Germany’s Seebatallione were marine infantry - something of a cross between sailors and land infantry much like marines in many other armies. When the Boxer crisis of 1900 escalated in China the only nearby German troops were the III. Seebatallion (third battalion) stationed in nearby Tsingtao. In response to the pleas from the foreign legations in Peking 50 of these troops travelled there as legation guards and therefore participated in their defence during that summer's siege. A further 25 who had traveled to Tientsin but did not proceed to Peking then took part in the fight in that city. None were to be found in either of the allied relief expeditions to Peking, but in August of that year I. and II. Seebatalione landed in China and played their part in the subsequent punitive actions.
In the past Redbox poses have been very noticeably flat, but while those in this set are not exceptional they do at least have a more realistic three-dimensional feel to them, with the running officer being a very nice example of a decent pose. The only pose of note is the man who has stopped to smoke his pipe, removing his helmet to reveal his rather un-military looking long hair. Such poses may not appeal to some but they do add a modicum of variety in what could easily be a repetitive series of sets representing infantry of the Boxer Rebellion. The remaining poses however are much more conventional, with all being quite useful and only the absence of a marching figure being noticeable.
Although officially part of the Imperial Navy the Seebatallione were dressed and equipped much like the Imperial Army. In summer (when the crisis first developed in Peking) they wore a tropical uniform of simple tunic and trousers plus the normal short army jackboots, and this is how these figures are dressed. On their heads all the figures wear tropical helmets with the metal badge and rather low crown that was correct at this time. This is fine for the initial deployment of troops to Tientsin and Peking, but soldiers involved in the later actions sometimes wore their blue winter uniform, and there is photographic evidence for a wider range of caps being worn with the tropical uniform, even during the Peking siege, so while these figures are correctly clothed they do not fully reflect the uniforms these men wore during the whole campaign (this is not a criticism - just an observation).
A real surprise with these figures is that not one man is carrying any piece of kit or accoutrements apart from the standard twin M1871 ammunition pouches on the front of the waist belt. There are no bayonet scabbards (nor bayonets for that matter), no canteens, bread bags, packs or any other item. This is something Redbox have done before and we find it very hard to understand. Even if the troops are in a fixed defensive position they would still have carried at least a canteen and bayonet, yet even these basic essentials are missing. In addition, the waist belt is supported by two straps over the shoulders, which is correct, but in reality at the back these met and formed a 'Y' shaped belt, whereas on these figures the belts cross to form an 'X' shape. Finally we thought the rifles were much too short. The most likely weapon would be the Gew 98, which at this scale should be 17 mm in total length, yet these weapons range from 13 to 15mm in length. Even if they are supposed to be the previous model the length would be much the same, and even as carbines (which we doubt in this context) they should still be 15mm long.
Although the uniforms are simple and most pieces of kit are missing the sculpting is not particularly impressive here. Detail is often vague, so it is impossible to identify the rifles, nor see the badge of the helmet. Faces are not too bad but hands have little definition. There are a few isolated instances of flash but for the most part these figures are flash free, which is a welcome confirmation of the recent RedBox improvement in this area.
Why you might ask is there no equipment on the back of any of these soldiers? Why also are the belts done incorrectly at the back? Although we cannot know, the suspicion is the designer simply did not know what the back looked like, so took a guess or avoided the subject completely (after all, only the front is shown in the Osprey book!). Whatever the reason, this sloppy approach is a disappointment and really impacts on the authentic look of these figures. The good mould production values are very nice to see, but this set lets itself down in too many other areas.