Given the impact that the newly united Spain had on European and World events in the 16th century it is remarkable that there had been so little coverage in this hobby prior to this series from RedBox. Their first set concentrated very well on those armed with the arquebus or musket, plus some very nice command figures, and was a great start. However edged weapons continued to be the more important for much of the century, and this second set introduces us to a collection of men with sword, spear or halberd, which would constitute a large part of most Spanish armies of the day.
Our top row showcases the swordsmen, and something of a mixed bag they are. The first figure advances with sword held directly on the top of his helmet, an impossible and absurd pose, and we were not keen on the rather static second figure either. Number three brings some much-needed depth in a decent pose, and number four is the pick of the bunch to our eye as he nonchalantly rests his sword on his shoulder, which also explains why his shield is not being held up. As in other sets the non-combat pose is much the best, partly because such relaxed figures are easier to sculpt well.
The second row finds the spearmen, two of which do not look to be in action. Again the relaxed man with spear on shoulder is good, but the first figure, though having his spear just slightly to the right of his helmet, is still much too flat and unnatural for our liking. The potential dangers to friends of the second pose, with spear lowered and held behind him, also made us feel the second pose was not a great choice. The fourth man, perhaps on guard or simply waiting in the ranks, is reasonable however.
Finally we have two very useful figures holding halberds, or perhaps we should say staff weapons as the second is more of a glaive. Anyway, both look good, though again the second should be held with both hands, thus making the shield more of an encumbrance. The first man holds his pole at the extreme end, so presumably looking for maximum reach, but this would be a very unbalanced way to hold the weapon so again not ideal.
Regardless of the weapon these men would have been broadly similar in dress, which means they would follow civilian fashion (or sometimes set it) for the most part. Everyone here wears hose and short stuffed breeches (trunk-hose or slops), which appeared towards the middle of the century and lasted a long time. The upper body is covered by a doublet or perhaps a corselet (hard to see clearly), but no one has any sort of a significant collar or ruff, which became very common later in the century. The helmets are of various designs (older models often lasted many years), and we had no issues with the various pieces of metal or quilted armour on several here, so our guess would be these figures are best for between 1540 and perhaps 1580. As such they have no apparent accuracy issues with the costume. Weaponry also looks fine, especially the adarge shields with tassels that some carry (very Spanish).
Although we have already pointed out some of the very flat poses, the sculpting is pretty good, with very decent detail and mostly fair proportions. Some of the shields are largely plain, but others have an appropriate pattern, though this is not too deeply engraved. There is a fairly large amount of flash, unevenly spread, but worst around the legs. What little excess plastic there is between man and weapon on some poses is nothing too significant however.
Although the non-fighting poses are the most natural, they do contribute to a fairly sedate set of poses that shows little action. Active poses with such weapons are hard to do well without separate parts, which we recognise, but no one here has a foot off the ground, and most have a straight back, so as men in battle they hardly get the blood racing. We would have hoped by now that the pose of a man holding sword or spear directly over the top of his head would have been completely discredited, but it is easier to sculpt and so seems to persist nonetheless. The nice sculpting does not compensate for the mediocre poses or the amount of flash, though good accuracy always helps. So this is a set that has its uses, and is a necessary element in the range of Spanish infantry, but not one we were able to get excited about.