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Set 001

The French Army's Camp

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2001
Contents 31 figures
Poses 31 poses, 1 horse pose
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Bronze
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)


This ambitious set was the first product from Strelets, which says something for their commitment to making interesting and unusual sets. Having browsed the above scans, you will see that it is very different to the kind of set we are used to. Soldiers spent hardly any time actually in battle, so when on campaign they were mostly either on the march or in camp. With so few figures depicting historic soldiers at leisure or engaged in support tasks, this set was something of a breath of fresh air, at least in concept.

The set has 31 figures, all in different poses, which is impressive by anyone's standards. The figures lend themselves to being placed in groups and have several themes. First of all there are the medical figures, where we get surgeons, orderlies, stretcher-bearers, two stretchers and several patients, including one already stripped and waiting to be operated on on the table.

The next theme is of soldiers relaxing. There are a number of soldiers sitting or lying down, some are playing cards, one is playing a guitar, and there are several ladies present to aid the relaxation. Accessories for this scene include a campfire, a drum (on which the cards are being dealt) and a tent. The tent is pretty small, being approximately 40mm square at the base and only reaching the height of a man at its apex.

Next we have the blacksmith at work scene. A dragoon is holding his horse while a smith is replacing a shoe, and others are working the bellows and hammering the iron. With this group you additionally get an anvil.

Finally, there are a number of soldiers walking carrying provisions such as hay and a pig (possibly 'liberated' from a nearby farm). The very last piece is a wagon, which is not harnessed up to an animal.

Wow, what a list! Diorama makers everywhere would be licking their lips. Sadly the figures are not great quality. In a few instances the poses are a little awkward, but more importantly the detail is not as clear as it should be. This is down to a poor quality mould, which also means there is a large amount of flash to remove, and some pieces have not come out whole (the man carrying a pole across his shoulders should have been carrying a very poor model of a scythe, but some of the blade didn't make it). Though fairly rough, the figures should paint up nicely. However the assemblies are less easy to accommodate. The wagon and table come in several parts that fit together poorly and have no inbuilt stability in the joins, so gluing is essential. Even after gluing, however, joins are delicate, and each model has a certain lack of symmetry which could be described as 'rustic' or simply 'sloppy'! The tent too is useless - one this shape would be twice the size, and the small tents used by individual soldiers were very different to this.

There are barely two men wearing the same uniform, so this is a nice scattering of different units as well as the civilian and un-uniformed figures. All aspects of the uniforms and clothing are authentic, with the right casual appearance you would expect of men at leisure or well away from any enemy. Tools and equipment too look good, but the wagon and tent are far from the mark and should be discarded. That aside, the accuracy is good.

This is naturally the oldest Strelets product, and is increasingly difficult to find these days. However with some work there are some really interesting poses in here that should find various uses. The quality was not there, and to date Strelets have never matched the better quality output of others, but the originality has to a degree been maintained with later production. Apart from the look of the figures the main problem here is the very poor attempt to make kits, and this was a problem Strelets never managed to solve. By ignoring the tent, wagon and table, all of which are useless, the rest of this set is imaginative and accurately done, and would set the standard for the later Strelets style.


Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 5
Mould 3

Further Reading
"French Napoleonic Infantryman 1803-15" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.57) - Terry Crowdy - 9781841764542
"Napoleonic Wars: Napoleon's Army" - Brassey - René Chartrand - 9781857531831
"Napoleon's Infantry Handbook" - Pen & Sword - Terry Crowdy - 9781783462957
"Napoleon's Line Infantry & Artillery" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Special Series No.11) - Stephen Maughan - 9781859150535
"The Napoleonic Wars Part 1" - Ward Lock (Arms and Uniforms) - Liliane and Fred Funcken - 9780706314069
"Tradition (French Language)" - No.9
"Tradition (French Language)" - No.14
"Tradition (French Language)" - No.32
"Tradition (French Language)" - No.28

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