Mountain artillery was clearly something of a specialised form of artillery that would often have little use, but in the campaigns against the Ottoman Empire in 1877 and 1878 the terrain made use of such an arm, so it is nice to see such a set being produced for this conflict.
Russia’s mountain artillery used bronze rifled 3-pounder breech-loaders on a suitably diminutive carriage, which is what we find in this set. As models go this is not too bad, with about the right dimensions. Both barrel and carriage are simplified, however, and the cheek pieces of the trail are considerably fatter than the real thing, which was steel and therefore had no need to be so thick. The barrel too is simplified but the basic shape is OK and this is a reasonable little model.
Artillery wore the same uniform as the infantry, which for winter wear was a large coat with the bashlik separate hood with long tails that wrapped around the chest. This has been properly rendered here, and while some units preferred a more Slavic flavour to their uniform everything here is authentic.
The sculpting has all the usual Strelets features of quite fat and bulky detail but plenty of effort made to include as much as possible. The crude detail is nowhere more obvious than in the swords some of the men wear, which look more like the Roman gladius than the slender weapon of reality, and in the sponge, which is at least twice the width of the barrel down which it is supposed to fit. A few of the poses are quite flat and in places things go completely astray (such as the right hand of the man looking through the telescope), but there is almost no flash and the choice of poses is quite reasonable. All we would add to that is that, given the small size of the gun, we might have expected more than one pose kneeling down.
In the past Strelets have seemed reluctant to make kits such as this gun, but in this set at least the results are a neat little model that might be simplified but is fairly easy to put together. The figures are of the usual Strelets standard, so while not great this is a very usable set for an unusual and interesting subject.