Just about every army has needed leaders, but as armies got ever more sophisticated so they needed more staff as professional administrators. The top jobs - those where strategy and tactics were decided - continued to be given to the nobility, with little regard for the actual aptitude of the individual, although the Bourbon armies referenced by this set (by which they mean of course France and Spain) had some excellent generals as well as some of lesser quality.
The first named element of this set - the artillery - has already been released in several other sets in this range, so we will refrain from repeating our comments on the gunners and gun and instead direct the interested reader to the review that considers these, namely Catalan Artillery & Barricade.
This leaves just the two figures in our first row, which represent the staff of the title. One figure depicts James FitzJames (1670-1734), Duke of Berwick, who was the son of the deposed James II of England and served the House of Bourbon with distinction during the War of the Spanish Succession. His main claim to fame for this particular manufacturer is that he was in command of the army that besieged and captured Barcelona in 1714, thus ending that conflict.
Which of these two figures is Berwick we cannot say because both are dressed in the style of gentlemen of the time and Berwick would have been no different. In the early part of the 18th century France was the dominant country in Europe and the court of Louis XIV set the fashion that the rest of the continent followed. At this time the fashion out of Versailles was for a knee-length coat (justaucorps) with full skirts and very large cuffs and pockets. The coat was left unfastened at the front, showing the similar-length waistcoat or jacket underneath as well as the cravat at the neck. The long flowing wig and large tricorn hat decorated the head, while tight breeches and stockings with square-toed shoes did the same for the legs. Both these figures are so attired, which means they are suitable for any gentlemen of the time, and therefore any senior officer of any European army. One man seems to hold a marshal’s baton (Berwick was a French Marshal from 1706) while the other has drawn his sword, although naturally such men would not expect to actually engage in combat, nor would they usually lead their men from the front. However both the poses are fine, and there are no accuracy problems either.
The sculpting is of the same calibre as the rest of this range, which is not too bad although with limbs being a little thick and fine details such as faces being fairly basic. There is no flash nor unwanted plastic anywhere, but as usual the material used is a very soft plastic which is highly susceptible to breakage, particularly of exposed thin items such as weapons.
The set has only a few figures, and only two figures for the staff is pretty meagre by any standards, yet the box is heavy because it is mainly filled with the final item pictured above, a hard resin diorama piece. This is about 210mm by 120mm and comes in several parts to construct the item shown. This is a companion piece for the accessory in the set of Catalan Artillery & Barricade, and is part of a three piece set (the third will be in a future set) which can be placed together to construct part of an actual area of Barcelona during its fall. Like the first piece this is actually really nice and is quite large enough by itself to provide a very respectable setting for the display of figures.
Also included in this set is a CD containing files with information on the War of the Spanish Succession and particularly the combatants in Catalonia in 1713-1714.
Despite its title you don't actually get much artillery or staff in this set, so to a great extent any decision to buy will be based on the resin accessory. There is nothing much wrong with the figures, apart from their scarcity, but the diorama piece is a worthwhile item that is more than just something to help fill the box.