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Set 72051

Polish Knights

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2011
Contents 12 figures and 12 horses
Poses 6 poses, 6 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 27.5 mm (=1.98 m)


Polish history has been one of extremes, with both great power and complete destruction, but the later Middle Ages was a high point in that story. The personal union of Poland and Lithuania in 1385 had created the largest state in Europe, and that brought Poland enormous political and military clout which would be used against the Teutonic Order, the Ottomans and other neighbours. As elsewhere in Europe, the heart of the army was the mounted knight, and it is this element of Poland’s armies that we find in this latest set from Mars depicting the early 15th century.

There was virtually nothing to distinguish the knightly class of Poland from those in Germany or further west at this point, so at the battle of Tannenberg/Grunwald field signs had to be used to distinguish them from the German foe. As a result the Polish knight wore a more or less complete suit of plate armour, generally with a tight surcoat bearing any heraldic device. On the head would be a bascinet, sometimes with a visor, and usually with an aventail. Naturally cloaks and other items would be worn according to personal taste, but the flavour was definitely German. So it is with the figures in this set, all of whom are appropriately armoured for the period. One has a cloak while two have looser covers over their armour and one seems to have a quilted coat, possibly in place of a breastplate. Everything here is quite appropriate and properly done.

As can be seen, none of the figures have a weapon in their hand. This is because all the weapons come on a separate sprue which is the same as that found in the Mars set of Teutonic Knights. Our comments about the dreadful condition of these items in that set apply equally here, with an enormous task facing anyone who wishes to extricate any item from this blurry mess of a thing. The similarities with the Teutonic Knights extend to the hands of the figures themselves, for once again the hands are at best cupped and will need the weapon to be glued in place to form a quite unconvincing bond where the hand does not actually grip. The figure apparently holding a lance couched (second row) has absolutely nowhere for said weapon to be placed, requiring either a hole to be drilled (quite unconvincingly) or else the lance to be broken and the two halves glued each side of the body.

The poses of the knights are actually really interesting and many are a break from the norm. The middle figure in our second row is particularly noteworthy, being much twisted in the saddle to deliver a blow to his left. All the poses are OK, and some are actually great.

The horse poses are another matter entirely. They too are also to be found in the set of Teutonic Knights, so we can only repeat our comments for that set. This is surely the very worst set of horse poses yet inflicted on mankind, with most being so impossible for any horse to achieve as to make us wonder what animal the sculptor used as inspiration. While the basic saddlery and the caparisons are fine the anatomy and posture are appalling, with one animal not even having its hoof finished off. Perhaps by this stage the sculptor had given up on such a bad job. The men fit the horses surprisingly well, although the position of the legs will mean they need to be glued. However we can imagine no reason why anyone would want to use such animals when any other set of medieval knights would provide far superior models.

If the weapons are a joke and the horses just as bad, then it is surprising to report that the men themselves are in a different league. They are not the best on the market, yet they are more than usable with a decent level of detail and fair proportions. We found almost no trace of flash on any of them, leaving a very competent and quite appealing set of figures that are in marked contrast to the rest of the set.

Even the figures have one failing however, and in truth it is a big one. At an average height of about 27.5 mm (virtually 2 metres in real life) these are much too large for later medieval Poles, nobility or otherwise. Perhaps this is the price for a better-produced product, but it means the figures sit poorly with other knights produced in the correct size. This is a real shame for it spoils the one bright spot in an otherwise very poor offering, which had it been better made could have been very useful for many knights of Western Europe at the time. As it is there is really little to commend this product to anybody.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 4
Mould 4

Further Reading
"Armies of the Middle Ages Volume 2" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath
"Medieval Costume, Armour and Weapons" - Dover - Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna & Jan Durdik - 9780486412405
"Medieval Polish Armies 966-1500" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.445) - David Nicolle - 9781846030147
"Tannenberg 1410" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.122) - Stephen Turnbull - 9781841765617
"Tannenberg 1410" - Zeughaus Verlag (Heere & Waffen Series No.7) - Gerald Iselt - 9783938447376
"Uniformes (French Language)" - No.64

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