Confederate driver has been replaced with a Yankee limber rider taken from Airfix American Civil War Artillery.

Supplying War

Popular simulation games like Fire and Fury have a dedicated ammunition rule which regulates the expenditure of rifle and artillery ammunition in a very convenient way. Ammunition supply is factored into these rules in an abstract way, but players may want to deploy a few munitions wagons on the battlefield anyway, just to add visual appeal.

It would be feasible to amend the Fire and Fury ammunition rule so that a certain amount of ammunition is drawn from corps or army reserve munitions wagons every time a brigade replenishes its ammunition. One convenient way to simulate this is to take the cargo insert out of the munitions wagon when a unit in its vicinity replenishes its ammunition, and to remove the wagon from play if a second unit replenishes. If the battle is part of a campaign game, players would known how much ammunition their army has, and how many wagons are available to transport it. Otherwise, the players would have to agree on a certain amount of ammunition available for the duration of the battle.

Contents

  • Munitions Wagon, 14 parts
    • Type: Farm Wagon
    • Length: 3.89 m
    • Width: 2.23 m
    • Height: 1.98 m
    • Cargo Bay: 3.28 × 1.08 m
    • Cargo Capacity: 0.5 t
    • Team: 1 Pair of Mules
  • Ambulance Wagon, 16 parts

Evaluation

Good choice of subject. Wargamers and modellers interested in the American Civil War and Frontier Wars period have been waiting for wagons ever since Airfix and Atlantic wagon sets went out of production.

The sculptor is obviously the same who created the exquisite American Civil War soldiers for Accurate Figures, which were also distributed by Revell. Accurate Figures produced a set of Confederate engineers which could be displayed as logistics personnel loading or unloading the new IMEX supply wagon.

Illustrated assembly instructions are easy to follow. The vehicle is a snap-together model, although the driver and his seat will have to be glued to stay in place permanently.

The vertical supports of the wagon body, bolt heads on wheel rims, and the items on the cargo insert provide enough detail to make this an interesting model in itself.

The wheels are superb, with fine detail on the rims, and with unusually slender spokes. IMEX would do well to issue these wheels in a separate accessory set which would allow modellers to upgrade other vehicles they may have in their collection.

The cargo insert is an excellent way to simulate the loading and unloading of the vehicle, and modellers would be hard-pressed to create this accessory with spare parts scrounged from other kits. The vehicle has been loaded in a realistic way, and this items should be a delight to paint.

The drivers included in this kit are nice figures with a lot of individual character. Both men are civilians, and they make convincing Confederates. Anyone painting the wagon as Union vehicle may want to use a uniformed limber rider from one of the artillery sets available in 1:72 scale.

Cast in medium brown plastic with grey plastic wheels, ready for play.

Good casting quality, but there is noticeable flash on drivers and mules.

Driver and animals sculpted by Bill Farmer.

Wagon model designed by Ted Tear.

The instructions speak of "horses", but the animals included in the set are unlike any American horse this reviewer has seen. They are extremely short-legged, their necks are much too long, and the right-hand horse has a bulging right eye like an insect. At 19 mm, the horses scale out to only 13.2 hands, significantly short of the 16.3 hands minimum height required of a draft horse. Purists may want to consider them mules, even if this does not address the obvious anatomy problems. A team of four mules would be required to pull a loaded munitions wagon. Spare draft horses may be scrounged from a Preiser HO scale (1:87) farm wagon set, they are taller, and correctly proportioned.

Harness lines are cast on the draft animals, but there are no draw bars to attach the lines to the wagon. Instead, there is a T-bar attached to the wagon tongue which plugs into a hole in each horse's side. This method is convenient, it requires no fiddling with reins and harness lines, but diorama builders and modellers may find it unrealistically toy-like.

The horses have no bases, and they will be difficult to attach to a diorama or wargame base without sinking their hooves into the glue. Collectors who do not mount their troops in dioramas probably prefer horses without plastic bases, because the relative height between the wagon and the draft animals would be distorted otherwise. In this particular case, the additional height of the base would have made the puny animals appear a little bigger.

It would have been a nice touch to add wood grain to the planking on the wagon body.

"Munitions Wagon" is a misnomer, the vehicle is a general purpose farm transport which may have been requisitioned by the military to haul ammunition and other supplies over short distances. The military used covered caissons to keep powder and ready ammunition dry, and to prevent fatal accidents. The cargo insert included in this kit has a nice selection of boxes, bags, and barrels, which look more like a daily ration than a serious ammo supply. The standard US Army supply vehicle was the Schlutter Wagon, which had a capacity of 1 ton, and which was normally drawn by a team of six mules in three pairs.

Historical Employment

  • US and Confederate Supply Wagon, 1861–1865
  • US Army Supply Wagon, 1866-1900s
  • Civilian Farm Wagon, 1850s-1900s

This kit is an excellent addition to the growing range of American Civil War miniatures and models. Until now, many collectors, diorama builders, and wargamers have had to ignore the subject of supply and logistics, despite the fact that supply considerations played a key role in operational and strategic planning. Both wagons in this kit may be used as supply wagons, and they form the link between the army and its supply dump at the nearest rail head.

IMEX Miniatures sample from Toy Soldier HQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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American Civil War Miniatures