The Goths were an eastern Germanic tribe which originated in southern Scandinavia and migrated down through modern Poland and northern Prussia to be in direct contact with the Roman Empire by the third century. As with other Germans they were sometimes to be found in Roman armies, but they are popularly perceived today as one of the ‘barbarian’ tribes that ultimately destroyed the western Empire.
Looking at our pictures will tell you a lot of what you need to know about this set. Put simply these figures are pretty ugly, flat and poorly produced. For example one of the figures is shown on the box drawings as having a ponytail, but the hairstyle actually given to this figure is nothing of the kind, and certainly does not look likely. What is not evident from the pictures is some would surely count as semi-flat, such are their poor proportions. For some reason all spear heads are massive, as are the arrows, which look like cut down spears. The separate spear fits the ring hand fairly well but the legs of the two mounted figures are much further apart than the width of the horses, so they do not even perch on the animal but must be glued with legs well out, which looks extremely odd.
Several of these figures have armour and helmets, and most have round shields, suggesting a fourth century date would be most appropriate. Costume is reasonable as is the mix of weapons, but one man carries an enormous shield that merges with his cloak to give it an irregular shape - probably the result of poor production rather than historical inaccuracy but it looks bad either way.
Quite apart from the flatness of the figures the poses themselves are also quite flat, but again the sculptor has taken some reasonable drawings and created some awkward poses. The last figure in the first row, for example, is holding a spear or standard beside his head. One needs only to try and duplicate this pose to realise this is very difficult and anything but natural.
From the drawings on the box we are inclined to think the research and design of these figures was properly done, but they have been badly let down by the really poor production. Detail is not too bad but rather chunky and basic, and there is almost no flash, yet the sculptor seems to have failed to capture the basic appearance of his subject. Whether you consider this a matter of style or not there is no arguing with the very bad fit of the riders or the flat proportions of the men, so this is a very unhappy bunch of tribesmen.