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Mars

Set 72066

Lithuanian-Russian Heavy Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2014
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

This set has a very familiar feel to it. By the time these figures came out, Mars had relentlessly produced a large number of sets depicting Teutonic Knights, Poles, Lithuanians and Russians for the first half of the 15th century – the period that saw the decisive battle of Tannenberg/Grunwald/Zalgiris in 1410. Such a commitment to one campaign is to be admired, although in truth this must count as one of the less useful of the sets. Lithuanian armies were principally known for their cavalry, and relatively few of their infantry were heavy troops such as these. As a result their tactics usually relied on high mobility, but on occasion such heavy infantry did stand and receive the enemy in the western fashion, although it seems at Tannenberg this role was largely taken by the Poles.

Most of the heavy infantry that Lithuania could call upon came from the parts of that enormous country that was inhabited by Russians, so inevitably the style of such men was a mix of Lithuanian and Russian, which is what we can see here. No two figures have the same kit or armour, but everything here looks good for the region and period, with some elements suggesting more heavily the Russian or Lithuanian influence, although this would not necessarily be a secure way of identifying either nationality. Some items have more of a western European look to them, which is likely to be an influence gained via Poland but again is perfectly plausible. It is mainly the ribbed shields and the eastern-style helmets that mark these men out, but everything here looks fine.

Swords were a rarity in Lithuania, but then again so was heavy infantry, so you might expect a higher proportion of such men to be carrying them. Several here do, which seems fine, but we still find several spears as well as an axe and the mace-like kistien. Some of the swords are really rather too long, however, and on some you need only compare the sword with the scabbard from which it came to see the considerable mismatch between the two. Nevertheless the choice of weapons is good.

Many of these poses are particularly flat. You have to wonder at the first figure in the top row who really is holding his spear sideways on over his head, and the third figure in that row in an equally silly position as well as performing the anatomically impossible with his right wrist. Others however are not at all flat, and as ideas for poses they have much merit, so this is quite a mixed bag.

The same goes for the sculpting. Detail is pretty good, but the overall proportions leave something to be desired and some elements are decidedly basic, with hands in particular suffering from simply dissolving into what they are supposed to be holding. The spears are quite thick and clunky, with little suggestion of a head, and as we have already said some of the scabbards are massively too short for the long weapon the man is carrying. Flash too is very variable, with some areas being flash free and others having very obvious extra plastic that will need removing.

In essence then this set is of a very similar quality to the other sets of Lithuanians Mars has produced lately, which is not impressive but not as bad as some. The weaponry and clothing is all accurate, and the idea behind the poses is fine too, although the execution is sometimes very disappointing. While such men may have been few they are a useful addition to any Lithuanian army being constructed for this period, and if you have been buying and using the previous sets in this series then you will find more of the same here.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 7
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 5
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of the Middle Ages Volume 2" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath
"Medieval Russian Armies 1250-1500" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.367) - Viacheslav Shpakovsky & David Nicolle - 9781841762340
"Tannenberg 1410" - Zeughaus Verlag (Heere & Waffen Series No.7) - Gerald Iselt - 9783938447376
"Tannenberg 1410" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.122) - Stephen Turnbull - 9781841765617

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