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Set M022(2)

Dacian Light Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2009
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brown
Average Height 22.5 mm (= 1.62 m)


Dacia was a Thracian kingdom that by the first century of the Christian era had attained a prosperity and sophistication unusual outside of Italy and Greece. The Dacians were also warlike, and Julius Caesar had contemplated invading their territory, but the first serious Roman incursion occurred during the reign of Dimitian over a century later, when a series of punitive raids failed to achieve lasting results. Only after two large campaigns in the early second century were the Dacians defeated and their kingdom destroyed.

As with many ‘barbarian’ armies, the bulk of any Dacian army was made up of lightly armed warriors of little personal wealth, and that is what we find in this set. The figures are armed with javelins, spears, axes, bows and the famous falx, which is a good selection of typical Dacian weaponry. Not all these weapons would usually be described as ‘light’, but it seems here that Strelets intend ‘light’ to mean the dress of the men, all of whom are wearing their ordinary clothes of trousers and a tunic with, in many instances, a cap of typical Phrygian style. Some sources claim that the wearing of any headwear denoted importance, but it seems hard to accept that such a basic item was restricted to an elite, so we are inclined to accept all these figures are being properly dressed. Two men wear a very small cloak, which might have restricted their movements in battle, but was certainly common wear at other times. More likely are those that have stripped to the waist, which would have been very common practice.

As we have said, all the weapons look fine, but the shields require a little more attention. Trajan’s column is the most famous source for Dacians, and this shows only oval shields. From this we might deduce that oval was the most frequent shape for a shield, but this does not mean that other shapes were not also used, and this set includes some that are rectangular and hexagonal, which seem perfectly reasonable. In all cases the shields are moulded to the figure rather than separate, but somewhat unusually for such sets they are all very well positioned.

The worst that can be said of the poses is that some are rather flat, so for example the first two figures in the top row have their weapons in line with their nose, which is not realistic. Having said that the poses are otherwise quite acceptable, and generally quite lively and natural. All the weapons are being used correctly and in a believable manner, and despite only having 12 poses there is good variety here.

The reason these figures exist is, of course, the appalling sculpting of the first incarnation of this set, which we reviewed here. It would not take much to improve on this first offering, but happily Strelets have returned to their usual standard with this retooling. While not perfect these figures display the usual Strelets quality with good if rather chunky detail, although the subject does not make great demands for detail in any case. Faces, musculature and clothing are all pretty good, and if the style is not to everyone’s liking then they do at least match well with the Roman sets which they are intended to face. There is no flash and little evidence of the mould, and the one separate piece – the bow for the first figure in the second row, fits well enough with a little filing.

It is always heartening to see a manufacturer go to the effort of replacing a sub-standard set, and this retooling was certainly required. The result is a return to the usual Strelets standard, which provides a very usable set of figures that are a good reflection of ordinary Dacian warriors and are to be welcomed.


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

Further Reading
"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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