Most of us are used to seeing nativity scenes around Christmas in various scales and materials, but this is the first time this subject has been done in this scale with serious modellers in mind. For most our pictures will be sufficient and the figures will need no introduction, but for anyone else the top row contains the baby Jesus, Mary and three male figures, which we assume to be Joseph and two shepherds. Row two has the three wise men, an angel and the first bonus figure, that of Pontius Pilate. Row three has some animals and the second bonus figure, Santa Claus.
All the figures are simply and correctly dressed for the first century, and indeed could serve for a very wide time-frame within what we now call the Middle East. The Santa Claus is dressed in the style almost universally used in modern times.
This is not a set that makes great demands on detail but these are all quite nicely done, although all the poses, most particularly the animals, are quite flat. Flash is minimal and all the humans are nicely proportioned, although we were not so keen on the animals, particularly the cow, which has been flattened so much as to barely resemble that animal except from straight on as pictured above.
The stable is a simple affair with an open side, the better to see what is within. It is 84mm (6 metres) wide, 45mm (3.2 metres) deep and a maximum of 62mm (4.5 metres) tall at the back. It is made up of five pieces which are in quite a hard plastic. The pieces do not fit particularly well as they are not quite as flat and square as we would have liked, but the end result is OK if rather rickety, which is perhaps not inappropriate for such a structure.
The nativity scene so familiar today is an invention of the 13th century, and there is nothing in the Bible to even tell us Jesus was born in a stable, never mind with animals and others present. Therefore historical accuracy is a bit of a nonsense in this case, but we have given it full marks because it well reflects what people expect of such scenes today, and with zero evidence to guide us on the supposed actual event we can do no more. In our view there are far too few non-military figures around, so even odd sets like this are always particularly welcome. It depicts the usual modern interpretation of the Nativity very well, while also providing several figures that could be used in other ancient models.