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Mike Blake reviews the latest plastic figures for collectors
US Cavalry Horse Handlers & To The Last Man Booster Packs
These two sets provide extra figures to go with the previous excellent sets of Apache Wars 1880s US Cavalry, all in the usual Paragon style nice 'stiff' but easy to cut and glue plastic.
The dismounted Cavalry Horse Handlers are 10 figures in five poses.
There are four cavalrymen, in pale blue plastic in two poses. One has a picket rope in each hand, the other has a revolver in one hand and a rope in the other. The latter has sergeants stripes on his shirt. He is armed only with his revolver whilst his companion has holstered revolver, sabre and slung carbine. Both wear brimmed campaign hats. Gauntlets and riding boots. There are separate ropes for each horse, and also two swallow-tailed guidons which any of the men can hold in one 'ring hand'. The picket ropes are a little stiff, and could be easily replaced with some cotton thread of the right dimension (model ships rigging works well).
Because they are plug-in arms (already glued) they can easily be swapped between figures to create even more variety.
The seven horses are in three poses, and come in black, brown or buff plastic. They are the TSSD horse as usually used by Paragon for their sets.
The To The Last Man set is even more interesting, containing an assortment of 12 figures in seven poses and four horses in two poses. This time let's deal with the horses first they are all dead! They come in two sprayed colours, brown and black, and are made from a very light-weight resin/poly-foam. Detail is, however, sharp and there are no air holes so often found in resin castings. Both poses are lying on their right sides, with heads and feet in different positions, and are very nicely done.
Actually two of the cavalrymen figures are made from the same material as the horses. These are also dead or at least seriously wounded! The spray colour on these is pale blue to match the plastic of the other figures. Here there are four pairs in the same pose; kneeling firing carbine, kneeling reloading carbine, sitting firing carbine and lying leaning back on one arm firing revolver. This latter pose sounds a bit odd but is in fact one of the most natural and effective, particularly when placed behind one of the prone horses.
The other two poses are both represented by a single figure each. There is a kneeling figure firing his revolver in his right hand and holding his carbine in his left, and a lying firing figure. This latter is different from the others in that he comes with two heads. Not both attached of course, separate pieces which plug into his neck. One wears a slouch hat like all the other figures, the other a kepi, introducing a nice subtle variation. The head can, of course, easily be used on any other of the figures with a little knife and pin work.
None of the figures are encumbered with sabres, though most have the slings. This was normal by the period, of course, when sabres had been relegated to the parade ground as useless in the field fighting Apaches.
This is an excellent add-on set, which exactly creates that dramatic 'Last Stand' moment, just before the firing line is overwhelmed. Shades of the climactic fight in John Ford's Fort Apache; all that's missing is the Henry Fonda figure of Lt Col Owen Thursday with the white handkerchief under his kepi, defiant and arrogant to the last! I feel a conversion coming on
Paragon Scenics & Miniatures
1520 North Street
Tel: +1 707 536 9801
In the UK:
Steve Weston Toy Soldiers
14 Limburg Road
Tel: 01268 680117
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