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Esci

Set 221

Russian Infantry and Artillery

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1985
Contents 30 figures and 2 guns
Poses 9 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

This set was for a long time the only one depicting Russian forces during the Crimean War, or indeed for the hundred years between Napoleon's retreat from Moscow and the Great War, and as such was largely pointless. Consequently it did not sell well, and was withdrawn relatively early. Now the set is available in an Italeri box, but today there are a growing number of Crimean War sets from Strelets, Emhar and others, so suddenly this set has gained a new lease of life and become potentially worth while.

The first thing to say is this is yet another set from Esci where two troop types have been put in one box. Since this includes guns, we are left with just five infantry poses and four artillery. The infantry poses are fine, with the officer in the classic 'sword and pistol' pose often used by Airfix. The artillery poses are the standard four that Esci used for all its artillery sets, which might be considered the bare minimum, but they just about do the job, even though a gun would actually be served by many more than four men. The guns themselves are up to the high standards Esci set for artillery pieces, with nicely detailed carriages and barrels of two different calibres. However the wheels are a good deal too large at 22mm (1.58 metres) in diameter - Russian guns in the age of Napoleon were about 1.27 metres in diameter (very small compared to other countries), and those of the Crimea would have been much the same. This is a difficult problem to solve unless you happen to have appropriate sized spare wheels to hand.

Both infantry and artillery wear the basic campaign dress - the forage cap and the grey-beige greatcoat, which would have been normal wear for most of the war. The forage cap is modelled with the rear of the crown pulled down, but this was not the way this cap was usually worn. Also, the greatcoats show two rows of buttons, but in fact they had a single row of buttons down the middle of the coat, even though they were indeed double-breasted. Some of the soldiers wear packs which have been sculpted supported by straps around the shoulders, which was a Western style not in use by the Russian Army at the time; they supported their packs by two cross-belts which went over the other cross-belts, so this is another error here. The much more splendidly attired officers are not wearing their greatcoats, allowing us to see their frock coats. However these should be longer, reaching much closer to the knee.

It goes without saying that as with all Esci figures these are beautifully carved and detail is excellent. The poses are well animated and anatomically convincing. Flash is virtually non-existent. It is a pity therefore that there are some accuracy flaws in what is a pretty simple uniform, and that so few poses are on offer.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 6
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 4
Sculpting 10
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"French and Russian Artillery of the Crimean War" - Ken Trotman (Smoothbore Ordnance Journal No.8) - Stephen Summerfield
"Inkerman 1854" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.51) - Patrick Mercer - 9781855326187
"The Crimean War" - Almark - Gerry Embleton - 9780855242428
"The Russian Army of the Crimea" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.27) - Albert Seaton - 9780850451214
"The Russian Army of the Crimean War 1854-56" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.241) - Robert H G Thomas - 9781855321618
"Uniforms & Weapons of the Crimean War" - Batsford - Robert Wilkinson-Latham - 9780713406665
"Uniforms of the Russian Army During the Crimean War 1854-1856" - Partizan - Laurence Spring - 9781858186405
"War in the Crimea: An Illustrated History" - Spellmount - Ian Fletcher - 9781862274785

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