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MiniArt

Set 72003

French Foot Soldiers with Rams

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2003
Contents 22 figures, 2 rams and 2 ladders
Poses 9 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brick Red
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

Sieges can be won in one of two ways - either compelling the garrison to surrender or forcing an entry. Scaling the walls was the simplest way, but very hazardous, so a variety of machines were constructed at various times to weaken and destroy the fortification, of which the ram is probably the most widely recognised.

The ram in this set is a tree trunk 100mm (7.2 metres) long tipped with metal which, in this case, is not shaped like the animal. It is suspended from a beam that is supported by an A-frame arrangement mounted on a platform with eight small wheels. The ram is held by two chains, and since they actually hook onto the rings on the frame and the ram, the ram is free to move back and forth just like the real thing. The overall design is fairly standard, but it has one glaring omission - there is no protection for the poor men who are working the ram. This frame should have a timber shell, and would normally be covered with raw or wetted hides as a precaution against fire. The absence of such protection is a real pity as it is hard to imagine men lasting long with the attentions of the defenders pouring down on them.

The figures may well look familiar as most also make an appearance in the MiniArt set of French Knights with Assault Ladders. The bowmen are nothing to do with the ram, but would have provided useful covering fire for those attempting to breach the walls. The two figures holding polearms are apparently pushing, but it is hard to see how this would be achieving much in terms of giving the ram any force, so they are best used to push the entire machine. It should be noted that there are also examples of these two figures minus their weapons, and these men at least look like they are gripping the ram. The remaining two figures are a bit of a mystery. They each hold a weapon in one hand (which comes as a separate piece), and with the other they are gripping something under the arm. This is presumably meant to be the ram itself, though it is too wide to fit either gap. Alternatively they could be carrying the ladder, but if so then this has been poorly done as the figures cannot both stand straight when arranged this way.

The armour on the men is typical of the time and has been well done. The sculpting is adequate but not exceptional, and both men and machine suffer from quite a lot of flash. In general the machine fitted together well, though some parts needed a little persuasion, but the result has a rough appearance, a disappointing impression that is largely compensated by the knowledge that the real article would usually have been pretty rough itself.

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 bowmen. The frame of the ram is about 45mm high (3.25 metres) and 60mm long (4.3 metres), large enough for perhaps three men each side (or several more if really packed in!).

This is a reasonably well done set - not the greatest ever made by any means but good enough for the job. It is just a pity that the ram is so exposed, forcing modellers to either come up with their own protection or find some particularly brave operators!


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 6
Sculpting 8
Mould 5

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