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Set 72088

Sea Peoples

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2014
Contents 40 figures
Poses 10 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


The 'Sea Peoples' are an enigma. Egyptian sources speak of battles with invaders ‘from the sea’ in the last quarter of the 13th century BCE and the first half of the 12th, but from an Egyptian point of view that just means 'from the North', and today scholars argue over whether the various tribes that made up the Sea Peoples came from the Aegean, Asia Minor or elsewhere. Most of the references we have to them come from Egypt, which was able to withstand their migration, but several other empires were destroyed at this time, and it is assumed they succumbed to the Sea Peoples although the evidence is mostly circumstantial. Certainly the current understanding of this little-known period is that this combination of tribes had a devastating effect on the eastern Mediterranean, and perhaps also on Greek civilisation further west.

Visual evidence for what these people looked like is entirely Egyptian, and pretty fragmentary, so there is lots of room for speculation and hypothesis. The two tribes routinely highlighted as most recognisable are the Peleset (Philistines) with their caps with feather or hair crowns, and the Sherden, with their horned helmets topped by an orb or disc. Because they are the clearest ancient illustrations these two have been the basis for past sets of this subject, but in this Mars set there are just two figures with the Peleset headdress, and one with the Sherden horned helmet. The rest have a wide variety of armour and helmets, which in our view seems very plausible as we are always suspicious of neatly uniformed warriors in such a relatively unsophisticated age. Egyptian carvings to that effect may be more about artistic narrative than actual appearance, but in truth no one will ever know for sure. Here Mars look to have taken influences from all over the Mediterranean, with some crested helmets looking quite Greek and others resembling those of the Hittites, although quite where the somewhat absurd tall horns of the figure in the top row came from we don’t know. Armour too is very varied, with some cuirasses including some ribbed or segmented in a very plausible style, and others perhaps made of leather or thick fabric. There is no evidence extant today to disprove any of this, and nor do we find anything here particularly unlikely for the time and place except perhaps for the metal (?) knee pads on the first figure in the top row.

One advantage the Egyptians had over these people was their use of archery, for it seems these tribes mostly fought with spear and sword, which is how we find these figures. Actually both spears in this set are more like pikes, which might be too much of a stretch, but the swords are a very mixed bunch in terms of style. There is also an axe and what appears to be a square-ish club with metal studs. The shape is probably just the unintended result of bad sculpting, but it is perhaps not too difficult to imagine some people with so simple a weapon as a club, particularly as these people were a complete tribal society and not just an army. The shields are all round, which is fine, and have been given various designs, some quite complex, for which we could find no validation but again cannot deny either. Some sources speak of the classic warrior having two spears and a sword, but there is nothing like that here.

This is a Mars set, so the figures are pretty ugly and very poorly proportioned. Detail is quite crude and not at all appealing, while in some areas it actually disappears. Straps fade out half way round the body, and the shield of the last figure in the top row is a complete mess. Most people have no necks, and some have their head embedded well below their shoulders. The poses are flat - very flat - so we find once again a man holding a sword directly over the top of his head and with his whole body and arms at angles that no real human seems to be able to reproduce. Weapons are either held exactly at the mid-point of the figure, or else pressed very hard to the figure (such as the two spearmen), so the poses are mostly pretty poor and quite unrealistically achieved. Shields too, where a part of the figure, are pressed tightly to the body such that the sculptor had nowhere to put the lower left arm - the man with the long horns basically has a hand attached directly to his left elbow! Also several of the shields are held to the side or facing the rear - in other words doing nothing to protect their user. Three of the shields are separate, and we have photographed them next to what is supposed to be their owner. There is absolutely no means of attaching these shields - you must simply press the smooth rear surface against the arm and hope enough of the surfaces meet to make a viable bond. We found some flash here, but not a lot, but unlike the example we photographed, most of the other examples of the middle spearman in the bottom row came with an air bubble around the base of the spear head, meaning the head was entirely separate from the shaft. Finally, another Mars trait is here - one of the spears is connected to the sprue by a long, thick connector that takes much effort to cut away, and several of the figures have extra sprue connectors in awkward places.

In summary then the accuracy is either fine, plausible, or in a couple of cases perhaps unlikely but impossible to disprove, but the figures are pretty horrible in most respects. Past sets of Sea Peoples have not always found favour with our reviewers, but there are better sets out there, and while this collection offers a wider variety than others (of which we approve), it falls well short in most respects and even fans of ancient warfare will find little to love here.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 4
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 3
Mould 8

Further Reading
"Ancient Armies of the Middle East" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.109) - Terence Wise - 9780850453843
"Armies and Enemies of Ancient Egypt and Assyria" - Wargames Research Group - Alan Buttery - 9780904417043
"Bronze Age Greek Warrior 1600-1100 BC" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.153) - R D'Amato & A Salimbeti - 9781849081955
"New Kingdom Egypt" - Osprey (Elite Series No.40) - Mark Healy - 9781855322080

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