In the past figure sets would always show most of their subjects in battle, with perhaps one marching pose if you were lucky. Lately more and more sets have focused on just one aspect of a soldiers’ life such as preparing for battle, forming a shield wall, or, as with this case, marching. Soldiers of almost all ages spent long periods simply getting from one place to another, and that would have been particularly true of the Teutonic knights who operated mainly in the vast expanses of Eastern Europe.
Just as a large moving crowd today would be made up of many people all doing basically the same thing but with innumerable small variations in pose, so a medieval army on the move would have presented much the same picture. Most of the poses in this set are simply walking forward in a fairly relaxed manner. A couple are running as if to catch up, and one is standing still, perhaps watching as his comrades progress. One man, unarmoured and therefore potentially a civilian, is fortunate enough to be riding. All the dismounted men have clenched fists as if holding a weapon, but all except the runners are in casual poses which suggest a long boring march very nicely.
Valdemar say this set is to cover many possibilities as the costume is quite varied. The majority wear a padded gambeson, which was cheap and therefore popular with infantry throughout the medieval period but particularly later on. One man wears a mail hauberk over a gambeson, while the rest have mail under a surcoat. In all cases this surcoat is split up the side and not at the front and back, which is an unusual style. For helmets we find a conical type with nasal guard, a simple iron cap and several of the kettle hat variety, which is appropriate for general infantry. Most seem to wear fabric hoods under these although one man has a mail coif instead. The mounted man has no apparent armour, but rather fairly typical medieval civilian garb.
The figures are made in a hard plastic/resin compound. The problem with resin is it is very brittle but this material seems much better. Certainly we suffered no breakages, but the running figures have their raised foot connected to the ground, so this extra material needs to be removed. We achieved this very carefully, unsure how robust the material might be, but in the end had no problems. Certainly very slender items can and have been produced. The separate weapons sprue has some gloriously slim items on it, although as none of the figures have ring hands handles will have to be removed, or holes drilled in hands, in order to join man with weapon. Also there are only 5 weapons whereas there are nine empty-handed figures. Even if one or two are leading the animals that is still a shortfall in weaponry, so you are forced to assume that some weapons have been stowed on the wagons (although many do have sheathed swords). Also noticeable is the complete lack of shields, which we felt was quite a glaring omission.
The sculpting is uniformly excellent with great proportions, realistic clothing and as lifelike a selection of faces as you could possibly want. There is plenty of undercutting here, betraying the soft mould used in the figure’s production, which also means there is no loss of detail, no excess plastic, no line where the moulds meet and no flash. The horses are perhaps not quite as great as the humans, but both the rider and the baggage fit the animals perfectly (which should be the norm throughout the hobby but sadly is not).
These are undoubtedly beautiful figures expertly produced. Whether such men would have carried their shields on the march or used a wagon (if it were available) we do not know, but we would have preferred to have had shields provided rather than having to source them from elsewhere. Apart from that, and the figures being a shade too tall, this is another great medieval set suitable for much more than just Teutonics.