For many years 'Westerns' were a very popular genre of film to come out of Hollywood. Most included Indians, and usually they were portrayed as the villains of the story. Perhaps because of this, cowboys and Indians have long been a favourite theme for toy soldiers, even if neither could strictly speaking be described as soldiers at all. However the unequal struggle between two very different societies has long captured the imagination, and with this set Revell sought to depict the American natives in 1/72 scale plastic.
We mention the history of toy soldiers because the figures in this set can trace their ancestry back many years to when Elastolin made larger scale figures, including Indians. Many of the poses in this set are identical to those of Elastolin, and the rest are either very similar or in much the same vein. They are bursting with energy, with almost everyone on the move and active. Most dramatic of all is the horse at full stretch, which is again a close match to an Elastolin model. Though only supported by one leg it stands well enough, but anyone trying to fire a weapon while riding such an animal would be lucky indeed to find a target.
In costume and weaponry these seem pretty good. Naturally both varied considerably between types and tribes, and appearance was also dependent on the weather, but there is nothing here to complain about. Most are bare-chested and wear trousers and a loincloth. Such a level of undress was probably not the norm, though it would have been common enough. Overall we get the impression this is an appearance based on what people would expect Indian warriors to look like rather than on any serious historical research. Certainly Indian warriors would often fight in clothes of animal skin or westernised garments, which are not to be found here, but since these are modelled on pure toys, that is hardly surprising.
The weapons are varied, as might be expected, and there are a good many firearms, which helps to narrow the supposed historical period for these figures. Axes, lances and knives are well represented too, and all are fairly well sculpted. As time passed and there was ever more contact with the white man, Indians increasingly swapped their traditional weapons for the much more dangerous rifle, so this set tried to span a wide time period when rifles were available yet bows and spears were still being used. Perhaps the mix is not quite right, but there are so many poses that Revell can get away with it in our view.
The general level of detail is reasonable, and there is no flash to speak of. Some Revell copies of Elastolin figures have made poor sculpts, but all those in this set are attractive and well-proportioned. The two riders sit very well on their horses, and the poses do not seem at all flat despite the many bladed weapons and the fact that all the figures are moulded as one piece. This set is a good example of how simple bladed weapons can be moulded as one with the figure without making it flat, and there are even some shields which also work really well. Many sets made years after this one could learn from the designs here.
This set makes no attempt to portray one particular type of Indian, nor to be a too serious depiction of normal Indian fighters. The horse may be over-dramatic, but all the poses are lively, and while it is not a perfect historical reflection of how a band of Indian warriors might have looked, it does a fine job of depicting the 'redskins' so often portrayed in films. Nice sculpting and a great example of how to avoid flat figures, even for a difficult subject, this set is a lot of fun and will enliven any Western model.