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MiniArt

Set 72007

French Mounted Knights

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2005
Contents 20 figures and 20 horses
Poses 5 poses, 5 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brown
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Right from the start we should warn you that reading this review will generate a feeling of deja vu if you have just read the review of MiniArt's Burgundian Mounted Knights because this set is very similar to that, so the review will inevitably be equally similar.

During the Hundred Years War the French cavalry had suffered greatly in battle, but a knight in full armour remained an elite and during the latter part of the 15th century a fine set of modern Italian armour remained a huge status symbol. France continued to expand throughout the century, and these mounted knights were an awesome sight.

There are really just two poses in this set - charging with lance couched and with sword raised above the head. While these are fine as far as they go, they don't go very far. Why such similar poses were chosen is a mystery, but it is an opportunity missed to produce something much more interesting.

The three figures with lance couched include one that also appears in the Burgundian set (the one holding his lance through his chest), but the two that are unique to this set are much better done, with holes that hold the lance in a reasonable position. However the hole as drilled does not emerge at the back of the figure, so we had to extend them ourselves, which is poor production.

The armours seem perfectly reasonable for these men and period, being Italian in look, which was very popular in France as elsewhere. No shields are carried (they were felt to be unnecessary given the complete armours of these men), but of course there are separate lances for the three poses that need them. Or rather, what should be lances are actually more like spears, as can be seen at the top of our first picture. This weapon is about 37mm (2.7 metres) in length, barely half what it should be, and has none of the tapered shape that lances of the day exhibited, nor any hand guard etc. In short, nothing like a correct lance, and nothing like the illustration on the box. As light lances or spears they would not have been held like this, so these figures are seriously flawed as a result.

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. Four of the five poses also appear in the Burgundians set.

The sculpting is OK with fair detail, although the figures are a shade flat. The horses are the worst elements of this set in terms of sculpting, and there is more flash than most sets have these days. The men fit the horses OK, but this is not a tight join and some could best be said to perch a little precariously.

Apart from the largely useless 'lances' this set is pretty accurate, but is not an especially good advert for the skill of the sculptor (or pattern-maker - the effect is the same either way). The pity for this set is that there are already better sets in the market, and for the most part we would suggest the customer checks them out before investing in this one.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 3
Sculpting 7
Mould 7

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