Zvezda had already produced many kits, including kits of larger figures, when they entered the 1:72 figure market with this set. It was a promising first effort.
What Zvezda delivered was a good range of figures with swords, spears, bows, maces and axes. Nearly all also carry a shield, and both round and kite shields are provided separately. These all have a hole in the centre, and fit over a long peg on the figure, leaving plenty of peg protruding beyond the shield. This can then be sliced off to leave a smooth shield that grips well. As a means of attaching shields to figures this is about the best system yet seen at this scale.
Costume is equally varied, which again accurately reflects the times this set depicts. All figures wear either fabric or mail - none wear plate armour, though this was in use during the 14th Century. Military costume at this time was very colourful, with bright colours like blue, green and especially red being popular, so this set will make a very attractive display when painted.
The quality of the figures is not as good as the later sets from this company, with detail being rather flat. Still it is adequate, and the figures have plenty of life. The biggest disappointment with this set is the spears and lances, which are supplied separate from the figures. These are held to the sprue in several places, and seem to have 'buckled', leaving the shafts bent and useless for all practical purposes. Another interesting feature is the two poses with axes, which were originally meant to have swords, and were given axes hanging from their belts. When the axe was promoted to the hands, the shaft of the axe on their belt was removed, but not the head, so both have an axe head hanging incongruously (and with no support) about their waist.
The crossbow was very important in Russian armies by the mid 13th Century, and so should have been represented in this set. However, there are none, possibly due to the difficulties of sculpting such a complex device. Equally, there are no firearms, though some are known to have been used in the late 14th Century. Yet they were probably not very numerous, and being only introduced very late in our period their omission is easier to accept.
An interesting set for an interesting subject. Zvezda were to improve their mould quality with their next sets, but this one is by no means bad.