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Atlantic

Set 1015

Cow-Boys

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1977
Contents Varying number of pieces
Poses 4 poses, 2 horse poses, 5 cow poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Brown, Light Tan
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

Many people consider almost anyone living in the American west during the second half of the 19th century to be a cowboy, yet the actual numbers of men who herded the cattle across that wilderness were quite small. This set is dedicated to portraying those true cowboys.

With only four poses there are not many humans in this set, but those that there are capture the flavour of the subject quite nicely. Two of the men are wielding ropes - an important skill in this line of work - though the ropes in question appear to be extremely short and not much use for the task. We also thought the general impression of the poses was much too flat and not convincing as a result. Another man is in the process of branding a steer. Though this reviewer has never attempted this activity, apparently this is not done by stepping on a downed animal like this, which perhaps reflects the knowledge of such things possessed by the Italian sculptor. It's a nice piece, with a peg under the left foot of the man fitting well into a hole in the side of the animal, but it never happened! The fourth man is brandishing a revolver, which would have been unusual as cowboys didn't carry firearms unless trouble was expected, and using them like this might have stampeded the herd. The two horse poses for the mounted cowboys are not particularly convincing, though the rearing horse is the better of the two.

The cattle included in this set are, well, cattle. This reviewer knows little about cattle, but the creatures included here seem reasonable enough, if rather too thin. Also some seem to be moving quickly - the animal with both front legs off the ground must be galloping, when poses of them standing still or walking slowly would have been much more useful. The inclusion of a young calf is a particularly nice touch however.

Though clearly cowboys had no common costume, these figures have an authentic look about them. Three of the men wear the popular sugar-loaf sombrero, with its wide brim offering good protection from the elements. All the men also wear chaps - coverings for the legs that helped to protect the legs from all the hazards of their profession. In this case they are the common batwing variety.

This was one of the last sets in the 'Far-West Story' range, and the standard of sculpting was getting better. All the men and animals are still too thin, but they are an improvement on the earlier sets. The detail is nice and sharp, and there is minimal flash. With so few poses to be split over cowboys and cattle there was always likely to be too few of both, and it is a shame that the producers did not look more closely at the actual work of a cowboy before deciding on the poses. Despite this, if you are looking for a set that genuinely depicts the working lives of cowboys then this is still the best one available in this scale.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 3
Pose Number 2
Sculpting 6
Mould 8

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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