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Lucky Toys

Set TL0001

Attila and Black Huns

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2003
Contents 12 mounted figures and 12 horses
Poses 12 poses, 4 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Brown, Dark Brown, Tan, Grey, Brick Red
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

The origins of the Huns were in the central Asian steppe, but over the centuries they gradually migrated westwards, putting pressure on the Germanic tribes who in turn put pressure on the Roman Empire. In the end this pressure virtually destroyed the western empire while the east also suffered considerably. As a result the Romans demonised the Huns, creating the apocalyptic picture often portrayed to this day.

The Huns were a nomadic people, practically living on horseback and therefore highly skilled in all things equestrian. There is argument amongst historians as to how much this lifestyle may have changed by the time of Attila, but there can be no doubt that the mounted warrior was always the heart of Hun society. Therefore all the figures in this set are mounted, with most waving weapons in the usual fashion. This looks great but immediately we have a problem. Like all nomadic peoples the principal weapon was the composite bow, yet we find just two poses using the bow here. A few others carry one but in truth virtually all should be so armed, and large numbers should be using them too. Other Hun weapons were the spear and sword, but several poses here carry axes, while one has a mace - both of which do not seem to have featured in the usual Hun armoury. A few of these men also carry round shields, which is fine, although the raised designs on some are less certain and we would have much preferred a plain face to allow any design (or none at all) to be chosen.

The average warrior wore a tunic or coat of wool or fur, trousers and soft boots. He would also have worn a cap. The nobles and a few higher-status warriors would have worn some armour, perhaps including a helmet, but it seems that the majority did not, unless they could acquire such items from the battlefield. The figures in this set have a very diverse collection of clothing, including much which we find hard to accept as authentic. Short-sleeved tunics reaching no lower than the thigh are much in evidence here, yet were not normal garb, and while going into battle bare-chested might well have happened we were uncomfortable with so many such poses. Several seem to have what look like cuirasses, which again could be spoils of war but frankly we find very unlikely and not in keeping with the usual mounted archer role. Two poses have rectangular plates on their chest, but what these are supposed to be we cannot guess yet still look very wrong to us.

The set comes with four poses for the Hun's ponies. All of these are in galloping positions and are very nicely sculpted but do not give the general impression of the hardly steppe ponies the Huns usually rode, seeming more like the more appealing creatures the Romans used. The saddlecloths are a mixture of simple arrangements which are much too simplified to be accurate. Saddles were held by a girth front and rear, both of which are entirely missing here, and only sometimes with one around the belly. Also some of the poses have stirrups, an item not introduced into Europe until well after Attila's time and therefore inappropriate here, although conceivably usable for Huns in the east, from where they originated.

The detail on all the pieces is very well done and all the men have natural and realistic postures. Detail on areas such as faces is very pleasing and textures are also well handled, while there is no flash or excess plastic to remove anywhere. Two separate spears of about 2.5 metres in length fit well into the waiting ring hands, and the men themselves also fit very well on the horses, even slightly gripping them in an authentic manner many manufacturers fail to achieve.

While this looks like an impressive set, and arguably fits with the general impression of fearsome barbarian monsters, we find it compares poorly with the historical reality. Certainly the technical characteristics of this set are very impressive, particularly since this is the first effort from a new company, but this is largely wasted if the figures are not historically authentic. Such items as the standard with severed heads also left us with doubts, although as so often complete historical information is simply not available. The overall impression then is of a nicely executed collection of figures which owe more to Hollywood depictions of savage barbarians than to history, which is to say that this is an opportunity wasted.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 3
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 9
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"Attila and the Nomad Hordes" - Osprey (Elite Series No.30) - David Nicolle - 9780850459968
"Cavalry" - Arms and Armour - V Vuksic and Z Grbasic - 9781854095008
"Mounted Archers of the Steppe: 600 BC- AD 1300" - Osprey (Elite Series No.120) - Antony Karasulas - 9781841768090
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173
"The Hun: Scourge of God AD375-565" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.111) - Nic Fields - 9781846030253
"Warriors of Eurasia" - Montvert - Mikhael V Gorelik - 9781874101079

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