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Atlantic

Set 1005

Davy Crockett

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 9 figures, 10 animals
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan, Light Tan
Average Height 21 mm (= 1.51 m)

Review

David ('Davy') Crockett (1786 - 1836) is one of those characters that, however impressive in real life, cannot hope to match the legend that has been built around him. Not that he minded that - he certainly helped to enhance that legend himself with many tales of his deeds in the wilderness, and his fondness for hunting, particularly bears, was famous during his lifetime. He was a major advocate for Indian rights, and tried to help small farmers and settlers against the big business interests of the East, but the image of the 'King of the Wild Frontier' constructed by the likes of Disney and John Wayne is clearly the inspiration for this set, which is far more about the myth than the man.

The pieces are not meant to be seen together - after all, there are four different figures of Crockett himself! Instead, each one reflects some aspect of his legend. Taking the pieces in the order shown above, the first represents perhaps his most famous exploit - the defence of the Alamo. An eyewitness account says he was dressed 'like a gentleman and not a backwoodsman', so the figure here is inappropriate. He is in the process of bayoneting a Mexican infantryman, yet he is not looking at what he is doing, and there is no room behind the butt of his musket from which we could deliver the blow as a wounded comrade with a pistol is in the way. The artwork on the boxes for this set depict the Alamo battle, yet there are no other Alamo pieces to be found. Instead we get items like Crockett wrestling a bear and paddling a canoe. This last item comes with a separate paddle which fits into a hole on the figure's chest, but the fit is poor and very hard to keep in place. The figure of Crockett using his musket is perhaps the most plausible, as he was well known at the time for his marksmanship.

Despite its modern fame, Crockett rarely actually wore anything like the fur cap with raccoon tail which all these figures of him are wearing, so again this is more the myth than the reality. The rest of his costume is that of a huntsman and much more credible, as is the powder horn he carries, and the knife in his belt. Needless to say some of his more notable exploits, like being elected to Congress on two occasions and his defence of Indian rights get no mention here.

The pony, mules and bear are there more to add 'flavour' to the set, and presumably the pack of dogs reflects his love of hunting. The presence of the Indians refers to his Indian-fighting days, though needless to say these are far from accurate models of those warriors. Finally there are a number of items which can be placed on the backs of animals.

The style of the figures is typical Atlantic, with many looking 'at the camera' rather than at what they are doing, even when they are fighting a bear! Some mould marks are to be found, and as can be seen there is a considerable amount of flash, though this may vary between copies of the set. However while the design leaves much to be desired, the actual detail is not too bad, and the provision of the extras does add value to the collection.

For those interested in making accurate historical models or wargames this does not seem to have much to offer. It is as a teller of stirring stories that this set works best, and that is probably all that was ever intended.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 4
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 4
Mould 5

Further Reading
Books
"Daily Life on the 19th-Century American Frontier" - Greenwood - Mary Ellen Jones - 9780313360718
"David Crockett: The Lion of the West" - W W Norton & Co - Michael Wallis - 9780393067583
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.23

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