Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blue Moon 18mm Confederate Infantry in Havelocks

Early Civil War regiments had some very distinctive uniforms.  Partly from a shortage of uniform supplies, and partly from a desire to appear different and unique, many regiments wore outlandish colors, headgear, or cuts of clothing.  By the time both sides ramped up their mobilization in the fall of 1861, standard uniforms became, well, standard.

As the war progressed, soldiers on each side all started to look alike, and that uniformity can bore a painter very easily.  That's the reason, I suppose, that most gamers have multiple zouave regiments in their armies, even though fewer than one in a hundred regiments wore zouave kit.

Still, I like that Blue Moon has released figures in more obscure dress, and I decided to try my hand at pack 15ACW-95 "Infantry in Kepi with Havelock."  The pack has 15 separate poses in a mix of right shoulder arms and right shoulder shift.

This is one of the more useful of the early war kits, as many regiments on both sides wore havelocks.  The havelock was a hot weather cloth cover for the kepi or forage cap.  The white fabric was supposed to reflect hot sunlight, and the cloth also was to keep the soldiers' necks from getting sunburned.

The havelocks rarely lasted long in the field, as the havelock insulated the soldier's neck and made it feel hotter.  Most ended up as coffee filters!  Still, some regiments were wearing them in the East as late as the Seven Days.

It was fun to paint some rebels for the early war, when most southern regiments would have appeared more uniform.  I was worried that the monotone grey uniforms would look too drab, but the lighter grey blankets, the khaki canteen covers, and especially the off-white havelocks all worked to make these figures pretty interesting looking.

The Blue Moon figures impressed me from the start, and this pack is a good example of the sculptor's excellent style.  The muskets are robust enough to endure rough handling on the gaming table.  The figures have good proportions, and the uniforms have enough sculpted detail to guide the painter's brush.