Verlinden 120MM (1/16) Stonewall Jackson Figure
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson is one of the greatest soldiers America has ever produced. His tactical exploits as a Confederate general during the Civil War are legendary, and some military historians believe that, had he not been accidentally killed by his own men at the Battle of Chancellorsville, there may well have been a different outcome to the battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the war.
Jackson was one of the best-known Confederate commanders after General Robert E. Lee. Highlights of his military career include the Valley Campaign of 1862 and his service as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee. Unfortunately for the South, Confederate pickets accidentally shot Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. Jackson survived with the loss of an arm to amputation, but died of complications from pneumonia eight days later. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy; affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of the general public.
Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history. His Valley Campaign and his flanking envelopment of the Union Army’s right wing at Chancellorsville are still studied worldwide as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well in other battles: the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), where he received his famous nickname "Stonewall"; Second Bull Run (Second Manassas); Antietam; and Fredericksburg.
An 1846 graduate of the US Military Academy (West Point), Jackson began his United States Army career as a second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment and was sent to fight in the Mexican–American War. His campaigns during that war included the Siege of Veracruz and the battles of Contreras, Chapultepec, and Mexico City. He eventually earned two brevet promotions and the regular army rank of first lieutenant. It was in Mexico that Thomas Jackson first met Robert E. Lee.
In 1851 Jackson accepted a newly created teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), in Lexington, Virginia, where he become Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Instructor of Artillery. VMI still teaches some of of Jackson's curriculum, which are regarded as timeless military essentials, including: discipline; mobility; assessing the enemy's strength and intentions while attempting to conceal your own; and the efficiency of artillery combined with an infantry assault.
By the start of the Civil War in April of 1861, Jackson had reached the rank of colonel. After his promotion to brigadier general in early July, Jackson rose to prominence and earned his famous nickname as a brigade commander at the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) on July 21, 1861. As the Confederate lines began to crumble under heavy Union assault, Jackson's brigade provided crucial reinforcements on Henry House Hill, demonstrating the discipline he had instilled in his men. Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Follow me!" General Bee would later be killed at Bull Run, but he had given the South not only his life but also the most famous nickname in American military history.
In the spring of 1862, the Union Army chose to make Richmond, VA its primary objective instead of the enemy’s armed forces. As of what became known as the Peninsula Campaign, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac approached Richmond from the southeast, Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell's corps was aiming to hit Richmond from the north, and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's army threatened the Shenandoah Valley. Confederate authorities in Richmond ordered Jackson to operate in the Valley to defeat Banks' threat and prevent McDowell's troops from reinforcing McClellan.
Jackson’s Valley Campaign started with a tactical defeat at Kernstown on March 23, 1862, when faulty intelligence led him to believe he was attacking a small detachment. But it became a strategic victory for the Confederacy, because his aggressiveness and great audacity suggested that he commanded a much larger force than his small division of 10-17,000 men. These victories ultimately convinced President Abraham Lincoln to keep Banks' troops in the Valley and McDowell's 30,000-man corps near Fredericksburg. In the end, these deployments subtracted about 50,000 soldiers from McClellan's Richmond invasion force.
Although significantly outnumbered, Jackson was able to attack and defeat portions of his enemy’s divided force, defeating both Brig. Gens. Robert H. Milroy and Robert C. Schenck. He then defeated Banks at Front Royal and Winchester, ejecting him from the Valley.
Lincoln then decided that the defeat of Jackson was an immediate priority (though Jackson's orders were solely to keep Union forces occupied and away from Richmond). He ordered Gen. McDowell to send 20,000 men to Front Royal and Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont to move to Harrisonburg. If both forces could converge at Strasburg, Jackson's only escape route up the Valley would be cut.
After a series of maneuvers, Jackson defeated Frémont's command at Cross Keys and Brig. Gen. James Shields at Port Republic on June 8–9. Union forces were then withdrawn from the Valley.
