About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 56-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

1962; American Civil War Union Infantry, S12 / 01712 / 01712-9 - HO/OO

Like the preceding 'S10' (Foreign Legion), this was a great favourite when we were kids, and with most of the poses based-on (or giving rise to?) the FFL poses, pretty interchangeable. Also like the Legion's link with Beau Geste, this set came amidst such films as The Raid, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Red Badge of Courage, Gone with the Wind, the one with the train...loads of them!

So with our heads full of the blue and the grey, we would have hours of fun with these. At school we would pool our resources and have one colour storm the trenches of the other colour under the rhododendrons by the swimming pool (outdoor, unheated, this was the early 70's mind!), parrot-guns with the defenders, the uphill assaults usually descended into a chaos of flung gravel, clouds of dust and arguments about who's figures were who's as the end-of break bell went. Casualties were decided by marble, which favoured the entrenched side.

A full set, the real disappointment with this set was the 10 (a quarter of the contents - near as dammit) figures on their belly! A realistic set of WWII or modern troops should really include all prone, kneeling, squatting or other ground-hugging poses, but rarely does 9and wouldn't have as much play value if it did!), but ACW? We'd seen the telly...we knew it was long lines of brave Oakies, Yankees and Johnny Reb's walking toward each-other's murderous fire...not lying in the dirt!

Colour variation, not as marked as the Legion (see above), but this may be because I haven't found a really bright or pale set yet, however with the numbers I've handled over the years I think they missed the batch of plastic that produced the brightest blue of the FFL. Likewise they seem to have avoided the very dark batch which both the US Cavalry and the Foreign Legion got.

These early sets by Nibblet were reused as much as possible, and in these comparisons we can see the similarities between the Union Infantry and the Confederates, the Foreign Legion and the crawling cowboy. The real reason why the large number of prone poses was such a pain is also revealed, the 'Rebs' get a second officer, lots of extra standing, advancing and trench-fighting poses AND a whole new pose, gutting if your Gran, gave him the Confederates and you the Union!

Montaplex issued several ACW sets, and the two above both have copies of the Union Infantry in them, not sure what they would have made of a Willys Jeep though, especially one with a radar dish! The Gettysburg (Gettisburg!) set seems to reverse the order of the day, with Union attacking and rebels defending.

Other Bugger's Efforts, if you are of a curtain age these should bring back a few memories (and if you recognise your work - let me know for a full tribute), if you're a youngster you brain's probably forming an unspoken WTF!

Here's the deal for you youngsters...we were given a pack of soldiers by some well meaning relative, sometimes they would give us two or three paints (whatever the storekeeper was keen to offload) as well, along with a dodgy 'craft' brush and a tube of UHU.

If no paint, Mum or Dad would see what was in the garage or could be found under the sink and you MADE DO! There was no 30 shades of Vallejo flesh, there were no Army Painter dips, even the Humbrol Authentic Colour range didn't strike until the 70's and was outside the purchasing-power of most kids and a lot of their parents.

And - believe me - the above are not the worst...a lot of us, looking at the paint selection before us, would simply decide to use them for a James Bond 'baddie' army, and proceed to paint Paratroops, WWI Germans and ACW in the same apple-green and yellow uniform with black hats!

A few conversions - dismounted Cavalry with shortened muskets for carbines at the top, some French Napoleonic guards below them. The bottom row are a right mix, with a kneeling WWI Allied conversion who's lost his head, so we can only guess which unit/army he joined? the dismounted dragoon/cuirassier type deserves to be finished and one day I'll have a go, despite someone else starting him off. Finally; in disgust at their number building in the tin, I threw-out my burgeoning collection of prone figures, but cut the weapons off to make stacks of muskets for camps.

Scanned from old photographs, so low-definition, this is my old 'standard' Union uniform, I used to use Rotring mapping pens to do the overlaps on the belts and the 'U.S.' on the water-bottles and bread-bags.

One of my specific regiments, this almost certainly came from the Blandford uniforms series American Civil War edition, as it was in the local library when it wasn't on semi-permanent loan to me!

Quick reference shot/guide for a full set.

Thanks to Kostas from Greece, we have the 1975 catalogue to plunder for box-art and blurb, this was a particularly well though-out 'pair' as the confederate box (see 'older post' below once I've uploaded it!) has them on the other side of the creek!

Matchbox/Airfix comparison


PSR Union Infantry Page
My Old 'war games' Army


Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Ever notice the chap running with hand raised is wearing a sergeant's sword? I used to wonder why his bayonet was so long and why he was the only one who had one. Explains why he's waving anyway.

Hugh Walter said...

No Ross...I never 'noticed', but I did paint him up as one as he had a smokie-bear hat so I thought he would make a good sergeant!


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