Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Some New Finds For the ACW


I was visiting my local Hobby Lobby store yesterday, looking for some balsa and bass wood so that I could make some snake rail fences for the Pickett's Charge Project. A quick stroll down the toy aisle led to me finding some bags of ACW plastic figures for the bargain price of $7.00 per bag for 40 figures. I bought three bags and would have purchased more had they had more on the shelf.

Even better: they look exactly like the Americana figures that comprise the bulk of my Union army forces; and there is the additional bonus in that these bags have some new poses that aren't available in the Americana bags. My guess is that the company that makes the figures sells them to both companies as "private label" products, that is, Hobby Lobby puts its own store label of the figures even though they don't actually produce them.

Each bag includes two Napoleons and two caissons. These are of better quality than the similar items found in the Americana bags. The cannons have a little more detail and have thicker and stronger wheels. The shaft on the caissons is also stronger and thus not prone to warping like the Americana caissons do. There are two mounted officers with horses: a Union general wearing a kepi and a Confederate general wearing a brimmed hat. Americana doesn't offer a mounted officer wearing a kepi so this pose will come in handy for my command stands in both of my armies. This saves me from the tedious task of having to do head swaps in order to get mounted figures wearing kepis. The brimmed hat on the Confederate general is a little bit on the small side and would look better if the brim were wider. I'm not that bothered by it to the extent that I would want to try and make the brim wider using green stuff putty, but I suppose that this could be done. 

The Confederate rank and file soldiers wear the same brimmed hat as the officers, but for some reason, the hat looks better on the foot figures than it does on the mounted officer figure. Go figure! The rest of the poses are similar to the Americana poses, but with a minor tweak here and there. For example, an American Union soldier might be wearing a backpack, but he does not have a backpack in the Hobby Lobby bag of figures. The Confederate artillery crewmen wear hats, so these will mix in nicely with the Americana Confederates wearing forage caps or kepis. 

For all of you button counters out there (and you know who you are), yes I know that the caps are actually called forage caps and that they are not true kepis. The main difference is that the top of the forage cap slops downwards towards the bill of the hat in the front, whereas the kepi has a flat top. However, most people call forage caps kepi just like most people call tissue for the nose "Kleenex" even though Kleenex is the name of the brand, rather than the name of the product. The same goes for Duck Tape and Scotch Tape. You don't photocopy a piece of paper, you Xerox a copy. You button counters out there may be correct, but when you have been out voted by the general populace, you lose. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, if you will.

Ambulance from Marx, and a new clapboard sided house from Classic Toy Soldier Company.

I also found some nice covered wagons to use as supply wagons for both of my armies. I also found a nice  first aid ambulance made by Marx that will be useful on my table top. I'd like to create a field hospital vignette for my game. Is it too grisly to have a pile of cut off arms and legs made from the trimmings from other figures?

Covered wagons bring up the rear of a column of Union soldiers marching to the sound of the guns.
Note how I have used 28mm buildings in the far background for visual perspective. In other words, the large buildings (see the previous picture with the large clapboard house) are placed in the foreground and smaller scale buildings can be placed in the background and still look right on the table.

As always, there is more to come so keep coming back to my blog for a look-see every few days.


  1. Most of those figures are copies of the BMC figures in their Gettysburg playset last century (ie 1990's), just around the time I was getting hooked into 54's. They and the Mexicans from their Alamo set were a valuable source of bodies for conversion to War of 1812 armies, until another friend got me doing acw in 54mm plastic as well.

  2. These are 54mms? I might have to look for some myself. Thanks for the find!

  3. 7USD for 40 figures? What a great find.

    1. It’s worth it for the artillery pieces and caissons alone so the foot figures Almost seem like a free throw in.

  4. Excellent wargaming fid Jim, $7 for 40 figures.
    No sane wargamer could refuse that bargain, if I found something similar in the UK I would now be doing 54mm ACW.