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I plan on making a dozen (typical set number) of "Rush's Lancers." With my 20 boxes I'll have 40 Bannermen. All you need to do is trim down the Guidon to lance's flags and clip the bottom from the leg. As is they will work perfectly for guard duty for Commanders Camps as well as guarding roads, bridges, wagons, etc. which was mostly what they did throughout the war from 1860 to 1865. If you want charging (see picture below), use the hot water treatment with a pair of needle nosed pliers, and slowly twist the arm down to an angle, or use lances from other sets.
Each dozen of my Troopers, get two (2) Guidons (Red and White Troop and a Stars and Stripes) and one (1) Battle Flag. All of my bannermen will be used. Extra Binocular guys go to Artillery.
Remember, Strelets excellent Union Commanders on Horseback re-issued set has a guy holding a set of binoculars away from his face who looks just like General Buford, and he looks perfect leading a column of Troopers.
Below is a great painting of Rush's Lancers. Look carefully at the Command Group out front and then the Troopers behind. If not for Strelets great set with extra figures, how else could you make a set of Rush's Lancers included in the same price as regular cavalry.
Any research on Lancers in the ACW, both U.S. and C.S.A. will quickly lead you to the conclusion that they were very good at guarding Commander's Camps, all kinds of escort duty, protecting bridges and roads, recon duty, and looking durned good while doing it. But in battle, mostly a waste of manpower and resources. In battle, the shock aspect made them useful at routing a surprised enemy, but in a frontal assaults the results were disastrous. The Confederates formed a unit in New Mexico and in their first engagement they lost all horses and half of their Troopers.
So, my point is, I'm not wasting any time doing Conversions for battle duty. The only converting I'll do is cutting down the full-size quidon to a small swallow-tailed flag (known as the 'lance pennon') just below the spearhead. If you want them for battle, then they'll mostly end up face down on the battlefield as casualties anyway - with all due respect.
I'm looking forward to having some of these guys riding around the perimeters of the tented camps, both U.S. and C.S.A. I'm sure hoping Strelets makes a set of Confederate Cavalry also, otherwise I'll have to keep using my Gulliver sets, and that set seriously lacks any accoutrements at all besides a sabre and it's scabbard. And there is no doubt in my mind our Strelets sculpter can do better. In fact, if Strelets just ran this same set in Gray color, it would not be historically inaccurate at all, I'd be happy. After all, the Commanders Mounted Set already has all of the famous Generals for us! Hint, hint, Strelets :-)
Lots of good ideas here for these sets. Certainly I will do some figure conversions by cutting them in half and swapping out upper bodies from the dismounted troops. In the past I have made a few conversions from the Airfix / Hat WWI Americans to make troops for the 1916 Pershing Expedition.
Buglers were used for many US Army formations, and I have converted them for other eras, including WWI and WWII.
Lancers are a great idea too.
Garrison Clay, I know you don't like to paint figures, but Rust-Oleum 2X gray primer spray paint sold at Wal-Mart and many other stores sticks well to clean soft plastic figures. Wash them in soap and water and then when dry, rinse them in paint thinner. Not only does it adhere, but it's also a perfect color for ACW Confederate soldiers.
Mike Bunkermeister Creek
I really admire those who post nicely painted figures, but I have focused my collection on the Play Set style. You know, like the old MARX "Blue and Gray" Play Sets, or Navarone as mentioned before or Airfix Fort Sahara and Fort Apache. I'm putting together my own play sets with my favorites of the best of the best available.
For example, for Strelets ACW, I'd make one called "Battle for the Southern Plantation" with largely Strelets figures plus some other favorites, a Plantation with guest houses and workers quarters, with a front road lined with Marx green trees, and Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry, Airfix wagons, and Revell limbers ...
I bought boxes similar to MARX, so I'll print out some cool pictures and adhere them, then cover with clear plastic like for school books.
I've also got BUM Western Buildings and the Locomotive, combined with Thomas the Train cars, to hopefully recreate John Waynes "Horse Soldiers" Newton Station Raid with the CSA guys running through town and Strelet's Union Cavalry hiding behind Airfix Wagons, and other baracades.
I've got blockhouses now to make my "Fort Laramie" together with stockade walls, trooper quarters and a headquarters. Even got a water barrel like from Fort Courage of F-Troop fame. Again, Strelets Union Cavalry will garrison the fort and conduct patrols
So all of my collection will belong to some kind of play set theme manned around a theme piece.
Please see my next post for a great Plantation recommendation. And "Thank You" Mike!
Here is a link to a review of the Plasticville "Southern Mansion". It states "O" Scale but it is actually a perfect "HO" Scale. I bought it off eBay in 3 colors - Blue, Red and Green. If you want one, don't pay more than $30 to $40 U.S. plus/including shipping. It's a 1952 Patent product, but has been re-issued and surprisingly many come up on eBay all the time. It slides together (no snaps, no glue) in minutes so perfect for Play Sets and HO 1/72 Wargaming. Mine will become ACW Southern Plantations. Looks great with Strelets' Gettysburg Buford's Union Cavalry Skirmishing. Again, it's a perfect HO Scale match. Link to review:
For those who feel they have too many bannermen, Strelets' French African Chasseurs has three (3) separate sabres. They all have a nice curve to the blade, a handsome hand guard and the exact same blue color. I have included Strelets' link to the Chasseurs' sprew picture. Even though the digital photo shows the sprew in terracotta color, the actual sets for sale were produced in the same blue color as the Union Cavalry Skirmishing.
The sabre looks very nice on the converted bannerman without the Guidon and instead with the sabre, and also, I plan on converting one or two of the dismounted shirmishers to holding a sabre instead of a carbine or navy colt pistol.