The valley was a classic military campaign of surprise and maneuver. Jackson pressed his army to travel 646 miles in 48 days of marching and won five significant victories with a force of about 17,000 against a combined force of 60,000. Stonewall Jackson's reputation for moving his troops so rapidly earned his soldiers the nickname "foot cavalry". As a result of the campaign, Jackson became the most celebrated soldier in the Confederacy (until he was later eclipsed by Lee) and lifted the morale of the Southern public.
At the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Army of Northern Virginia faced a serious threat from the Army of the Potomac and its new commanding general, Major General Joseph Hooker. General Lee decided to use a risky tactic to take the initiative and offensive away from Hooker's new southern assault: he decided to divide his forces. Lee sent Jackson and his entire corps on an aggressive flanking maneuver to the right of the Union lines. This flanking movement would be one of the most successful and dramatic maneuvers of the war.
Lee’s divided force plan was simple but very risky. Jackson would lead his Second Corps of 28,000 men in a bold maneuver to attack the Union right flank while Lee exercised personal command of the remaining two divisions, about 13,000 men and 24 guns facing the 70,000 Union troops at Chancellorsville. For the plan to work, several things had to happen. First, Jackson had to make a 12-mile forced march across the enemy’s battle line, using roundabout roads to reach the Union right, and he had to do it undetected (a similar tactic used in modern times by the US XVIII Airborne Corps during the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm). Second, Hooker had to stay tamely on the defensive. Third, Confederate Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early would have to keep the Union Army’s VI Corps under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick tied up at Fredericksburg, despite the four-to-one Union advantage there. And when Jackson launched his attack, he had to hope that the Union forces were not prepared for or suspecting an attack.
While riding with his infantry in a wide berth well south and west of the Union battle line, Jackson used Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry to provide reconnaissance as to the exact location of the Union right and rear. The results were far better than Jackson could have hoped. Fitzhugh Lee found the entire right side of the Union line in the middle of an open field, guarded by only two artillery pieces that faced westward. The Union soldiers were eating and playing games, completely unaware that an entire Confederate corps was less than a mile away.
Jackson immediately returned to his corps and arranged his divisions into a line of battle to charge directly into the oblivious Federal right. The Confederates marched silently until they were only several hundred feet from the Union position, and then released a bloodthirsty cry and full charge. Many of the Union soliders were captured without a shot being fired, and the rest were driven into a full rout. Jackson pushed his force relentlessly back toward the center of the Union line until dusk.
After darkness ended the assault, Jackson and his staff decided to reconnoiter the location and strength of the now makeshift Union line. Returning to camp, they came within range of the 18th North Carolina infantry, who saw only horsemen approaching in a menacing way from the direction of the Union lines. The understandably nervous troops opened fire on Jackson’s party. Three .57 caliber bullets struck Jackson simultaneously: two in his left arm and one through his right palm.
The firing killed several of Jackson’s staff as well as many horses. Darkness and confusion prevented Jackson from getting immediate medical care. Confederate stretcher bearers dropped him while evacuating him in reaction to incoming artillery rounds. Eventually, Dr. Hunter McGuire had to amputate Jackson's left arm. Jackson was then moved to Thomas C. Chandler's plantation named Fairfield. He was offered Chandler's home for recovery, but Jackson refused and suggested using Chandler's plantation office building instead. His doctors thought he was out of harm's way; but unknown to them, he already had the symptoms of pneumonia, as he complained of a sore chest. The doctors mistakenly took this soreness to be the result of his rough handling during the evacuation from the battlefield.
Jackson died of complications from pneumonia on May 10, 1863. His last words were: "Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."
Since the late seventies, Verlinden Productions has been a leader in the sculpting and production of aftermarket parts and resin figures. Their line of resin 120mm (1/16th scale) figures includes a number of works depicting famous military leaders such as Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, Jeb Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Norman Swartzkopf and others. Among their 120mm figures is a highly detailed rendition of Stonewall Jackson. Jackson is depicted with folded arms on a battlefield, contemplating the situation (or perhaps his next tactical move).
Like most of these figures, the Verlinden Stonewall Jackson comes in several separate parts and some smaller parts attached to resin casting blocks. The head, arms, torso and legs are separate components, as are the general’s individual pieces of equipment. The sculpting of the figure is extremely sharp with the great detail afforded by the large 120mm scale.
