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Strelets

Set M014

Muslim Archers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2007
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brick Red
Average Height 23.5 mm (= 1.7 m)

Review

While Muslim armies of the medieval period are largely famed for their horse archers those that drew the bow on foot were also important, particularly when attacking or defending a castle or town. Such archers could provide covering fire while other elements of their armies moved forward, although at longer ranges reports of crusaders having many arrows sticking in their armour yet being unhurt suggest the Frank’s heavier armour made the arrows much less effective.

Since these men wore mostly their own civilian clothes the styles were not uniform but generally quite loose and comfortable. As poorer soldiers many such archers had no armour to speak of, and those that did often stripped the battlefield to get it. Thus armour was not common yet varied greatly, and doubtless some may have worn it under their outer clothes, so the mix of mail, scale and quilted armour in this set along with those without apparent armour is reasonable. Dismounted men tended to use a longer bow than those mounted as the shorter bow had obvious advantages for anyone riding a horse. The bows here are quite a mix, including several that would seem rather small, although there is no reason to think that such bows would not have been used, particularly if cavalry was temporarily dismounted, so again no problems here.

As befits a set labelled as archers all the poses are of men using their bow, which means we find no figures on the march or otherwise not actually in battle. The mix of men getting an arrow, drawing their bow and loosing it is fine but we do have one reservation. No less than one quarter of the poses are of men holding their bow horizontally – a practice which seems to only apply when an archer is waiting for the moment to fully draw his bow. Two of the poses may be doing this, which is fine, but the warrior in the top row seems in a very unsuitable pose for one simply waiting, so is of doubtful utility. However the number of men firing while kneeling is fine as many Muslims, particularly the Sudanese, are known to have used this technique.

The usual standard of Strelets sculpting applies to this set, with fairly good detail but quite unrefined and in places are bit vague. Those that hold their bow horizontally have this separate so that it fits into a ring hand, and this fit is pretty good. Equally a couple of men have a separate shield which fits on a peg on the back, and again this is a good fit with no need for glue. As usual with Strelets these days there is no flash to worry about.

Perhaps the main piece missing from this set is the crossbow. Certainly Muslim armies appreciated the benefits of the crossbow, and used it where the slow rate of fire was not too great a handicap, so we felt one or two poses should have been devoted to this weapon. All told though this is a fair set but the figure with the horizontal bow in the top row is largely a waste.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 7
Mould 10

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