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"Good, bad, and ugly of Warlord Games Epic Scale ACW" Topic

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Baranovich19 Jan 2021 9:00 p.m. PST

So after having spent a couple days painting up the free Wargames Illustrated sprue of the new epic scale ACW minis. I thought I would give an honest assessment of my impressions so far.

Up front I'll say that this product came along at a perfect time both scale wise and cost wise and it allowed me to get into Civil War in a way that I didn't have the money to get into in larger scales or even 15mm metal. It was really the pre-order box set and the huge amount of stuff you get for just a couple hundred dollars that allowed me to jump start ACW for my 4 x 6 table. I was happy doing 6mm and 28mm AWI and didn't have any plans to get into ACW at all, but this gave me a chance to.

That being said, the minis. themselves have some problems that I think should be talked about here.

First and foremost, the minis. are not proper Civil War soldiers. I was dismayed to discover that the equipment they are carrying has no resemblance to historical Civil War infantry gear. The soldiers have no haversacks or canteens on the left hip, no bayonet scabbards on the front of the left hip, and only every third of fourth soldier has a cartridge box, and they are all slung on the waist belts. No percussion cap pouches to be found either.

Instead of bayonet scabbards, every fourth or fifth infantryman has totally this bizarre looking short sword or dagger thing on the BACK of the waist belt, so I guess that was an attempt at having some of the soldiers carrying "bayonets."

Ironically, they did include the oval belt plates and round breast plate on the cartridge box shoulder belt, yet there's no cartridge box!

The straps that are sculpted on the minis. kind of like "lead nowhere." if you take my meaning. It was if the sculptors were sculpting on straps but had no clue what the straps were supposed to be attached to!

Whoever sculpted these at Warlord Games either was given no historical reference for the infantry of the period, or the historical reference was given to them but simply ignored.

I am very much compelled to ask one of the developers at Warlord about this, because I am simply baffled how this could happen.

What makes it even more perplexing is that this game system was designed so that there is only one generic infantry sprue that was produced and they simply repeat that sprue in the box set for as many regiments as you need for both sides. That's fine since both sides wore the same shapes of caps and hats, blankets, etc.

But for the rest of the gear and equipment, all they had to do was literally make ONE historically correct master original and then just crank it out by the thousands. Instead the master is made up of these bizarre pseudo-Civil War soldiers with completely unnecessary Airfix-like anachronisms.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but the infantry has this uncomfortable, unsettling feel about them that makes them look like they can't decide if they are trying to be board game pieces in a game of Risk or if they are trying to be actual Civil War miniatures.

I mean this is an historical wargames company, there was absolutely no reason to get the infantry so wrong.

Anyone who has wargamed, studied or reenacted the Civil War like I have will instantly recognize it when they see the minis.

The mounted commanders on the other hand are strangely spot on detail wise. You've got the right cut of coat, boots, and even the detail of the double layer of the saddle with the trimmed drape covering the leather of the saddle.

The artillery is decent, although the wheels having less spokes than actual Civil War cannon was another anachronism that I simply don't understand. They must have short-cutted the molding process and it was cheaper and easier to produce them with less spokes. Unfortunate in any event.

All of that being said, because the scale is 12-13mm once you have them all painted up and ranked you really can't see all of the bizarre anachronisms, it all blends together pretty well, so the mass Civil War effect is genuinely achieved.

What I ended up doing was, I ignored the anachronisms and painted the straps in black as if they were carrying cartridge boxes and haversacks, and then I painted a thinner white stripe over the haversack stripe to give the look of a canteen strap slung over it. It actually looks pretty effective when they are all finally done.

However another problem is that the detail on the minis. is very shallow in some places. Using a universal wash like an Army Painter brown shader on them is difficult because the wash doesn't have a lot of places where it can settle into, and it tends to just kind of "sluff off" the model without shading much of anything. But I was finally able to make washes work with a good amount of GW Lahmian Medium added.

The facial detail is actually pretty crisp, and the flesh Citadel Contrasts worked wonderfully on them.

The muskets were problematic in some places as several muskets on each strip didn't have barrel bands sculpted onto them, so you have to just paint them in with silver where they should be.

Now at this point you may be thinking well gee, this certainly sounds like something to avoid all together and to stick with the traditional and reliable 12mm and 15mm ACW min. ranges out there, why even bother.

Well, the GOOD news is, once you do have all of the base colors blocked in, and you get some washes and dry brushes on them, they do actually look very good as massed double ranks of Civil War soldiers. And for the amount of models you get it's am amazing value for getting decently-sized Civil War forces onto the table to play some larger battles.

Now to be fair to Warlord Games, in this mini. scale it DOES DO what it claims to be able to do.

I also did a size comparison with Kallistra 12mm, and Epic Scale is very, very close to it so you can use Kallistra's ACW range with this range pretty confidently and safely.

So the true value in this boxed set is that it gets you lots and lots and lots of inexpensive infantry to bulk out the armies, and then you could supplement that with Kallistra artillery, limbers, cavalry, casualty markers, etc.

So at the end of the day, I think after painting a couple regiments of these that I "cracked the code" on this mini. range. Warlord Games is selling this as kind of a pseudo-
"board gamey" type wargame in terms of minis. but with rules that make it a full-fledged wargame based on Black Powder. The minis. in this scale give the impression of massed Civil War armies and from tabletop height achieve that very well.

