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HaT

Set 8138

Gallic Command

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2008
Contents 24 figures and 6 horses
Poses 8 poses, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Soft)
Colours Light Tan
Average Height 23.5 mm (= 1.7 m)

Review

Celts (or Gallic Celts if you prefer) were essentially tribal, and it is unsure to what extent if at all they saw themselves as part of a vast Celtic host. Each tribe would have had a leader and there were higher leaders ending with kings such as Vercingetorix, all of whom would be nobles and the most wealthy in their community. HaT have made many command sets, which greatly add to a range of figures for any given subject, and with this set the Celts have their turn.

The first two figures in our picture are apparently foot leaders. The first in particular is very well endowed with mail armour and a splendid helmet. This latter resembles the ‘Waterloo’ helmet, which was probably a ceremonial object but presumably reflects the design of a more practical version worn in battle. The swordsman to his left wears no armour but has a coolus-type helmet and might serve well as a lower ranking noble.

The third figure is a musician, blowing the well known Celtic carnyx horn. This formed part of the pre-battle cacophony of sound with which Celts liked to intimidate their opponents, and once the fighting began in earnest this man would probably lay his instrument aside and join the fray (as he too is armed with a sword).

Finally on the top row we find a classic and very useful HaT device – a man with cupped hand into which one of a number of accessories can be placed. Although he wears a helmet he is otherwise not particularly richly dressed, so with the simple spear or sword could pass as an ordinary warrior. However with the standard he becomes a very important part of the Celtic formation. The standard too is a classic HaT item, with a choice of ‘crest’ or totem, so simply cut off whichever is not desired. In this case both the boar and the cockerel are flat cut-outs rather than three-dimensional objects.

The second row begins with two Druid figures. Very little is known about druids, but they were a privileged class who allegedly could even stop battles. On a more mundane level they fulfilled several roles including upholding the tribal customs, judging in disputes, interpreting omens and providing a link to the Celtic gods. There is absolutely no evidence as to the appearance of these men, so it seems HaT have gone with the long flowing robe which popular culture generally assigns to them, and as no one is in a position to contradict that they are on safe ground.

The last two figures are of mounted Celts, with the first once again being well provided with armour and therefore making a fine commander while the second could take any of the supplied accessories to make a useful figure. Having said that the carnyx does not look particularly natural in the hands of either ‘cupped’ figure here, but it is still a very worthwhile accessory to have.

The horses for these riders have a number of severed heads attached to the harness, reflecting Celtic care to retrieve and display such items from their defeated foes as an illustration of their martial prowess. However they also have two other features of note. First the saddle, which is (as it should be) similar to the Roman type with pommels at each corner, is a bit too thin, although this is not really apparent once the rider is attached. Second, both animals have armour on the face. We can find no reference to armour on Celtic horses so must conclude that this is inappropriate.

The general standard of sculpting is reasonable but the sculptor has put a number of flat areas (and therefore corners) in places where they should not be, such as on legs. Also cloaks are lacking many folds and give the appearance of being ‘skin-tight’, particularly on the mounted figures. This applies even more to the robes of the druids, which seem to allow relatively little room for leg movement as they are stretched tight by the chosen poses. A complete lack of flash or unnecessary plastic is always a good thing, and this set is entirely clean in that regard, which is great.

The poses are all perfectly suitable and quite nice apart from the first figure in the top row. This figure is superb. He is full of life and is in a wonderfully dramatic pose which in our view makes it an instant nomination for one of the best poses ever made. The fact that this has been achieved using a standard two-piece mould with no cheating is very impressive and must have been hard work to design, but was definitely worth it.

Another mark of high rank in Celtic society was the torc, but as these figures all have cloaks it is not possible to see if they have such an item. Still these are really nice figures and fit easily into the many Celtic sets already available. It might be stretching it to claim that Druids were part of any warrior command, but their inclusion is an interesting and fun addition to a set which covers all the essentials anyway. The horse armour is the only accuracy quibble we have, and the sculpting is OK rather than great, but this is still a very useful set for so many ancient battles.

Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome, 150 B.C. to 600 A.D." - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780950029962
"Armies of the Carthaginian Wars 265-146 BC" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.121) - Terence Wise - 9780850454307
"Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars" - Wargames Research Group - Duncan Head - 9780950029948
"Celtic Battle Heroes" - Firebird (Heroes and Warriors Series) - John Matthews & Rob Stewart - 9781853141003
"Celtic Warrior 300 BC-AD 100" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.30) - Stephen Allen - 9781841761435
"Celtic Warriors" - Blandford - Tim Newark - 9780713716900
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Rome's Enemies (2) Gallic and British Celts" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.158) - Peter Wilcox - 9780850456066

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