In the decades following the withdrawal of Rome's protection from Britain early in the fifth century increasing numbers of warriors and settlers arrived on the island from various parts of northern Germany. These were of many tribes, but are generally known as Anglo-Saxons, or just Saxons, for convenience. They set up various kingdoms which roughly equate to modern England, and were well settled by 793, when the first recorded Viking raid occurred. Over the following generations the Saxons frequently had to battle such raiders, and of course there were also inter-kingdom wars, so the Saxon of the ninth and tenth centuries, the period to which this set refers, was no stranger to conflict.
The 13 poses are for the most part fine with plenty of action and good realistic movement. However we did not care for the figure with the two-handed axe as he has his weapon running across the back of his head, an unnatural pose made worse by the blade pointing up rather than out - thereby not following the presumed direction of the blow. Two of the poses have separate arms to improve the posture, and this figure should surely have been treated in similar fashion. The poses do not include any that are on the march, nor any that would suggest the famous Saxon shield wall tactic, although the poseable plastic means several can have their shield arms moved to provide suitable wall figures.
The bulk of any Saxon army was the fyrd - men called out for military service as a duty to their lord. These were mostly ordinary peasants who often wore their normal clothes of a woolen tunic, trousers (or leggings and sometimes bindings resembling puttees) and sometimes a simple cap. The majority of the figures in this set reflect that look, with suitable variety of clothing but all of it authentic. The wealthier men, including most of the thegns, might have worn mail and a helmet, and one figure here is well armoured and would therefore serve well as a leader. He also carries a sword, another high-status possession. Our only accuracy complaint is with our least favourite figure - that guy with the two-handed axe again! Such a weapon was only introduced into Britain in the early 11th century, so technically it is too late for this set if you are being pedantic (which reviewers usually are).
Half the figures in the set carry spears or javelins - the most common Saxon weapon of the period. Axes are also plentiful, but very few carry swords as these were expensive and therefore fairly rare. The Saxons certainly made use of bowmen, so the archers in this set are welcome, but they were never a major part of the strategy. Unlike the previously released sets of Saxons, the bows here are about the height of the archer, which is thought to have been the usual size. Nearly all the men carry a knife, which was an essential implement, although no pose is actually using one. Most of the figures carry a shield, which is round, held in the middle and of reasonable size in all cases. All the weapons are good and appear in about the right proportions.
As already mentioned the figures are made in the same plastic as the Emhar Vikings, so it is hard, poseable and takes ordinary cement very well. With many of the poses having one or both arms away from the body, there is much room for creating new poses to make a more realistic body of men. Two of the poses have a separate arm, and two others have ring hands for separate spears, but in all cases the fit is perfect and easy to glue without the need to trim. None of the figures have any flash, although they are attached to the sprue in several places, and have a number of extra bits of plastic in awkward places such as between the feet, so removing them from the tight-packed sprue is not particularly easy.
One of the swordsmen has a helmet resembling the Benty Grange example, with a boar on the crest. This helmet predates this period by a couple of centuries, and it would be very unlikely that such a helmet would still be worn by the ninth century, although trimming off the boar device would help a little. Both archers have their quivers in the small of their backs, a difficult place to reach and therefore an unlikely arrangement. A couple of the poses are similar to those in the Revell set, and with the size and style being very similar these two sets should work well together. However this Emhar set is certainly the best Saxon warriors yet produced.