Wallachia was on the periphery of the Thirty Years War, but more central when it came to the on-going conflict between the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire. Briefly united with neighbours Transylvania and Moldavia at the start of the 17th century under Mihai 'the Brave' (1558-1601), it was a region nominally part of the Ottoman Empire and ruled by a prince or voivode. Its people would at times battle Ottomans but more often the Habsburgs, sometimes as mercenaries but sometimes defending themselves against attempts by the Emperor to impose Catholicism.
Unfortunately this is one of those subjects that has been largely overlooked by English-speaking analysts of military history, such that while there are general histories of the conflicts around this time we could find nothing on the appearance or equipment of Wallachian fighters. As a result we are in no position to comment on the accuracy of these figures, and will have to content ourselves with a general description of what is on offer.
The figures wear a single-breasted coat and a tall cap, possibly intended to be fur. Half the figures carry a fairly light musket for which they have a powder horn and ball bag hanging from their belts. A few have a secondary weapon such as a knife or an axe, but most have no other visible weapon. Three of the figures are waving a sword - one of which may also be holding a firearm - and the list is completed with a musician (middle row), a man carrying a standard and what is obviously meant to be an officer as he is much more richly dressed and holds a mace as a symbol of his authority.
The poses are principally of men using their musket or sword, and in concept are reasonable enough although in execution they are pretty bad. Everything is clasped close to the body to keep the poses as flat as possible, and the swordsmen all hold their weapon either directly overhead or else behind their head, which is hardly natural.
These are really ugly figures, which it must be said is no different to so many other Mars sets. The detail is fair but not well done and the proportions are quite poor and in places crude. The faces are horrible, and the usual weak areas such as the weapons and the hands are of the customary low standard. On the positive side there is remarkably little flash here, and with no separate parts we don’t face the horror of having to do any assembly.
It is frustrating to be unable to properly research this unusual subject, but even if they are perfect historically the unpleasant and basic style of the sculpting will always count against these figures. The chosen poses are all fair enough and the musician is an interesting touch, although having four such figures in a set is not likely to be any more widely welcomed than having four standard-bearers. This is another quite typical Mars offering (although with much less flash than usual), but as the box artwork shows even a half-decent paint job can do little to make these figures any more attractive or desirable.