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Airfix

Set 01720

Robin Hood

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1964
Contents 38 foot figures, 1 mounted figure and 1 horse
Poses 14 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Cream, Green, Orange, Pale Green, Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

This is one of a number of sets Airfix produced on fictional subjects, mostly prompted by successful TV series. Apart from recreating an Errol Flynn movie however, are these figures of much use to the modeller and wargamer?

Happily, they are. Until the 1300s soldiers were usually drawn from the agricultural peasantry, men who owed military service to their feudal master. As such they would simply have worn the strongest and warmest clothes they possessed, and these figures wear typical peasant's clothing for the period. This included a tunic of varying length, almost always with a hood, and hose covering the legs. A couple of the men, including the monk, also wear small helmets, which would generally indicate a wealthier peasant or a more generous master.

Such men as these were expected to provide their own weapons, or have them provided by their master. Most of the figures in this set are armed with a bow, a sword or a knife. Some carry a stave, which might not be considered a suitable weapon for full-scale warfare, but in general the weapons are appropriate.

By the time this set was released in 1964 Airfix were producing much better quality figures, and these are not bad. Though the nature of their dress does not demand a lot of detail, these have been well sculpted, with natural-looking folds in the clothing and good expressions on the faces. The anatomy is correct and the poses are lifelike and varied.

The mounted woman wears a long dress and a cloak, and consequently rides side-saddle, although this style of riding is thought to have only been introduced into England as late as 1382. The horse bears a fair bit of decoration, marking the woman as being something more than a peasant's wife (not that peasant wives rode around on horseback anyway). Like all Airfix horses, however, this one fits (badly) into a separate base which makes it very fragile. Uniquely (as far as we know), the horse and rider are moulded as one piece here, so at least that is one less part to glue.

As representatives of the lowest of the infantry in early medieval warfare these figures do a fair job. With some effort the staves could be turned into spears, and the whole set, particularly the bowmen, could be very useful for many armies. Peasant infantry often carried an assortment of polearms which are lacking here, but as outlaws these men could expect to encounter no one armed with more than a dagger (contrary to the Hollywood image, outlaws were not stupid enough to look for fights with local garrisons). Therefore the weapons on show here would be more than adequate for outlaws. In depicting the popular image of Robin Hood and his Merry Men this set pretty much delivers what it promises, and for use in the real medieval world it also has much to offer.


Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath - 9780904417432
"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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