US Cavalry, 1861–1866

IMEX 1:72 Scale Figure Review

US Cavalry troopers and trumpeter, 1:72 Miniatures IMEX 503

IMEX Union cavalry mounted on upscaled 57 × 43 mm cavalry stands compatible with the Fire and Fury game system. We multiplied all 15 mm Fire and Fury stand sizes by 1.5 to accommodate the larger 1:72 scale miniatures. The cavalry guidon is a pianowire staff with a handpainted paper flag glued to it, which has been attached to the saddle of one of the trooper's horses. The trumpeter in the second rank is shown in a blue jacket with yellow braid, sky-blue trousers with yellow sidestripe, black boots, white gloves and a black hat. The trooper in the foreground comes from the IMEX Confederate cavalry set which can be used to increase the number of figure poses in a Union or Condederate cavalry unit.

Blue or Gray

With the exception of the elaborately braided trumpeter figure, these US cavalry troopers are ideally suited as Confederate cavalry of the same conflict. The cut of the uniforms and much of the equipment was similar on both sides, the main distinction being the colour of the jacket, blue for the Union and gray for the Confederate cavalry. Yellow facings on the jacket were common in both armies, as were the sky-blue trousers. The Union naval blockade caused severe hardship in the South, particularly toward the end of the war. As a result, frontline soldiers frequently depended on clothing and re-equipping themselves with items taken from Union casualties on the battlefield. Anyone wearing too much enemy equipment ran the risk of being treated as a spy if captured.

Contents

  • 12 dismounted cavalry in 4 poses – 23 mm equal 166 cm Height
    • Officer with Pistol (3)
    • Trooper with Pistol (5)
    • Trooper turning hay (2)
    • Trooper carrying saddle (2)
  • 5 infantry
    • Infantryman standing, firing (2)
    • Infantryman kneeling, firing (3)
  • 11 mounted cavalry in 5 poses
    • Officer
    • Trumpeter
    • Trooper firing Carbine (3)
    • Trooper firing two Pistols (3)
    • Trooper firing Pistol (3)
  • 11 horses in 3 poses – 23 mm equal 16.1 hands
Cavalry, Master Figures

Evaluation

The figures look very similar to the Revell soldiers of the American Civil War, they are equally well sculpted. Folds in the uniform, belts, pouches, sabres and pistols are nicely detailed, the troopers are correctly proportioned and they paint well.

The mounted officer is a splendid figure, dramatically posed, and there is a very nice horse available to mount him on. One of the other two horses looks a little stunted, its head and neck are quite large and the back appears too short. Nevertheless, it's an acceptable mount when painted.

Useful historic poses. However, when displayed in formation, the troopers seem to be discharging their weapons sideways, into their own ranks.

Good casting quality, minimal flash.

Sculpted by Bill Farmer.

One wonders why five infantry figures with regular muskets are included in this cavalry set. Additional dismounted cavalry types with carbines would have been more appropriate.

None of the dismounted troopers are using the Sharps carbine, the standard cavalry arm for dismounted combat. These Union cavalry figures might have been equipped with the Spencer repeater which gave them a significant tactical advantage even against enemy infantry. The Spencer carbine could be reloaded while lying down, whereas infantry had to stand or kneel to reload the musket.

None of the mounted figures carry the carbine, which was normally suspended from a shoulderbelt and later attached to the saddle.

A standardbearer is not included and none of the troopers lend themselves to conversion. We used an Airfix US Cavalry figure conversion to complete the group pictured above.

Historical Employment

  • US Cavalry 1861-1866
  • Confederate Cavalry 1861–1865

Collectors and wargamers have waited nearly a decade for a manufacturer to complete the American Civil War range of 1:72 scale figures and offer the necessary cavalry types. IMEX deserves praise for filling the niche and offering an attractive set of mounted and dismounted troopers. Admittedly, there would need to be Sharpshooters, generals and famous personalities to really consider this chapter of 1:72 scale history closed, but at least the three arms of service have been covered in some detail now. The Confederate cavalry set from IMEX offers additional poses which can be used to create more variety of figures in US cavalry formations and vice versa. Compatible 20mm metal miniatures may become available to fill any remaining niches.

Bibliography

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Union Cavalry of the American Civil War