As we’ve said in the past, our first foray into smaller-scale massed battle miniatures with Epic Battles: American Civil War was something of an experiment for us – we decided to release a single multipurpose plastic sprue for the basic infantry, supported by a range of metal figures, and see how people liked it. As it happened, you all went absolutely nuts for it – so much so that we ended up launching into a whole new period with Epic Battles: Waterloo! We haven’t forgotten the American Civil War, however, and we heard what a lot of you wanted loud and clear – more plastics! Given how successful both American Civil War and Waterloo have been, we’ve been able to reinvest in a completely new sprue containing zouaves, cavalry, dismounted cavalry and skirmishers!
The zouaves are, for me, the single most fashionable infantrymen ever arrayed for war. Outfitted in the style of French colonial troops (imitating the French and Prussian militaries being de rigeur at the time), zouave units were raised by both sides during the American Civil War, with something of a craze for the fashion sweeping across the continent. While the Confederate zouave units mostly reverted to more ‘normal’ (read: less flamboyant) garb by the mid-war, some of the Union regiments remained incredibly stylish throughout, although it should be noted that due to logistical issues, replacement equipment and uniforms tended to be of the more standard variety, leading to some very unusual-looking units! Many zouave regiments won fame and renown throughout the war, including the Union’s 5th and 11th New York (Duryee’s Zouaves and the Fire Zouaves, respectively), and the Confederate Louisiana Tigers. While not the most common troop type of the war, a regiment of zouaves is a fantastic addition to any army, and look absolutely stunning on the tabletop, contrasting nicely with the blue or grey of their comrades.
In the American Civil War cavalry was a military arm in the midst of dramatic changes in both tactics and utilisation. The era of knee-to-knee charges with lance or sabre had more or less come to an end in the Crimea in the previous decade, while technological advances in repeating firearms made effective shooting from horseback a far more viable proposition. The ‘heavies’ of the Napoleonic era were all but forgotten outside of traditionalist European militaries, and the cavalryman of the American Civil War instead owed his heritage to the mounted infantry tradition of the dragoon. Used in a scouting role and equally capable of fighting mounted or on foot, they served as the eyes and ears of the armies and as skirmishers. Sabres were still issued, but in many cases were unsharpened and unused, or discarded altogether, while the primary armament became the revolver or carbine, particularly the repeating Spencer types (although a bewildering array of experimental designs were issued and trialled, with varying degrees of success). The sabre was used on occasion, mostly in skirmishes with enemy cavalry, so we’ve made sure to include them on the models as well as their arsenal of firearms. Given the propensity of the cavalry to fight dismounted, we’ve made sure to include foot and mounted versions of these troops on the sprue, including a horse holder looking after the mounts – there’s nothing worse than coming back from a fight to discover your ride home has disappeared!
Lastly, the sprue includes a number of skirmishing infantrymen in a variety of dynamic poses. Doctrine at the time was for each infantry regiment to detach a single company to form a skirmish screen ahead of the main line, intended to harass the enemy as they closed and prevent opposing skirmishers from doing the same, much as their European forebears had done during the Napoleonic Wars. These men were in many respects somewhat luckier than their counterparts in the line, being able to seek cover from enemy fire and use their rifle-muskets to their fullest potential. Whether fielded independently to scout an area alongside the cavalry, or ahead of the main battleline, no army is complete without a contingent of these light infantrymen. With a different coat of paint, they could even be used to represent some of the famed ‘sharpshooter’ units of the war, such as Berdan’s Sharpshooters, too!
It’s time to add a splash of colour and cavalry dash to your Epic Battles: American Civil War army – with this new sprue, you can do it all, and in glorious plastic to boot!
The Boxed Sets
We have several new boxed sets featuring the new plastic sprue. Firstly via the new Confederate and Union Cavalry & Zouaves brigade boxes, in grey and blue plastic respectively, with their corresponding flag sheets. Just like the existing infantry Brigade boxed sets, each box will net you three sprues. This will give you a full regiment each of zouaves, cavalry (mounted and dismounted) and skirmishers to keep your opponents on their toes.
We have a brand-new starter set for Black Powder Epic Battles: American Civil War – Guts & Glory. This new starter set is ideal for new players easing their way into Black Powder Epic Battles for the first time, or even those who want a healthy number of reinforcements for an existing army. In here you’ll find enough for a regiment each of zouaves, cavalry, dismounted cavalry and skirmishers, as well as six regiments of infantry, cannon & mounted commanders. In addition, we have a dutch-style barn and snake fences in laser-cut MDF and everything you need to get playing, and with flag sheets included for both Union and Confederates, you’re not tied down to a particular side.
For those who want to go big (and who doesn’t?) we have the superb value battle-set, Gettysburg. This is the ultimate way to get started with Epic Battles, with two massive armies in colour-coded plastic, MDF scenery pieces and just about everything you need to get playing the American Civil War on the epic scale it deserves. The Gettysburg Battle-Set contains:
- Union army (blue plastic) – 8 infantry regiments, 1 Zouave regiment, 1 cavalry regiment, 1 dismounted cavalry regiment, 1 skirmishers regiment, 8 cannon & 8 mounted commanders
- Confederate army (grey plastic) – 8 infantry regiments, 1 Zouave regiment, 1 cavalry regiment, 1 dismounted cavalry regiment, 1 skirmishers regiment, 8 cannon & 8 mounted commanders
- Green plastic bases for all figures
- A5 Black Powder rulebook
- 36-page American Civil War background, scenario and supplemental rule booklet
- Flag sheets for both Union and Confederate forces
- Laser-cut MDF farm building
- Laser-cut MDF Snake fences
- Six D6 dice
The Wider Epic Battles: American Civil War Range
Of course, as well as the brightly coloured zouaves and cavalry, you’ll find that you want plenty of infantry, whether your troops fly Union or Confederate flags. Thankfully additional troops are at your disposal in the form of a pair of plastic brigade boxed sets. You can elevate your experience yet further with MDF scenery packs, casualty markers or even wagons and gun limbers to lend the battlefield itself a great deal more character!
To help you along, we’ve put together some division bundles that will allow you to expand your forces both efficiently and with the added bonus of free Casualty Markers. For more great value Epic Battles: American Civil War bundles, make sure to check out the full range using the link below.