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Strelets

Set 117

Roman Transport (2)

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2011
Contents 13 figures, 4 mules, 1 wagon with 2 oxen
Poses 13 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

You might wonder why this set is named Roman Transport (2) when there is (at least officially) no set 1. Of course there is a set 1, and we reviewed it here, but it was marketed as made by Linear-B, so while it was obviously actually made by Strelets this rather shambolic arrangement explains why there is no set 1 in the Strelets range. The first set contained a four-wheel wagon, and we made a few comments about Roman transport and military logistics there, which of course apply equally to the background to this set.

The two sets have exactly the same mules and oxen, but different figures and a different vehicle. Here that is a two-wheeled cart, which is somewhat surprisingly being pulled by oxen. Oxen are heavy and powerful but slow, and for a vehicle this size we would have thought donkeys or mules would have been a more appropriate team. As it is the cart is hitched in exactly the same way as the larger wagon, which means the whole arrangement is both very inefficient and quite wrong historically. The cart itself is a very simple box-shaped affair with solid wheels and a seat at the front for the driver. This crude model has, rather strangely, larger wheels than those on the wagon, yet still we felt they were not nearly big enough, and would have liked to have seen them of the size of that shown on the box. The set includes no contents for the cart, but does have a seated pair who are driving it. However the seat is placed at the very front of the cart, so there is nowhere for this pair to place their feet, despite the sculpting making it very clear that they are resting on a surface. The male driver holds a whip in one hand and his companion in the other (it is a very tight fit after all), but she has her left arm at a curious position. We were not impressed by this model.

The four mules are much better (as are the oxen by themselves). Each has a number of pegs onto which certain items can be placed, and the set contains some items for this purpose. There is nothing really suitable for the back of the animal, however, so you will have to go to the ‘Set 1’ for those. Suitably adorned with these items you get some really nice animals with a decent load that will work well with your Strelets Roman armies on the march.

It is quite hard to categorise the figures except to say they are a collection of various Romans carrying different things.All wear the normal belted tunica and some have hooded capes, all of which makes them quite authentic both as civilians and soldiers away from the battlefield. The second figure in the top row carries a hammer in nonchalant fashion, and the two figures in the second row are carrying either a stretcher or a chest. For the rest the poses are non-specific but perfectly OK nonetheless. The second figure in the second row has his arm in a sling and a bandage around his head, so would make a good casualty figure for the legion.

Apart from the woman on the cart there are two other females here, both on our top row. The first is one with a child, and she is right up against the child because she has thrown what looks like a towel or cloth over her head and that of the child, presumably to keep off the sun or rain. From the front it looks like a normal hood, but from behind it looks very strange. The second woman, at the end of the row, is standing with a bag across her back. As with the other set, this woman wears a dress that looks remarkably fitted and tight – not at all Roman or anything else of the period. At least this time the neckline is more normal.

The usual rather chunky Strelets style is the order of the day here, although the costumes are without detail and as Roman clothes were loose and with relatively little shape this sort of subject suffers much less as a result than later more detailed uniforms. Clothing folds are not bad, and faces are quite nice. Hands are more of a problem, as several – particularly those facing into the mould – have little or no sign of fingers. There is no flash, and on the whole the pieces that need assembly (the cart and the stretcher-bearers) go together with only a small amount of filing and drilling.

Any army on the march needs a good deal of logistics, and this is seldom modelled, so we applaud the idea of this set. The poses are interesting and, with our reservations about the women, historically accurate. The animals are good and could find many uses in various scenarios, but the cart is crude and lets the rest of the set down.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 7
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 7
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"Daily Life of the Ancient Romans" - Hackett - David Matz - 9780872209572
"Everyday Life Through the Ages" - Readers Digest - Michael Davison - 9780276420351
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Roman Military Clothing (1) 100 BC - AD 200" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.374) - Graham Sumner - 9781841764870
"Storming the Heavens" - Pimlico - Antonio Santosuosso
"The Chronicle of Western Costume" - Thames & Hudson - John Peacock - 9780500511510
"The Complete Roman Army" - Thames & Hudson - Adrian Goldsworthy - 9780500051245
"The History of Coaches" - Kerby & Endean - G A Thrupp - 9781103144280
"Wheels - A Pictorial History" - John Hopkins - Edwin Tunis - 9780801869297

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