In some ways the 15th century was not a great time for the mounted knight. Battles such as Agincourt had demonstrated the dangers of charging well defended missile troops, and arrow technology was always looking for ways to better penetrate armour. However this was also the century that really saw the 'knight in shining armour' reach their height, totally encased in metal which at its best was a wonderful example of the armourer's art. Better infantry weapons - above all gunpowder - would spell the end for these impressive warriors, but there is no denying the splendour of seeing ranks of them move around the battlefields of Europe.
Four of the five poses in this set are all doing much the same thing - charging with lance couched under the arm. As such the differences between them are mostly in the shape of their armour. All have a hole into which a separate lance should be inserted, but none of these holes actually reach the rear of the figure, sometimes being a long way short. We had to drill each hole so it extended right to the back. Once this was done a possible reason for the short holes is discovered - none are in the right place. As can readily be seen from the picture these holes occur all over the place, and none are realistic. In three cases the lance passes along the arm and appears through the elbow, while the fourth pose has the lance passing through the lung. The result is, as you might imagine, pretty stupid.
Although armour of this period is usually categorised as either German or Italian, there were many different designs and regional variations, but in general we had no problem with the armour designs on these figures, which look to be more Italian than German. None of the men are holding shields, which is correct for the period, but all apart from the swordsman have been supplied with separate spears. It should be noted that we do not say lances, for these certainly look nothing like the weapons illustrated on the box, which is what most people would recognise as a lance. They vary in length slightly, but none are as much as 40mm (2.9 metres), when a lance of the period would be four or five metres in length. Also they have absolutely no shape - they are simply a pole with a point on the end. Lances in the 15th century were carefully crafted and balanced items with hand guards, not like these at all. Their impact came from their length and weight, neither of which are present here. These could only possibly be light lances, but would not have been used in this manner and certainly do not deliver what the box artwork promises. You have been warned.
The horses seem too tall in the leg to us, and when looked at head-on are practically flat-headed - aerodynamic maybe, but unlike any creature found on this planet. They range from full armour to nothing at all, which is reasonable for this period, and we had no particular problems with the horse furniture, although the saddles are rather too minimal for such knights.
The sculpting is respectable with fair detail, though this is not particularly clear. The most serious problems are the anatomy of the horses and the positioning of the 'lances', but there is quite a lot of flash that must also be removed. Although the men fit the horses tolerably, this is well below the high standards some companies achieve today.
It should be pointed out that this set is very similar to the MiniArt set 72007 (French Mounted Knights), with many components being the same and the rest only varying in small details. The sight of a fully armoured 15th century knight can inspire awe in most people, but the sight of this set is distinctly underwhelming.