In the wake of the disastrous defeat at the hands of Japan in 1895 China, a huge but extremely backward country, was at the mercy of the major foreign powers. These were more concerned with the rivalry between each other than with China itself, but when Germany snatched a naval base in 1898 others followed, with the British taking Weihaiwei (in Shantung Province), another useful port. They then began raising a regiment recruited locally but with British officers and some NCOs, and this was named the 1st Chinese Regiment, but often unofficially called the Weihaiwei Regiment. When the Boxer Rebellion broke out less than two years later the regiment was naturally already close at hand, and was shipped to Tientsin where it participated in the battle to retake the city. Some companies also went with the relief column that rescued the legations in Peking, and took part in other anti-boxer actions later, but saw no significant action. As the only Chinese soldiers in the Allied forces this regiment excited much comment, but performed very well and played their part in the international victory.
For the events of the Boxer Rebellion the regiment wore its summer uniform, which was a straw Sennet-style hat with pagri, shirt with two sets of cartridge loops and three ties, a cummerbund and trousers with puttees on the lower leg. They wore a leather belt with supporting straps, and had two ammunition pouches on the front of this belt. All the figures in this set conform to this uniform, and the British officer is also correctly dressed with normal army uniform and a pith helmet. None of the men carry any kit apart from a few bayonets, and all have in their hands an item which vaguely resembles a rifle but is far too bad a model to comment on further.
At the time this set was released RedBox had never been at the quality end of the hobby, and these figures are about as horrible as any they had yet made. Most of the detail is there, sort of, but very indistinct. Hands are a classic, being simply blobs with no attempt to portray fingers, while faces are also almost bereft of features. The proportions are not great, and everything is rather stocky, while some items merge into one another, defying both any sense of beauty as well as some very basic laws of physics. In short, they are ugly. Furthermore, the above pictured figures are the best ones we could find, and they have plenty of flash. Some others are simply swimming in it, with deep thick plastic round the whole of the join. Overall as bad as some of the very early Airfix sets over 40 years ago.
As pure choices the poses are reasonable enough, with a lot of them in the act of firing. The running figure is really poor, but otherwise the intent, if not the execution, is fair. Exactly what the broken wheel-like object next to the rifle of the prone rifleman is we cannot begin to guess, but any guesses warmly welcomed!
One footnote regarding accuracy deserves a mention here. One modern source states the men were not permitted to wear the traditional Chinese pigtail, but Captain Arthur Barnes, writing of his service with the regiment during the Boxer crisis, specifically states that the men had their pigtails tucked into their hats. Happily this fits with these figures as none have hair of any description sculpted!
So, badly sculpted figures in adequate poses badly moulded. This is an interesting unit for an interesting subject, so it is sad to have to report such poor figures.