Airfix ACW Battle of Pine Ridge River Crossing

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Union troops pile out of the train to try and dislodge Confederate troops who have blocked the railroad with logs on the other side of the river crossing. Vintage Airfix ACW. 

I managed to finish my American Civil War skirmish today with my rebased vintage Airfix figures – The Battle of Pine Ridge River crossing – for a railway bridge over a rocky ravine cutting of the good old Hicksville River USA, sometime in 1862 whilst zouaves still had confusing uniforms.

These veteran troops have not fought a battle  since the late 1980s. Game write up follows later this week.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/confused-by-zouaves-some-airfix-acw-paint-conversions/

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One of the tense moments in the ACW game as a surviving Union Infantry standard bearer retreats to join Union Zouaves down the blocked railroad track, pursued by bullets and a reckless Confederate Zouave. Airfix figure conversions. 

Previous ACW skirmish was with Peter Laing 15mm figures last August 2016:  https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/peter-laing-american-civil-war-skirmish/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 23 July 2017.

Summer Reading

Inspired in recent blogposts  by the photography website Forgotten Georgia and also the rebasing of my childhood vintage Airfix American Civil War figures, I redeemed a couple of book tokens on a trip into town to fund my summer reading.

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My ‘American Summer’ Reading with a few of my 54mm lead and plastic ACW figures. 

The Osprey Combat book is especially relevant with the comments John Patriquin made about my confusion with Zouave uniforms being mirrored in the First Battle of Bull Run / Manassas:

“Your post partially explains the confusion at the first battle of Bull Run. Shortly before the start of the Civil War, after Ellsworth’s tour, many individual militia companies started to stylize themselves as Zouaves. These companies designed their own uniforms. As the better organized states would place these companies into regiments of 10 companies, it is easy to imagine a regiment of militia!”

Of course, at the start of the war the states would provide uniforms to the regiments so they would be more “uniform” in appearance. However, each state would decide on the uniforms. Many northern units were provided grey uniforms. Confused? So were the commanders on the field of battle at Bull Run.”

Comment by John Patriquin, 17/7/17 https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/confused-by-zouaves-some-airfix-acw-paint-conversions/#comments

On the same trip, I also found a recent red box of Airfix WW2 British Commandos reduced in price, another toy department sadly slimming their ranges. A chance to paint some more Zouaves to my vintage Airfix ACW troops.

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=385

I wonder if  this Zouave paint conversion would work with Airfix Commandos at 1/32 scale?

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN 22 July 2017.

 

 

Confused by Zouaves – some Airfix ACW Paint Conversions

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Union Blue – and a bit bashed  – all that we had of our family’s American Civil War Airfix OO/ HO Union Infantry troops, a scarce set by the mid  1980s when I painted these.  Reinforcements were needed from unusual sources.

I am this weekend I confess – Confused by Zouaves.

I have recently rebased and flocked some of my original 1970s and 1980s paintings of Airfix OO/HO American Civil War infantry, along with some other Airfix WW2 figure conversions to other troop types.

We had very few American Civil War Airfix OO/ HO troops, as they were  a scarce set by the 1980s. Reinforcements were needed from unusual sources!

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US 1st Sharpshooters (Berdan’s Sharpshooters) a green repaint of a few Union Infantry figures with a couple of Atlantic US cavalry mixed in. Defending a branch halt of the AT&PR Railroad, with the swiftly repainted rolling stock and engine from a “Train Set in A Tin.”
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More Union Infantry reinforcements, paint conversions  from more easily available Airfix WW2 Japanese Infantry.

I  have liked for a long time  the Airfix WW2 OO/HO Japanese (and Russian) infantry for their slender build and possibilities for conversion to troops from other periods.

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The unusual figures of the Airfix WW2  Japanese infantry standard bearer and bugler make useful Union Infantry command figures. These are now quite fragile plastic  – the officer has lost his fragile sword. Painted c. 1983.

