Hussars had always been considered light cavalry, and that was still true in 1877 when Russia went to war with the Ottoman Empire. By this time however the distinction was fairly meaningless in terms of employment, but the uniform remained distinctive, and the cachet of being a hussar was still appealing to many.
Russian hussars wore the Attila, with braiding on the front, which these figures seem to have. Sources state they wore the kepi, but these have a taller stiffened version of this which (apart from the officer) lacks the plume often mentioned, although this may have been dress uniform only. As with all Russian cavalry these have the tall boots, but none have a sabretache, which is fine as only the Guard wore this redundant device by this date. A lack of reliable evidence prevents us from properly assessing the uniform of these men, so we cannot comment further on how correct these figures are.
Like all Russian cavalry, hussars were trained in dismounted fighting by 1877, but their weaponry still harked back to the golden age of cavalry to some degree. Officers and musicians were armed with a revolver and sabre, while the front rank of the privates carried both these plus a lance of about three metres in length. The other ranks had no lance but instead a cavalry version of the rifle. The figures in this set, including the two with lances, reflect this well although some privates show no signs of revolvers, but there are no complaints about the armament.
Despite the box illustration these men would not often fight from the saddle, instead performing the traditional duties of light cavalry which modern weaponry had yet to remove. Therefore none of these poses are particularly combative, although one man does have his lance levelled as if on a charge. For some reason both men using their revolvers are firing upwards, which is not the greatest pose, but most of the poses suggest a patrol or similar. All are fairly flat, with the man holding his rifle tight to his right leg (second figure in top row) almost breaking his wrist in his desperation to keep as flat a profile as possible. All reasonable poses then, but not well realised by the sculptor.
The horses are the same as those in the companion set of Dragoons, which is fine as the hussar mounts were no different in appearance. These animals have an authentic-looking saddle with a circular valise at the back, and the saddle is held by three girths as it should be. While also not brilliantly rendered, all the animal poses are much more realistic than many older Strelets sets, and none are in any kind of wild charge, so this is a pretty reasonable selection of animals for these men.
Another feature shared with the dragoon set is the style of sculpting, which is adequate but a bit coarse and some slender thin items are much fatter here, as are buttons and other small pieces. This is no different to many other Strelets sets, but it is a style that sets them apart from other manufacturers. There is no flash to speak of anywhere, and the men are a good fit with their horses, so no gluing should be necessary. The only assembly is the insertion of the separate lance into one of the figure’s ring hand, which works well enough.
While we are unable to pass judgement on the historical accuracy of these figures, they are the sort of cavalry set we have long become accustomed to from Strelets, with reasonable but flat poses and a simple style of sculpting. If nothing else then they are at least a good match for the rest of the range.