Garibaldi’s Brits! An Idea I Forgot About!

by Rob Morgan

When George and I were talking about packs of Airfix soldiers, this article came to mind, and yes, it was a wargaming idea I had thought about years ago, but again, never got around to. I don’t know why, because it’s basic, straightforward and only requires a simple paint job to achieve.

When Military Modelling took over the mantle of providing the wargames content of the vanished Battle magazine, it received a lot of criticism, but sometimes it provided a very useful idea or two. Here’s one:

In June 1982, a mere forty years back, Andrea Viotti, about whom I know nothing at all, wrote this article, “English Volunteers in Garibaldi’s Army” (he meant British, of course) – a four-page article on the recruitment, actions and successes of a decent sized group of units which saw service under Garibaldi during the conquest of Sicily.

One was the “British Legion”, the other “The English Battalion”, which changed its name during the campaign to “Dunne’s Brigade”. Signor Viotti gives a fair potted history of these two units – there was a “Scots Company”, too, which he doesn’t describe. 

Importantly, as you can see from the picture above, the uniforms are basically the same as those worn by Union infantry produced in the Airfix 1/72nd pack, which has been around for donkey’s years!

Image from Plastic Soldier Review – Airfix Union Infantry

Most of the figures, except perhaps those which have been moulded with full packs, are suitable, even the officer. Since Garibaldi’s army was never totally uniformed, the Union officer can be painted wearing a full, civilian, frock coat. Red coats for the “British Legion” and plain white for “Dunne’s”, with simple green trimmings.

A simple and useful. almost irregular, force, but you can find one or two additional figures from the Confederate infantry, wearing straw hats, and maybe a mounted officer from the cowboys set, or the ACW artillery set.

There was no suggestion of a specific unit flag in the article, so any standard bearer would need an Italian tricolour.

Simple, eh?

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1 Response to Garibaldi’s Brits! An Idea I Forgot About!

  1. Martin Smith says:

    A conflict rarely gamed, that one, Rob. Didn’t know there were Brits volunteering.
    I looked into locating some Garibaldini, and there’s an Italian company called Lucky Toys who make them in 1/72, so if you can’t find any Airfix there’s an alternative….(however, I really don’t need another scale and period just now! Until my resolve weakens, of course….).

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