The history of Russia in the medieval period is dominated by invasion and occupation by the Mongol hordes. This had a considerable Asian influence on the development of warfare in that land, where eastern and western trends mixed with those from the south and others that were home-grown to create knights with a unique character. With the growth in eastern European manufacturers, this rich heritage is increasingly appearing in this hobby, and this set of Medieval Russians from LW is the latest step in that movement.
The figures in this set are clothed in a good variety of styles that set them apart from any set previously made. The majority are unarmoured, and are wearing what was basically their normal clothes, with the characteristic fur-trimmed cap being much in evidence. The 'guard' pose has a quilted tunic but also sports a mail hood and a helmet plus poleyns to protect the knees. The mounted man has both lamellar armour and mail, so he is likely to be wealthier and an obvious candidate for an officer. The dead knight is particularly interesting as he wears a surcoat and great helm, and could easily pass as a Teutonic knight or similar.
Looking at the figures it is apparent that there is not much actual fighting going on - most are standing and doing relatively little. Therefore there is really not much to be said about the poses, except that they are OK but rather sedentary. One peculiarity is the dead knight, who has managed to retain a grip on his sword even in death.
It can be seen that many of the figures are unarmed. Several separate weapons are supplied as shown, but with only one of each there are not quite enough to go round. While the weapons themselves are fine we did not feel they looked natural in the hands of the figures. The kneeling man seems to be holding a spear, yet no spear is included in the set. In fact none of the figures seem to comfortably hold these weapons, both in the realism sense and the modelling sense, since there are no ring hands to take them. Several figures have strange flat hands, the purpose of which we could not fathom. The one separate shield has no peg, hole or other means of attaching to any figure.
The mounted man fits his horse adequately well, but the horse itself is a considerably modified version of the horse to be found in the Esci WWII Russian Soldiers set! It has a slightly unnatural front apron of protective mail, and the saddle has been much changed to one suitable for the medieval period, but LW have left the original stirrups on the animal, even though the rider also has stirrups himself! The horse laden with supplies is an unusual but good idea and although it has no base it stands well enough without.
The level of detail on these figures is pretty good, but like others in the LW range they are fairly flat and ugly. Proportions are variable, but some are missing necks and several have the largest noses we have ever seen on any figure! The flash is very noticeable on both men and horses, although some pieces have suffered much more than others in this respect.
This set is quite a mix, with different figures being typical of different moments within the medieval period. The sculpting is not the most elegant yet seen, but the main drawback is the difficulty of attaching weapons. This is at best a fair set which is a pity as the subjects are both interesting and never previously produced in this scale.