ACW Union Cavalry, 1861–1865

Italeri 1:72 Scale Figure Review

Union Cavalry of the American Civil War, 1861–1865, 1:72 Miniatures Italeri 6013

This figure set is similar in many respects to the superb Confederate Cavalry released earlier. The horse poses are marginally different, and they may be mixed to add a little variety to either formation. There is much less variety in uniform styles, these troopers are wearing regulation dress which did not survive long in the field. Regulation shell jackets may be converted to plain short jackets by removing the trim lines. This reviewer uses the hot spatula of the Rai-Ro ZEP-70 soldering iron to remove flash and trim lines prior to painting.

Contents

15 riders in 9 poses – 25 mm equal 5'-11" height

  • Officer with Telescope, Frock Coat
  • 2 Officers with rested Sabre, Shell Jacket
  • Guidon-bearer & Trumpeter, Dress Jacket
  • 2 Corporals with Revolver, Dress Jacket
  • 8 Troopers, Dress Jacket
  • Sergeant & Trooper dismounted

17 horses in 5 poses – 22 mm equal 15.2 hands

  • Walking Horse (5)
  • Charging Horse (10)

Evaluation

Excellent Detail. Buttons, belt buckles, badges, weapons and accoutrements are clearly visible and easy to paint.

Useful historic poses. The mounted and dismounted troopers will be popular among wargamers and diorama builders.

The selection of horses is acceptable, but only marginally different from that found in the Confederate Cavalry set. An opportunity has been missed, this set should have included those horse poses not covered in the earlier box. There is still not a single acceptable standing horse in the range. A grave ommission, considering that there are dismounted troopers, officers and guidon-bearers who really benefit from a stationary mount. The "standing" horse in this box is actually walking in the hind quarters, ruining the pose for most of us.

Good casting quality. Some flash, particularly on the trumpeter and guidon-bearer.

Cast in dark grey/silver plastic.

All of the horse poses are sculpted inaccurately. One galloping mount looks like it has just been shot in the chest or is being reigned in abruptly. One horse is ambling at full speed; a ridiculous pose for a cavalry mount. Another one is prancing like a circus pony. And then there is the animal with stationary front legs and walking hind quarters. The discerning modeller will be tempted to cut this horse apart at the girth, and find a more suitable set of hind legs for it.

Some standard equipment is missing or carried incorrectly. The miniatures all carry sabres, but the sabre was not usually carried on the person, it only got in the way during dismounted duty, and it was of marginal value in a serious fight. Pistols were carried on the right hip, with the butt forward. Instead, the figures carry cowboy-style pistol holsters, without the flap, and with the butt pointing backwards. One wonders: Do figure designers and sculptors not have access to historic photos, and do they not watch movies of the cavalry! Even Hollywood would have gotten the pistols right, every kid knows that.

Several figures carry a carbine belt, or what's left of it, but there is no carbine attached to it. Even the officer figures wear thin straps for no apparent reason. One way to fix this is to give the officers a canteen or a telescope case.

The trumpeter carries no carbine or pistol, although he does have a thin strap in place of the carbine belt. Again, there is no apparent reason for it. To the left of his belt buckle are two tassels, but there is no sash to which they might be attached. This is the kind of detail we don't need.

The guidon-bearer is unarmed as well, except for his sabre. And, his guidon is wrong: The obverse shows the Stars and Stripes, the reverse is the regimental colour. Clearly, that's not the way to make modellers and collectors happy. It would have been better to make a decision one way or the other. The best way to fix this is to scratch-build a more accurate guidon from paper and attach it to a staff made from 0.6 mm piano-wire.

The dismounted and kneeling trooper has no base plate, he will be difficult to attach to a diorama or wargame base. Insert piano-wire pegs into his boot and one knee, then sink the pins into a plastic base.

Historical Employment

  • US Cavalry, 1861–1865

Possible Conversion

  • Confederate Cavalry, 1861–1865
    Replace some kepis with slouch hats, scrape off trim lines, add personal equipment.

These Union Cavalry are best used in conjunction with Italeri's Confederate Cavalry already on the market. Mix the two sets and select the poses which work best for the unit.

Bibliography

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Union Cavalry of the American Civil War