The war in the Crimea from 1854 to 1855 was essentially a siege, which suggests cavalry would have little part to play, but in fact the cavalry role was significant, and not just in the set piece battles like Balaclava. Since the days of Napoleon lancers had been fashionable once more in European armies, and apart from the lance-armed Cossacks Russia could boast 20 regiments of Uhlans in 1854. However as with the rest of the Russian cavalry they did not perform well, as perhaps illustrated by their ineffective attempt to intercept the retreating remnants of the British Light Brigade after their disastrous charge.
As in other countries the dress of the Russian uhlan was Polish in style, with a czapska headdress and kurtka tunic, and this is exactly what we find being worn by these figures. Everything here is correctly done, but there is still an issue that needs to be addressed. Usually the czapska was hidden in a foul weather cover when on campaign, so it must be said this is a rather neat and less likely appearance for these troops, although an enterprising modeller could easily trim and paint to give the impression of a cover if required. On occasion the troops would have worn their coats too, but again this is not present in this set, although they do wear overalls which cover their boots.
The poses are the usual fare from Strelets, and are OK but we were disappointed to see so few lances. Not all uhlans actually carried the lance, but we think only five lances in 12 lancer poses is not what most people would reasonable expect. It seems doubtful that standards were carried into action, so the figure with one here should perhaps be converted into another lancer or simply discarded.
The horses are a more broad selection than has been offered in the past, with some standing or walking as well as the chargers, but we still feel several are in unnatural poses. The saddle furniture is fine, but some of the figures do not really fit the horses as their legs are much too close together. As a result they tend to 'pop up' and there will need to be trimming and gluing before they sit comfortably.
The sculpting is not one of the better efforts from Strelets, particularly when compared to similar sets such as their British lancers. Detail is particularly chunky and not well defined, and items such as weapons and scabbards are very short, with the latter being hitched far too far up the body, presumably to aid the moulding process but making it impossible for the man to draw his sword. On one figure the middle third of the scabbard is missing entirely, and it is strange that the guidon is almost at 'half mast'. However flash is minimal and those lances that are separate fit well enough into the ring hands.
Russian lancers did not have a particularly memorable part to play in the Crimean War, but it is very good to see Strelets covering the conflict so thoroughly. However this is not an attractive set of figures and more attention needs to be paid in particular to getting them to sit well on their horses.