It is impossible to have been a football fan in the past 40 years and not be at least aware of Subbuteo’s rise to prominence. Table football isn’t a new concept after all, but Subbuteo is one of the few interpretations of this pastime that is still being enjoyed by a fairly large number of people to this very day. Subbuteo’s continued popularity is made more obvious when you see games producers like Paul Lamond producing new and updated Subbuteo sets for the 2015 season. Of particular note are the new 2015 Paul Lamond sets, which will likely be of most interest to the widest audience base in the world of Subbuteo. The following is a brief review of these new 2015 sets.
The player sets under review here are the new Paul Lamond 2015 Subbuteo Player sets. Each set consists of 10 players plus the usual keeper with a rod affixed so that it can be utilised as a goalkeeper. All of the 2015 Premier League sets mentioned here have been produced under full license from the appropriate teams/governing bodies. As a result, the individual players are composed in a very realistic fashion with the numbers, team colours, and even the sponsors that correspond with each set’s real-life team counterpart.
It may be worth mentioning here (this is largely aimed at newcomers to Subbuteo rather than experienced players) that these team sets only consists of 11 players and do not come with any of the other components necessary to engage in a full Subbuteo game. Though these sets are ideal for collectors who specialise in this area, their primary purpose is for use with the full Subbuteo hardware (cotton football field, corner flags, ruleset, etc.). That being said, one could happily own one or all of the Premier League Sets on their own and still have gotten value for money due to the commendable level of detail and quality of construction demonstrated in the individual figures.
Enough about the shared properties of the sets: here’s some details about the individual teams. You’ve got the usual Premier League suspects making an appearance of course, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea all being represented in their respective team colours. Also available are international sides: Italy, Germany, Real Madrid, Portugal, and even Benefica are also represented here. All of the aforementioned products are 1st squads as well, which arguably makes them a tad more desirable for collectors of Subbuteo sets. For the avid collectors, there are also a few 2nd team sets available specifically those of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
This isn’t a place to detail individual players, but rather where the figures themselves will be briefly evaluated. What is most worth mentioning – and this applies to all of the players in all of the 2015 sets – is that they are constructed from a more flexible material than some of the older Subbuteo players. The flexible nature of the figures allows them to take more of a beating, and the improved balance that is derived from better weight distribution allows the figures to be used with more precision on the pitch than ever.
Now for the look of the players. It is impossible to be anything but positive about the paintwork on these new 2015 team sets. Each of the players are in their official team colours. True football fans will also note the presence of the correct sponsors on the Premier League strips as well (Samsung for Chelsea, Chevrolet for Manchester United, Standard Chartered for Liverpool, and Fly Emirates for Arsenal), and of course the corresponding numbers on the back of the shirts for each player of the team. Simply taking a look at the teams at the Paul Lamond Subbuteo page will make obvious the craftsmanship and high level of detail that goes in to painting each of the individual players.
Being constructed from flexible plastic isn’t usually the most desirable property for dedicated miniatures collectors of course, but when it comes to using these players on the field, their flexible nature is ideal. If you’re going to be using them for matches, you’ll feel the difference when flicking these compared to the older Subbuteo players. There’s no reason you cannot collect these and simply keep them on display however: their relatively lightweight and flexible construction cannot be noticed if being displayed on a shelf or in a cabinet, and the detailed paintwork really makes these players shine.