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Set 516

American Pioneers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2003
Contents 34 figures, 6 pigs and 5 cattle
Poses 18 poses, 1 pig pose, 2 cattle poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Golden Brown
Average Height 26 mm (= 1.87 m)


Several companies have produced sets of cowboys over the years, but no-one has produced a set depicting the ordinary everyday lives of the many pioneers who headed west in the 19th century to settle on the newly acquired lands to the west of the United States. The Airfix Wagon Train was the nearest, but the people there are not doing very much - simply travelling, in fact. This set from IMEX changes all that, giving us some idea of the extremely hard life many of these people endured, and also some of the pleasures they enjoyed.

The first thing to say about this set is Wow! By anyone's standards that is a large collection of poses and accessories. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. The set includes men, women and children, some at work, some resting and some at play. Describing all the activities would take too long, and each is clearly apparent from the pictures. All of them are perfectly appropriate for the subject, and we particularly liked the fiddler and relaxing figures, which go to make up an excellent camp scene round the campfire. The older woman stooping to stir something cooking over an open fire is also excellent, but basically we liked everything!

Many of the pioneers kept livestock, so this set includes a quantity of pigs and cattle. The two cow poses are quite different in size, which could be explained by differences in age or breed. The pig is fun and adds further charm to the set.

Standard of sculpting? Well again, just look at the pictures. Detail is excellent with realistic folds in the clothing and good anatomical accuracy. On our review sample there was no flash, and almost no excess plastic to be removed, which is quite an achievement considering the complexity of some of the poses. One surprise is the size of these figures. The men average 25 to 26 mm tall, which is quite tall for this scale.

All the clothing matches photographs of typical dress of the time, and has been well researched. Even tiny details like some of the men having a fly and some a flap in their trousers have been sculpted. All the accessories too are correct.

As you can tell, we were impressed by this set. There is plenty of imagination and very high quality production values. One or two tiny misalignments can be found such as on one leg of the fiddler, and the hoop being pushed by the girl does not keep its shape well because the plastic is thin and unsupported. The woman leaning over the cooking is separate from the base, as is the cooking rack, but neither fit the holes in the base well because both have very short pegs (because the base is very thin), so some gluing and care is required. Still, this is a delightful collection of models and well worth a look, even though there isn't a fighter to be seen anywhere!


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

Further Reading
"Daily Life on the 19th-Century American Frontier" - Greenwood - Mary Ellen Jones - 9780313360718
"I See By Your Outfit" - High Plains Press - Tom Lindmier - 9780931271335
"The West That Was" - Schiffer - John Eggen - 9780887403309
"The West: An Illustrated History" - Weidenfeld & Nicolson - Geoffrey C Ward - 9780297821816

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