Germany has a fascinating medieval history, with lords of various ranks, towns, leagues and religious groupings battling with each other at various times for some objective or other. Perhaps the most famous of these conflicts was that with the Hussites, but the figures in this set could be used for innumerable battles, not only those on German soil.
This set is a mixture of mounted and dismounted figures, with some of the foot soldiers being rather less splendidly dressed than those on horseback. We liked all the foot poses, although with only five there is little variety of weapons. Most of the mounted ones are fine too, except for the man with lance couched under his arm (third figure in second row), whose arm comes as a separate piece but when properly attached seems to have the elbow stuck too far out, leaving an unconvincing posture.
All these men are well armoured, with much plate on show. This is perfectly typical of the 15th century, although there is little of the more exotic styles that characterised much German armour, so we would suggest the figures are more appropriate for the earlier part of the century. Still everything has been done correctly for the period. Some of the swords, particularly for one of the mounted men, are really too short, and the lance is more obviously so, which is a common problem in sets of knights. Also we noticed that none of the mounted men wear spurs, which could be quite long by the 15th century.
The horses are a very nice bunch. All the poses are perfectly realistic and we were glad that MiniArt avoided the 'headlong rush' pose which would have been quite rare on the battlefield. The high saddles and other horse furniture is accurate, although again the sculptor has kept things fairly simple and not included any caparisons or armour for the animals, which were fairly common by this date.
The first and fourth figures in the first row and the first and third figures in the second all take a separate shield as shown on the second row. Since the peg is on the shield it is possibly to have the shield realistically close to the figure, and all the shapes are reasonable. The riders also fit their mounts well enough, although the joint between the couched arm and its owner already mentioned is a bit more vague.
Taking the level of sculpting in general, it is pleasing to see MiniArt improving on their unimpressive earlier efforts. This set is by no means at the top of the quality league table, but there is no evidence of mould misalignment as has been the case in past sets, and the amount of flash has been reduced, although still not eliminated. The detail is adequate but still not as sharp as the best on the market, which is particularly apparent on the faces of those that are in profile to the mould. Nonetheless this is an improvement on previous efforts and perfectly acceptable to most.
This set was announced at the same time as the set of Hussites, and from the style of these figures it seems clear that the sculptor had that conflict in mind (1419 - 1434). As such they are perfectly OK and very usable, and it is heartening to see MiniArt address some of their earlier problems and produce better quality products as time goes on.