I spent this past Sunday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and caught the absolutely spectacular “Photography and the American Civil War” exhibit which runs through September 2, 2013. The hundreds of photos cover a bit of the same ground as past exhibits, documentaries and books, but there’s a lot I had never seen before, too. What spoke to me most were the dozens of simple individual soldier photos. The contrast between the dressed-up idealistic pre-war studio portraits and the devastatingly gruesome prisoner of war and hospital images is wrenching.
Aside from the portraits occupying the bulk of the show, one of my favorite photos from the show was the one shown below by Timothy O’Sullivan from 1864.
Titled “Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Battery B, Petersburg, Virginia,” O’Sullivan’s small photo (maybe 3″ x 9″) purports to give a rare glimpse of a full artillery battery either drilling or possibly in actual combat. The mass of guns, crew and equipment shows the full size and complexity an artillery section brought to the fields of the American Civil War 150 years ago.
My go-to favorite miniatures company for my American Civil War 28mm gaming is Perry Brothers for both their sculpting and reasonable cost in both their plastic and metal ranges. I have three artillery teams painted up from their metals line, but more guns would always be better. However, each gun team currently runs me about $12. At this price, modelling realistic large-scale batteries like those in the O’Sullivan photo from the Met has seemed pretty cost-prohibitive.
Well, over at the Perry Brothers Plastics Workbench section of their site, they’ve just recently teased a few plastic sprues of artillery which will include carriages, limbers, multiple barrels and crew. The flexibility of the soon-to-come set will allow for modelling of different crews — North and South — as well as rifled and smoothbore gun types.
There’s no release date for this set as of yet, but in the meantime there are some nice work-in progress shots I’ve shared here. With a few of these assembled and painted up on each side of my tabletop battlefield, my games will get an added boost of realism captured timelessly in the hundreds of photos currently on view here in New York.