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Atlantic

Set 1002

Buffalo Bill

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1975
Contents Varying number of figures
Poses 4 poses, 1 horse, 1 mule and 5 bison poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Brown, Light Tan
Average Height 20 mm (= 1.44 m)

Review

The American West had many 'Buffalo Bills' - men who killed thousands of bison to send to market or feed the workers building the railroads. One such man was William Frederick Cody (1846 - 1917), but in time everyone associated the nickname with him alone, thanks to the more than 500 dime novels written about him by one Edward Judson, using the pen name Ned Buntline. Cody was many things during his life, army scout, soldier, pony express rider, even actor, but he is perhaps best remembered for the Wild West shows which he staged, shows that did much to popularise both the myth and the reality of the West. Nevertheless this set focuses on the hunting of bison by Cody and all the other Buffalo Bills.

This set is really a white man's version of Atlantic's Buffalo Hunt, with a number of hunters plus the beasts themselves. One man is sitting down to a meal, but all the rest are shooting at their prey. The poses are standard Atlantic Far West fare, and while the foot figures are OK, the mounted man is firing his rifle without looking where he is shooting. Though careful aiming is not required when shooting at a herd of bison, this is still a silly pose. The mule, coffee pot and camp fire are nice little accessories, but only the pile of skins for the mule's back is particularly relevant to the subject.

The bison in this set are similar to those in the Buffalo Hunt set but not the same. However like them these are very small specimens, with their shoulder no higher than that of a man's, and they seem far too thin to be realistic. On the positive side we liked the calf, and the falling animal is quite dramatic and illustrates the fate of countless animals at the time. You also get a good number of bison on each sprue, which helps to build up a little (in every sense of the word)) herd quite quickly.

As with the rest of this range, both men and horses are quite thin and not attractive. Detail is adequate, but many have mould marks which disfigure the piece and are very difficult to remove and repair. This mould has been issued several times, so quality will vary, but on our example there was surprisingly little flash.

The clothing owes as much to public perception of 'cowboys' from films as it does to historical reality, though it is not far from the mark. We would have expected the horse to have more in the way of saddle bags than this one does, but again nothing too terrible here beyond some simplification.

This is an interesting and suitable component for the Far West range, with fairly typical Atlantic good and bad points. The style of sculpting is hard to get round, but the size of the bison is impossible to resolve, so while they are nice pieces they will never look realistic placed next to these figures, which is the reason this set gets so few points for accuracy.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 3
Pose Quality 3
Pose Number 4
Sculpting 4
Mould 6

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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