Disclaimer: The images above were supplied by the manufacturer and painted by their artists.
This set represents the most recent installment and one of two in Andreaís Medieval 54 mm. series specifically titled as Templar knights or the Poor Knights of the Temple of as they were initially known. Although, some of the other Andrea knights of the same period which bear the Hospitaller markings and one which actually has the red cross associated with the Templars, could with minor modifications (i.e. color/shape of the cross emblems) be passed off as Templars as well.
Being my first experience with Andreaís figures it came as a surprise to find the rather slim 1-piece box before me. Nevertheless, it was an attractive box with 2 photos and a small insert showing the arrangement and painting scheme of the pieces.
However, inside the various 13 white metal pieces were sandwiched between a single, thin foam that had been folded to fit the dimensions of the box. Also present was a small leaflet on puttying and assembly of Andrea figures in general. To my dismay the banner itself was bent backwards and a careful attempt in straightening it out led to the pike point breaking off. The sheathed sword was bent but to a much lesser and more manageable extent. I understand that itís common to find the relatively longer and thinner white metal pieces such as lances and the like occasionally arriving bent due to the soft nature of the metal itself. However, I believe in this case, the box and the packing did little to reduce such occurrences. To Andreaís credit they did send me replacements upon request along with replacements for my other Andrea set (Ithandir) which suffered a similar fate. Of course, this may be an odd event but itís my personal observation that the packaging does leave something to be desired as far as packing white metal is concerned.
The set and its 13 pieces as can be seen in the overall photo consist off:
2 choices of Heads. One wearing a coif without a helm and another with a barrel helm
Main body with right leg attached
Partial lower torso with left leg attached
Left portion of cape
Banner and pole with right hand attached
Shield with left hand attached
The figure comes decked out in a mail, knee-length hauberk and if the head without the helm is used, a mail coif . The optional head sports a barrel helm. The collar piece will not be needed if the barrel helm head piece is used instead. Mail apparently predominated the First Crusade and to some extent in the Second Crusade where plate was making its debut. Of course, mail was still used to varying degrees beyond these periods. The figure is also wearing mail chausses for lower leg protection. The latter becoming increasingly critical when the mounted knight encountered heavily armed infantry. A black surcoat with the characteristic emblem of Monastic order, a red cross is worn over the armor. A cape consisting of 2 pieces completes his attire. The head sits on the larger of the 2 cape pieces. I cannot verify if the cape is actually the Orderís cappa (monastic habit) which was more commonly worn initially by Hospitaller knights rather than the Templars over their armor. The only garment not visible was the padded jerkin or haubergeon usually worn under the mail to reduce blunt trauma and chaffing.
The figure has little else in terms of adornments thus keeping in line with the Monastic Orderís rule against decorations or finery. As far as I can tell from what Iíve read the figure is represented in pretty much a historically correct context.
Seam lines were present on all the pieces except the head without the helm, arms and base. The flash present was manageable. Fit was generally good although as can be seen in the second last photo light puttying will be needed to plug the slight gap between the main torso and the lower torso with the left leg.. Similar puttying will also be required at the portion just below where the 2 pieces of cape/cappa meet at the front. Of lesser importance was the gap between the left leg portion piece and the main body. This significant gap is not visible once the sword is in place. However, I had expected more because itís the attention to the small details that separate great from good kits.
Nice detailing was present in the torn surcoat over the left leg exposing the mail underneath, in the fastenings of the chausses over the lower legs and the gloves as can be seen in the photos of these parts. The facial features were also well sculpted as well. The other feature that I liked about this figure was the slightly resigned looking pose not unlike that of a battle hardened veteran.
Unfortunately the fine detailing fell short for the shield as there was no wood grain on the inside of the shield despite the shield being nicely detailed at the front with cuts and dents. The other downside was the sculpting of the mail itself. While the mail links were of a fine texture as opposed to the more relatively coarse texture often encountered, they had shallow impressions. This is evident in the photo on the arms which have been primed and given an auto chrome spray and to some extent the legs. It is important to avoid applying thick layers of paint during priming and painting as this will likely mask out the details altogether. As for molding the cape pieces and the banner flag (see the photo of the primed banner flag) were rather thick.
The subject of the Templars with all their associated secrecy, legends and untimely demise is a truly fascinating subject even for those who are not ardent students of the Crusades like me. So the low overall rating that I gave this figure had a lot to do with my expectations built up by the Templars mystique. The fact that this was a relatively recent release and one of the relatively more costly figures in Andreaís Medieval 54 mm lineup of unmounted figures did not help either. These subjective expectations were unfortunately not met by the molding, the finer detailing, the packing and to a lesser extent the fit. Itís merely my own personal opinion but Iíd have to say I didnít get value for money on this one.
Nevertheless, one figure does not a company make and neither does one review based on personal observations. Andrea has many other varied, interesting and excellent offerings that many before me have found to be excellent and that I may yet have an opportunity to discover.
Rather than add to the background information on the Templars which has been well covered by other reviewers Iíve listed instead several additional references for those wishing to have just a casual knowledge of the history of this secretive Monastic Order and the Crusades.