The 1:72 scale Confederate Pioneers by Revell seem to be constructing fieldworks, roads, or ramps leading to pontoon bridges. The work is overseen by a rather excited engineer officer, while his men are removing fieldstones, manœuvring an imagined cargo by pull rope, digging trenches, manhandling sandbags, carrying water, and standing around with a levelling rod in hand, waiting for an engineer officer with a plane table or theodolite to come on duty. Unfortunately, this last invidual is not included in the set, and the surveying of the site will have to wait.
31 miniatures in 10 poses – 25 mm equal 180 cm height
- Engineer officer with map (1)
- Pioneer with levelling rod (4)
- Pioneer with pickaxe (4)
- Pioneer with spade (2)
- Pioneer carrying bucket (4)
- Pioneer removing fieldstones (4)
- Pioneer carrying lumber (4)
- Pioneer with sandbag (4)
- Two pioneers pulling rope (2)
- Cheval de frise (4)
- Wooden box (3)
- Gabion (5)
- Three barrels (2)
The trousers worn by these soldiers are wrinkled to such an extend that thigh muscles, knees, and buttocks are not outlined like they should be. Shading and highlighting these innumerable and seemingly unrealistic folds turned out to be a real pain, and the result looked grotesk. Some figures have extreme folds on thighs and along the insides of the lower legs that can only be interpreted as gaping tears, although loose trousers like these are unlikely to burst in these places.
The figures’ faces, on the other hand, are detailed too little. The pioneer carrying the sandbag looks like he has a dog snout, because his gigantic moustache appears to be suspended from the tip of his nose. The soldier with the levelling rod practically doesn’t have a face. His cheekbones stand out too much, eye sockets and nasal bone are missing, and an ill-defined full beard and moustache cover everything below the tip of his tiny nose. The kepi visors of several figures turned out much too short, making the lack of eye sockets immediately apparent.
Only two of the hard-working pioneers have taken off their uniform jacket, while the other men are sweating away. The soldier with the sandbag carries a leather pouch or haversack slung over his shoulder, but his fellow pioneers have put their knapsacks, belts, pouches, canteens, blanket rolls, and weapons aside. Presumably, some of this equipment may be stowed in tents or wagons near the construction site, but canteens, cartridge pouches, and muskets would surely be kept very near the troops just in case of a sudden attack. These items should have been included in the set. Some of the discarded equipment may be scratch-built from modelling wax, but at the cost of a lot of extra effort. Stacked muskets may be taken from Revell’s British Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars, even if these muskets are not strictly correct for the American Civil War period.
The pioneer with the wooden bucket may be used to bail water from a pontoon, and he doubles as a cook, artilleryman, or cavalry trooper feeding his horse. The soldier with the spade is breaking and moving earth, not filling sandbags, which is best done with a shovel.
- Confederate Pioneers, 1861–1865
- Union Pioneers, 1861–1865
- Railroad workers of the Old West
Revell’s Confederate Pioneers are very useful for dioramas, but ten poses are not nearly enough to recreate a construction site in miniature. If sandbags are carried around, someone must be filling them, and yet more soldiers will be engaged in building emplacements. The biggest omission, however, is the lack of an engineer officer with a plane table and leveling instrument. Engineering in wargames is usually limited to removing obstacles, because extensive engineering tasks like digging trenches or building pontoon bridges is beyond the scope of a tactical simulation.