The concept of a knight as a mounted and armoured warrior basically dates to the time of Charlemagne, so it was a recognised institution in the Duchy of Normandy. Normandy itself is generally dated from the year 911, when land was first granted to the Vikings by the king of the West Franks, recognising their dominance in the area. Over the following decades the territory expanded and the Normans, as they were now styled, built a well organised and successful state which quickly took on many of the customs of their southern Frankish neighbour, whose king was nominally at least their overlord. One of these was an increasing emphasis on elite warriors fighting while mounted, so by the time of the invasion of England in 1066 cavalry was a vital part of the invading army.
Strelets have already made a set of Norman Cavalry, although that one was more generic whereas this one is specifically aimed at the events of 1066. Thus we find less of the variety of armour and equipment, although what there is is perfectly accurate. Most wear mail, and all carry the classic kite-shaped shield. Weaponry is a selection of swords and lances with a mace and an axe. All these are fine and in roughly the right sort of numbers for their historical employment, although the set comes with several separate weapons - more than enough for the figures so there is some room for variation. All the costume looks fine, although we would have preferred that the shields be left plain rather than engraved with various patterns as has been done here.
All the poses are reasonable too, and entirely suited to the subject, although the only one of particular interest is the knight pointing with his lance. The horses are the usual Strelets mixture of fair and less fair poses, but not all are at the gallop which is nice to see.
The finish on these figures is about average for Strelets, with fairly unsubtle detail and textures plus a rather chunky look with some long items such as swords a little too fat and short, but everything is in place and there is plenty for a painter to pick out. Some of the figures are too tight for the horses, although swapping riders about may alleviate this problem. All the separate weapons and shields (of which there are three) fit the ring hands and pegs very well, and as we have come to expect from Strelets recently flash is minimal.
This is a marginally better set than their first set mentioned above, and portrays some of Europe’s elite cavalry on the eve of the crusading era.