LogoTitle Text Search



Set VA112

Cuman Cavalry

All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2009
Contents 7 figures and 7 horses
Poses 7 poses, 4 horse poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Hard)
Colours Grey
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)


The Cumans were one of the many peoples of the Steppe – Turkic nomads who gradually moved westward and first made their mark on recorded history in the 11th century when they entered Eastern Europe. Over the following centuries they inevitably fought with, or against, all their near neighbours, and were prized as light cavalry mercenaries by many. Their fights with Byzantines, Rus, Hungarians, Bulgars, other Balkan peoples and, most disastrously, the Mongols, make them good figures to match with a great many sets already produced for Eastern Europe.

As Steppe nomads you might expect the Cumans to be predominantly light horse archers, and you would be right. The composite bow was much the most important weapon in their arsenal, although they also made use of light spears, sabres, maces, lassos and javelins. As can be seen the majority of the poses here are of archers, and they are drawing their bows in all directions, which is a refreshing change from the usual to-the-left pose. One man is aiming behind him, while another is aiming past his horse’s neck. Such poses are only possible because the mould is evidently not the standard rigid two-piece affair, so there is no loss of detail and much more realistic poses. The remaining figures are posed to use spears or other edged weapons, and are also suitable for this subject. All the poses are beautifully realised and look very natural.

The same cannot be said of the horses. All seem to be at the full gallop, but we did not find some of the poses entirely believable. All have reasonable saddlery, but none actually stand by themselves and have to be glued to the separate bases. The riders fit the horses very well, although the very hard plastic used makes some items like tails fairly vulnerable to breakage unless handled with care – these are not toys.

Mixing as they did with so many neighbouring cultures the Cumans seem to have had a very wide array of tastes in costume (based to a large extent on the wealth of the individual). Naturally their general appearance was that of any nomads of the region, and warm clothing of wool, felt and fur was common, as was one or more long tunics. Hats too seem to have been of many styles, although a pointed example with a split brim is sometimes said to be particularly characteristic. Armour was not particularly unusual and might be of mail, lamellar or scale type, while shields, though not common, were usually either small and round or sometimes more almond-shaped. All the figures here have armour of various types as well as a variety of hats and other garments which all fit the general picture and are therefore all authentic. The various layers of clothing and the exotic headgear make these quite distinctive and interesting figures which will mark them out from their opponents/allies in many of their conflicts.

As we have come to expect from Valdemar the sculpting of these figures is outstanding, with fantastic facial expressions, the authentic long hair and moustaches, and a thoroughly realistic feel to the clothing. The detail on the armour is a particular highlight, but in truth these are largely flawless in all respects and with such sharp detail they should paint up really well.

You will have noticed that none of the figures actually have any weapons. These are all provided on two separate sprues as pictured, and they include many of the classic weapons of these people, although sadly there are no spears or javelins. The swords are all correct as are the quivers, although we would have liked to see far more of the latter provided as some Cumans are described as carrying several of each. Not surprisingly the composite bow is also represented, but here there is a problem as all the archer figures seem to be close to the maximum draw of their bow, but without the required bows themselves. The separate weapons sprues provide two bows apparently under no tension and what seems to be two further bows, in two pieces, which could be in the process of being drawn. None of the figures have ring hands, so you must either drill out your own ring hand, or more likely cut the weapon in two and glue either side of the hand. For the bows this means two figures can have bows at full draw but the other two must have just loosed their arrow, thereby having the bow more or less straight. Since there are no strings or arrows some purists might want to provide these themselves. All in all however this is a very tricky operation which will deter some people.

The separate weapons make this set quite hard work, which can spoil some otherwise great figures. Mounting the horses on the bases also adds to the amount of work that most will be faced with to make use of this set, which will limit its appeal, but if you are prepared to invest the time and patience then you will have some really nice and exotic models on your hands.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 9
Mould 10

Further Reading
"Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath - 9780904417432
"Armies of the Middle Ages Volume 2" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath
"Byzantine Armies 1118-1461 AD" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.287) - Ian Heath - 9781855323476
"Hungary and the Fall of Eastern Europe 1000-1568" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.195) - David Nicolle - 9780850458336
"Mounted Archers of the Steppe: 600 BC- AD 1300" - Osprey (Elite Series No.120) - Antony Karasulas - 9781841768090
"Warriors of Eurasia" - Montvert - Mikhael V Gorelik - 9781874101079

Site content © 2002, 2009. All rights reserved. Manufacturer logos and trademarks acknowledged.