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Strelets

Set 019

Russian Hussars

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2004
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

Hussars could be described as the fastest growing part of the Russian cavalry during the Napoleonic period. From just one regiment in 1796, there were a total of 11 by the time of the French invasion in 1812. These men looked similar to the hussars of most other armies in their flamboyant uniforms of Hungarian origin, but as each regiment had its own colour scheme they were particularly dazzling to the eye.

One unusual feature of Russian hussars in 1812 was that the front rank carried a lance, at least in some regiments. Thus this set contains three such figures (first two on first row and the second man on the second row), plus one man with a pistol and another firing a musketoon, as well as the usual sword poses. We thought the man with the lance on the second row was an odd pose as he is holding the lance near its base, so it is unbalanced and very awkward. The other two lancers have separate lances which fit into ring hands, although these need to be widened somewhat to accommodate the weapon. All the other poses are reasonable, with the man about to thrust with his sword to his left (second row, third figure) being a most unusual but effective choice. The only figure truly out of place is the standard-bearer, as hussars almost never carried colours into battle.

These figures wear the scuttle-shaped shako (sometimes referred to today as the kiwer) issued in 1812 to both themselves and the infantry. However they did not wear the long full dress plume while on campaign, so many customers may wish to remove this, leaving only the pom-pon. Most of the men are wearing their pelisse, so clearly it is cold, and all have a carbine or musketoon suspended from a belt over their left shoulder. In 1812 the Hussars surrendered their carbines, like other cavalry types, except for 16 flankers per squadron assigned to protect the flanks, so by rights only a small number of figures should have such weapons here. Also all are missing the thinner belt over their right shoulder to which the pouch was attached - here it is on the same belt as the carbine (some sources seem to omit this belt, so it may not have been universal). Other than this, the figures are correctly turned out.

Strelets have often let themselves down with their horse poses, and while those in this set are better than many that have gone before, there are still three poses with both legs on one side touching the ground while both the other legs are airborne, an incorrect gait. However all the horse furniture is correctly done and nicely detailed. We found the men fitted the horses with varying degrees of comfort, but Strelets say each man is intended for one particular horse, and we did not have the patience to work out which was paired with which.

Hussars have complicated and intricate uniforms which must be a challenge to any sculptor, particularly when the master is created in true 1/72 scale as here. However the result is pretty good, with loops and knots in the right places, making painting a lot easier. Some shortcuts have been taken like making all the sabretaches face forward, which is not convincing, but overall the figures are not bad. The flag is a little large for a guidon, but it is not engraved. However since this was a rare sight (if at all) on the field perhaps some will be tempted to convert him into another lancer.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 7
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars" - Lorenz - Digby Smith - 9780754815716
"Napoleonic Uniforms Vol.4" - Emperor's Press - John R Elting - 9781883476205
"The History of Cavalry" - Facts on File - Z Grbasic and V Vuksic - 9780816021871
"The Russian Army of the Napoleonic Wars (2): Cavalry 1799-1814" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.189) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780850457469
"Uniforms of the Retreat from Moscow" - Blandford (Colour Series) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780713707885

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