At about the same time as Zvezda were producing their set of Mongol warriors, Italeri were producing their version. However this set from Italeri only includes mounted men, which made up the bulk, and sometimes all, of the much-feared Mongol armies.
The bow was the principle weapon of the Mongols, and from childhood all boys were taught to use it from the saddle during the hunt or war. Two of these figures are doing just that, with most of the rest carrying javelins, though swords and a mace are also in evidence. Apart from the archers all the men are facing forward and do not strike the observer as being very animated. Most look more like they are on the march rather than in battle, which is regrettable. The standard bearer carries a standard of plausible design. The best figure is that of a man holding a javelin and resting his helmet on his thigh. Whilst obviously not involved in a fight, this does at least allow us to glimpse the unusual hairstyle of these men, which is accurately and expertly sculpted here.
About half the men wear body armour, which was often of the lamellar type, and has been correctly sculpted here, though it is thought that only a minority of the men actually wore armour. The rest are showing the typical thick coat, correctly modelled in every detail. Headgear is a wide variety of helmets and caps, usually of fur, and again this is all correct. Even smaller details like the boots with no heels are correctly depicted. One problem is the shields, for it is thought that only dismounted Mongols carried shields. There is a considerable emphasis on the high-status warriors with much armour, and almost nothing of the standard Mongol warrior, so while each figure is not necessarily wrong the whole collection is far from representative of a Mongol army.
It is unclear what proportion of horses were armoured, but in this set two of the four poses are provided with protection. Mongol horses were short, stocky and very sturdy. The creatures modelled here are a little smaller than horses in other sets, but the proportions do not give the correct stocky impression at all. Also we did not think the two animals in the lower row were at all realistic in pose. They have all been modelled with ropes, axes and bottles as they should be, and in addition each has an empty case for their master's bow. This is also OK, except most of the riders are not handling a bow, so where did it go? A bow should have been modelled, and could then have been cut off or left as appropriate for the rider, although it is thought that many men carried two bows.
As always the detail is excellent, but this set lacks the flavour of a typical Mongol army as it swept into Europe and China. We would have preferred a lot more life in the poses, and a higher proportion of archers to heavy cavalry, while the 'ponies' are far from realistic. In short this set still leaves plenty of room for other more representative sets in the future.