 

Sometimes I can tell looking back what (roughly) these reinforcement figures were supposed to be or were inspired by, helped by looking again at Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour by Preben Kannik’s and the Blandford book Uniforms of The American Civil War  by Philip Haythornwaite. Both books were sporadically available in our local branch library.

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Another paint conversion of Airfix WW2 Japanese Infantry – but which Grey Zouaves are they and fighting on whose side?

This grey  Zouave unit with red kepis at first appear as probably meant to be Wallace’s Zouaves (the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers) nicknamed the “Union Greys”. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/11th_Indiana_Infantry_Regiment

They were  created or converted by repainting Airfix WW2 Japanese Infantry.

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I love(d) this page a lot in Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World  in Colour.

Wallace’s Zouaves featured in the few, the very few, ACW uniforms shown in Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour,  as well as Philip Haythornwaite’s more extensive ACW Uniform book (Plate 25). Text notes reveal the unusual career of Lew(is) Wallace,  their commanding officer, who went on to write Ben Hur, amongst other things! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lew_Wallace

But are these 1983 Airfix conversions really  Wallace Zouaves?

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Union Grey Wallace’s Zouaves from Indiana or Confederate McClellan’s Zouaves from South Carolina? The flag suggests the latter. 1983 conversions from Airfix WW2 Japanese Infantry.

I  painted these grey coated Zouaves with a  “first National Flag” of the Confederacy  with the grey coated Zouaves, suggesting they may be instead Confederate McClellan’s Zouaves or Chichester Zouaves Cadets, both from Charlestown South Carolina.

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Kannik notes that these “Union Grey” uniforms faded out quickly early in the American Civil War, no doubt to avoid confusion with such Confederate Grey or Zouave regiments.

No doubt also that many of these fine colourful uniforms would have quickly been adapted to the rigours of whatever could be found or repaired on campaign.

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More Louisiana Tiger Zouaves from Airfix WW2 Commandos and Japanese Officer – some of these figures look a bit rough or roughed up, the bottom of the spares box maybe in about 1983?

I am not entirely sure of all the intended regiments of the Zouave figure conversions  35 years on, even looking through the original uniform books I had available.

Why so many Zouave regiments? I wondered.

“In the United States, zouaves were brought to public attention by Elmer E. Ellsworth. Inspired by his French friend Charles De Villers, who had been a surgeon in the North African zouaves, he obtained a zouave drill manual. In 1859, Ellsworth took over a drill company and renamed them the “Zouave Cadets”. The drill company toured nationally, performing the light infantry drill of the north African zouaves with many theatrical additions. “Zouave” units were then raised on both sides of the American Civil War of 1861-5, including a regiment under Ellsworth’s command, the New York “Fire Zouaves” …”

Source: Wikipedia Zouave article  entry https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zouave

None of the Airfix boxes with their uniform pictures had survived in my family by then, so further uniform notes could only be glimpsed in the pages of the old  Airfix Catalogues or Military Modelling magazine and the eye-candy illustrations of Miniature Wargames.

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A few more Union Zouaves converted  c. 1983 from Airfix WW2 British commandos with WW1 French infantry officer and Confederate Bugler. Rifle butts (becoming or always ) somewhat flimsy.

Converting easily available first version  WW2 British Commandos to Zouaves worked surprisingly well, on account of the puttees, soft caps, straps and spindly rifles.

The Zouaves with red caps and red trousers with white spats or puttees probably represent the Union’s  14th New York Volunteers (or 84th New York Infantry Regiment) known as the “Brooklyn Chasseurs”, pictured in Haythornwaite’s Uniforms of the American Civil War Plate 24a.

Equally they could be the red trousered, red capped 1st Battalion Louisiana Zouaves fighting  for the Confederacy, shown on Plate 55. Confusing in battle!

You will also notice that the Louisiana Zouaves in the Kannik book look different to the Haythornwaite book – confusing for a young boy with his paints. I needed Confederates more than Union troops as I had few of the original Airfix Confederate Infantry.

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Michael Chappell’s colour illustration plates to Philip Haythornwaite’s Uniforms of the American Civil War (Blandford, 1975/85)

Converting WW2 infantry into 19th Century troops? 

