Brotherhood of Arms Series 2 

The second series of the very popular series Brotherhood of Arms is now shipping.  This series, from Sideshow Toys, brings to sixth scale the Civil War, both North and South.

This set includes two figures - the U.S. 2nd Wisconsin Infantry ('Iron Brigade'), and the Confederate 1st Texas Infantry. This set is available from many on-line retailers.  I paid about $25 each, but that included shipping.

Packaging - ****
I really can't find much to complain about with the current Sideshow packaging.  It looks terrific, it's sturdy, the number of twisties is kept to a minimum (most of the time), and it's completely collector friendly.

There's good news too - the annoying twisty that had been wrapped around the chest and shoulders on some of the recent figures has gone back to being just around the neck.

The text on the interior flap is very informative as well.  I'm impressed by the amount of research Sideshow does.  The only oddity here in the packaging is the twisty tie around both the bayonet and the bayonet scabbard.  I understand trying to keep it looking good in the box, but that's a bit much.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Both head sculpts look good, generic and yet realistic.  Even the hair styles are done in a period appropriate manner.

When it comes to generic sculpts, I prefer the work Sideshow is doing to Dragon and 21st Century, both of which appear more zombie like to me. 

Both these sculpts have realistic facial expressions, serious but not silly.  I'm always reminded of the tin type photos of the period, and I suspect that the sculptors have looked at quite a few to get a feel for the proper look.

The only thing that might cause you a little trouble is the fact that the Wisconsin Infantryman looks an awful lot like Andy Richter to me.  Really.  Take his hat off, and look at him just right...

Paint - ***1/2
There's not a lot of complicated paint ops here outside of the face, but that's done extremely well.  The skin tone on the face is particularly good, avoiding too much gloss or too much variation.

The eyes are well done on both figures, and that's crucial for this type generic figure.

Articulation - ****
The standard for sixth scale articulation hasn't changed much in the last year, and it probably won't for some time.  We've got just about all the points of articulation you could reasonably want, although some companies produce a higher quality body than others.

Sideshow ranks up there with Dragon and bbi with one of the best base male bodies available. 

Uniform - ***1/2
Both uniforms show excellent quality and details.  The stitching, buttons, snaps and material are all top notch.

The Confederate soldier uniform includes his heavy frock coat, trousers, belt, shoes and Texas cap.  It isn't mentioned on the box, but he also has a full shirt under the coat, including snaps at the wrists, even though you never see it under normal conditions.

The only negative here is the re-use of the sky blue trousers.  I can speak to the accuracy of both figures wearing the same pants, but fortunately the U.S. soldier has a pair of very nice leggings that make it a little less obvious.

The U.S. solder also has a belt, frock coat, 'hardee' hat, and shirt underneath.  All have the same excellent quality as the Confederate soldier uniform.

Accessories - ***1/2
As usual, there's a ton of accessories.  All are well sculpted, and good quality.

The Confederate soldier includes: Musket with moving hammer, knapsack (which can be opened if you'd like), bayonet and scabbard, cap pouch, cup, cartridge bag with strap, canteen, and haversack.  The cup fits in the hook on the front of the haversack.

The U.S. soldier includes: knapsack with blanket roll (which can come apart, but might be tough getting back together), bayonet and scabbard, musket, cartridge pouch with strap, cap pouch, cup, and haversack.

There's quite a bit of re-use between the accessories, although I'm sure that many of the same items were used by both armies.  The cap pouch, bayonet scabbard (but not bayonet), cup, and haversack are identical.  The canteens are the same sculpt, but each have a different 'flocking' on the outside. The muskets are not the same though, although at first glance you might think they are.  That kind of attention to detail helps make the other identical accessories easier to take - that and the fact that the South and North did use much of the same pieces of equipment.

Value - ****
The value ranking always depends on the price you pay of course.  If you end up paying around $30 including shipping for these, take of a half star.  But if you can pick them up for under $25, or $25 including shipping, then these are a fantastic value.

Overall - ***1/2
The figures are extremely nice, and I'm very happy with the series.  Since most retailers are charging $30 or more, the overall score ends up taking the half star hit. But at $25 or less, these figures are well worth your time.

And if you know a Civil War buff, I'd suggest considering picking one up for them as a present - who knows, you might influence another convert!

Where to Buy
I know of no bricks and mortar stores carrying the Brotherhood of Arms line, but there's plenty of on-line choices.

- Sideshow has them of course. They charge $80 a set. (MROTW Affiliate)

- I picked up my set at TNC Universe, where I found the best deal.  They were shipped to me for $50 - yes, that includes shipping!

- Aisle Sniper has them for $25 each, plus shipping.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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