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Strelets

Set 043

Artillery of Charles XII

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2005
Contents 24 figures and 2 cannon
Poses 24 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Blue
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

By all accounts Charles was not a great fan of the artillery arm. There has been some suggestion that he was contemptuous of artillery, but it may be no more than its slow moving pace did not match his dynamic and aggressive manner of waging war. In any event, the Swedes, previously very innovative in their use and development of artillery, made poor use of it during the Great Northern War. Nonetheless all Swedish armies had artillery, and on occasions it was even the decisive element in battle.

Charles's artillery dressed much like the infantry - indeed much like the armies of most of Europe at the time. One difference with their infantry seems to be that they wore coats without turnbacks, as faithfully depicted on the box artwork, but most of the coats in this set have them. Since styles changed during the course of the war and evidence is fragmentary it is not possible to say whether this is a problem or not, just something worthy of note. All wear the tricorn rather than the karpus, and the usual breeches and stockings of the day. Again the artwork matches evidence that the men wore swords, but in this set only the officers are so armed.

The poses in this set are the usual kind of thing for artillery, with the officer standing on a bucket being something a bit different. With so many poses Strelets have taken the opportunity to include some interesting ones like the man emptying the bucket, but all of them are reasonable. Little touches like the large belly on one shirtless man add a nice human touch.

The cannons are the same as those found in the set of Artillery of Peter I, so our comments on those apply equally here. The carriages are rather large and clumsy but all the parts are very well engineered and fit together easily and securely.

The sculpting is not good by any standards. A pretty rough overall look is highlighted by things like the horseshoe each officer wears round his neck (like no gorget we have ever seen). Perhaps the most obvious is the kneeling officer, who is some sort of man-mountain that makes the rest of them look by children in comparison. Detail is generally woolly and some things are just simply a strange shape, particularly when not viewed from face on. The separate handspikes do not fit any of the appropriate figures properly - it's quite a mess.

Although the cannons are good the rest of this set is well below par, which is hardly likely to endear Charles to his artillery.

Note The final figure is of a soldier from the Streltsi of 17th century Russia. Though he is unrelated to the subject of this set, he is one of a series of 'bonus' figures which when combined will create a set of this unit for the Great Northern War. See Streltsi Bonus Figures feature for details.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 5
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Forces of the Swedish Crown 1688-1721" - Raider - C A Sapherson - 9781858180205
"Poltava 1709" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.34) - Angus Konstam - 9781855324169
"Swedish and Russian Armies of the Great Northern War" - Editions Brokaw - Pat Condray
"Swedish Weaponry Since 1630" - Royal Army Museum - Bengt M Holmquist - 9789138071755
"The Art of Warfare in the Age of Marlborough" - Spellmont - David Chandler - 9780946771424
"The Great Northern War 1700-1721" - Acedia Press - Lars-Eric Höglund
"Weapons and Equipment of the Marlborough Wars" - Blandford - Anthony Kemp - 9780713710137

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