At the outbreak of war in 1914 Russia possessed more mounted troops than any other combatant, and while the Cossacks were the best known there were also large numbers of non-Cossack troops including 18 hussar regiments.
By this date there was no difference between the different types of line cavalry at the tactical level, and that mostly applied to the service uniform too. The men in this set wear the standard Russian mounted man’s uniform of tunic and a peaked cap, although one officer and the trumpeter have tunics with chest braid in the Attila style and traditional hussar boots with a front metal rosette as a reminder of the glorious uniforms of a bygone age. The trooper’s uniform is appropriate summer garb for all line regiments, and is properly done here, although we were surprised that several men do not have the chinstrap usually worn by mounted troops.
In 1914 most cavalry regiments were issued lances, so it is quite correct to find many of these poses so armed. Other than the lance most have sabres drawn, although one man is firing his rifle from the saddle (a weapon all the men carried). The first two figures in the first row have ring hands, and the set includes both swords and lances with which to arm these men. We thought the poses were pretty good, although in general shooting would have been done from cover rather than while mounted.
The horses in this set are the same as those in the previously released sets of Russian cavalry for World War I from Strelets, and have some very poor poses but quite a good range so as to depict everything from standing to a full charge.
The style and sculpting of these figures is very much typical of Strelets, with detail being pretty good but fairly unsophisticated and difficult to make out on occasion. However the weapons fit the ring hands well enough, as do the men with their horses. Like most manufacturers these days Strelets have long since got to grips with well-fitting moulds, so there is no flash worthy of mention here, although there is some excess plastic in the usual places such as behind weapons.
The Strelets set of dragoons provided standard Russian cavalry in winter uniform, and with this set we now have the same in summer uniform. The cavalry of Russia had more opportunities to fight in traditional style than did that of her western allies, but still such opportunities were not common. However there was much more cavalry action during the subsequent Russian Civil War, and these figures could also be of use for that conflict.