Dragoons were originally infantrymen mounted on ponies or horses to allow them to move quicker, and have their origins around the later 16th century. The first recorded Swedish dragoons were noted in 1611, but grew in numbers and importance during the period of the Thirty Years War. They were generally used for mundane tasks like rapidly reaching and then securing key points such as bridges and crossroads, allowing the army to move more freely, but never had a significant role in any of the set piece battles of the Swedish phase of the War, between 1630 and 1635.
When looking at this set the key thing to remember is that dragoons were mounted infantry; they rode to the point of action and then dismounted to fight like any other infantry. Some were musketeers and some pikemen, though there is no evidence of such pikemen in the army of Gustavus Adolphus. What we have here however is a set of cavalry, with men clearly in action in the saddle. While it was not unknown for dragoons to occasionally fire from the saddle, such events were very rare at this time, which makes this a very strange set. One dragoon is using a pistol (dragoons were not routinely issued pistols) and the rest have drawn their swords whilst mounted. If not impossible then certainly very rare, and hard to understand why Mars chose to make such a set, though the figures can be used for cavalry too. All the poses are stiff and flat, with sword and sword arm always directly in line with the body, making for some very flat individuals. None are particularly good, though the man resting his sword hilt on his forehead is especially poor, and the man holding his sword out to the right is hard to understand too (though easy to sculpt). The one pose that has any sort of depth to it at all is the last, of a man with no hat and leaning back slightly as he raises his sword. Again, why? It reminded us of a painting of Adolphus after the Battle of Breitenfeld, but is hardly a pose that many will find useful.
Costume is boots, breeches, a coat and the usual brimmed hat. Dragoons wore no armour, so this costume is correct apart from the boots, which are those for cavalry when dragoons usually wore ordinary shoes and stockings as did all infantry. While most of the men are carrying a musket none have any sign of the cartridges or powder bag they would need in order to use it. Also, placed where it is, it would impede their sword arm (which real dragoons never used of course). The last hatless figure has no firearm at all, but wears a sash and basically seems to closely match the already-mentioned painting, suggesting he is supposed to be the king himself, who of course was never a dragoon, plus there are two of him in every set.
Dragoons had poor-quality horses (and sometimes none at all) since they were only for transport, and standard saddles and bridles, but many of those here have decorative straps on the hind quarters of the horse that look medieval and certainly not appropriate from the mid 17th century. Also most have pistols, which as we have said was very rare, and while the poses are generally pretty unrealistic many are clearly at the gallop, suggesting they are engaged in a charge which, once again, was so rare as to be not worthy of modelling.
Sculpting from Mars is never a good point, and it is no different here. The figures are ugly and messy, and detail is often over-large or unclear. The last figure in the top row has his sword on a baldric, but this has only been sculpted at the back and has been forgotten on the front, and all the figures have their scabbard pulled very high on the body, which would make it more difficult to draw but easier to sculpt. Also, there is a fair amount of flash on all the pieces, though the flat poses mean there is no extra plastic blocks to remove. The man with the pistol has a huge kink in his scabbard (perhaps that is why he has not drawn his sword!), and the attempt to portray the broad-brimmed hats is very poor indeed. As so often before, we have to report the men are very hard to fit on the horses - some have their legs far too close together to stand any hope of even forcing them onto their mount, as is most obviously seen on the middle figure in the top row.
Mars are years too early for having dragoons draw their swords and pistols, spur their horses into a gallop and fight like cavalry, so the value of this set in otherwise ideal conditions would only be for portraying cavalry and not dragoons. As it is, the usual poor sculpting and indifferent production quality merely add problems to this dismal set, which has nothing much going for it.