I believe that battles played with this mini. range will be very hard to tell apart from say a table filled with Kallistra Civil War minis.

The real problem comes in when you look at them any closer than tabletop height. Inspecting them up close really reveals their shortcomings and their production issues.

I'm still really happy I got this set to get into Civil War gamin. I'm just disappointed that they took the shortcuts they did with the historical aspects of it when in my opinion they didn't have to!

repaint19 Jan 2021 11:22 p.m. PST

Thanks for this detailed assessment.

It's a pain they just couldn't sculpt them properly.

Baranovich19 Jan 2021 11:36 p.m. PST


You're most welcome!

Captain Bob20 Jan 2021 2:28 a.m. PST

Thanks for the assessment. As you say they do look good but I also have a problem with the fact they are cast as a group rather than individually. You are therefore restricted to a set base width which may be a problem using the figures with other rules (probably why Warlords did it). Although the cost per figure may be cheaper initially you know your club friends will move on to a different set of rules at some stage. They will be able to rebase their figures to suit as they bought metal figures but these you couldn't so would be useless.

dampfpanzerwagon Fezian20 Jan 2021 3:44 a.m. PST

I picked up two Wargames Illustrated (January 2021) and am looking forward to painting them up.

My first ever experience of wargaming was using the Airfix ACW plastic figures back in the early 70's so the prospect of painting these up is something that is already bringing back fond memories.

Checking out the free sprues, I was wondering if they might look better if split into five figures to a sprue rather than ten and mounting two rows onto a plastic base. I think they would then be more usable!!!

100 miniature free with a £5.00 GBP magazine looks like great value.


Decebalus20 Jan 2021 4:10 a.m. PST

"I mean this is an historical wargames company, there was absolutely no reason to get the infantry so wrong."

Warlord would loose their reputation, if they did something correct. (It only happens if they buy a range from another manufacturer.)

WarWizard20 Jan 2021 5:09 a.m. PST

Thanks for that very detailed and honest review. I have not seen them in person yet. I was wondering about details such as bayonet scabbards, canteens, etc.

Baranovich20 Jan 2021 5:58 a.m. PST

Looking at the pictures of the sprues again, I wanted to amend one thing I described. Some of the weird dagger/sword things are actually in the correct place on the infantry, the front of the left hip. Only some of the daggers are strangely placed on the rear of the waist belt.

I think what happened here is that somebody at Warlord Games showed the sculptors an historical photo of a sword-style bayonet like the kind that was used on the 1841 Mississippi Rifle below, and they assumed that was the kind of bayonet used on all Civil War muskets, not being aware of the mass universal socket bayonets used on Springfield's and Enfield's.

One of these:


Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2021 7:32 a.m. PST

My biggest pet peeve is the scale that they chose. 13mm? I get that they are trying to get gamers to "only" buy Warlord products, but I think they missed out on the wider 15mm audience who already have terrain, existing armies, etc., who would like to pick up some of their figures.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jan 2021 7:46 a.m. PST

Well, terrain will certainly work. I can't imagine looking for "13mm" terrain when I own a mountain's worth of 15mm already….

Baranovich20 Jan 2021 7:56 a.m. PST

Yeah, I agree totally about the 13mm thing. If they had just made them slightly taller it would have expanded their usefulness exponentially.

Plus I really want to get the Epic Scale Zouaves and generic cavalry from Warlord when they are released, but now I'm afraid the Zouaves will have that goofy, bizarre equipment as well.


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2021 7:57 a.m. PST

Thank you for the detailed review; much appreciated.

Baranovich20 Jan 2021 8:07 a.m. PST

I also just noticed that on some of the infantry they have like this cylindrical thing hanging from one of the straps. It's not the right shape to be a cartridge box and it's not the right shape to be a haversack, and it's certainly not a Civil War canteen!

It has the look of like a WWII German cylindrical gas mask canister, which obviously it can't be!

It looks to be an example of the sculptors not knowing what correctly belonged there, so they just improvised and put a random shape there to fill the space.

Baranovich20 Jan 2021 8:20 a.m. PST


I think the strips could be clipped in half without too much damage being done to the models in the middle. Some plastic sprue clippers should do it, they might need some light sanding of course to round off any jagged edges.

All you'd be damaging is maybe some of the blanket rolls, but since there is that slight crevice between the soldiers' shoulders and arms already, cutting right there is a good bet.

I saw a guy on YouTube who was converting some of these and he had actually clipped individual soldiers from the strips, and they looked totally fine.

So definitely doable!

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2021 8:48 a.m. PST

"I saw a guy on YouTube who was converting some of these and he had actually clipped individual soldiers from the strips, and they looked totally fine.

So definitely doable!"

I get that this is a hobby and gamers are free to do whatever it is they want. However, I think the question has to be asked regarding why is he doing this? You can get better quality 15mm figures for pretty good prices (the Blue Moon range at 40% though the OG Army comes to mind) that are sold as single figures. I'm thinking that this endeavor by Warlord Games is a solution looking for a problem.

dampfpanzerwagon Fezian20 Jan 2021 10:13 a.m. PST

Thanks for the info.


Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2021 1:28 p.m. PST

So these supposedly historical miniatures are not up to usual Warlord standards.

Such a shame as I was hoping to kickstart my ACW gaming but I will not invest in shoddy material. To use an actual ACW expression:)

I guess I will stick with the nicely done Wofun figures. Do not need to paint.

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