The US-Mexican War has got to be one of the USA’s most ignored campaigns from a modeling point of view. When searching several online modeling stores, I think I came across perhaps three or four 54mm figures commemorating this war. One of these figures was this one: the Seil Models Co. Ltd SG/F1. Sergeant, US Army (1846-48) | SH54007.
The figure is supplied in the usual Seil format: snugly and safely sandwiched between two sheets of foam and fitted in a very nice looking black hard-card box. The box fits into a glossy card sleeve featuring the box-art.
The figure is pretty much a single-piece mould and is perfect for the modeler who hates assembling figures.
The First Sergeant, wearing campaign dress, has adopted a somewhat relaxed standing pose, with forager cap pulled low over his eyes and rifle across his right shoulder, perhaps casting a sharp eye over troops marching by or keeping an eye out for the enemy.
The head, torso, legs, full left arm and right arm until the wrist cast as a single piece. The right hand is attached to rifle and small base is also included.
The figure is sculpted by Armorama.com member Tomas Castano, and, as with all of Tomas’s figures, the details are clear and solid. An example of what I mean is in order. One can clearly make out belt buckets, buttons, the individual strands of the sword’s tassel, and even the bugle horn on the forager cap. If I may fault my friend Tomas on only one (and seemingly petty) point, it is that the Sergeant’s stripes have been sculpted as one broad stripe, instead of the three narrower stripes. This however is easily scribed with a scalpel and a steady hand.
Cast and quality:
The figure is cast in white metal. The metal appears to be of a comparable quality to the best known European figure houses – and better than many of them. The cast itself was not as clean as some of the other Seil figures I have seen, so I am chalking it up to being specific to this sample. Unfortunately there were fine seam lines all the way round the figure, but they were particularly heavy between his legs. That said, it’s nothing needle files and steel wool cannot handle. The only other “issue” I had regarding the cast and quality was that the rifle had been slightly bent. Fortunately due to the quality of the metal, it is fairly pliable yet not brittle, and the rifle is easily fixed on a flat surface.
The figure should be fairly easy to paint. The face is a particular blessing to those, like me, who struggle painting eyes, as the peak of the forager cap is pulled low – the lower eye sockets can merely be implied. Perhaps the most difficult bit of painting this figure will be achieving the correct shades of “Sky Blue” for the uniform.
The figure’s solid and detailed sculpting, quality material, limited amount of “flash” and unique theme make it a pleasure to recommend. This figure is ideal for beginners, veteran figure painters and collectors alike.
Very special thanks go to the sculptor and friend Tomas Castano for sending me the review sample.
The following historical context is provided by the on-line resource Wikipedia:
The Mexican-American War was fought between the United States and Mexico between 1846 and 1848. It is also called the U.S.-Mexico War.
When Texas joined the United States, Mexico considered that, firstly, the United States was intervening in Mexico's internal affairs by supporting a rebel province and, secondly, that the U.S. had unjustly taken away territory that belonged neither to Texas nor to the U.S. For years Mexico had warned annexation meant war. Britain had repeatedly attempted to stop Mexico from declaring war on its much larger neighbor, but in 1844 Britain was involved in a serious dispute with the United States.
After several skirmishes, President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to place troops between the two rivers. Taylor crossed the Nueces, ignoring Mexican demands that he withdraw, and marched south to the Rio Grande, where he began to build Fort Brown.
Fighting began on April 24, 1846 when Mexican cavalry attacked and captured one of the American detachments near the Rio Grande. After the border clash and battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the U.S. Congress declared war on May 13, 1846.
After the declaration of war, U.S. forces invaded Mexican territory on several fronts. The main force led by Taylor continued across the Rio Grande, winning the Battle of Monterrey in September 1846. President Antonio López de Santa Anna personally marched north to fight Taylor but was defeated at the battle of Buena Vista on February 22, 1847. Meanwhile, rather than reinforce Taylor's army for a continued advance, President Polk sent a second army under U.S. general Winfield Scott in March, which was transported to the port of Veracruz by sea, to begin an invasion of the Mexican heartland. Scott won the Siege of Veracruz and marched toward Mexico City, winning the battles of Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec, and occupying the capital.
The Treaty of Cahuenga, signed on January 13, 1847, ended the fighting in California. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, ended the war and gave the U.S undisputed control of Texas as well as California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
Throughout the course of the war, approximately 13,000 American soldiers were killed. Of these, only about 1,700 were from actual combat; the other casualties stemmed from disease and unsanitary conditions during the war. Mexican casualties remain somewhat of a mystery, and are estimated at 25,000.
Seil Models Co. Ltd has chosen a very unique subject. One that deals with a much forgotten North American conflict, a conflict that shaped the borders of two great countries. A relatively easy figure to paint, this should appeal to novice and experienced builders alike.
About Rudi Richardson (Tarok) FROM: VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
I'm a former Managing Editor of the Historicus Forma historical figure modelling website. While my modelling and history interests are diverse, my main figure modelling focus lies in Sci-Fi, Pop-Culture, Fantasy, Roman and WW2 German subjects. I'm a firm believer that armour and vehicles accessorise...