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Airfix Kit Figures - Golden Hind

Set 09258 and A50046

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The handful of crew figures in this kit may be small in number but at least they exist, which is more than most ship models of this scale can claim. The first figure is clearly supposed to be Sir Francis Drake, captain of the Golden Hind as it sailed around the world between 1577 and 1580. He is dressed in half armour, which is a cuirass and helmet, which would only have been worn if action was expected imminently. Otherwise his clothing is that of a gentleman of the time, although he also wears a ruff - a fashionable Elizabethan item but not particularly practical in battle. Therefore he smacks more of Drake posing for his portrait rather than his usual appearance whilst at sea.

The two crew figures are less easy to accept. Both have a long cap which is simple and so hard to dismiss, yet we found no evidence for this style although evidence of any sort is limited on Elizabethan seamen. Their shirts too seem quite wrong, having no opening at the neck and resembling a baggy modern T-shirt rather than any 16th century garment. The short loose breeches are better however, and the bare lower legs and feet are fine.

Clearly no one here is in combat. The officer figure is ready for action but looks to be doing no more than surveying the scene. The crewman carrying the barrel and chest would be more likely during periods when the ship was in harbour rather than at sea, and we can only assume that the third figure is adjusting the position or elevation of the gun - he holds something we could not identify, but assume is meant to be a sort of handspike.

All the figures are nicely sculpted, although at an average of 25.5 mm tall they are a little on the large side. On our examples there was some notable flash and also some cavities, and all had mould marks where the plastic was injected. As you might expect there are no bases, although as they are made of the same hard plastic as the ship they take ordinary cement very firmly.

Also pictured is an example of the guns provided with the kit. This has a barrel of 30mm in length (2.16 metres), which is correct for the intended type, a Falcon. The small English four-wheeled truck carriage is inevitably simplified but looks fine, so this is a useful addition to the range of ordnance available for this period.

The clothing of the crew is highly doubtful, and clearly they are in a very warm environment so would not be useful for campaigns such as the Armada in 1588. The armoured officer is much better, and the gun is useful too, although with some work all these figures could be of value in certain situations. With so few maritime figures thus far made there is little competition for these interesting figures anyway

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