In common with many manufacturers, Italeri concentrated on the Hundred Years War when they were choosing the subject for some medieval sets. In truth, there was little difference between most European soldiers at this time, so these figures could serve just as well in many other European conflicts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. However they did make one interesting choice, which was to include Jeanne d'Arc in the French set and Henry V in the English one. This is fine, though Jeanne was only about 10 when Henry died, so the two never met in battle.
The English army could boast at least three archers for every one that was not an archer, and sometimes the proportion was considerably higher. Therefore it is disappointing to find less than half the foot figures are archers. These men are correctly clothed, with no metal armour save for their bascinet helmets, but all have been given a quiver for their arrows which rests on their backs - a device for which there is no evidence at all despite its frequent appearance in Robin Hood films. Two of the men also have a stake in the ground to their front, but this would normally be about 2 metres long and present a much more formidable barrier than the short affairs shown here. Both the archers with arrows in their hands have the arrow and hand as a separate piece which fits into a hole on the figure. However the fit is not very good, and it is difficult to get the arrow to lie along the arm as it should. This is a nice idea that hasn't been realised very well in the final mould.
The other infantry figures have a good deal of plate armour, which appears more and more as the war progresses. Their costume and weapons seem accurate, though the man with the poleaxe is wearing a jupon or tabard with the three English lions passant, whereas the English arms were actually quartered with those of France (three fleurs-de-lis) in 1340, and remained so for the rest of the war. Two of these figures have separate shields which fit onto pegs on the figure, but the fit is not very tight and will require gluing.
Cavalry did not have a big part to play in most English campaigns, but on at least one occasion they executed a full-scale charge. All the cavalry figures here are heavily armoured and carry sword or lance. The lance is separate, and fits comfortably in the ring hand by the man's waist, but it is only about 2 metres long and should be at least 50% longer. A king, presumably Henry V, has been included, holding his great helm and with sword drawn. Henry fought on foot at Agincourt. The 'flag' is a device not seen at this time, being neither a banner, which was taller than it was wide, nor a standard, which was long and tapering and ended in a tail or tails. The design on this item is of the three English lions, which again is not likely to have been used. Pride of place amongst the mounted men goes to the mounted archer, who has his bow covered and is clearly on the march. This was the first time such a figure had been done, and it was long overdue. He must be placed on the horse without a housing or armour.
The horses are OK, but since two have full housings and some armour they are less appropriate to the later years of the war. The housing on one shows the three English lions, and on the other the coats of arms of Waleran de Raineval, Comte de Fauquembergues, who was the joint commander of the third French division at Agincourt! This error merely illustrates the folly of engraving heraldic devices, since by definition only one horse would have a particular design, so such things really must be left plain for the customer to paint. The poses are fine, though a horse at full charge such as these would not long have been able to maintain it.
Italeri = good detail and excellent life-like sculpting, and that rule certainly applies here. Leaving aside the historical inaccuracies these are very fine figures with well defined detail that look great. For recreating the battles of the Hundred Years war this set has too many cavalry and too few archers. The various accuracy flaws also count against it, making it one of Italeri's less impressive efforts, though by no means poor.