The kit consists of 15 resin pieces and a piece of plain paper that is used to construct various straps for the figure’s saber. The model includes equipment such as Jackson’s Kepi field cap, which he preferred over more elaborate, brimmed hats worn by most Civil War general officers, a well molded saber and scabbard, a field glasses case, spurs, saber strap rings, and riding gloves. A particular plus is the inclusion of a detailed resin base, which has rocks, ground cover and a variety of battlefield debris molded onto it. The “extra” plus of this base is that one can paint it to resemble a wooden display base, thereby negating the need to find a wooden one, stain it, finish it, and then glue the figure to it.
This is my third Verlinden 120mm kit, having assembled and painted Jeb Stuart - kit # 1470 - and Kit # 628, US Army SAW Gunner, which I previously reviewed here on Modeling Madness. These are outstanding kits, and the detail is quite amazing. As usual with resin kits, the biggest challenge is cutting the various pieces from their casting blocks without damaging or breaking them, particularly the smaller ones (e.g., spurs, saber tassel, saber strap rings).
Once I did this, I used Super Glue to assemble the torso, legs and head and arms. When these were dry, I glued the figure to a wooden paint stirring stick to facilitate handling the model.
I then spray painted the figure with Testors flat white enamel to serve as the base coat and provide a light base for subsequent painting.
The next step was to paint the figure. For this figure, I primarily used relatively inexpensive acrylic paints available from all sorts of places such as Michaels. The only other type of paint I used was Testors enamel, which I used this for the primer coat, the brass, silver and steel components on the general’s uniform and the base, and the cap that is on the base.
I first started painting the general’s face. I used a darker shade of flesh tone to facilitate later detailing of the face using lighter and lighter shades of flesh tones. Since the general is posed in a contemplative mood, it was not necessary to paint detailed eyes on the figure, as these are somewhat obscured by the general’s “scowl.”
To get the bluish gray tint of the Confederate uniform, I mixed my own shade of gray using flat black and white in the trusty “trial and error” method. Once I was satisfied with the mixed gray shade, I used a relatively wide hobby brush to paint the general’s uniform coat with this paint.
I then painted the general’s boots flat black. I then moved to applying details to the figure (e.g., the buttons, braid, collar insignia, etc.). At this point, I was ready to transfer the figure to the resin base. After super gluing it to the base, I then painted the base with various dirt and grass shades, and then highlighted the battlefield debris equipment.
Next came the addition of the saber. As previously mentioned, the saber strap rings are separate and small, and I broke one of them cutting it from its resin block. This required me to make a replacement, which I did out of thin wire. Once the saber was secured to the figure, I cut thin straps from the piece of paper (any printer paper would work just as well), attached these to the saber, and then attached them to the equipment belt. I then painted the Kepi black and gray and glued it to the general’s left hand.
The final touch was to fashion a tassel strap out of paper, glue the resin tassel end to it, and then attach it to the saber. I then finished this with Testors gold enamel paint.
|COLORS AND MARKINGS|
Again, with figures, the major challenge is the skin tones, and then the proper shading to get some kind of expression on the face. The additional challenge here was a gray tint that replicates the Confederate gray uniform color.
Once I had painted everything, I mixed some more black paint with the gray uniform paint, and then used this to highlight folds in the uniform and the general’s gloves.
Once the figure and base were finished, I painted the outside of the resin base with a dark brown. When dry, I applied multiple coats of Testors Glosscote until I got a good clear finish on the base.
This is a great representation of an historic military figure, and assembling and finishing it was a pleasant break from my normal routine of plastic armor, aircraft and automobile kits. I highly recommend this kit to anyone who is interested in figure modeling and has a little experience with hand painting figures.
Robertson, James I., Jr. Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend. New York: MacMillan Publishing, 1997.
Stonewall Jackson, Wikipedia, December 2014.
Battle of Chancellorsville, Wikipedia, December 2014
Gulf War, Wikipedia, December 2014.
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