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Hi. I've been buying and playing/gaming with 1/72 scale figures in the UK from a time when there was only one manufacturer -Airfix. Yes, the dark but often groovy 1960s.
We have had most eras covered -French, British -and others if not available can be adapted because of uniform fashions. But there seems to be a massive hole in the market that no one has bothered with. If it does not fit in with major campaigns and battles such as Napoleonic, 1812, US Civil War etc., then it does not get considered.
Natives. At first Airfix but they weren't really fighting figures though still fond memories. Italeri produced the Woodland indians for AWI, etc. We even have Strelets recent wonderful Tecumse set. All of these only scrape the surface because no one has thought of "Native Americans" pre-Colombus Aztecs, Incas and Maya were covered by Caesar but I mean tribes before rifles and metal and there are plenty of books out there illustrating these.
But then we have Zulus -Italeri set no longer available and I've never seen A Call To Arms Zulus o0ther than 1/32. Not sure whether Hat has released their set yet, either. But that is all Zulu specific. No sets covering the parts of North Africa where the British Empire fought campaigns -excluding the Dervish. Nor areas such as Benin with its empire. A look at an Osprey series such as Queen Victoria's Enemies shows the scope. Maori? Australian aboriginal tribesmen -it goes on and on.
I know these, or some of them, are covered in 28mm up but not 1/72 and surely this makes it an area worth exploiting commercially?
And, back in the 1990s, I designed (illustrations) figures for Dawn of Man figures that covered early man up to the Neolithic period. Sadly, that would be manufacturer just dropped the entire figure line idea (the boss decided he couldn't see war game figures selling). No one has ever covered that long period.
Just idea so don't bite my head off!
Lots of scope for lots African warriors, Zulu`s are hardly touched , one set good but a little under sized, one set pretty much useless ,and one good set with only eight poses, still needed unmarried warriors (multi use not just Zulu) and Zulu`s by regiment in regalia. Also Zulu African enemies or British allies, and that is scratching the surface of southern Africa. Moving on to East Africa and WWI there are a number of tribes active for all combatants, none are currently represented, these could cover 1860`s to 1920`s. North Africa none of the Native forces that had to fight the French are represented, and you could go on. Lots and lots of scope.
That's the problem. A lot of people tend to think "Africa had no history prior to 1800" but it had empires. And, yes, tribal warfare and as you say, nothing to oppose the French (I don't think anyone makes Foreign Legion now -I just use the Hat early WW 1 French). It is a massive subject but not exploited by 1/72 scale manufacturers.
I hesitate to ask for anything more since Strelets have graciously agreed to fulfill my lifelong dream of 1941 US Army and Navy (though I still haven’t seen masters of them yet, hint, hint).
But another dream of mine was always to have figures for the “Conquest of the New World”. Redbox is helping with their 16th century English sailors. Since between Caesar and Revell we have a good supply of Conquistadores and Aztecs and Mayans and Incas we have a good foundation. But no Southeastern American Indians (way different that any Amerindians of the Northeast, Southwest or Plains Indian sets available).
So for starters, I would like three “New World Conquest” Native American groups.
Taino natives (warriors and women for all the Caribbean Islands the Spanish set foot on). These people fight Columbus and every subsequent Spanish representative from Hispaniola to Cuba to Jamaica to the Bahamas, etc.
Southeastern US Natives (warriors, women, etc) to fight Conquistadores (they did succeed after all until disease finished the job. The people I am talking about are the Timicua, Apalachee, etc. tribes, they look very similar, similar weapons, similar clothing, similar hairstyles). De Soto arrived on the west coast of Florida on May 30, 1539 with 10 ships carrying over 600 soldiers, priests, and explorers. They spent four years searching for gold and silver, exploring the area, and brutally contacting native societies. Many of these tribes, especially the earliest encountered all look alike and fall under over-riding tribe names like Timucua, Alabamu and Apalachee, etc. So we’d need Timucua warriors, Timucua women (carrying food baskets for camp scenes or for tribute to invaders or running away, etc), Indian porters/slaves carrying De Soto’s supplies.
Powhattan Indians (again warriors and women)Jamestown settlers. Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. A representation for Jamestown could include Powhattan Indians, Pocahontas, Chief Powhattan, Jamestown man and woman settlers, John Smith. Oh the possiblities!
Ahh. I know what you mean. Most early travellers to the Americas before the Vikings and Columbus always followed the same sailing route that led to what is now Florida. Back in the 1990s I wrote two series of articles (I'm not lucky -that magazine folded before going to print) one on pre-Roman conflict and the other on "Early Conflicts In The Americas" and the Timucua of Florida were known for their ferocity. Some warriors grew finger nails and sharpened them to use against enemies eyes! They also had their own version of the long bow.
True that Red Box has opened up the Early English (or any European to be honest) angle with their English sailors But it is the native warriors and their appearances -before even thinking of those in Amazonia.
One day. One day.......
A nice set of Arab tribesmen to fight the Foreign Legion would be nice, right now all we have are the Airfix/HaT Bedouins, and as nice as those figures are they are showing their age. The ESCI/Italeri Foreign Legion set never really had another suitable opponent, as the warriors in the ESCI/Italeri Muslim Warriors set were mostly those who fought in the British colonies. Terry, I've also heard of some folks using the HaT WW1 Early War French set as FFL like you do, I might do that as well since it seems no new FFL sets are in anyone's pipeline.
Yeah,the old Airfix Bedouin I've not seen for a long time. True the FFL never really had any opponents other than those from Airfix which makes you wonder WHY Esci made a set with no opposition!
I wasn't sure about the Hat early WW 1 French as FFL until I checked through the Osprey books and, yes, no real difference other than lack of hat neck-flaps. Work well mixing with the Esci and Airfix though you get more figures in a box with Hat!!
I am sure the new Strelets Lawrence of Arabia set could be used against the FFL. The masters look incredible.
I would also like to see more primitive tribal sets produced. I've always wanted to put together a battle from early Canadian history: "The Battle of Long Sault" from 1660. It's kind of like Canada's Alamo. A handful of Frenchmen from Ville Marie (early Montreal) and a few of their Algonquin allies held off hundreds of Iroquois in an old log stockade for about a week. I could probably do it now with the Italeri woodland Indians and some figures from various 30 Years War sets but the Indians are a hundred years too late. Nice to have more primitive, poorly armed Iroquois for that.
Another wild idea I had that will almost certainly never be produced is a range of tribal warriors from New Guinea. I've watched some documentaries showing their warfare, which continues in a more ceremonial fashion to this very day.