Strelets have done several sets of figures preparing for battle, which allows for some rather more interesting poses than the usual fighting choices. Such sets can greatly expand a subject, including battle scenes, since battles rarely involved everyone at the same time. For those wearing armour it can take quite some time to be fully ready for battle, so figures such as those in this set, while only depicting the final stages of preparation, reflect a routine that all warriors had to go through before a fight.
The poses to be found here are pretty much what we have come to expect of such sets, and include a number of men simply standing and holding a weapon, presumably waiting for the action to start. This are all perfectly useful, but perhaps of more interest are the others: poses such as the man putting on his helmet and the man apparently tying a strap at his neck. These latter two, plus the man seemingly drawing his crossbow, are the only three figures actually doing anything - everyone else looks to be waiting, which is quite valid but not exactly exciting. Given the set’s title these poses are all appropriate however.
In considering the accuracy of these figures it would seem that Strelets have again aimed to cover the bulk of Norman history by including elements that are appropriate for different times or regions, although as usual such things are far from clearly defined. The majority of the figures wear mail, but some have scale or lamellar armour and two are unarmoured. A couple of the figures seem to have a mail hauberk with a shorter lamellar hauberk on top. This latter garment has very pronounced plates on the shoulder, but we could find no evidence either for this garment or for the habit of wearing both armours at the same time, so there must be some doubt as to the accuracy of this. Helmets are also varied, although the familiar segmented type with nasal guard is chiefly on show, happily.
There is a good range of weapons, with a surprising number holding battle-axes - not a particularly common weapon in Norman hands. Only a couple of figures have sword in hand, although most are carrying one as well as another weapon. Nevertheless we felt this rather underplayed the importance of the sword in the name of a wide variety of weaponry. Shields are not always present (presumably laid aside until needed), but all are of the familiar kite shape apart from one round one, which would have been more common earlier in the period.
Sculpting has good detail but smaller items are somewhat exaggerated, so for example swords are rather too fat and in an attempt to represent mail the sculptor has shown individual links, which makes them far too large (a rough overall texture is all that is needed at this scale). Nevertheless the overall impression is quite good, and a pleasing aspect is that some of the shields seem to have been deliberately 'scarred' as if from a previous battle. Although the sculpting is a bit basic there is no flash, and no assembly or excess plastic, which has been achieved by choosing relatively flat poses.
While neither the poses nor the quality are likely to get pulses racing this set does deliver what it says on the box, and for fans of Strelets Normans this is another useful addition to the range.