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Set 72072

Russian Artillery

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2015
Contents 16 figures and 2 guns
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

The 17th century saw many changes in Russia as it began with the Troubles and saw numerous wars with all the usual neighbours as well as political strife at home. The Russian Army during those hundred years gradually took on more of a professional appearance, with many more professional infantry and cavalry, at the expense of the less reliable aristocratic cavalry that had been the mainstay of Muscovite armies in previous years. As elsewhere, Russian artillery was gradually becoming more standardised and more mobile, although the emphasis remained on sieges, and so the guns were generally bigger than in Western Europe. The pace of change in the artillery was slow, however, and even in the last years of the 17th century orders were placed for guns from Lübeck and Sweden to replace pieces that dated to the previous century.

The artillerymen in this set all wear what was standard costume by this date, with kaftans laced across the chest, and tall caps trimmed with fur. This was the same as that worn by the contemporary Streltsi, and has been well reproduced here. Some have belts and some a sash, including a few with a typical double-knot arrangement. This costume is rightly shown with only minor variations in style, and the only significant difference is in the coat of the commander with his hand raised, which has a much more showy collar and typical false sleeves. Commonplace shoes with turned-up toes complete what is a very appropriate look for these men.

Having eight poses per gun is pretty good in our view, and all of these are very useful. They largely echo the poses in the sister set for the 16th century but are perfectly good for that and we cannot complain about any of them.

Our enthusiasm wanes somewhat when it comes to the two guns on offer here. They are exactly the same models as appear in the 16th century set, so we must repeat our reservations from that set (where the dimensions of each can also be found). While having two different sizes is good, and their size seems reasonable to us even for the 17th century, the design of the barrels seems very unlikely. Ornate though gun barrels were throughout this period, the very thick grooves cut into both barrels offers a heavy gun, yet with many potential weak spots, which makes no sense and certainly is nothing like typical guns of the day. In addition the fatter of the two barrels does not sit properly on either of the carriages, making an unconvincing model. Add to that the considerable amount of flash on both barrels and carriages, and these models leave much to be desired. Also while guns were bigger than in Western nations, there was still a shift towards smaller calibres, so the rather large guns here, while still workable for the 17th century, could have been a bit smaller in our view to better reflect the trends of the period.

The figures are all very nicely sculpted, with natural poses, lifelike proportions and good detail. The faces are difficult to see beneath all the whiskers, which is fine since they predate the reforms of Peter the Great. So we liked the figures very much, but the guns were a lot more marginal, and many may wish to substitute either the whole gun or at least the barrels. That said, the figures make this set well worth having if your interest lies in this period of history, which was after all one filled with so many military conflicts on the soil of Eastern Europe.

Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of Ivan the Terrible" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.427) - V Shpakovsky & D Nicolle - 9781841769257
"European Weapons and Warfare 1618-1648" - Octopus - Eduard Wagner - 9780706410723
"Muscovy's Soldiers" - Helion & Company (Century of the Soldier No.28) - Michael Fredholm von Essen - 9781912390106
"Russian Field Artillery 1382-1917" - - Sergey Voytsekhovich
"Russia's Wars of Emergence" - Routledge - Carol Stevens - 9781138836761

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