The peoples inhabiting the area now called Scandinavia had a rich and diverse culture, yet many today associate them only with raids on Europe starting from the late eighth century. Their murderous attacks on religious centres guaranteed that they would receive a 'bad press', and the image has lasted down the centuries. This set is the latest of several to depict these much-fearer warriors, and is identified as being for the ninth to tenth centuries, thus covering a large part of their raiding history.
The 12 poses on offer are absolutely full of action. Almost everyone is in the process of swinging a weapon, either charging forward or in hand-to-hand combat. Unlike most sets, Emhar have chosen to give their figures more realistic, three-dimensional poses, and have achieved this by making several of the poses in more than one piece, for example requiring that weapons or arms are attached to the figure. The result is uniformly excellent, and well rewards the little effort required to construct.
Though the Vikings showed no uniformity of dress, they did have favoured styles and armament. All the figures in this set accurately reflect the known information on dress, with a mixture of armoured and unarmoured men, most of whom are carrying either a spear, a sword (which was an expensive high status weapon) or an axe - the most favoured Viking weapons. Sadly one has a two-handed sword, and another is holding a mace in his left hand - both weapons that only appeared well after this period.
Detail is just superb. An incredible sculpting job means every link in the mail seems to be visible, every twist of the plaited beard is sharp and clear, every rivet in the shield or helmet is present and correct. Folds in the clothing are natural, and even the fur garments have a texture that almost seems to be soft. None of the figures required the slightest bit of trimming, with no flash and no extra plastic (thanks to the separate parts policy). Where parts fitted together they did so effortlessly, and in most cases remained firm without recourse to gluing.
So far so good, but it gets even better. This set is made from a different kind of plastic which, according to the packaging, will take paint and glue better. We found no problems with painting these figures, and having glued a number of pieces using ordinary polystyrene cement, we found the items stayed together immediately, and once dry a considerable force absolutely refused to part them. In another advance, this material does not have a memory, so when it is bent it stays put. As a result these figures are poseable, and joy of joys, this works as well! Without the need for hot water, knives or anything else, we created these customised poses in seconds just by bending hard, and we did not find the plastic broke or cracked at all. This reviewer for one has been waiting very many years for a material like this, one that can be securely glued and posed. Time will tell if there are any long-term disadvantages, but on the face of it this is a great material.
So what of the down side? Well, the shields are being held by two straps whereas the Vikings used a central hand grip, and the bowman has his arrow on the wrong (right) side of the bow, so along with the inappropriate weapons already mentioned these are disappointing errors. Other than that, the poses are great and hundreds more can be instantly created, the sculpting is excellent and the plastic is brilliant.