Such strange figure conversions did not seem odd at the time in the early to late 1980s as these original ACW Or other Airfix historical figures were much sought after second hand. I remember a dealer called “Andy Peddle, Sunnymead …” regularly advertising in the small ads of Miniature Wargames each month for further stock of such loose figures. The price quoted by dealers alway seemed too high on my pocket money or paper round budget at the time – ” I will pay 3p per foot figure, 6p per cavalry figure, 12p per cannon, waggon or limber” advertised one Mr. S.  Russel  of Wingham. No doubt they were resold for more.

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Send no SAEs or payment, this small ad was just one of the Airfix second hand dealers from one issue of my Military  Modelling magazines (July 1983). Old lead met scarce plastic on the same page.

To give a comparison, in the same 1983 magazine (cover price 80p) the new Esci 1/72 figures were being advertised for a £1 per box of 50 Esci figures. Soon Esci would have their own range of ACW and Colonial or historic figures but too late for me. I was moving on to Peter Laing metal 15mm at 7p a foot figure.

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Atlantic Wild West cowboys painted up as Confederate infantry or Dismounted Texas Cavalry  and an Airfix Confederate infantryman for comparison, painted 1983.

In the absence of Airfix ACW, I generally made do with whatever bizarre tiny Atlantic Wild West packs turned up, sometimes cheaply in model shops like Beatties, although these seemed more like diorama sets than gaming figures. The Atlantic Wild West range  provided a few scruffy Confederates and 7th cavalry on horses with bases unlike the irritating Airfix horses. I  also painted up whatever American Civil War looking figures I could make from leftover WW2 infantry or Cowboys.

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A few vintage Airfix Confederates and some running Airfix Cowboy conversion Confederate figures in my handy “Just In Case” portable fishing tackle box set of figures for holidays and working away from home (see blogposts c. April 2016) 

I was always puzzled that no flag or standard bearer figure was produced by Airfix with their ACW infantry sets but I checked here on Plastic Soldier Review and there is no sign of one:

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/review.aspx?id=30

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=402

Again in 2017, these Airfix ACW figures have disappeared and I don’t think that HAT  did a reissue a few years ago. They don’t seem to have been in production since early 1980. No fort or playset reissue ever featured them. Some boxes and loose figures lurk on E-Bay and online shops, becoming increasingly pricy and, for the old 70s stock, increasingly brittle.

Will they ever be reissued again? The 150th anniversary of the American Civil War has now gone by.

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A good volley line of Airfix Union infantry enough for a skirmish against the Confederates.

Good to see on many people’s blogs that these charming ACW figures have retained their nostalgic appeal.

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My few Airfix Confederate infantry so Reinforcements are on the way!

2017 – More reinforcements!

Recently a retired work colleague kindly gave me an old biscuit tin of 1970s Airfix figures, a jumble of loose figures and some on sprues, predominantly ACW and AWI figures with a few British Paras mixed in. A relic of his 1960s and 70s flirtation with wargames  before American railroad modelling took over, I shall unpack this Airfix owl pellet in a future blogpost. There look to be some Confederates and ACW artillery lurking!

I also chanced upon two half price “Red boxes” of recently produced Airfix WW2 Japanese Infantry from a shop closing down its models section (mostly it was all Airfix USAAF aircrew boxes) so I should be able to produce some more reinforcements in the future. USCT US Coloured Troops are one thought, and finally some more unconfused Zouave regiments?

Zouaves troops also turn up in my  Bronte gaming scenarios, based on troop descriptions in the Bronte family Angria and Glass Town scenarios – I’m sure all these vintage Airfix figures will find a role in these Imagi-Nations, just with a new standard bearer or two.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/pretty-in-gingham-the-brontes-bloodhound-regiment-of-angria-1839/

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Gingham shirts and ticking trousers – the colourful clothes that match the description of some Imagi-nations Bronte fiction Zouave troops c. 1830s -1840s (Hawthornwaite, Uniforms of the American Civil War Plate 18 )

I shall end here, slightly less confused by Zouaves but not much ….

