It all starts so well. The box is opened and the contents examined. We find three identical sprues of figures, each having pegs where their arms should be, and with a row of separate arms next to them. OK, so some work will be required, but this is understandable given that they are pikemen. We also find a sprue of just pikes - long and thin - promising. Finally we have one sprue of hats. They look familiar. Ah yes, this is exactly the same sprue that was in the first set. So far so good.
A closer examination of the parts continues to produce positive results. The figures are nice and crisp with fairly little flash and a lot of good detail, which is just as well with these exotic costumes. Some of them are wearing armour and helmets, but half have the same peg-on-head arrangement as the first set, allowing one of the supplied hats to be attached. This time however there are only 12 hats, just enough for those that need them. Also these men have no hole in the back as an alternative position for the hat, which is great, but it does mean the peg on each hat will have to be trimmed off. The poses are nicely done and look realistic. The crouching man is rather out of the ordinary (crouching wasn't in the drill book), but in the middle of battle, receiving cavalry, why not? The pikes are a good length (86mm, which scales to about 6.2 metres), but as they are attached to the sprue at many points some trimming will be necessary. Although pikes could be as much as eight metres long, they were normally between four and six metres, so if anything these are too long, but a simple snip will shorten them to whatever length is desired, so bravo DDS for giving their customers that choice!
Now the moment of truth arrives - the figures are put together. After a while urgent calls for chocolate, alcohol and other stress-relieving substances betray that all is not well. The figures are individually numbered on the sprue, as are the arms, so it is easy to match up the right limbs with the right torso. Nevertheless, the arms are not a good fit. Some of the pegs need a little trimming, but the main problem is the arms don't seem to meet the shoulder very well. Many have a gap between the two, and some are reluctant to stay put. However this is soon forgotten when it comes to putting pike in hand. Some of the hands are ring hands, and they tend to be too tight a fit, so a little widening is in order, although we actually just split the hand, which worked well. However the real challenge is in lining up those hands to take the pike. In many cases this does not seem possible - resulting in the pike being considerably bent to make it happen. The crouching guy is the biggest nightmare, forcing the consumption of a whole bar of chocolate just by himself. Not only do his hands not line up, his right leg is in the way of the pike, forcing the figure to hold the pike at the end, which is ridiculous. The plastic is the old soft 'you-can't-glue-me' type, so trying to get both arms and pike to position properly and stay there is a major task - if you intend doing dozens of these figures set aside a week!
So, after copious intakes of caffeine and a long lie down in a darkened room, we find ourselves with eight figures. To be fair they look ok except where the pikes are bent, with mostly reasonable poses, and they do at least all stand by themselves, even with the longest pikes (although they are fragile and awkward to pick up and move). Their costume is correct for the heyday of the Landsknechts, the first quarter of the 16th century, and since at this date the pike was their most important weapon this set is a necessary addition to the first one of swordsmen and arquebusiers.
In a recent review (much to the disgust for some) we stated that we had enjoyed the effort of assembling multi-part figures because they were well engineered, glued solidly and made excellent figures. These Landsknechts were just plain hard work, and for a less than pleasing result, although as we have said the detail is both accurate and nicely done. No other weapons are supplied, but an enterprising modeller could obtain some and make some interesting figures by mixing both weapons and arms. This is not a set for anyone with limited patience, or large clumsy fingers, which is a real shame as if only the engineering and design had been of the same calibre as the sculpting than these would have been quite something.
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Ландскнехте (другое название: Lancknechte) — формирование немецкой наемной пехоты, созданное в 15 веке, а наибольшую известность оно получило в 16 веке. Отцом отрядов Ланкнехтов считается император Максимилиан I Габсбург, сформировавший первый отряд этого типа в 1487 году. В начале 16 века основной организационной единицей Ланкнехтов был полк, состоящий из 10–16 рот, примерно по 400 человек в каждой. Подавляющее большинство воинов этого формирования было вооружено белым оружием — колесом и косой. В экипировку входили, прежде всего, пики (длиной до 5,5 метров), алебарды и мечи, как одноручные (например, кацбальгер), так и полуторные и двуручные мечи. В качестве дополнительного оружия использовались арбалеты, а позже аркебузы и мушкеты. Оборонительное вооружение включает в себя различные виды шлемов и нагрудников. Многие бойцы этого формирования не имели при себе оборонительного оружия. На поле боя ланкернехи чаще всего занимали наступательную позицию, стремясь вступить в бой с частями противника и сломать его строй. Формирование славилось, с одной стороны, хорошей дисциплиной на поле боя и часто храбростью в бою, но также и безжалостностью и крупномасштабными грабежами (например, Сакко ди Рома с мая 1527 г.). Ланкнехты принимали самое активное участие, прежде всего, в Итальянских войнах (1495-1559), а также в Крестьянской войне (1524-1525) в Германии и в Первой Северной войне (1563-1570).