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Strelets

Set 037

Mounted Boers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2006
Contents 12 figures and 12 horses
Poses 12 poses, 6 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Red
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

When we first heard that Strelets were making this set we were very intrigued as the Boers had no cavalry and did not normally fight while mounted. The Boers did have horses a plenty, but they were used to move around the country, so a set of mounted Boers on the march would have been fine but a little dull. However what we actually got was very different.

This set contains 12 figures, most of who appear to be firing out of the saddle. Occasionally Boers might ride down natives if they were poorly armed, and there are a few instances when mounted Boers managed to surprise and ambush British supply columns during the Second Boer War, but in general the Boer tactic was to give rifle fire from cover, and have the horses held in the rear until the action was finished. Therefore most of these poses are useless for more than a tiny number of actions. The Boers were intelligent and knew that charging British infantry with guns blazing would be suicide, so they rarely did it! Only the middle two figures in the third row could reasonably be said to have any potential use as they do not look like they are in battle.

All the figures are reasonable dressed for Boers, although a surprisingly high number here are wearing top hats, bowlers or similar, whereas slouch hats were much the most common because they were the most practical and comfortable. One man is armed with nothing more than an umbrella and a pair of binoculars, and is therefore presumably supposed to be an officer, although Boer officers took an active part in the fighting and were often indistinguishable from their men. This figure seems to be designed with the European concept of aloof officers which is entirely inappropriate for the Boers.

The horses are of equally limited value for the most part. Most seem to be at the charge, which matches the figures but is by no means their usual situation as we have discussed. Once again we have some very unnatural gaits on some, although we were pleased to see that in general they are small, which matches the virtual ponies actually used. Saddles and other horse furniture are varied, which is what you would expect.

Sculpting is not too bad for this company, although in places straps disappear and detail tends to be fairly chunky. The riders fit the horses pretty well, and there is a minimum of flash.

Since no one in this set is firing forward, you can’t really make a charge with these figures as they would all be busy shooting each other. All you can do is have a group of them passing some target and shooting to one side. However as we have said such a tactic was very rare, making this set of very little use for anyone wishing to recreate the Boer Wars with the British. Whoever conceived and designed this set clearly has no more than a schoolboy understanding of the Boers and their highly effective methods.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 2
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 6
Mould 9

See Also
Strelets Boers
Further Reading
Books
"Boer Commando 1876-1902" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.86) - Ian Knight - 9781841766485
"Fighting Techniques of the Colonial Era" - Thomas Dunne Books - Robert Bruce - 9780312590925
"Queen Victoria's Enemies (1) Southern Africa" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.212) - Ian Knight - 9780850459012
"Spion Kop" - Almark (Great Battles Series) - H Castle - 9780855242510
"The Boer War" - Weidenfeld (Uniforms Illustrated Series No.19) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780853687641
"The Boer War" - Weidenfeld and Nicolson - Thomas Pakenham - 9780351314346
"The Boer War" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.62) - Christopher Wilkinson-Latham - 9780850452570
"The Boer Wars (1) 1836-98" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.301) - Ian Knight - 9781855326125
"The Boer Wars (2) 1898-1902" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.303) - Ian Knight - 9781855326132
"Victoria's Enemies" - Blandford - Donald Featherstone - 9780713720815
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.84
"Military Illustrated" - No.23
"Military Illustrated" - No.117

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