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 16 July 2017

 

 

Forgotten Georgia all 159 states visited!

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Georgia! Georgia! Defending the South, some of my surviving Airfix Confederate infantry, painted as a teenager and recently rebased. 

Huzzah! I have finally finished in just over two weeks visited all the Counties of the State of Georgia USA on the fabulous Forgotten Georgia website: http://forgottengeorgia2.blogspot.co.uk

Thankfully this was online rather than on foot. (Maybe I should have sought sponsorship for charity for this pointless minor achievement?)

I’m not sure how many thousands of photographs that I have looked at of buildings, bridges, ruins and towns, barns, lots and lots of barns, but I worked through the Forgotten Georgia website County by County on the A to Z listings. Strangely there was no Hazzard County.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_counties_in_Georgia_(U.S._state)

Just when you think you’ve finished, new photos are added each day, which thankfully  you can check on the home page.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/dutchy-and-dade-the-confederate-history-of-forgotten-georgia/

After looking at all these decaying or restored buildings in Georgia, I am quite tempted to order this winter some of the old Airfix OO railway building range of plastic kits, now manufactured by Dapol.

https://www.dapol.co.uk/shop/model-accessories/self-assembly-oo-kits?page=1

There were some innovative conversions to typical American Civil War / Wild West buildings using the basic Service Station, Signal Box and Booking Hall kits suggested by Terry Wise in the Airfix Magazines in the early 1970s (see the links to the Vintage Wargaming website)

http://vintagewargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/terry-wise-buildings-for-wargames.html

http://vintagewargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/terry-wise-buildings-for-wargames_03.html

These buildings would be a fine setting for my surviving OO/HO Airfix American Civil War troops. Flip open the pages of Donald Featherstone’s 1962 Wargames to the section of rules for Horse and Musket battles and then you’re away …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, July 13 2017.

 

Uniforms Uniforms

 

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Drum Majorette, Freeport, Long Island, USA (Image: Corbis  / Bettmann) on the Front Cover of Uniforms by Bill Dunn

 

A second-hand find, this picture rich 2009 book  by Bill Dunn is now out of print but was published by Lawrence King.com (a publisher of many fashion and textile books). It contains 294 pictures, 247 in colour.

Bill Dunn is a style editor, having worked on GQ, Esquire and LV magazines. As a result, he brings a different feel to this book than a military historian might. Full of uniform pictures, mostly in colour, Dunn uses familiar film stills as well as colour photos from all over the world to illustrate the very short essay at the start of each section. Overall , Dunn wants to know “why is it a good idea for people to look the same? Nothing sums up the power of the ‘We’ like a uniform.”

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The book illustrates the role of uniforms for every job role  from Hitler and The Pope and his Papal Swiss Guards to traffic wardens in Britain and Vietnam, from Boy Scouts to bunny girls,  from fast food restaurants in the USA to policemen in Korea, from air hostesses to schoolchildren in Japan.

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The book is interesting for the gamer or creator of Imagi-Nations uniforms.

One of my favourite ornate uniforms in the book  is shown on the back cover – the mystery of who wears this smart get-up is revealed on page 78/79. They are Monaco police officers in their dress uniforms. Intriguingly, one of them has paratroop wings!

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Italian Carabinieri and Monaco police officers, shown in Uniforms by Bill Dunn.  Left photo from Corbis / Paul Almaty and (Right) Getty /AFP/ Valery Hache.

The captions are both informative and witty in places – the Carabinieri picture is captioned “Giant Italian Police (Carabinieri) in front of very small people in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.” Pure Slinkachu or model village, this.

The Future section covers Astronauts to Science Fiction films and some bizarre past visions of the future.

Uniforms by Bill Dunn covers equally male and female uniforms, military, police  and civilian. Ukrainian female paratroopers (women make up 10% of their armed forces) share the page with Indonesian women soldiers with sub machine guns trying to march on parade in absurdly  tight skirts!

