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Atlantic

Set 1008

Kit Carson

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1975
Contents Varying number of pieces
Poses 8 poses, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Brown, Tan
Average Height 21 mm (= 1.51 m)

Review

Christopher 'Kit' Carson (1809-68) was a trapper and hunter whose knowledge of the natives' habits and languages meant he became the guide to the Fremont explorations. He was something of a legend and perhaps the most famous of the American backwoodsmen, with many dime novels being written about him in his own lifetime, adding to his fame. He played a leading role in opening up the West to settlement by eastern white immigrants, and so fully deserves a mention in Atlantic's 'Far-West' story.

This set is split equally between Carson and his comrades, and some natives which seem to be causing trouble (or else understand what Carson's expeditions will do to their ancestral homelands). The first man is holding the tiller on the raft, while the rest are using their weapons, presumably against the natives. One man seems to have an arrow in his shoulder (though it has no detail and so is no more than a strip of plastic here). The other two poses are general enough to be useful in lots of ways, so the Americans are fine. The natives all seem to be in 'attacking' poses, but they are clothed and equipped in the classic Atlantic manner, which means they have generic 'Indian' characteristics rather than worrying too much about historical accuracy. Although the idea of each poses are reasonable, in execution they are poorly done. The dismounted archer has three arrows showing in his quiver which are at such an angle that they must either be broken or extremely short, so just look silly. The horses are really just ponies, which is perfectly reasonable, and the falling pose is both unusual and well done. Still the Indians are not at all convincing. Finally the raft itself is a very simple affair measuring about 5 cm (3.6 metres) long. It comes with a number of accessories that are an assortment of boxes, barrels and bundles that do not attach, and therefore can be placed anywhere. In the uncharted territory of the West, travel by rivers was much the best way as there were few tracks and no roads, so this item is a useful addition, though we suspect in reality they were a bit more sturdy and carefully loaded than this example.

Like most of the Atlantic Far-West range, these figures are small and thin. The sculpting is generally quite poor, though a fair amount of detail is included. There was some flash on our samples, and others may well have more, but where pieces need to be assembled these fit together quite well.

None of the poses are particularly exciting, though they are appropriate for the chosen subject. About the most interesting is the native riding the falling pony, which is nice, and of course the man holding the tiller is very unusual, but otherwise the poses are standard issue. The raft is the most unusual piece, and while it is not particularly useful the various packages that come with it could easily see service in other scenarios.

As one of a series of sets that attempt to tell the story of the American West this is a worthy contribution, but its dated production values help to make it an unremarkable and easily forgettable product. With their emphasis on American history, this is the sort of set IMEX might have chosen to make, and their Lewis and Clark set shows how it could have been done much better, but as it is this is not a set to get excited about.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 6
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 6
Sculpting 4
Mould 7

Further Reading
Books
"Daily Life on the 19th-Century American Frontier" - Greenwood - Mary Ellen Jones - 9780313360718
"I See By Your Outfit" - High Plains Press - Tom Lindmier - 9780931271335
"The West That Was" - Schiffer - John Eggen - 9780887403309
"The West: An Illustrated History" - Weidenfeld & Nicolson - Geoffrey C Ward - 9780297821816

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