The crusades in Palestine will be familiar to many but those in the Baltic are much less widely remembered today. Yet after the First Crusade those in the Holy Land were failures and the Christian position quickly deteriorated, whereas the northern crusades promised much better prospects and had much more permanent consequences.
A title such as 'Baltic Crusades' covers a very wide range both in time and geography. Such conflicts lasted for much of the later medieval period and encompassed many nationalities, so the target in terms of historical accuracy is very large indeed. In general arms and armour in the Baltic area mirrored the fashions of Western Europe, but appeared a little later. Also there were some differences due to local conditions, and of course there was a more obvious eastern influence. The figures in this set are a pretty diverse bunch, with most wearing mail and some form of surcoat (plate armour was less common than in the West). Most carry a sword or mace, but one man holds an axe and another is operating a crossbow. All these weapons are quite appropriate, and indeed there is nothing on any figure that could be described otherwise, although equally there is nothing that distinguishes these men from others elsewhere in Europe. The opportunity could have been taken to depict some of the more localised characteristics of these men, particularly the very cold climate they often had to face, but that opportunity has been missed.
The poses are really flat and often very awkward. There are no separate parts except for the mounted knight's standard, so pains have been taken to work weapons and shield into the single-piece model. The result is quite clumsy and very two-dimensional. The choice of poses is not good and some are hard to explain such as the man in the top row holding an axe but with his left hand in the air for reasons that we cannot guess.
The sculpting too leaves plenty to be desired. While some effort has gone into surface detail and texture the general standard is pretty weak with not particularly convincing folds in clothes and some poor detail. Some flat areas such as sword blades have a far from flat surface, but other areas that should be anything but flat are largely flat and featureless. This is particularly true of the horse, which is poor in many ways. It is extremely tall and has an almost smooth caparison which does not look natural. It has a very simple saddle which is not even half the size it needs to be to accommodate the mounted knight, who would occupy the whole of the horse’s back as he has a cloak which makes no allowance for the saddle. The animal also suffers heavily from flash, which is a fate it shares with the human figures.
These figures began life as a Valdemar project but they look nothing like any output from that company. These are pretty basic and will need a lot of trimming to remove all the unwanted plastic. Once that is done the poses are poor and the detail no better, while they do not depict anything that has not been covered before by several producers. Having a rider that cannot fit his horse merely underlines the sloppy production values, so the question therefore must be why would you want to use these figures when there are so many much better alternatives available?