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HaT

Set 8201

El Cid Spanish Light Cavalry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2009
Contents 12 figures and 12 horses
Poses 4 poses, 4 horse poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Soft)
Colours Light Tan
Average Height 24.5 mm (= 1.77 m)

Review

Spain in the mid Eleventh century was a collection of kingdoms engaged in a complex and always shifting game of conflicts and allegiances, and warfare on one level or another was never too far away. This was a world where a young soldier of natural ability could shine, and as a teenager Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (d.1099), later called El Cid, did exactly that. However much of the warfare conducted at this time took the form of raids into enemy territory, perhaps softening them up for a later assault, and for this light cavalry was ideal. The ability to strike and rapidly turn away made such men extremely important, particularly if facing the light horsemen of Muslim states. When a major battle beckoned such men would usually form up on the wings or behind the heavy cavalry in the centre, ready to mop up after the hoped-for devastating charge of the heavily armoured knights.

By definition such men wore little or no armour, with no more than a helmet for protection and sometimes not even that. They wore their ordinary tunic, although they might have some fabric protection under this, but always the emphasis was on ease of movement and speed of manoeuvre. These figures reflect this well, with half having a helmet of typical style but all having suitable costume. The two with helmets also have a sword, and indeed are also somewhat heavier than their comrades by each carrying a round shield. However all are using javelins or short spears, which is quite realistic.

The horses are the same as those in the sister set of Spanish Heavy Cavalry, but noticeably smaller, as would be appropriate for light horsemen. Their saddles seem somewhat elaborate and heavy for such light horsemen, all are nevertheless authentic.

The poses of all the men are pretty good, two of which have ring hands for the separate weapons supplied on the sprue. However the poses of the horses gave us concern as most are in very unnatural stances and look extremely ungainly. The sculpting of these animals too is not particularly praiseworthy, although the men are rather better. They at least are all natural in appearance and reasonably active, while the various folds in the clothing are sufficient. There is almost no flash, and the figures fit their mounts well enough, as do the weapons in the hands.

This is a passable set although some might like to substitute better horses from elsewhere. The two figures without helmets would work well for a hunt, but all four are suited to the field of battle in the Cid’s day. More poses would always have been nice, so this is not a set that impresses. However medieval cavalry without the mail hauberk or later white armour has so far been notable by its absence, so these figures do offer something not easily obtainable elsewhere and, as we have said, they depict an important military element.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 6
Sculpting 8
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath - 9780904417432
"El Cid and the Reconquista 1050-1492" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.200) - David Nicolle - 9780850458404
"Norman Knight 950-1204" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.1) - Christopher Gravett - 9781855322875

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