Thursday, 23 September 2010
Mars Swings and Misses, Again!
Well, PSR finally got their hands on a set of the "Scots Mercenaries (Thirty Years War)", and the review and photos, sadly, are about what I expected. That the figures are based heavily on the Köler engraving of "Irelanders" arriving at Stettin is obvious, which is why I included that engraving at the top, originally published in 1631. This engraving has long been used by figure manufacturers as justification for depicting TYW Scots in typical Highland dress, whether accurate or not. It's depiction has also been surrounded by controversy for even longer than we have had figures to go with it.
While the engraving may, indeed, accurately depict "Irelanders" (actually Scots Highlanders) as they might have arrived, fresh off the boats, it certainly does not depict them as they served in the Swedish or French armies of the TYW. It has long been shown, from other illustrations, muster rolls and anecdotal sources, that the Scots in Swedish service were uniformed by their employer. So too were the Scots in the French army. In fact, considering just how stereotypical "Highland" these figures are, it's difficult to imagine what they might be used for, except possibly a small Highland contingent in the early ECW, and they're too well armed for that with 20 matchlock muskets to 12 pikes (and 2 of the pikemen are definitely wearing trews and later armor with tassets, back & breast and helmets, while the third appears to have a belted plaid worn with his trews and a bonnet). You do get two archer figures, but with an odd recurve bow instead of the more traditional straight stave Highland longbow.
I'll leave you to read the full review on these on PSR's site, as well as see the pictures, but I fear that once again Mars have taken what could have been a promising set and missed the mark badly. Also, following Mars' recent practice, there are four (4) of each and every figure/pose in the pack, showing once again that Mars knows little (or perhaps cares little) of what the wargamer does with their figures. As always, my opinions only, your mileage may vary.