Until relatively recently success in warfare depended mainly on having large armies in the field which could win victories in set-piece battles. In the pre-gunpowder age success was much more concerned with which fortified towns and castles one controlled, and therefore sieges were a very important part of medieval campaigns, a facet which has not been well represented in this hobby before now. However this set from MiniArt is helping to change that.
Clearly any besieging army had to rely on archers and crossbowmen to inflict much of the harm on the occupants, and those included in this set are reasonable enough. Their plate armour is limited to helmets, and otherwise they wear padded clothing more conducive to freedom of movement. One crossbowman is advancing with his weapon at a tilt, which is an odd pose more to allow the crossbow to be properly moulded than a reflection of reality. The other seems to be winding his bow with a handle, possibly a 'goat's foot', though the sculpting is not clear enough to make this out well.
If a besieging army could not get through the heavily fortified gates then it had to climb over the walls, and this set includes four ladders, each of 110 mm (nearly 8 metres) in length. Each ladder fits into a small base to help give it stability. The four knights in the second row are for placing on the ladders, and a good job they are too. Each has a clip under each foot which attaches very snugly to the ladder, so once on they stay on. Two of the poses have a shield, and this means they do not fit onto the ladder except at the top, where their shield does not interfere with it. The other two are clearly climbing, and have separate arms to facilitate this difficult pose. The arms can be seen on the lower row, and there are slightly more of these than there are men to allow some freedom of choice. The arms fit very firmly, and though there is a fairly untidy join it is on the inside of the figure, and therefore cannot really be seen. These men on the ladder make a very stable and agreeable model, as can be seen here. In the picture, the ladder has been put up against the Zvezda medieval fortress, which also demonstrates that it is a good length for that model.
The last two figures are clearly holding the ladder steady. Several of the figures have pegs on their back, onto which one of a number of different shields can be placed with a good firm grip. The set also includes some small wooden posts, onto which a shield can be attached to create a pavise to shelter the archers.
The standard of sculpting and level of detail are quite good, although there was a surprising amount of flash to be removed from many of the pieces. There also seems to have been a slight misalignment of the mould in a few places, causing an ugly ridge round the middle of the figure. However these are still good figures in a well designed set which fills an important gap in medieval warfare.