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Moroccan Army parade uniforms c. 2000 (Corbis / SYGMA/ Robert Patrick)

My other favourite elaborate Imagi-Nations uniform is the parade dress of male and female members of the Moroccan army, c. 2000.

This book sets up such smart military and police parade uniforms up against civialian uniforms of drum majorettes and cinema or hotel Commissionaires to show the similarities and differences. If you’re not in the military or public services, it’s not always called a uniform, it’s called “career apparel” (or workwear).

The chapter introductions are quite interesting. Uniform is something you (have to) wear to show belonging, sometimes to show Authority but paradoxically of also being under Authority – you have to wear what you’re told. It reminds me of many of my Dad’s stories about the importance of spotless kit, shiny boots, berets and shapeless uniforms to a National Serviceman, some of which I shared last month.

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Uniforms by Bill Dunn is as interesting to flick through and dip into as Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour (Blandford, 1967/8). I am happily reminded of the section in Harry Pearson’s gaming memoir Achtung Schweinhund when he talks about endlessly poring through this library book trying to make lists of which is the coolest and most impressive, the worst or most curious uniform.  I’m sure we all did this in our own ways. But that’s for another blogpost …

If you like uniform books or creating Imagi-Nations troops, Uniforms by Bill Dunn is well worth ordering  online secondhand. It has some inserting points to make about the uniforms that many of us, military or civilian, choose or are forced to wear throughout life from childhood onwards.

Blosposted by Mark, Man of TIN, July 9th 2017.

Dicing With Dragons RPG D & D radio documentary

 

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I don’t own many fantasy figures – these fantasy Viking warriors came with the Heroscape game and its hex tiles that I posted about recently on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog. 

Dicing with Dragons –  “Long before Peter Jackson made it respectable, teenage boys fought imaginary orcs and dragons”.

Writer and Presenter Kim Newman celebrates Dungeons and Dragons’ early days through interviews with Gary Gygax and others of the Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone era failing to get a bank loan for setting up Games Workshop. It mentions needing to buy the original Chainmail ancient Wargames rules as well as the early D and D books.

Repeat of a Documentary  originally made in  August 2004 –  Radio 4 Extra Debut / repeat, find this at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0076mwd

Made in 2004 it speculates about when RPG  gamers give up, along with the lack of women RPG players at the time. They do find and interview one female “Dungeon Master”.  I imagine this aspect may have changed since 2004, as the few female gamers whose blogs I have come across tend towards Sci-Fi and Fantasy rather than Historical Wargaming.

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Weird dice and lots of tables: I had the gift of a basic set but never really understood D&D …

Available online on BBC Radio Iplayer for about thirty days till late July /early August 2017,  it may well be around in the BBC Radio Iplayer documentary section afterwards. This may not be available to some overseas readers.

Happy Listening!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on July 5th 2017.

 

Dutchy and Dade – the Confederate history of Forgotten Georgia

 

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‘Dutchy’ the demolished and buried Confederate statue of Elberton Georgia USA (photo: Jim Williamson /  Forgotten Georgia website)

It’s the 4th of July, American Independence Day.

I have spent several happy  evenings over the last week when I could have been gaming or painting, instead looking through the thousands of photographs on the Forgotten Georgia blog / website that I mentioned last week. http://forgottengeorgia2.blogspot.co.uk

I have now reached only E on the A to Z list of 159 Counties in the State of Georgia all represented on the Forgotten Georgia website – that’s a lot of Counties. http://news.wabe.org/post/why-ga-has-second-highest-number-counties-us

This website  is such a rich visual and historic treat for modellers and military historians.

I showed this website to a work colleague who models American railroads and he was excited and very intrigued at all the construction details revealed as many of these buildings slowly collapse.

There are many American Civil War  sites from railroad stations to the last Confederate wooden flagpole in Georgia, Confederate CSA memorials and grave markers.

There are also historic sites and cemetery markers for the War Of 1812, American War of Independence, pioneer times and the numerous Indian Wars, separation from Spanish Florida etc.

