The pike was not a particularly common weapon in Europe during the medieval period, but some nationalities such as the Scots, Flemings and some northern Italians were known for its use. It was basically an extension of the spear and was used as a defensive weapon against cavalry in particular. While there would be little call for such a weapon in the Holy Land, crusaders in Eastern Europe would have made good use of a pike, and it seems that this figure was created with these crusades in mind.
The figure we have here wears a fairly typical suit of mail including a coif, knee-length hauberk with full-length sleeves and chausses extending to cover the feet. Over this he wears a surcoat. In his left hand he carries a rather large heater shield and in his right he holds what is described as a 'horse pike', which is about 60mm (4.3 metres) in length to the tip. The style of mail and the surcoat suggest to us that this figure dates from the 13th century at the earliest, although such relatively simple costume would have been common for a long period.
The pose is quite excellent. He is stooping a little as if being attacked by cavalry, and he holds his shield in front of him with his pike virtually resting on the top. The proportions and realism of the figure are beyond reproach, and are achieved thanks to a separate left arm which allows some flexibility in positioning as it needs to be glued. Naturally the pike too is separate (as is the man's sheathed sword), but this fits very well into the man's cupped hand. The level of detail and realistic textures are very good, so the result is a dramatic and very attractive figure.
If this figure holds any surprises then it is that a man with such a long and difficult weapon can manage to wield a shield at the same time. On the whole pikemen carried no shield, or only a small one, although one such as this could be picked up from the battlefield for temporary use by the new owner. After all, when producing single figures the atypical is just as acceptable as the typical.
In short then another really fine figure from Valdemar for those battles between mounted knights and foot soldiers.