When the first European settlers arrived in North America many natives were initially friendly. However the growing numbers of intruders, coupled with their habit of forcibly taking goods when they needed them, meant the relationship soon turned sour.
This set bears no date, but is meant to be for the pre-revolutionary period, particularly the seventeenth century. It is basically painting a scene of normal life, and it does so with considerable charm. The various figures are engaged in many activities, and we particularly liked the many children, especially the boy being taught to use a bow by his father. There is plenty of work being done such as preparing a skin, hauling firewood and starting a fire, but there is also time for leisure, with the man playing a drum while another smokes his pipe. One man is on a hunt, armed with a bow and wearing a deerskin, while another is engaged in a dance, perhaps that of the coming of age. All the poses are really attractive and well realised.
The accessories too are a pleasant feature of this set. The dwellings are typical - a framework of branches covered with mats of grass. Each is about 42 mm (3 metres) in diameter, and 30 mm (2.2 metres) in height, which makes them much too small to be family homes, but they are at least convincingly sculpted. Of course a correctly scaled model would need to be a kit, and probably take up the whole sprue. The canoes and skin were first seen in the Lewis and Clark set, but the camp fire with its pot bubbling away is new. The horse looks suitably scrawny, though we thought it looked too long in the leg and too short in the body.
Some of the figures are in several parts. The smoker has one forearm and his pipe separate, the hunter has a separate deerskin and the huts come in 2 halves. All these parts fit together well, and do not require gluing or coaxing to stay assembled. Detail is superb, with natural-looking folds in clothing and well done human flesh. The proportions are good, and our example boasted not a trace of flash to be removed.
However we do have one reservation about this set, and that is with the accuracy. Many features are quite correct, but all accounts describe these people as being all but naked, with men wearing a simple breechclout (loin cloth) and both sexes usually wearing nothing to cover their upper torso. The figures in this set wear clothes in the style of the white man - such clothes were viewed as hot and clumsy by the natives, but in later centuries they did adopt them. Cooler weather wear might be a cloak or other simple device.
So, in our opinion this is a beautifully crafted set, with a lot of imagination having gone into the design. Technically we could not fault it, but the very late appearance of many of the clothes and the (admittedly difficult to avoid) small size of the huts means it loses accuracy marks, assuming the seventeenth century is the intended subject. The figures are also very tall (the average height quoted above is for the men in order to stand comparison with other sets, though clearly the women and children are shorter than that). Overall this is a very pleasing set.