Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Billy V #IMX44003 American Civil War Set 2014 - Pt 1 Accessories

Well, we had a nice long break from Civil War toys but we're goin' to re-engage today with this interesting set from Billy V (distributed by Imex). The set contains +60 pieces:
1 Wagon
2 Cactus
2 Flags
1 Canoe
1 Tent
6 Fence sections
8 Cannon
2 Siege cannons
15 Confederate in 11 poses ***CORRECTION TO ORIGINAL POST: THERE WERE 11 POSES IN MY BAG NOT 10***
6 Horses
1 Backdrop

Enjoy! Fritz and Bettina Berg :)

The Set

The set comes in a fairly large header bag with nicely done artwork

In the photo below, all the pieces are laid out such that they don't extend far beyond the boundaries of the backdrop

Basically, it's a nice set but there are some frustrating components and aspects and we'll cover the good and bad as we go along. One thing I must make clear is that overall this is really a nice set and nothing stated here should be a detractor from purchasing it.

The Backdrop

The backdrop measures 19 1/2" (49.5cm) H x 25 3/4" (65.4cm) L and is unusual in three ways:
1) It is clearly a backdrop. Most playsets have a playmat not a backdrop
2) This is supposed to be a Civil War playset yet the backdrop depicts an area where no Civil War engagements occurred in, Monument Valley, Utah. 
3) Depicted at the lower left is a chuck wagon. The chuck wagon was invented by rancher Charles Goodnight by modifying a Studebaker army surplus wagon - in 1866, the year after the Civil War.

I'm afraid this piece is the one that sticks in my craw. The artwork is nice and I do like it, but a company selling toys that are supposed to depict a particular era needs to do its homework. Including items in a set which clearly are not of that era or conflict is a disservice to youngsters who may want to learn more about the conflict.  Just take the backdrop and use it for a Wild West display.


Per Wikipedia: "The Battle of Picacho Pass or the Battle of Picacho Peak was an engagement of the American Civil War on April 15, 1862. The action occurred all around Picacho Peak, 50 miles (80 km) northwest ofTucsonArizona. It was fought between a Union cavalry patrol from California and a party of Confederate pickets from Tucson, and marks the westernmost battle of the American Civil War.", the cactus may be okay to include in the set, but for me I think they would be best used with a Wild West set-up. That being said, they are nicely done Saguaro type cacti and you get two identical pieces. They are also large as Saguaro's tend to be


Canoe's don't readily come to mind as Civil War accessories but I see no reason why they wouldn't have been used occasionally to traverse rivers. Like the Saguaro, I'd use this well done canoe for a Wild West set-up.

Fence Sections

Sometimes you just can't get enough fence sections and this set has six. The bonus is that they look different from all the other Civil War fences on the market thus adding variety


The flags are very basic: paper flags, each on a two-piece pole and base combo


The tent is an excellent accessory and is a style new to the Civil War toy market. The back is removable so that it can be depicted in a more 'airy' mode

Billy V (l) Marx (r)


The wagon is only okay. It's too small to be in scale with the rest of the accessories and while the wagon appears to have the correct profile of a supply wagon, the canvas top has a distinct forward lean evocative of a Conestoga. The problem with this piece is the front wheels/pole casting. Because the holes in the horses sides are too high up on their flanks, the one piece wheel/pole casting causes the wagon to raise leaving the front wheels up in the air. I did the hot water/cold water treatment and bent the pole up such that the front wheels would rest on the ground.

The pole has been bent upward slightly

It's a little hard to see, but the front wheels are lifted off the surface


You get two types: Eight Whitworth profile breech loading cannon (four in blue and four in gray), and two generic large siege cannon. The Witworth's are very well done and are a great addition to Civil War artillery pieces. However, they are not the first breech loading toy Civil War cannons as MPC had a 60mm version back in the '60s. The siege cannons are quite basic but I do believe they are the first siege cannons offered for the toy Civil War market (if you don't count mortars).

Library of Congress

The carriage is quite flimsy in comparison to the cannon mounted on it.

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