This set is very vaguely described as medieval Arab, yet as we shall see even such a broad title does not actually cover it as not all of these figures are in fact Arab at all. Italeri are a large volume mass-market manufacturer, and presumably like to keep descriptions of their products simple so most people can understand. In this case we assume that 'Arab' is used much like 'Saracen', a word often used to refer to the whole collection of different cultures and societies that together made up the Muslim World during the medieval period, of which the Arabs were only a part. This set seems to reflect the wider range of mounted warriors of the time.
Only five poses is not considered generous these days when even mainstream producers often provide seven or more. To attempt to represent the diverse Muslim forces with so few is clearly far from ideal. The first two figures in our picture are however fairly typical of many Muslim horsemen. They wear a short armour corselet (scale in one case and quilted in the other) over their ordinary clothes and both have fairly typical helmets. Both have protectors over the knees, which are reasonable but not as universal as implied here. The third pictured figure is not an Arab but a Turk. He is armed with a composite Turkish bow but wears no apparent armour apart from rather doubtful knee protectors once again. On his head he has a most strange concoction - a helmet with a felt hat balanced precariously on top and behind it. Looking at the box artwork we are guessing that this is supposed to be a sharbush, but if so then the sculptor has clearly not understood the headgear and made rather a mess of the piece as a result. This man has his quiver on the saddle, but no bowcase anywhere! The fourth figure is fairly conventional in costume, and from his relaxed demeanour looks like he is in charge rather than actually fighting. The fact that he strongly resembles the picture of Salah al Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (Saladin) in an Osprey title tends to reinforce the image of an 'officer', although this does not have to be so, which is just as well as each box contains three such figures. Finally there is another man using (rather badly) another Turkish bow, and he too has no armour, and only a turban on his head.
The lance for the first figure comes separately but is rather short at only 32mm (2.3 metres) in length. However it looks to be properly done, and his round shield with a geometric design is also authentic. However there is no sign of any other weapon when we would have expected at least a sword or mace to be somewhere close at hand. The sword of the second man is nicely done, and indeed this is the best figure in the set, but again neither of the Turkish archers have any other weapon (although of course a knife could easily be concealed within the clothing). The round shield on the back of the first archer is unusual but still correct, as is the Frankish style shield of the swordsman.
The poses are generally OK. While charging with couched lance was mainly practiced by Christian armies it is known to have been done by Muslims too, although far less frequently. The swordsman is nice and the first archer is taking particular care to aim his shot, which is no mean feat when on a charging horse (the first horse in the third row). 'Saladin' is fine but the last archer is drawing his bow to above his eyebrow, while also holding the bow at a slant, and therefore not a great pose.
The horses are pretty good, with some unusual shaped saddles and cloths which are nonetheless authentic. Only one has the collar (mishadda) round its throat when we would have liked to have seen more with this common feature. He first horse wears a padded bard and is reasonable, perhaps being a particularly good match for the lancer figure.
Camels are renown for the large burdens that they can bear and their stamina in the hostile conditions of the Middle East, but not for their obliging nature and ease of control. They were and are beasts of burden, and as a result the inhabitants used them for baggage and, on occasion, for moving infantry quickly, but there was no such thing as camel cavalry. As a result the camel in this set has little real value, and the man perched on top of it, loosing his arrows, is equally pointless, although using the bow while sitting on the ground was certainly practiced so this figure could be converted to that role. The rarity of fighting from a camel is a shame because these figures are a nice little combination, although the dead straight front leg of the camel is very unnatural.
In line with other recent Italeri figure sets the sculpting here really cannot be faulted. Detail everywhere is great, proportions perfect, riders fit horses well, faces very lifelike and flash non-existent. There are some areas of excess plastic such as behind the round shield and really this could and should have been a separate item.
If you discount the 'officer' figure and the ill judged camel rider then we have just three poses to represent not only Arab but also Turkish cavalry. By itself then this set barely begins to represent such a heterogeneous subject. Add to that the problems with the Turk (and the figures are too large for medieval Asians) and we are left with not a great deal, albeit beautifully sculpted for the most part.