The Picts were a number of Celtic tribes that lived approximately in what is now Scotland from the third century CE. Their relationship with the Roman Empire seems to have followed the traditional pattern - sometimes having a treaty with them and other times raiding their territory as well as those of other tribes in the north. When the Empire disappeared the raiding continued, as did the struggle with other north British tribes, until in the mid 9th century they were finally united with the Scots, losing their culture and identity to that tribe forever.
This set is part of the mini-box series, and contains 24 figures in just four poses. Hat have said this is to reduce the production cost, and therefore allow them to manufacture sets on subjects that would otherwise not have been seen as economic to produce at all. Clearly not everyone will be happy with the resulting limited set, but at least it could be argued that four poses are better than none at all.
As is so often the case, the evidence for the appearance of these warriors is far from complete. However it seems they wore long tunics and a cloak for bad weather. In battle there is good evidence for some fighting naked or at least with nothing more than a loincloth. This may seem incomprehensible today, given the very cool climate in that part of the world, but it would have had the effect of both showing the warrior's tattoos, which were meant to help protect him, and as a sign of the 'toughness' of the individual. There are those living in that region with a similar attitude even today!
The poses that are included are interesting, with two being of warriors advancing with spears, the third being a standing warrior and the fourth a crossbowman. Surprisingly there are references to crossbows being used in this region, but whether they were used for war, and during what era, we simply do not know. Where contemporary depictions of these weapons exist they are clearly quite crude, and the crossbow on this figure reflects that design. In any case there is no bolt loaded, which is just as well as the bow is being held at an angle and clearly not being used at that moment.
In all cases the cloak has had a checkerboard pattern engraved on it. This gives the impression that it is quilted, but it is actually a representation of the chequered pattern that the Celts often used. Still, we would have preferred the cloak to be kept plain to allow a painted pattern if desired. The cloak on the archer also includes a hood. This seems perfectly reasonable given the weather, though it is also likely that the cloak was simply pulled over the head and fastened rather than a well-tailored garment like this.
All the figures have engraving on their skin to represent the famous tattoos. Though clearly tattoos do not raise the surface of the skin, this does at least make painting easier.
The standing figure includes a good idea that Hat have used before. His weapon is a spear with an axehead half way along the shaft. The axehead can be cut off to create a spear, or the spear shaft can be cut above the axehead and below the hand to create an axe, though as an axe the pose is a bit strange.
Two of the shields, all of which are part of the figure, are round - the typical Pictish shape. One of the spearman has slung his shield on his back, and this shield is square, which is also a common shape.
Like most Hat figures of the time, these are nicely sculpted and quite well done. The sculptor has concentrated on the features that were perhaps more typically Pictish, giving these figures a distinctive feel that sets them apart from other 'barbarian' figures.