The Franks lived in the area we know today as the very north of France and Belgium. Their most distinctive feature, somewhat bizarrely, was their hairstyles.
This set is part of the mini-box series, and contains 24 figures in just four poses. HaT have said this is to reduce the production cost, and therefore allow them to manufacture sets on subjects that would otherwise not have been seen as economic to produce at all. Clearly not everyone will be happy with the resulting limited set, but at least it could be argued that four poses are better than none at all.
The four poses depict three swordsmen and a spearman, all of which are quite flat and unappealing. The spearman can be converted into an axe man by trimming off the spear shaft, otherwise the axe head should be removed. The Franks were known for their use of the Francisca, a heavy throwing axe, so such a figure would be useful. If the spear is to be retained then the cross-bar under the spearhead should be removed as this is inappropriate before the seventh century, and was not curved as modelled. If the cross-bar is straightened and retained, making the figure seventh century onwards, then none should have the Francisca as this had ceased to be used by then.
In terms of dress the Franks were much like their non-Roman neighbours, with trousers and a long tunic. The trousers were usually bound with leather straps, and on occasion fur jerkins were worn. All these elements are accurately depicted here. As already mentioned, however, it is the hair that attracts most interest. They shaved their chins but grew long moustaches. It seems quite common for them to wear their hair long and tie it up over the head in a knot. Many also grew side-braids, and the complete shaving of the back of the head was not uncommon. All of these traditions are modelled on these figures, making them instantly recognisable.
All carry a shield, which is round with a large boss. In all cases these are a part of the figure rather than being moulded separately. The shield was held by a single grip behind the boss, but the throwing warrior in this set seems to hold his by a raised handle.
The detail on these figures is pretty good, and though the poses may not be anything to get excited about they are all done reasonably well. These make interesting and unusual warriors, and are a welcome addition to the rapidly expanding range of sets available for recreating the campaigns of the later Roman Empire and beyond.