Union Infantry and Zouaves

Italeri 1:72 Scale Figure Review

Zouaven im Amerikanischen Bürgerkrieg
Infantry of the American Civil War
Infantry of the American Civil War

The box contains a mixture of infantry officers and men in regulation frock coats, an officer and nine men in Zouave jackets, infantry in greatcoats and Hardee hats, even a dismounted cavalry trooper wearing a shell jacket with pointed cuffs. Pictured above are the three Zouave poses included in this set, and two of the officers designed to command them.

The troops are sculpted with a nice selection of headgear, Zouave fezzes, Hardee hats, slouch hats, braided and plain kepis, which will be very useful for a variety of conversion projects. Nine Zouaves and three Zouave officer types are enough to whet a wargamer's and collector's appetite for many new regiments in 1:72 scale. Of course, one can never have enough variety in poses, and there is plenty of scope for additional Zouaves to serve alongside these wonderful Italeri figures.

Contents

50 Figures with 15 Poses – 24 mm equal 173 cm Height

  • Officer in Kepi, with Sword and Revolver (1)
  • Officer in Hat, Sword drawn, signaling (1)
  • Zouave Officer, waving Sword (1)
  • Ensign with regimental Flag (1)
  • Drummer (1)
  • Union light Infantryman, marching (6)
  • Union Infantryman, shouldered Musket, advancing (3)
  • Union Infantryman, Hardee Hat, standing (6)
  • Union Infantryman, kneeling, firing (6)
  • Union Infantryman, running (6)
  • Union Infantryman, charging (6)
  • Zouave, standing firing (3)
  • Zouave, charging (3)
  • Zouave, loading, ramming the charge (3)
  • Cavalry trooper, dismounted, kneeling, loading, handling cartridge (3)

Evaluation

Excellent detail. Folds in the clothing, baggy Zouave trousers, gaiters, facial features, braid, buttons, metal fittings, and weapons are beautifully detailed. Painting the Zouaves will be fun, and the regular infantry types add welcome variety to the existing ranges of Union and Confederate troops.

Striking faces, each figure is a character. These heads can be used for many interesting conversion projects, including French revolutionaries wearing the red Phrygian cap.

Useful historic poses. A mixed set like this one offers a good number of valuable poses, particularly the marching and advancing men, who can be deployed en masse. Unfortunately, the excellent marching pose is not a Zouave, and some of the other regular infantry would have been even more valuable in Zouave costume. The advancing Zouave is an excellent figure, but he is the only one suitable for an attacking unit. The loading, and firing Zouaves are engaged in a standing firefight, they do not mix well with the advancing soldier.

Zouave jackets, shirts, trousers, gaiters, fezzes, and kepis are accurately modelled. Sashes are visible behind the belts, but they do not extend down the left thigh. This is not a very noticeable omission, because the miniatures carry equipment on the left hip which would partially obscure the ends of the sash.

The kneeling and loading cavalry trooper does not really belong in this box, but we're glad he's here, he will make a nice skirmisher. The man wears a shell jacket with pointed cuffs, knee-length boots, and a hat with what looks like a crossed sabres badge. He is armed with a holstered pistol, and a cavalry carbine, he carries no sabre or spurs on dismounted duty. The infantry cartridge box on his left hip is incorrect, and it is out of reach; the poor man would not be able to reload his carbine. Instead, he should be wearing the cavalry carbine cartridge box on his belt, close to where he can reach it with his right hand.

The standard-bearer wears the braided kepi of a Zouave, but he can be painted as a regular infantryman as well. He carries no sash or badges of rank, although his sabre would make him an Officer or NCO at least. The flag is a blue regimental color, with much of the important detail engraved on it. Unfortunately, the flag measures only 26% of the required size, it scales out to 45″ × 32″ instead of the 78″ × 72″ regulation size. The stave is 27 mm long, it would need to be 33 mm long to accomodate a 27.5 mm × 25.4 mm scale flag. The axehead finial, cords and tassels are nicely sculpted, they could be trimmed off and attached to a larger flag made from paper.

The fez, kepi, and braided kepi included in this set are the most common types of Zouave headdress. In full dress, some units wore white turbans wrapped around the fez. The turban looked very attractive, but it was too cumbersome to be routinely worn in the field. The figure conversion may be accomplished by wrapping tissue paper around the fez or using heads from ESCI's Muslim Warriors instead.

Infantry and Zouaves in this set may be painted to represent Union or Confederate troops.

Excellent casting quality, very little flash.

Cast in dark gray/silver plastic.

Some standard equipment is carried incorrectly: The loading Zouave wears his bayonet scabbard on the right hip, most of the other men have it on the left, where it belongs. One man carries no scabbard at all, in which case he should have the bayonet permanently fixed; he does not. The advancing Zouave, the charging and running infantrymen, and the kneeling cavalry trooper carry their cartridge boxes on the left hip, well out of reach, making it extremely difficult to reload their rifled muskets. Zouaves typically carried the cartridge box attached to the waist-belt, discarding the cross-belt and showing off their wonderfully braided jackets.

The round cuffs depicted on the regular infantry figures are inaccurate for the majority of infantry units. Most infantrymen had frock coats or shell jackets without cuffs. When braided or distinctively colored cuffs were worn, they were pointed cuffs, like those depicted on the Zouave figures.

The officers wear no sashes underneath their belts. One officer has tassels hanging down from the belt, but his sash does not protrude above and below the belt.

One officer carries a drawn pistol in his right hand, a cap box and pistol cartridge box on his belt, but the pistol holster is missing.

The drum is too short, and it is suspended too low for comfort.

The national colors of Stars and Stripes are not included. The Zouave officer and one of the regular infantrymen could be converted to become standard-bearers for their units. Flag staves can be made from 0.6 mm piano wire.

The regulation knapsack and attached blanket rolls carried by 36% of the figures would have been quickly lost or discarded in the field. Blanket rolls worn across the left shoulder were more common, and even they would be left in camp prior to an engagement.

The firing men are aiming into the sky, and neither of them has drawn the musket stock into the shoulder correctly. Admittedly, most of the men who served in the war had not received much training, but they quickly learned what they needed to know on the job.

Historical Employment

Possible Conversion

  • ACW Zouaves in Kepis
  • 5th New York Zouaves, and 114th Pennsylvania Volunteers in full dress turbans, using appropriate heads from ESCI's Muslim Warriors set. The turban does look nice on these figures, even if it was not normally worn in battle.
  • The Brooklyn Chasseurs: 14th New York State Militia (84th New York). Dark blue shell jacket with red trim around pointed blue cuffs, red shoulder knots, red trousers, white gaiters, and a red kepi with blue band.
  • 4th Michigan Volunteers. Dark blue frock coat, dark blue trousers, tan gaiters, dark blue kepi or dark blue cap with red tassel.

Italeri deserves much praise for adding color to a popular period in history, allowing the wargamer and collector to raise several of the most famous regiments in Union and Confederate service. If you have been painting blue, gray, and butternut for years, here is your opportunity to add red, yellow, or purple braid, bright red trousers and kepis, and white gaiters. If you're serious about American Civil War gaming, you'll want at least two regiments of these fine troops.

Bibliography

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American Civil War Miniatures