by: Darren Baker [ ]
Master Box has produced some very nice figure sets over the years including one of my all time favourites ‘Cold Wind’. An aspect of figure sets that Master Box has taken on is too release series of figures, sometimes over quite long periods of time. The Indian Wars Series of figures has had a number of great additions of late and one of these is titled ‘Last Stand’.
This offering from Master Box provides us with a cavalry soldier in a crouched position behind his dead horse. The other figure depicts a scout, I believe, this figure does not match the bent kneed shooting from the hip static figure depicted on the box artwork, instead we get a figure shooting from the hip while running in a sideways sort of gape.
The model is provided in the end opening thin card carton common to figure sets from Master Box. This box design is ok to look at and makes storage easy, but it does become easily crushed by items stored on top of it. Inside of the carton is a single grey sprue sealed inside a plastic bag. An examination of the sprue does not bring any issues to my attention with the possible exception of some sprue attachment points being on easily damaged areas.
The dead horse goes together easily for the most part, but I would have liked to see some connectors for the two halves of the body, this is due to some fettling being required to get a good all round joint. The ‘V’ cut joint for the ears is too large on the head part, this results in a sloppy fit that will require some filling to remedy. The mane of the horse took me a while to locate as it actually connects via the side of the neck rather than the back. The way the horse is laying is accurate as it is my understanding that cavalry horses were trained to lie down and provide the cavalryman with an area of cover. While I have not applied the tack to the horse a check of reference indicated that Master Box has done a very good job of tackling this area.
The cavalry man has the usual torso and two separate leg mouldings, but the arms are both two piece affairs. The approach used for the arms by Master Box has allowed for some nice moulding detail, but it does make it a little difficult to get the arms in the position where they hold and support the rifle as indicated. One other issue here is that the upper portion of the left arm is indicated as (No47) but the correct number is (No46). Details on the figure appear to match the limited reference I have very well and this includes the rifle, this is I believe a model 1865 .52 Spencer Carbine. The cavalry sabre is fair considering the limitations of scale; the guard on the hilt consists of two pieces which while on the thick side do a good visual job.
The hat recommended for this figure is the ‘bummer’ cap, my reference indicated that this piece of uniform was much disliked and replaced as soon as possible. Also supplied but not mentioned is the wide brimmed campaign hat and it is indicated that this is a very suitable replacement if decided for the cap, the numbers for this element are indicated but not shown. The hand and facial details of this figure rates very highly with me. The cavalryman is clean shaven which is supported by period photographs, but it should be noted that moustaches are also very common and so you may wish to add that detail.
The final figure that I consider to be a scout is a little disappointing for me due to it not matching the stance on the box artwork. The upper body is as indicated in my opinion but the legs are in a running stance rather than that of a person standing their ground. This change does not mean the figure is bad but rather not as appealing to me visually. The arms are again a bit of a pain due to the difficulty of cleaning up the connection points which are on the tassel areas of the arms. In all other respects I am happy with what is provided. The face of this figure is bearded and that has been well replicated on the model. The wide brimmed hat of this figure is going to be a pain if care is not taken when removing it from the sprue, this is because the connection point is on the edge of the hats brim.
This offering from Master Box is an interesting figure set as it offers the modeller two figures in action without the need for the external element to be visible. Construction of the set will be a test of the modellers abilities when it comes to getting the arms of the cavalry man in position to support the rifle. Clean up of some elements will be difficult due to connection points being placed in difficult areas. Despite the concerns I have raised here I do think this is a very nice addition to the range with a lot going for it in the hands of some of the members here.