We've just released a digital set of American Plains Indians with both foot and mounted figures. This could be a great set in plastic - perhaps with six foot and three mounted figures on the frame and horses on a separate frame. What would you change/add?
See the full set here: American Plains Indians
Well weapon options. Depending on what period you want to cover you would need everything from simple "Stone Age" bows and spears to whatever they could get their hands on up to 1880s if you take Wounded Knee as an Ende date. So Winchesters for example.
I know there were visual differences in terms of dress and accessories between the plains tribes, so there's the question of how much you want to take that into account. I recall you saying they were basically based on the Sioux or supposed to be Souix.
Digitally it would be cool and possible to actually do dedicated tribal sets. In plastic the question is how general you want to be.
@Hudson Adams Hmm, if you make sure it works with the horse sprues than I suppose that setup would work (the question then is do you add the horse sprue or go with a "more Indian in the box horses sold separately" approach or do both). All I ask is just remember to add some proper Gunstock war clubs, since that really is missing, and it would be nice to keep some of them as long sleeved options for fantasy conversion work:
@Sebastian Personally, I think they should just place them squarely in the 19th century and if full historical accuracy is a must here then stick with making them for the Sioux Wars era in mind (Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, etc.) with maybe some options to use them for the earlier U.S. civil war though I am not sure how involved the Sioux were in that compared to say the Cherokee.
I say this because the people who I keep hearing asking for Plains Amerindian tribal warriors in plastic are generally Europeans wanting stuff for their Wild West games (a rare few even asked for "villager NPC" types to go with the Warriors which honestly is STL land and would likely not fit in one set if done as a multipart).
On the other hand I do not hear people wanting to fight the post 1812 Indian wars or the pre-colonial tribal wars. This is probably for the best in the latter case since that era also has the issue of limited info to go on. Heck the pre-colonial tribal wars may even be a whole other ballgame since horses didn't exist in North America then and the Great Plains where actually created by the plains Indian tribes themselves who cleared the great forest that was there with fire to create more wild buffalo pasture (as an interesting aside if they had made the jump from merely hunting buffalo to actually herding buffalo during that time, which would have been easy given how docile buffalo are, the US might be vastly different place).
So maybe WA should just go with a more generic “Hollywood Warband” look for plastic sets as opposed to picking a single tribe (Yeah accurate tribal sets would be better suited STLs at the moment). There is even a slight historical truth to that sort of setup since a lot (and I do mean a lot) of the smaller confrontations where white settlers where attacked by “hostile Indian tribes” in the wild west where actually confrontations with tribal outcasts who had turned to banditry and become dang troublemakers for everyone including the tribal nations.
This is definitely a subject that's been missing from plastic for far too long, the only plastic Native Americans thus far are Warlord's Woodland Indians, and though those look decent and are probably the best of the old Wargames Factory sets, they only work for, you guessed it, the woodland tribes of the north and east. These Plains Indians look excellent, and it'd be great to see a full hard plastic set of them.
However I would suggest going down the route already established for sets like the Afghans, Conquistadors and Dark Age Irish and release separate infantry and cavalry sets for them, to capture the biggest variety in poses and equipment. As @Sebastian has already said it'd be best to try and capture as many different equipment options as possible to be able to capture the Plains tribes right from when Europeans first encountered them, when they were still using Stone Age-level technology, through the centuries in which they were able to steal and learn to use various muskets of various makes, up to the end of the 19th Century when they were using the US army's own rifles against them. The best way to do that would be to have both an infantry and a cavalry box.
Also my one main criticism is that I thought Native Americans had less tack on their horses than those in the digital sculpts possess? Certainly a lot of images seem to feature just a rug or skin as a saddle and some basic reins:
Though certainly options could be included for additional ornate trappings that could be slung over the horses, particularly for the steeds of chiefs and priests:
@Caratacus Nah, I really don't think when "Europeans" first encountered is needed here or be easy to do given the time frame and geographic intrgues involved.
To my knowledge, while they did have some contact with white people in the early half of the 19th century and maybe a little before via trade, most of the plains tribes where very uninvolved militarily speaking with white people till colt pistols really became a thing except the Comanche in Texas who fought the Spanish and everyone else from the late 18th century to the civil war at least and maybe some really ambitious outcast warbands (and what’s shown here more or less covers those two topics well enough).
Most of the “plains Indian tribes” that did have long history with white people were exiled to the plains due to the trail of tears from places like Florida, which honestly would be totally different sets if we are talking "when first encountered by Europeans" due to the regional climates they had to deal with originally.
Got to remember, beyond the Spanish owned Texas, the Great Plains where not really explored by Euros Americans till the early Chuck wagon Pioneer caravans, and an awful lot of those folks where either passing through to California or dying on the way due to the remarkably inhospitable winters, exposer, etc. Frankly the few Europeans who did settle where not a real threat at first to the Plains tribes who were kind of busy with their own tribal wars at the time which we know only a little about.