There are turpentine tree stumps, preserved or faltering buildings from Black or African American schools to small chapels, covered bridges to rusting tin roofed wooden shacks and barns, Edward Hopper style town houses, mercantile stores, post offices, cotton gins, mills  and businesses right up to the Fifties and Sixties. Sometimes all that remains is a chimney stack in a field  or a small family cemetery of a few graves.

Lots of interesting stories, some known and well documented, others as forgotten as the ruined buildings themselves. Some photos have captions from the family, some proudly talking about their restored or surviving buildings, others about their family ruin. Some other sites or buildings have informative Georgia Historiacal Society metal plaques. http://georgiahistory.com

One story  I noted was Dutchy, an unfortunate and unloved Confederate memorial, demolished by its own townsfolk.

” Dutchy” was the first monument made in Elberton in 1898 as the town’s Confederate Memorial. The town’s people were not happy. They thought he looked too squat and said he looked like a Yankee, “a cross between a Pennsylvania Dutchman and a hippopotamus,” thus the name.

In 1900 a group of young men, tired of others making fun, pulled him down and buried him in a deep grave. He was exhumed in 1982 and is on display at the Granite Museum in Elberton.

Demolished by his own side! The photograph of Dutchy and text are courtesy of Jim Williamson and the Forgotten Georgia website.

http://forgottengeorgia2.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/dutchy.html

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From the Elberton Granite Museum website.

Several other websites mention Dutchy, a prize exhibit of  the Granite Musum of Elberton GA in Georgia USA, which has a great short video about Dutchy.

http://www.egaonline.com/learn/elberton-granite-museum

There is another short video on the Georgia History Today website,  showing a glimpse of the replacement statue.

http://www.todayingeorgiahistory.org/content/dutchy-confederate-monument-elberton

The replacement more conventional statue is shown here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/posrus/10372281864/

http://www.exploregeorgia.org/listing/1593-elberton-granite-museum-exhibit

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/7958

Sadly the Granite Museum shop (online) does not seem to sell miniature Dutchy statues, as who would not want a whole regiment of these strange Confederate (or Union) looking  troops?

Many counties in Georgia were witness to Civil War skirmishes and battles including Sherman’s March to the Sea which led to much destruction by both sides. http://www.civilwarheritagetrails.org/ga-civil-war-trails-map/ga-atlanta-campaign.html

The State Of Dade

http://forgottengeorgia2.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Dade%20County

The Georgia map on the Elberton sign thankfully includes the missing or lost County of  Dade GA, isolated up in the far Northwest of Georgia:

In 1860, residents of Dade County voted to secede from the state of Georgia and from the United States, but no government outside the county ever recognized this gesture as legal. [On July 4th] 1945, the county symbolically “rejoined” Georgia and the United States …

Shortly after the Georgia State Quarter was released by the US Mint [1999], Dade County gained attention because of an apparent mistake in the design. As shown on the quarter, the state appears to lack Dade County, in the extreme northwestern part of the state. Some accounts in 2012 suggest the exclusion was intended to refer to the local legend of Dade County’s secession from Georgia [Wikipedia entry for Dade County, Georgia USA]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dade_County,_Georgia

The Dade County official website has a longer slightly debunking version of the The State Of Dade.

http://www.dadecounty-ga.gov/StateofDade.cfm

Not to be confused with the Free State of Jones recent Civil War film and book https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_State_of_Jones_(film)

Dade County is also the site of the 1863 Civil War bloody Battle of Chickamauga.

http://www.dadecounty-ga.gov/BattleofChickamauga.cfm

Airfix Postscript

Arguably the finest Confederate statues are the tiny Airfix OO/HO Confederate Infantry. These 1960s and 1970s plastic figures are slowly getting brittle, sadly not all of my original boyhood figures were fit for parade.

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A few of my surviving boyhood Airfix Confederate Infantry, recently rebased, with an Atlantic Officer with homemade Dixie Flag, painted in the early 1980s. The opposing Federals or Blues and more about the train on another post.

And apologies to Canadian readers – happy 150th Canada Day on the 1st of July.

Blog by Mark, Man of TIN blog, Blogposted (but not born) on the  4th of July 2017.