This is one of the first sets in a new series for the Art of Tactic range, which delivers what are basically game pieces of 1/72 plastic figures for use in the Zvezda game system. The new series covers Napoleonics, which is certainly an old favourite with so many, and naturally the Russians feature right from the start. These figures are labelled as 1812 to 1814, which is perfectly correct as they wear the remarkable curved-top shako that began to be issued in early 1812, although of course it took a long time for all infantry to receive one. This shako has all the decoration that most nations kept for parade but the Russians happily wore into battle, including the single grenade badge that tells us that these men are musketeers rather than grenadiers. This is good because most sets covering this soldier have chosen to show grenadiers, so ordinary musketeers are still rare. All the rest of the uniform is also correctly done, as is the knapsack and other equipment these men all carry. The collars are worn closed, which is another change that was introduced in 1812, so no accuracy problems here.
In a game piece poses are largely representative rather than supposed to depict any real body of troops, and the four poses here are all perfectly good. Each figure has some element of assembly, which helps to make the poses particularly lifelike without suffering any extra plastic, so the poses are great. Zvezda figures can be a bit variable in terms of ease of assembly, but this set presents no difficulties in putting it together, so full marks there. The sculpting too is excellent - indeed beautiful - and with no trace of flash these make very fine soldiers indeed. Detail is perfect, faces are excellent and the anatomy is natural, so you could hardly ask for more.
Of course this is far from the usual full set of figures we usually review, so the tiny number of figures and poses is the biggest drawback with this set. However another issue is with the bases, for unlike previous sets in the Art of Tactic range these men have been given neither small individual bases nor a large single base for them all. Instead each man has a large, square, deep base which is nicely illustrated on the back of the box, but is next to useless if you wish to stand them in a natural way as everyone would have to be a fair distance from his neighbour - hardly conducive to a Napoleonic formation.
As game pieces these are no doubt exactly what is required, and certainly the figures are very attractive to look at. As a boost for more conventional model armies the set is limited as we have said, but then that is not what this product is for. Nice models, but of restricted value for modellers in general.