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Mars

Set 72057

Teutonic Foot Knights

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2012
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Black
Average Height 28 mm (= 2.01 m)

Review

The first half of the 15th century saw the Teutonic Order reach its peak, and then slowly decline, particularly after the terrible defeat at the battle of Tannenberg (Grunwald) in 1410. Tannenberg was a fairly conventional battle, so those of the Teutonic Army who were knights would be expected to be mounted, but on occasions knights would find themselves fighting on foot, so this set complements the previous Mars set of mounted knights.

Knighthood did not necessarily mean great wealth, and many knights would only have had such armour as they could afford. However in this set we see that everyone here is able to afford a virtually full suit of 'white' armour. The basic armour is much the same on all of them, and all have their legs completely encased as well, but some still have softer, quilted protection on the arms rather than plate protection. On the head everyone wears the popular bascinet helmet as you would expect, with some being open-faced and some having a visor of various but appropriate styles. All this is fine, but several also have a long cloak. Now cloaks were perfectly normal wear and knights are frequently depicted wearing them, but it is usually stated that cloaks were not worn in battle because of the obvious encumbrance they would give their wearer just when he needed to be at his most flexible. Famously the order’s Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen wore just such a mantle at Tannenberg, but logic suggests this was unusual for most knights. A couple of these poses seem to be inactive, which presents no problem, but those apparently in combat would probably be better without cloaks, although we cannot claim it is certainly wrong.

You will observe that no one carries a weapon, and that is because Mars add a separate weapons sprue to their medieval sets, for which see our image of the sprue. Regular visitors will already know what is coming. This sprue is a mess of poorly defined items that are very securely welded to the sprue and would take a great deal of time to extricate. As if that was not enough, there is another problem in this case - although it is hard to identify many of the implements we estimate there is a maximum of 20 weapons of all sorts here, which is hardly appropriate for a set containing 48 figures, 44 of whom have empty hands that need filling. When mounted a knight’s principal weapon was the lance, but on foot it was the sword, and on the weapons sprue there is a grand total of two swords. On the face of it that problem is partly solved by the four swords found on each sprue, making a total of 18 swords which, even if we gave other knights crossbows and billhooks, would still not deliver enough weapons for one each. However the swords on the figure sprues are single-sided, which is to say they have absolutely no detail or definition on one side. Who on Earth ever thought that kind of sloppy work would be good enough? In short then, the weapons in this set are even more pathetic than usual.

Were you to find suitable weapons from somewhere, then some of the poses would be quite good but some are rather strange. It is hard to know what the first figure in the top row might be holding or doing to justify his hand on top of his helmet, and a few of the others are difficult to interpret as well. Generally the poses are acceptable and lively, although inevitably very flat in most cases.

The sculpting is nothing to be proud of, although the level of detail is not too bad in places. However some items are quite misshapen and these are not particularly attractive figures. All the shields you see in our picture come as one with the figure, so to avoid excess plastic they are often pressed firmly into the body, allowing no room for the arm that is meant to be carrying them. There is flash too - quite a lot of it, and in particular the various cupped hands will need to be carefully cleared up before anything could be placed in them.

So we have a bunch of knights appropriately dressed but with hardly any useable weapons and some questionable poses, as well as suffering from what these days is considered a good deal of flash. Yet we have still to mention the biggest problem with this set, which is that they are not 1/72 scale. The box may say they are, but look at them. Every man is about 2 metres in height (which is around six feet seven inches in imperial measurement), and all the equipment and clothing is in proportion. No one can believe the Teutonic Order attracted or could even find such giants in medieval Central or Eastern Europe, so these figures are in reality about 1/59 scale, which means they would work with your 28mm armies (at least in size if not in style), but would look ridiculous next to any 1/72 scale figures. We don’t have a score for sizing as our summary at the top of this review speaks for itself on that point, but you could argue that the set deserves a zero for accuracy simply on the size issue alone.

This is definitely a set that is more bad than good, so let’s focus on the positives (it will take a lot less time). The armour and clothing looks pretty good for the period, and some of the poses are quite reasonable. In places the detail is not too bad, although this is variable. However we think there are more than enough reasons here to avoid this particular product at all costs as it has been very poorly produced, with an inadequate supply of really badly done weapons and every figure being far out of scale.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 6
Mould 6

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of the Middle Ages Volume 2" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath
"German Medieval Armies 1300-1500" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.166) - Christopher Gravett - 9780850456141
"Tannenberg 1410" - Zeughaus Verlag (Heere & Waffen Series No.7) - Gerald Iselt - 9783938447376
"Tannenberg 1410" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.122) - Stephen Turnbull - 9781841765617
"Teutonic Knight" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.124) - David Nicolle - 9781846030758

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