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Revell

Set 02554

Cowboys

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1990
Contents 48 foot figures, 2 mounted figures and 2 horses
Poses 16 poses, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

This set of cowboys has a distinctly familiar look to it. Those with very long memories may notice that many of the figures seem virtually identical to 1:25 scale cowboys issued years ago by Elastolin, a company owned by Preiser when last we heard. Preiser clearly had some links with Revell as many of the Revell sets are similar or absolutely identical to product marketed by Preiser, so it is clear that these figures are either taken from the original Elastolin moulds, had such moulds created from the Elastolin figures, or were at least very closely copied from them. This does not provoke much optimism as the Elastolin figures were generally far from historically accurate, being mere toys, so would this set from Revell be any better?

What we get here is 14 foot poses and two mounted ones. As can be clearly seen, several of the poses are identical apart from the presence or otherwise of a hat, so the variety is not as good as it sounds. Nonetheless there are some nice figures, with plenty of life in them - the bandit and sheriff figures are particularly fun. Exactly what the man running with rifle in the air is doing we cannot guess, however, and it would be a very rare day indeed for any cowboy to see fit to use his precious rifle as a club like the figure in the top row - an act of desperation that certainly does not warrant inclusion in a set like this, despite the dramatic image. In fact only the 'two' poses using a rope could reasonably be said to depict normal cowboys at all, as the rest are clearly in some sort of a gunfight and apparently not driving any cattle at all. The 'bandit' and sheriff poses make it very clear that the thrust of this set is the movies, with the men fighting natives or each other, which despite Hollywood was not a common pastime.

The two horse poses are very much at full gallop, making them a pretty unstable mount from which to attempt to shoot, which is what both men are doing. Again dramatic and a reflection of so many Westerns, but hardly a likely scenario for the real cowboys of the frontier.

The accuracy of the figures is much more acceptable, because even the movies tended to depict the costume of these men relatively correctly. There are some hunting shirts here, but generally the men are in shirt sleeves, some wearing waistcoats too. The broad-brimmed hat is a constant when any hat is worn here, though the diversity was greater than this suggests. Nevertheless there is nothing here that is particularly wrong about such men in terms of clothing, and while it is not possible to absolutely identify any of the weapons none here seem incorrect either.

If these were made from Elastolin masters then the job was quite successful as the sculpting is pretty good. The clothing looks realistic and the faces are good too. There is a small amount of flash, but no excess plastic, so a decent job of production too - even the riders fit their horses quite comfortably.

While this set is more to do with films and popular culture than it has the reality of life on the American Western frontier, and particularly their primary task of moving cattle, this set is actually quite fun and appealing. Since the competition amounts to the old Airfix figures and the mostly poor Atlantic ones, it's fair to say this is probably the best cowboy set so far produced, at least if you are looking for a gun fight.

Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"American Frontier Lawmen 1850-1930" - Osprey (Elite Series No.96) - Charles Robinson - 9781841765754
"Daily Life on the 19th-Century American Frontier" - Greenwood - Mary Ellen Jones - 9780313360718
"I See By Your Outfit" - High Plains Press - Tom Lindmier - 9780931271335
"The West That Was" - Schiffer - John Eggen - 9780887403309
"The West: An Illustrated History" - Weidenfeld & Nicolson - Geoffrey C Ward - 9780297821816

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