Battle of Selma 1865, 54mm Vignette

Selma, Alabama.  April 1865


"Fire inside, fire inside,

 burning you up, burning you up,

 Fire inside."

Bob Seeger


In the closing stages of the American Civil War, General James Wilson of the Union organised

a campaign deep into Southern territory. It was to become the largest cavalry raid of the conflict. It's aim was the destruction of it's enemies ability to produce weapons and thus end their capability to prolong the war further.

One of the sites targeted was the Confederate Ordinance and Naval Foundry at Selma.

Moving fast with ample firepower, the Union's well disciplined elite horsemen broke through

the strong fortifications and sparse ad hoc forces of General N.B. Forrest.

Just as they were about to commence the demolition work, the cavalrymen came upon whiskey barrels in the streets, no doubt being prepared for diposal. It was then that events took a turn for the worst. Being high on victory and national pride they decided to 'dampen the dust' and in doing so added oil to the fire of their 'own ideas'.

Eyewitness accounts speak of looting and violence toward the civilian population and although some of this might have been exaggerated so too was the destruction of their town. In a massive pandemonium of blind retribution Selma was reduced to ashes, with hardly a house left standing for the suffering to dwell in. Although all war machinery was reduced to scrap, the slaughter of over 2000 animals along with thousands of tons foodstuffs, sorely needed by many, was nothing more than drunken vandalism.

"To the victor the spoils".

It was these spoils that sullied the Union cavalry's good name … their elite status landing in the place where the pavement ends.


BTW ... here's the ground zero:

The Vignette:

Right then, let's see if this old Gun Bucket can 'return fire'.

To be honest, I'm 'not too happy' with this particular scene as it reminds me of an out of focus molehill. On the other hand that's what it represents. My reason for it's creation is my ongoing interest in the ACW coupled with the actions of 'British soldiers' using a politician's picture as a target. Although at first glance the figures bare no similarities, they are in fact, (upon focusing) very much Brothers in Arms.

Both cases reveal soldiers getting their own ideas about what they and THEIR army should be doing. Both parties are on active service and therefore should have more important things on their mind - other than foolin' 'round. Both have filled themselves up to the brim with something that they cannot hold and subsequently have either closed their eyes or have tunnel vision.

Both are on a mission where they have overstepped the mark.

The scenes at face value seem quite harmless.

Only upon closer inspection does the danger of the loose cannon lurk … the danger to your own side … not to mention lousy marksmanship from close range. The grouping in the video is barely acceptable for a rear echelon unit 😄

If this was a spontaneous mobile phone clip of a darts match in civillian clothing, I would have grinned and moved on. Alas, it was a film that was deliberate (no Brit humor) and in uniform - which makes it not only a political statement but a military warning to all who dare to think differently.

TWIMC, I'm not too keen on ANY British politician at the moment, but that is sometimes the way with Parliment. If however, you don't agree with the democratic process then I recommend a good dose of Optrex from this fella


Before I'm accused of "making a mountain out of a molehill" on this, (which is BTW a great compliment for a vignette builder) let me just say that it was a molehill big enough for the M.O.D. to jump on. Harmless as they may seem, you don't want even the smallest of ones appearing on the "playing-fields of England", do you? 😉

I would like to state that this vignette is IN NO WAY intended as a dig at the Parachute Regiment per se, but it is dedicated to the 1st Royal Gunslingers of the Ka–Bull Coral (Corbyn's Own).

May they return home safe and sound to find alternative employment. Hopefully, in a hard working and level headed civilian construction firm … now THAT is something that I would be very HAPPY WITH.


ACW. 54mm Figure Conversion

Building Report:


My first dealings with ...

American Civil War Artillery 1861-65: Field and Heavy Artillery by Philip Katcher, Tony Bryan

... "This Mighty Scourge".

Stage 1:


Hold the Horses ...

I would'nt exactly say of myself that my main interest is in politics. I believe in democracy and free speech and that's that.

However, the events in my country over the last years have caused me much concern.

Having served in the British Army myself, I found one of these "events" so disgusting that I've decided to do something about it ... Seeing images of British service personnel, using a picture of the leader of the opposition as target practice, is not only childish but dangerous. It may only be a cardboard cutout but it portrays the British soldier as being ready to cause death or harm, regardless of nationality, to a civilian.

Waffen SS and Japanese forces had the same mind set and practice BEFORE WWII.

What I've decided to do therefore, is to alter my original project of a Confederate horse drawn gun team and change to a smaller two figure vignette. Bearing in mind of course, the actions of the 'British soldiers' in question.


Stage 2:


Better to strike while the iron's still hot with this one.

This time I'd like to create something special. A vignette that works and a scene that fails ...

S'cuse me, 'cos I gotta git back to Foo's Day 1865 and to the budding corruption of this elite unit.



Stage 3:


Time to 'cast' you eyes over the latest. The cavalryman's double breasted cloak coat has yet to be pressed into the base.

Even model soldiers can have a bad side to them.

ACW. 54mm Figure Conversion, Building Report


I'll admit the next figure does look a bit odd but he also awaits the final 'form'.

For protection against the elements he is wearing a rubberised poncho or gum blanket as it was known. Like the WWII German Zeltbahn, it could be joined with others to make a pup tent. It was usually wrapped around a blanket - carried over the left shoulder, and tied together at the hip. I found this clothing article a bit tricky to model as it has a smooth surface with a lot of creases and cracking.

Right, time to leave the foundry and let this cool off for awhile.



Stage 4:


'Ore' well … time for another step in the wrong direction.

I'm not a great fan of Green Stuff putty, it's too close to sticky chewing gum for me. If I have any over I use it to bulk out figures. Still, for hair and some small details it works for me.


To help me out with the gum blanket I've folded together a piece of kitchen paper - using it as a reference for sculpting the creases.

ACW. 54mm Figure Conversion, Building Report

To round off here's some bits of 'slag':

ACW. 54mm Figure Conversion, Building Report



Stage 5:


It seems that in military modelling these days, all you need is a fat wallet. In fact, much of diorama time goes into research, imagination, and planning ... things which cost next to nothing. This unseen work can sometimes take months even years. No one can appreciate the effort involved in all this, with exception of course of those who wear similar moccasins.

This particular job however is an exeption, as it was thought up on the spot. So from my workbench it's a bit like pig iron - an intermediate product.

Nevertheless, it still demands concentration, be it a one-off or not.

The next test is up to the primer. "Ingot we trust"… the rest pay cash 😉



Stage 6:


One last salvo from me before completion.

Don't be fooled by the base coat ... These are no 'Knights' in White Satin.

ACW. 54mm Figure Conversion, Building Report

In fact these two characters are quite the opposite - but they're nothing new.

Every army in history has seen them come and go. Alas, these military bad pennies will always turn up when given the right furnace to work in. Born of many reasons beyond thought or conscience, their infantile opinions on the laws of motion become incalculable upon release. Their name is as old as rustic artillery itself … a name that spells terror and destruction to anyone unfortunate enough to get in their way.



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