With origins as mounted infantry and their current classification as medium cavalry, the dragoons of the Napoleonic period were highly versatile cavalry. The Russian Empire had large numbers of these troops, and if it was the Cossacks that tended to capture the imagination of the foreigner, it was the dragoons that were the main working cavalry of the Tsar. More often than not campaigns were conducted in the summer months, but that did not preclude action in very cold weather, of which the retreat from Moscow is the most famous. Having already created a set of Russian Dragoons as part of their Borodino set, Strelets now present us with the same subject but wearing winter coats.
There are many similarities between this set and the 'summer' collection of figures. The horses are the same models, and many of the poses are also quite similar. All the poses here are the usual range we get from Strelets, with several handling muskets and pistols but the majority holding their sabre. The poses are quite flat and often quite stiff too, but there is nothing particularly objectionable in any of them. The horse poses range from acceptable to appalling however, with several impossible gaits for the animals.
While these figures bear the usual Strelets style, when compared with the earlier set we thought these not quite so good. Some of the components are not quite the correct shape, so for example the helmets are rather thinner than they should be. However the style is certainly similar enough for them to mix, and they may indeed both have come from the same hand. As usual items like scabbards are often much too short, and generally too thick, and their flat nature means there have been many compromises in positioning equipment to make things easy. There is almost no flash however, and the riders fit the horses well enough. None of this is particularly unusual for Strelets, so we suspect most customers will already know what they are getting here.
Another Strelets norm is good accuracy, and there is little to complain about here. All wear the dragoon helmet with the horsehair crest that first appeared in 1808, and almost the rest of the body is covered by a long single-breasted coat. All but the specialists have muskets, which is good, and of course the usual sabre and belts, so the only concern is with the standard, which according to our sources should be little more than 50cm in height whereas this model is 10.5mm, which equates to about 75cm. While the model does not appear particularly large, it seems the real thing was surprisingly small.
Your view on the Strelets style will be coloured by personal taste, but there is no getting away from the basically flat poses, and some quite dreadful horse poses. With no other set depicting these men at the time of writing these figures offer something unique, and while they leave much to be desired in terms of good looks they are accurate and quite energetic, whilst not forgetting the less hectic aspects of the duties of a dragoon.