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1st Maryland | 5th NYSI Duryea's Zouaves | Major Pelham's Artillery Battery
Artillery from computer game "Sid Meier's Gettysburg!"

I have been a fan of the hobby of wargaming for several years. This entails using armies of miniature soldiers to refight battles on a tabletop, using complex rules to recreate the tactics of the time.

Until now my armies have been those of the Seven Years War and the Napoleonic period, but I have now begun to collect miniatures of American Civil War subjects.

By the way, the atmospheric background music is Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar 1983 by Swinging Door Music (BMI) and is best remembered as the soundtrack of the PBS series The Civil War by Ken Burns.

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1st Maryland Infantry at Gettysburg

1st Maryland

At about 10.00am on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 400 men of the 1st Maryland Battalion launched their attack on Culp's Hill. They charged towards the Federal breastworks, but were eventually repulsed and had to fall back. By that time, they had lost nearly 50% of their number.

The sacrifice of the 1st Maryland has been immortalised by noted artist Don Troiani in his painting "Band of Brothers". Redoubt Miniatures have produced a set of 28mm figures partly based on this picture, which are the basis of the miniature regiment shown in these photos. You can see Troiani's painting here to compare.

1st MarylandPainting Confederate troops is a real pleasure, as they tended to wear a range of uniforms and equipment. The 1st Maryland were dressed somewhat "nattier" than other Confederates, being uniformed mainly in grey, and nearly all wearing the little kepi cap instead of the hodge-podge of hats worn by other units. But they still have a range of different accoutrements (especially the blanket rolls that some of them have slung over their shoulders). You can just see the small white crosses which the Marylanders had sewn to their jackets.

Redoubt also produce some very animated groups of casualty figures. I have included six extra wounded men in this unit. The casualty figures don't come with rifles, so I have glued some spare ones onto the falling figures as though they are in the act of dropping their weapons.

1st MarylandIt is known that a mongrel dog went into action with the 1st Maryland that fateful day (and was shot down). If you look very carefully, you will see it in this picture. It didn't come in the Redoubt set - I advertised on the internet for a miniature dog, and was kindly sent this miniature. It is probably the wrong sort of dog, looking a bit too lean and thoroughbred! But it will do for now.

The flags of my 1st Maryland Battalion are by GMB Flags, who produce stunningly beautiful paper flags for many famous Civil War units. I have folded them so that they look as if they are streaming out as the standard bearers run forward.

My figures are glued onto 4cm wide cardboard bases, about four or five figures to one base. This size of base was not selected to go with any particular set of wargames rules, but rather because 4cms is just wide enough to show off these figures to their best advantage.

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5th New York State Infantry (Duryea's Zouaves)

5th NYSV

Some of the most colourful units of the Civil War were those who styled themselves as zouaves, named after the French colonial troops of that time. And one of the most famous zouave units was the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, known after their founder as Duryea's Zouaves.

5th NYSVRedoubt's 28mm zoauve figures are beautifully sculpted. This is especially so for the typical baggy trousers, where the folds of cloth look very natural. And of course these are set off by the distinctive red colour worn by Duryea's Zouaves, giving rise to their nickname, the 'Red Devils'.

The flags are again products of GMB Flags. These flags are absolutely exquisite! I've added Front Rank finials and cords to the top of each flag pole.

5th NYSVThe officer figure wears a frock-coat and trousers which are not quite so baggy as those of his men. He is running forward, holding his pistol out in front of him. I purposely made my bases quite deep so that I could have my officer running in front of the double line of men.

My bases are textured with real sand and small stones, static grass, and clumps of long model railway grass, to give the effect of rough ground - perhaps the field of Gaines Mill, where in 1862 the Red Devils first made their reputation.

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Major Pelham's Artillery Battery

Major Pelham's battery

This unit depicts Major Pelham's artillery battery at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. These beautifully animated models are produced by Redoubt, an English company. The figures measure 28mm tall, and the bases for each gun are 5 x 10 centimeters.

Pelham's batteryI painted these minatures with acrylic paints, then glued them onto heavy cardboard bases. The ground effect was made using sand and watered-down PVA glue, then covered with patches of model railway scenic grass.

For a full review that I wrote about this Redoubt product, go to the Kapiti Fusiliers Historic Gaming Club's website.

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