Celtic society (called Gallic by the Romans) was basically tribal, and while many Celts served as mercenaries or occasionally banded together for a common purpose, their wars were usually local affairs between tribes or clans. Often they would be raids on neighbours, perhaps to gain booty or slaves, but such opportunities for the free men to prove their warrior credentials were usually welcomed. So a warband was commonly a relatively small group of warriors fighting other Celts, although naturally such occasions as external threats would call for something more akin to an army.
Although the weather and individual bravado might change things the normal costume of a Celtic man was tunic and breeches, and he would go into battle with a sword or spear and shield. Those that could afford them might take the sword, and may also choose to wear a helmet, although many lime-washed their hair to straighten and stiffen it. This is pretty much the picture painted by these figures, which are therefore a fair cross-section of a Celtic warband. One individual is of such wealth and status that he wears a mail shirt as well as an ornate helmet, but such men would be few. This set also includes slingers and a bowmen - both weapons which are known to have been used by the Celts. Still as in many societies these were not regarded as honourable weapons as they did not require face-to-face contact, so while they are perfectly valid here small-scale warbands would probably leave such men behind for raids. Nevertheless such troops are called for in DBA, so they justify their place in this set. In general then there are no historical problems here.
On the face of it the poses are OK, with the usual selection of waving swords and spears around. However we felt the figures looked very stiff and not particularly natural. Many of the poses are also extremely flat - a common complaint made against many sets - but here for example the two men about to throw a spear are doing so directly above the centre of their heads with limbs at impossible angles. This makes life a lot easier when it comes to making the mould, but looks pretty bad and certainly unnatural. In terms of the basic idea all the poses are OK if not particularly interesting with the honourable exception of the first figure in the second row. This high-status individual seems to be defending himself from a high blow while stabbing with his sword. The pose is excellent and pretty well done, making it the stand-out figure of this set.
HaT figures have varied in style over the vast range but these do not figure in our favourites list. Detail is OK but in our view these are not attractive. The third man in the bottom row is very awkward indeed as he seems to trip over his own feet, and the throwing slinger has some strange jointing issues with his right leg. On the positive side there is almost no flash and as every man is moulded as one piece there is no need for any assembly. Interestingly the height of these figures varies greatly, between 23 and 26 mm. Naturally humans come in various sizes, but it is unusual to see one set of figures with so wide a range of heights.
Several sets of Celts/Gauls have already been made and for those with an interest in this subject all new sets are most welcome. Doubtless those looking for as much variety in their Celtic armies as possible will find a good home for these figures, although they are not a highlight of the HaT range so far.