The hussars had always been seen as the most dashing of cavalry types, yet in the early years of the twentieth century not only hussars but cavalry itself was under threat from new industrial ways of waging war. Germany acknowledged this better than most, and gave greater emphasis to dismounted tactics than other countries, yet she still clung on to the glamour of the different types, as can be seen by the hussars that still took the field in 1914.
The box art shows a very typical scene with cavalry reconnoitering, but the actual poses seem to be mostly concerned with mounted combat. There are men firing from the saddle, waving their sabre and charging with lance. This is a typical Strelets feature, which certainly gives the set energy but does not necessarily reflect the main occupation of the troops. Whether you consider that a good or a bad thing will depend on how you intend using these figures.
As with the rest of the army, so the hussars were wearing field grey by this point. However they retained several hussar features which can be clearly seen on these figures. Their tunic was in the Attila style with five loops of braid across the chest, while for headwear they wore a cap under a field cover, showing only the state cockade at the front. Finally their boots are still a classic hussar design. These figures exhibit these features, which have been well done, and they also wear the normal German cavalry version of the ammunition belt and pouches. Our one query is with the officer, who wears a standard officers peaked cap rather than the uncovered grey fur busby which such officers usually chose to wear.
Like the figures all the horses are different, and have also been used in the Uhlans and Dragoons sets for this period. Most of the poses are OK but a few are very poor, and again the emphasis is on more or less full gallop, so clearly the sculptor had some sort of charge in mind. Saddlery was much the same for all branches of the German cavalry, and here it has been quite well represented. The men fit the horses very tightly, with some being just a little too tight.
Overall sculpting is at the top end of the Strelets standard at the time the set was released, with quite nice and clear detail, but occasionally bits have missing parts and the general look is a little clunky. The first two figures on the top row have ring hands, with two lances and a sword provided to fill them - all of which fit pretty well. Flash is low level but on some figures there is a clear ridge where the two parts of the mould met.
When in the field any lance pennants would be furled, so a simple bit of trimming will fix the pennants shown in this set.
As the war progressed many German cavalry regiments were permanently dismounted, but this set shows something of a last hurrah for the traditional hussar galloping across the battlefield. Certainly this is an interesting element to add to many early war encounters in Belgium, Poland and elsewhere.