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Revell

Set 02550

Normans

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1989
Contents 40 foot figures, 2 mounted figures and 2 horses
Poses 17 poses, 1 horse pose
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Metallic Dark Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Some time before this set saw the light of day, a company called Elastolin marketed a wide range of 1:25 scale Normans. Fellow German manufacturer Revell used many of these figures for this set, and the result is a splendid collection of Norman knights.

The popular image of the Norman knight has him wearing the pointed helmet with nasal guard, the long mail hauberk and carrying the kite-shaped shield. All these are correct, but this set shows a much more varied appearance, which more accurately reflects the armies of the day.

Most of the figures wear hauberks of varying lengths, and several styles of helmet are on display. Some, mostly archers, have no visible armour at all. The last figure in the first row is unarmoured, and as a swordsman would be an unlikely candidate for the battlefield, so although he has drawn his sword he is appropriate for scenes away from battle. Spears and swords are the main weapons, but a good number of archers are also included as William of Normandy encouraged and valued these men in his armies. One man is handling a two-handed axe, which was a very unusual weapon in Norman armies. The shields, which unusually are all moulded to the figures as one piece, are mostly of the kite variety, but again there are variations.

Although the Anglo-Saxons rarely fought from horseback, the Normans put much more value on cavalry, and it is thought that over a quarter of the whole Norman army at Hastings was cavalry. However, these men would have operated as mounted versions of their infantry, using the horse to reach the enemy and the height to throw spears over their shield wall - massed organised cavalry charges were not undertaken. Yet despite the importance of cavalry, this set includes just two mounted figures. As ever, a separate set would have allowed the customer to choose how many of each type to buy, so this is a serious problem for anyone wanting to create a Norman army. In addition, there is one horse pose, and a pretty silly one it is. The horse is rearing, perhaps before a shield wall, and would surely be throwing his rider at that angle. Dramatic it is, but precious little use to wargamers and diorama builders. Thankfully the Anglo-Saxon set can provide some suitable alternatives in much better poses, and of course these days there are other sets of Normans, both mounted and on foot, to offer more choice.

So the figures are good, with first class sculpting and detail. The small number of cavalry and the poor horse pose are weaknesses of this set, though it does include a fine selection of extra weapons - spears, axes and swords - far in excess of what is needed for the only two figures that need them - the two mounted men. Perhaps not three cheers for this set, but certainly two.


Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath - 9780904417159
"Hastings 1066" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.13) - Christopher Gravett - 9781855321649
"Medieval Military Costume" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Special Series No.8) - Gerry Embleton - 9781861263711
"Norman Knight 950-1204" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.1) - Christopher Gravett - 9781855322875
"The Normans" - Osprey (Elite Series No.9) - David Nicolle - 9780850457292

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