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Atlantic

Set 1006

Apache's Camp

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1975
Contents Varying number of figures
Poses 7 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Tan, Brown
Average Height 21 mm (= 1.51 m)

Review

Atlantic made a commendable effort to portray the civilian aspect of many of their subjects in both the Ancient and Far-West ranges, and this was the first to portray everyday life for the Native Americans. Sadly many 'military' actions took place in such camps, so the uses for this set are not merely peaceful.

Though the set is of a camp scene several of the figures seem to be engaged in fighting, or at least hunting. The first two shown above are thus depicted, and seem out of place given the subject. The first man is using a tomahawk which does not seem to have been used by the Apache, and the feathers in the headband of the second figure are more suited to Plains Indians than Apache. The third figure is of a squaw preparing food while a small child peers over her shoulder from a basket on her back, but again the feather in the headband seems suspect. The fourth is wearing an animal headdress and is engaged in a dance to invoke the aid of the spirits in a forthcoming hunt. The authenticity of the wand that he carries is unsure.

The next row shows an A-framed drag, called a travois, being pulled by a horse on which the man is riding. This was a means by which family possessions, including small children, were transported between one camp and the next. The travois simply pegs into the side of the animal, but there is nothing provided to put on it. Again this is a device of the Great Plains tribes, not of the Apache.

The next row has some everyday camp objects. The totem pole is perhaps the most recognisable image of this subject, though this one seems a good deal shorter than normal. Once again, however, totem poles are features of the tribes of the Northwest, not the Southwest Apache. Next there is a frame on which a piece of hide is stretched, though hides were normally pegged out on the ground to dry and be tanned. The next item is something of a mystery, but could be some sort of shrine where prayers would be said. It looks dramatic and a bit gruesome, and perhaps that is its only role. Finally there is a spit on which a small animal carcass is cooking over a fire. The Apache lived mostly on deer, antelope, elk and bighorn, supplemented by fruits, nuts and some occasional cereal. They would also sometimes eat smaller animals as here. However the animal looks suspiciously like a pig, which is entirely inappropriate, and the style of the spit seems that of the white man.

The last row shows a man on a cradle of sticks. It seems likely this is a recently deceased man who has been left in the open to allow his soul to rise freely into the sky. The last item is, of course, the tepee. The model has many inaccuracies, chief of which is that the Apache rarely if ever used them. Each tepee comes in two halves which peg together quite tightly to make a structure about 40mm (2.9 metres) tall and with a base diameter of around 30mm (2.2 metres). As such this is far too small, and would not have comfortably accommodated the several family members who would normally have dwelt there. It should also have a pronounced tilt towards the rear, and the opening is merely some cutaway material rather than a hole covered by a flap. It is also greatly simplified, particularly at the top, and is without any suggestion of the clever ventilation flaps.

The style of the figures is much like the rest of the range, being rather thin, but there is less evidence of mould marks in this set than in many others. The level of sculpting is not great, and though there has certainly been some imagination used here, it seems imagination has played a greater part than historical accuracy, with the look more closely matching some Hollywood films than the actual Apache. If the set had been more loosely labelled as 'Indian Camp' then it would have been better since many items are appropriate for some tribes, but not the Apache.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 1
Pose Quality 4
Pose Number 2
Sculpting 4
Mould 7

Further Reading
Books
"American Indian Tribes of the Southwest" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.488) - Michael Johnson - 9781780961866
"American Indian Warrior Chiefs" - Firebird (Heroes and Warriors Series) - Jason Hook - 9781853141034
"Apache Warrior" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.172) - Robert Watt - 9781472803528
"Apache Warrior versus US Cavalryman" - Osprey (Combat Series No.19) - Sean McLachlan - 9781472812469
"The American Indian Wars 1860-90" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.63) - Philip Katcher - 9780850450491
"The Apaches" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.186) - Jason Hook - 9780850457384

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