As close neighbours, England and France have a very long history of conflict. The series of wars fought between them from 1337 to 1453 were caused in part by the claim of the Plantagenet kings to the crown of France, but to the soldiers and people they were just an apparently never-ending string of conflicts that were a part of normal life. The soldiers who fought and suffered during those years are represented in this set, part of the last of the short-lived run of subjects covered by Accurate.
The large majority of English infantry at the time was made up of archers, yet there are very few of these here. The poses include a very wide array of weapons, and a nice assortment of men in the act of using them. The poses are generally very lifelike and certainly lively, but there are a few problems. To begin with, the second figure on the top row is doing something we see a lot of, which is holding his edged weapon across the top of his head. You only need to wonder how he must strike his blow to realise this is not a likely position, particularly since the blade is not even pointing at the enemy. The fourth man in the same row carries two weapons - a mace and a sword - which looks pretty threatening but actually did not happen in real battles as it was neither practical nor advantageous. The first swordsman in the second row is a very flat figure who holds his shield awkwardly, and the fourth man holds his large axe so far up the handle as to virtually negate it's main purpose, which was to reach further and deliver a stronger blow thanks to the long handle. One man in the third row is also guilty of holding two weapons at one time, and so unlikely, and the archer about to loose his arrow looks to have too straight and vertical a back - loosing an arrow up into the air at this angle requires the archer to be leaning back with head up, which this man is not doing.
The archers wear quilted or leather armour, and all seem appropriately dressed. The man about to release the arrow has a stake driven into the ground at his feet. However it seems likely that such a stake should be more like two metres long if it is to seriously deter cavalry attack. Also, this man holds the arrow to the right of the bow whereas it should be to the left.
Two of the figures are of crossbowmen. This type of weapon was mainly used in sieges as its slow rate of fire made it unpopular with the English in open battle. Both these figures have been very nicely done, and the complicated and delicate crossbow has been well realised in both cases.
The remaining men-at-arms wear mail and fabric, and there are some items of metal armour to be seen. However these are mostly on the knees and elbows, which is where such armour first appeared, so these figures are more appropriate for the earlier part of this long war. However their costume seems quite accurate, as do their weapons, which are a frightening display of swords, spears, axes and clubs. The inclusion of a handgunner is very welcome as the handgun came into use during this period. One man carries a banner, but this should have a full length staff rather than the 'handle' shown here, and the banner itself seems too small. Luckily both this and the shields are left unengraved to allow any design to be added.
As with all Accurate figures, the sculpting is beyond reproach and the detail is beautifully done. Because of the nature of warfare at this time, these figures could easily serve as infantry in most other European armies of the day, so there is much scope for these attractive soldiers in many medieval conflicts. It was sad to see such a good quality manufacturer stop making new sets, but this set is a pretty good finale for their collection.