Sunday, 2 October 2016

Perry Miniatures Battle in a Box

Earlier this year Perry Miniatures released their 'Battlefield in a box American Civil War' set. This is the Perry's first attempt at a starter type set, and it's certainly impressive. 
Amongst the first, possibly the very first, 28mm plastic multipart figures to come out were the Perry's American Civil war infantry set some years ago now, and since then they have massively expanded the range, with packs of Zouaves, Artillery, and Confederate infantry now added to the range, as well as a range of buildings and terrain.

This set brings some of all of that together, in a package that contains 170 figures, as well as buildings, flags and rules for £95. I'll break down the contents before talking a little about the rules.


12 cavalry.

 These can be assembled as either Federal or Confederate models, and are spread across 3 sprue. Each sprue comes with a mix of arms equipped with swords and pistols, as well as parts to make a guidon bearer, bugler and officer. There is also a choice of head gear for the models too.

65 Confederates and 8 Confederate Command.

 These figures are split across 13 sprues of 5 figures who can be assembled as line infantry, at either the charge or right shoulder shift position, again with a mix of either caps or hats, with enough to equip all the models with one type or the other.

 There are also 4 command sprue, and these allow you to build standard bearers, officers and drummers, again with a choice of head gear. at a pinch these could be used as Federals, although the jackets are the wrong shape and are inaccurate for this purpose. In their intended role the figures work very well though, and are especially representative of Confederates from the mid to later part of the Civil War. 

48 of the original American Civil War infantry.

 These sets contain 12 figures per sprue, which can be assembled in a variety of poses, though a few are single piece. These can be built as either Confederate or Federals, and each sprue also contains command models.

Some of these figures are a little dated by todays standards and in comparrioson to the other figures in the set, though they still do look quite nice. 

24 Zouaves and 4 Zouave Command. 

These figures break down as 6 models per frame, with a choice or Turbans or Fez for head gear. Each model may be armed posed at right shoulder shift or the charge. 
The command figures again allow you to add standard bearers, officers and drummers.

2 mounted officers. 

 These two are unique to this set, and feature one figure with a choice of heads, one bearded and one moustachioed. Pose allows for a few options, including with binoculars, pistols and swords.


The horse only comes with the one pose option, however this could be mixed or swapped with one of the cavalry mounts if you wanted a little more variety. 

18 gunners and 4 cannon. 

 These are from one of the most recent Civil War sets from the Perry's, unfortunately unlike the boxed set these do not contain the limbers that the full set does, however apart from that the rest of the set is great.  the 18 gun crew can be assembled with a mix of Kepi's, Caps, and hats, and the figures are dressed in shell jackets with a range of poses on offer, with separate arms for each crew man. 

The 4 guns also contain several options, this taken directly from the Perry website 'there are 4 gun barrels for each gun; Napoleon 12pdr, 3 inch Ordnance Rifle, 10 pdr Parrott and 12 pdr Howitzer.'

The set includes a pile of bases for everything too, with multibases provided for the bulk of the models.

Terrain wise, 4 feet of fencing is provided across 4 sprue, and the Perry's plastic American House is also included. This looks to be a very nice little model, and the fencing will be handy too. 

Rounding out the contents are a Flag/colour reference sheet. This sheet contains a good number of flags for your regiments, whilst on the reverse are some great colour plates and uniform guides. Personally, I'd be inclined to replace the included flags, as I'm not a fan of the thick printing paper used for these. Colour and detail levels are impressive however. 

Rule/scenario book

 This booklet is a small A5 soft back document with 12 pages, half of which contains the rules, whilst the other half contains scenarios. No army lists are provided. 

The Firepower! Rules are quite simple, regiments consist of 18 figures in 2 ranks of 9, with cavalry in a single rank of 6 figures, and guns as individual models. Turn sequence has each player use all all their models, before their opponent gets to do the same, with most scenarios running around 6 turns long.

 Movement is very simple, a unit moves 2D6", stopping when it comes into contact with cover.

Shooting is resolved by rolling 9 dice for an infantry unit, 6 dice for cavalry, or a single dice for artillery, then having to role over a certain score depending on range. Cover provides a 4+ saving throw to counter hits, and once a unit of infantry has taken 9 hits it is removed, with cavalry being able to take 6. Melee is resolved in the same way, with bonuses applied for charging and flanking an opponent. 

Morale is handled simply, once a casualty is inflicted a check is taken, having to roll over the amount of hits taken by a unit on 2D6, if this is failed the unit retreats until it can be rallied, and that's about all there is too it.

These rules won't impress the purist, but could be a great in to the period for someone just starting out in the black powder era who wants to use massed formations rather than skirmish level games, before moving on to something like Longstreet or Black Powder.

To sum up then, this is a superb value set, and a great cornerstone to a Civil War collection on a budget, especially if you were to split the set with a friend. You can check out the Perry's ACW range at their website, along with the supporting range of metals they produce here, and you can catch up with more of my work on Volley Fire Painting Service and listen to the Brit the Yank and the Hobby Podcast for some historical gaming discussion.

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