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"Old West buildings for the ACW?" Topic

13 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

Glengarry510 Nov 2021 6:51 p.m. PST

Would it be accurate to use Old West model buildings for Eastern small town USA (and Canada) around the time of the American Civil War?

thosmoss10 Nov 2021 8:22 p.m. PST

Not really. Old West buildings were often built as quickly as possible. If you watch "Deadwood", the backgrounds often show an evolution from tent cities to more structurally sound buildings as time and money pass by. An Old West building would often not have a sound roof, for example.

In the Old West, as often as not a town might be built up until the need ran dry, whether you're talking minerals or river ports or cattle herds meeting railheads. Much could change in five years or ten years. Some buildings were built to exploit the moment. If the town was going to thrive, well then a more reliable source of income would warrant more solid structures.

In the ACW, you are surrounded by buildings that might have been around for 100 years the times of deciding permanence had come and gone.

Of course, a farmstead is a farmstead. As is a peach orchard, an outhouse, and a pig sty. Rural stays rural until plumbing is introduced.

But false front saloons were a false front figuratively, too.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Nov 2021 9:05 a.m. PST

Actually. The answer is…"It depends".
The first question is: Are you focusing on Eastern or Western theater of the war?

If you are looking at Gettysburg, or Sharpsburg, or Winchester, or F'burg, or anything like that, then the answer would be "pretty much not, except for maybe some run down work buildings on the outskirts of town, etc.."

If you are looking at some of the lesser populated areas, or the generic "small town" then there are some of the smaller shops, etc that could work and would look pretty natural in that setting.

As you move further west, Kentucky, Missouri, etc, you'd see a lot more of the "slapboard" buildings vs the stone ones.

Second, it also depends on which buildings you are talking about.
Let's take 4ground scenery for example:
In their 28mm range "American Legends" you could see just about every version of their cabins out somewhere from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia all the way out to Kansas/Missouri.

Their Side Street Western Buildings would also be a pretty common structure in small towns. (Note you can still find styles like this long boarded up and abandoned, in small towns across the US).

Rev. Johnsons Church, the Land Office, the Water Tank and Windmill, Red Barn and Stables. All easily used.

The best thing would be to research where your gaming focus is going to be, and then you can take a look at some of the architecture history of that area and you'll be able to find out.

Hope this helps.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2021 12:00 p.m. PST

Like Murphy said, it depends. If you have a particular area/theater/campaign that you are interested in, google period town photographs.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2021 12:00 p.m. PST

Concur with Murphy and the "it depends".

If you can find period photos of the area you want to represent, then that might help.


epturner Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2021 12:02 p.m. PST

Wow, 79th PA and I not only agreed, but apparently agreed at exactly the same time…


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2021 1:09 p.m. PST

Cosmic, man. Cosmic.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Nov 2021 6:21 p.m. PST

There would be a lot of brick buildings in the east. Very few of those out west.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2021 6:16 a.m. PST

It depends! There, I said it too. Leven Miniatures has a great selection of ACW famous battlefield buildings in 6mm, but their Western collection includes many usable items, even outhouses. Avoid stuff with the false front of the tv western town, and you have backwoods churches, rough houses, cabins etc. that are handy.

Old Contemptible24 Nov 2021 10:09 p.m. PST

Most of the Old West style buildings look out of place, especially in Virginia and Maryland. There are plenty of ACW buildings available.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2021 3:24 p.m. PST

John Ford's the Horse Soldiers, which was filmed in the South shows a lot of verandas in the Newton Station setting.


Old Contemptible25 Nov 2021 11:13 p.m. PST

The movie was based on the 1863 raid of Col. Colonel Benjamin Grierson, who led 1,700 troopers through Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. It would not surprise me that there where some of those type buildings in the Western theater. Particularly in the Trans-Mississippi. We are talking about Hollywood. I could see them saving a few bucks by recycling old west buildings from previous movies.

But we are talking about the Eastern theater which chiefly involves Virginia, Maryland and Southeast Penn. Not many of those type of buildings there. I am not saying there weren't any, but not many.

If you want to use them, then I say go ahead. The guys who play in my ACW games wouldn't know the difference.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2021 4:10 p.m. PST

Little House on the Prairie…



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