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Valdemar

Set VA124

Pilgrims

All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2009
Contents 3 figures and 2 horses
Poses 3 poses, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Very Hard)
Colours Grey
Average Height 25.5 mm (= 1.84 m)

Review

This is one of those sets with an extremely vague title. Pilgrims and pilgrimage can be associated with a great many religions and has been a part of human society throughout recorded history, including our own day. However the Valdemar website defines these pilgrims as travelling to the Holy Land, and from their appearance they are clearly Christian, from Western Europe and travelling during the medieval period.

What we have here is three figures who are clearly something more than simple pilgrims. Two are wearing mail while the third has some kind of studded jacket much like the late-medieval brigandine. Travelling in the medieval world was a hazardous venture even if you were only going to a neighbouring village or town. Medieval men habitually carried a knife for many reasons, not the least being defence if attacked by bandits, but all these figures have full swords as well so they are clearly soldiers. Apart from their armour they wear ordinary clothes of hooded tunics, hose and boots, and one wears a cap. From this relaxed dress and equally relaxed stance they are clearly not in combat, yet they wear their armour so are prepared for any surprises. All the clothing here is typically medieval and perfectly suitable.

The set also includes two horses. Neither are saddled and the last item in our top row is a pack for the back of one of them, which includes a covered shield and a small chest as well as assorted bags. The extremely long lance shown in our third picture could also be applied to this pack, although its great length (73mm = 5.25 metres) would make it vulnerable to getting caught in overhanging trees. The third pictured figure comes complete with his saddle and can be mounted on either horse. This figure is strumming a lute and is clearly making no effort to guide his mount, so again he is relaxed. On the immensely long journey from Western Europe to the Holy Land having your own medieval version of the iPod would have been a welcome distraction.

All the figures are really nicely done and beautifully crafted as we have come to expect from this sculptor. In a hobby where many figures are quite squat and chunky these are elegant and tall with great proportions. The detail everywhere is superb and there is no flash, while an apparently flexible mould means there is absolutely no excess plastic and all the figures are fully rounded and very natural in appearance. Our only criticism is that for medieval men they are rather on the tall side.

Much the same praise applies equally to the horses. Both animals are very well done, with the first having its head well forward suggesting being lead by one of the foot figures. All the horse poses are excellent and perfectly natural (which is far too rare a statement in this hobby and therefore a very refreshing change). As can be seen, all the hooves on the ground have short pegs in them. No bases are provided in the set, so this must be to aid their deployment in a custom made base or diorama. If the pegs are removed then the first horse stands by itself (although naturally is easy to topple) but the second does not, so some sort of base will need to be provided by the customer. Valdemar could easily have provided small slabs of plastic to fulfil this task, especially since the material takes glue well.

Non-violent figures in this hobby are still something of a rarity, but these figures have great charm and make fabulous models. Naturally their ‘pilgrim’ label does not limit their use as they would make great figures for generic soldiers on the march. The horse’s pack seems to include one helmet under a cover, so again this is at least a credible pack animal for a medieval army on the move (although clearly far less impressive animals would normally have carried bulk supplies). All told then another very attractive set of figures, although with so few figures in a set, making a sizeable army on the march would be an expensive proposition!

Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath - 9780904417081
"Medieval Costume, Armour and Weapons" - Dover - Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna & Jan Durdik - 9780486412405
"Medieval Military Costume" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Special Series No.8) - Gerry Embleton - 9781861263711

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