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Strelets

Set M027

Russian Peasant Levy in Winter Dress

Click for larger image
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 Grey
Average Height 23.5 mm (= 1.7 m)

Review

In the medieval period Russia was a collection of principalities which periodically fought with each other but were unable to unite when faced with an external threat such as the devastating Mongols. These small internal wars were fought by the lords and their dvor – personal retinues of professional armed warriors – while the bulk of the population merely got on with daily life. Since calling out the peasant levy was not under the control of the princes such a call was only made when a genuine and obvious emergency arose, so the peasants were spared participation in their lord’s squabbles.

When they were called upon to fight the levy wore their own clothes, which were mostly woollen and fur. In the bitterly cold winters of course multiple layers were worn, including cloaks, hats and good boots. All the figures in this set look to have fairly typical clothing for the period and region, although a lucky few have managed to acquire quilted jackets as some form of protection. All the hats and caps look good, with most being trimmed with fur, but a couple wear what could be either a cap or a very simple helmet, which would have been the exception rather than the rule but perfectly reasonable here.

Weaponry for the levy was wide ranging, with spears, axes, bows, various polearms and knives as well as clubs and even javelins. Although no one here has a bow all the weaponry held by these figures in correct, although again the man holding a sword would be fortunate indeed. Many have acquired shields, which were often of archaic design, but naturally those with two-handed weapons have none. Nearly all the figures have a fine moustache, which was the norm, but only two have a full beard, which was apparently mostly found in the higher classes.

These figures are not in the typical Strelets style, which we generally describe as chunky. These are fairly slim and what detail there is is pretty good but the proportions are quite poor. Arms in particular vary considerably in length, as does the position of the elbow. The figures are also very flat, which is rarely acceptable with figures that use impact weapons and shields, and these figures suffer as a result. Many of the poses are very awkward, so for example the first figure seems to have his sword pulled back as if to strike a blow, yet his shield prevents him from actually beginning that blow. Two spears and an axe come as separate weapons and all fit reasonably well, but all of the shields are moulded with the figure, with the inevitable compromises that that entails. However there is no flash and the ridge where the moulds meet is not prominent.

By no stretch of the imagination are these appealing figures but they are accurate and make an interesting addition to the several sets of Medieval Russian knights that have appeared lately.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 5
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath - 9780904417432
"Armies of Medieval Russia 750-1250" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.333) - David Nicolle - 9781855328488
"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

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