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Strelets

Set M022

Dacian Light Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2008
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brown
Average Height 24.5 mm (= 1.77 m)

Review

A review site is at its best when it highlights differences between what the box promises and what the product delivers. In the case of this set the box promises a selection of warriors armed with the falx, axe, sword and spear, while several carry a shield and one carries a horn. None of this is actually inside the box, which makes it the most misrepresented set we have ever seen and truly breathtaking.

What you actually get is shown above, and is two-third archers and one third javelin men. This certainly matches the description of ‘light infantry’ so we shall ignore the box and concentrate on the figures. The archers all have an Asiatic shaped composite bow, which is reasonable for the Dacians, and are shown in a variety of stances which pretty much go through the whole sequence of loosing an arrow. Some are holding the arrow to the right of the bow and some to the left, but we have not been able to ascertain which is correct. In general though the poses are OK.

The bottom row shows men with javelins. These are very much more awkward and don’t give the impression of throwing the javelin at all. The two holding the javelin on their head are very awkward, while it is hard to guess what the first figure in this row is meant to be doing. This figure is holding some sort of curved stick with a knob at one end, but we cannot identify this item at all except to say it resembles nothing known about the Dacian armoury.

Sets of Dacians have been done before and with pretty good accuracy because the costume is not complicated. They wore a simple tunic to just about the knees, trousers and simple shoes. Sometimes a cloak would be added to the ensemble, as would multiple tunics in cold weather. Many of these figures are stripped to the waist, which is fine, but others wear tunics of varying length but all of them rather short – in some cases barely reaching the thigh. While this might not seem impossible it contradicts all the evidence we have on their costume (in particular sculptural evidence like Trajan’s Column). One man even has a small plate of armour strapped to his chest, in support of which again we could find no direct or circumstantial evidence, and there seems no reason to believe that this is correct. Finally all the archers have bag-type quivers when one source states these were lidded cylinders.

Strelets have long produced a consistent sculpting quality which regular customers will be familiar with. This set is something new. What strikes you first is how incredibly flat these figures are. Everyone is holding his weapon directly parellel with his centre line, which is OK for the archers but dreadful for the rest. The proportions are pretty unattractive too, while the faces are disproportionately too large for the rest of the head. Detail is hardly an issue on such simple figures but here it is only adequate. The only assembly is the man in the second row who is holding his bow horizontally. Naturally the bow is separate, but the ring hand needs to be enlarged to take it.

This is clearly the poorest Strelets effort for a very long time. Some accuracy misgivings are the least of the problems, with the ugly appearance of many of these figures and the very poor javelin poses. Better alternatives to these are already on the market.

In response to the poor quality of this set Strelets subsequently produced a retooled or type 2 version. A huge improvement, you can read our review here.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 4
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"Rome's Enemies: Germanics and Dacians" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.129) - Peter Wilcox - 9780850454734
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173

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