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Atlantic

Set 1012

Sioux Camp

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1976
Contents Varying number of pieces
Poses 10 poses, 1 horse pose
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Brown
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

Having produced a camp set for the Apache tribe, Atlantic followed it up the following year with one for the Sioux, who are Plains Indians. This should have meant there were many differences between the sets, yet the Apache set has many items suitable to Plains tribes rather than the Apache. Still this set is composed of all-original figures and has a very different feel to that of the Apache.

The main grouping of figures is of several men sitting, perhaps round the very small fire also included in the set. One of these has a splendid headdress of many feathers, which denotes success in battle and therefore probably, but not certainly, seniority within the tribe. He also smokes a pipe, which was an important activity that could have a ceremonial role as well as being a casual habit. This example has a slightly large bowl but otherwise looks fine. Beside him in our picture is a man apparently banging a drum and wearing an animal skin over his head. The last two seem to be warriors with rifle and lance. Three of these men wear cloaks fastened round the neck, which does not seem to be normal Indian garb.

The second row shows a male chopping wood, perhaps for the fire (this was normally a job for the women), and a woman preparing to put a rabbit in a pot far too small to accommodate it. The man is completely naked except for a garment that much resembles a pair of modern briefs, and looks nothing like the breechclout that he should have been given. The woman wears a garment with a hem line above the knees - a style of clothing totally inappropriate for the subject which tells us about the imagination of the sculptor, who seems to have thought his subject lived in the 1960s rather than the 1860s. We were also very doubtful of the authenticity of the arrangement of pot and fire. To the right of both these is another woman apparently preparing an animal skin for tanning. The animal seems to have been a bison from the look of the head, but it must have been either a young calf or a midget! She wears a short tunic over trousers, which again seems only appropriate for a century after the period that this set is meant to depict.

The two larger set pieces are of a man grooming a pony with some grass and two men returning from a hunt with dinner slung between them. All these men are dressed like the wood-chopper, so the same comment applies here also, although the front of their cloth does bear slightly more of a resemblance to a proper loin cloth in this case. The article protruding from the left hip of the man grooming the horse is difficult to identify, and could be a tomahawk or even a pistol.

Since this is a camp set, some element of the camp itself was essential. As with the Apache set this includes a tepee or lodge, which at least is more appropriate to the Sioux and other Plains tribes. It is a completely different model to that in the Apache set, and in many ways it is an improvement. The structure is much more realistic, with the extra material at the top being a better representation of the real thing. However the main supporting poles bend considerably as they cross at the top, which gives it an exaggerated splayed look. Also the door is simply a slit in the bottom of the tent rather than the opening with a covering flap as it should be. The overall shape is also incorrect, but the worst problem is the size. This model is about 30mm (2.1 metres) tall and occupies a base area about the same diameter, so any of the figures would not be able to stand upright inside, even in the middle, and would struggle to even crawl through the tiny opening. Each of these dimensions should be about three times as large, and as it stands it simply looks silly when placed near any of the figures.

The overall standard of sculpting is noticeably better than the earlier sets, including the Apache Camp set, and there is little problem with flash and mould marks. The detail is nicely done and clear, and these are certainly some of the better Native Americans produced by Atlantic. However the accuracy still leaves much to be desired, particularly in terms of the costume. Certainly an interesting set, but not really very convincing and much more of a toy than a serious reflection of native life.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 1
Pose Quality 4
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 7
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"American Indian Warrior Chiefs" - Firebird (Heroes and Warriors Series) - Jason Hook - 9781853141034
"The American Indian Wars 1860-90" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.63) - Philip Katcher - 9780850450491
"The American Plains Indians" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.163) - Jason Hook - 9780850456080
"The Tribes of the Sioux Nation" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.344) - Michael Johnson - 9781855328785
"The West: An Illustrated History" - Weidenfeld & Nicolson - Geoffrey C Ward - 9780297821816
"Warriors at the Little Bighorn 1876" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.408) - Richard Hook - 9781841766669
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.140
"Military Illustrated" - No.45
"Military Illustrated" - No.44
"Military Modelling" - No.27546

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