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Strelets

Set M026

French Infantry in Advance

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2009
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Blue
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

Throughout the Napoleonic period there was a debate on the best method of advancing and attacking an enemy in the field. The most common French tactic was to advance in column, many ranks deep, and if that failed to make the enemy run then they would deploy into a line for firing. While advancing the men soldiered their arms on the left shoulder (or the right for sergeants and NCOs), so the title of this set would suggest figures in more or less that pose. However instead we find figures holding their muskets in a variety of ways, none of which are the textbook method for advancing. Some have both hands on the musket, suggesting that they are in the process of changing their position, which may be valid for a moment but is no substitute for ranks of men properly posed. The last two figures are advancing in a very casual manner indeed, and certainly conform to no drill book of the time. Indeed it is hard to see any significant difference between this set and the Strelets set of French Infantry on the March.

All the men are wearing a greatcoat which in most cases seems rather short compared to the normal examples pictured in contemporary illustrations. They also have a sabre on a crossbelt over their right shoulder and fringed epaulettes, which identify them as either grenadiers, voltigeurs or light infantry. However none have the usual bayonet scabbard next to the sabre, and indeed where this area is visible they have this next to the cartridge box, which was only the case with fusiliers. Another odd feature is that several seem to have their campaign trousers tucked into fairly short gaiters, whereas in reality trousers were always outside these. Some have covers on their shakos, which is fine, and some have a neck curtain too, which is also good. Many have left their knapsack behind, which was quite common, but the majority are also without a canteen, which is very strange as a soldier would need water close to hand at all times (biting gunpowder cartridges and the general smoke of battle made them thirsty very quickly, quite apart from any normal exertions). Also one man has a greatcoat neatly rolled and attached to his knapsack, even though he is also wearing such an item.

The normal chunky Strelets style means these figures have rather fat and short sabres and bayonets, and the rest of the detail is quite unrefined. Faces are not too bad though and there is almost no flash to speak of.

As we have said, there is almost nothing to distinguish this set from the set of marching figures. Ancient 'Barbarians' and modern armies may advance in loose and relaxed order but Napoleonic armies were carefully drilled with the goal being that every man moved and acted alike, at least until the fire fight got under way. This set fails to deliver that image, or anything like, and instead provides more figures for a long march or a general melee. Add to that the problems with accuracy and this is a very poor set indeed.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 7
Pose Quality 1
Pose Number 3
Sculpting 7
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792-1815" - Osprey (Elite Series No.159) - Paddy Griffith - 9781846032783
"French Napoleonic Infantryman 1803-15" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.57) - Terry Crowdy - 9781841764542
"Napoleonic Infantry" - Cassell - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780304355099
"Napoleonic Wars: Napoleon's Army" - Brassey - René Chartrand - 9781857531831
"Napoleon's Line Infantry" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.141) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780850455120
"Napoleon's Line Infantry & Artillery" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Special Series No.11) - Stephen Maughan - 9781859150535

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