The empire of the Hittites was, in its day, as powerful and important as that of Egypt, yet until quite recently had been largely forgotten to history. It had first began to appear around the late 17th century BCE, and finally collapsed about 1200 BCE, but in the interim it was a regional power that stretched at its height from the Dardanelles to Palestine. Inevitably this brought it into contact, and conflict, with the Nile domain of the pharaohs as both competed for territory and influence along their common border. Most famously this resulted in the battle of Kadesh, one of the largest ancient battles known to us today in any detail.
The most important element of Hittite armies was the chariotry, but amongst the infantry the emphasis was on swords, spears and axes rather than the bow, so the mix of weapons in this set seems about right. The second to fourth figures in the second row and most of the figures in the third row have been given ring hands into which one of a variety of separate weapons can be inserted, which gives more flexibility to the set. Equally, these men have pegs on their left arm for fitting of a separate shield. The separate weapons and shield sprue is seen here, and there are six such sprues, making 24 shields and 24 weapons - more than is required by the figures, so again some room for variety. The weapons fit in the ring hands perfectly, and the multi-part mould means some of the ring hands are not face on to the mould, making better poses. The pegs for the shields are in some cases slightly too large, so trimming and gluing is required for these.
Our evidence for what these soldiers looked like is, not surprisingly, far from complete. However these figures fit with all the available sources, right down to the long hair, sometimes gathered in a ponytail. A particular feature of the Hittites was the shoes, pointed and turned up at the toe, and this too has been faithfully modelled here. Many of these figures are bare-headed, while others have a cap or helmet correctly shaped, which is fine. Three poses have been done with armour, but the majority are apparently unarmoured (or have their armour covered), which reflects the likely proportions in the Hittite infantry. One thing that should be said is these are soldiers from Great Hatti itself, while Hittite armies usually also included large numbers of allies.
Once again Caesar deliver first rate sculpting, with clear sharp detail and no flash. The multi-part mould has improved the poses, and all are realistic and useful. This set is a pretty good summing up of what we think we know about Hittite arms when their empire was at its peak, and goes some way to redress the balance in ancient history which is usually focused on the Egyptians to the exclusion to most others.