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Nikolai

Set MED02

Medieval Townsfolk 2

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2011
Contents 5 figures
Poses 5 poses
Material Resin
Colours Cream
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

It is only comparatively recently that man has developed a society where few people actively produce their own food, and in the medieval period the vast majority of Europe’s population were peasant farmers or labourers, and the society agrarian. Towns did exist but they were tiny by modern standards, and most people only visited when wishing to trade or perhaps engage in some festival. In the later medieval period a new kind of class blossomed – the middle class – craftsmen, merchants and others who provided a service or made things other than food. The peasant lived on his land, the lord in his castle or manor house, but the middle classes lived in the growing towns and bought the things they needed.

Townsfolk then were better dressed than the peasantry, and as the Middle Ages progressed it became increasingly fashionable to display ones wealth and status through clothing, which became ever more extravagant. By the later medieval period clothing was becoming more fitted, more ornamented, but not all town dwellers could afford such finery, and this set from Nikolai seems to include such people. The first figure pictured above seems to be the wealthiest here. He wears a long gown, sleeveless coat, fashionable hat and carries a cane. He is also quite fat, which is considered a bad thing today but then was desirable as it gave ample evidence that the individual could afford to eat more than he needed and did not engage in manual labour.

The rest are more sombrely dressed. There is a man carrying a small chest, one holding a paper or cloth and a stick, a bare-headed man with stick and sack, and a man apparently reading from a document. These all have the appearance of clerical professionals, with the fourth man in particular looking very much like a monk or similar in his out-dated clothes compared to the rest. All apart from this figure wear clothing that was in fashion for perhaps the 14th and early 15th centuries, and everything looks entirely accurate, given the wide diversity of civilian clothing. All the poses are fairly static, but for a late medieval street scene that seems perfectly reasonable.

As with all Nikolai output the sculpting here is excellent, with all the clothing appearing to be entirely natural, while such fine detail as there is is beautifully done. The overweight gentleman has a particularly fine chubby face, but all the figures have a lot of character that can only really be appreciated under magnification. These resin figures have no flash and some slight undercutting adds to the natural appearance, while all come in just one piece. These are clearly for display, and probably will not withstand a lot of handling although we found no problem with breaks thanks to the particularly good packaging in which they are supplied.

Recently there have been many sets of resin medieval civilian figures, and most have been superbly produced. These are as good as any, and will surely delight anyone with an interest in this period of history.

Further Reading
Books
"A Pictorial History of Costume" - Dover - Wolfgang Bruhn and Max Tilke - 9780486435428
"Life in a Medieval Town" - Amberley - Peter Hammond - 9781848681262
"Medieval Costume in England and France" - Dover - Mary Houston - 9780486290607
"Medieval Costume, Armour and Weapons" - Dover - Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna & Jan Durdik - 9780486412405
"The Chronicle of Western Costume" - Thames & Hudson - John Peacock - 9780500511510

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