This is the sister set to Jacobites (1), and in our review of that set we discussed something of the background to Jacobite armies and the Highland elements within them. As with that set this one concentrates on figures wearing traditional Highland dress and armed in the traditional Highland manner. The top three rows show those figures only to be found in this set, while the bottom three rows shows those that are found in both sets 1 and 2.
In terms of the costume the unique figures in this set are more of the same found in set 1. Some have authentic belted plaid but some have something akin to the later kilt with an unexplained length of cloth diagonally round the body, which is wrong. Two figures have been given what look like trews or breeches, which is a welcome and perfectly correct variation, and for these two the cloth across the chest is quite reasonable. All the figures wear stockings, shoes and bonnets on which the all important cockade could be fastened. Several of the figures have belts over the right shoulder which support nothing and rather lamely just hang, leaving us to wonder what the sculptor had in mind when he produced these. Since many carry a sword some form of scabbard would be appropriate here but there is none. A few figures do have a scabbard, but in a bizarre twist this is always on the right hip, an unnatural and simply wrong arrangement.
Much debate continues regarding the weapons such men would have used. In the early rebellions firearms were probably rare, especially muskets, but these seem to have become the norm by the later revolts, especially after Spain and France delivered large numbers to the Jacobites. This set has no muskets of any sort, making them more suited to the early rebellions or the early stages of the later ones, or arguably for the final few metres of a classic Highland charge, when firearms were usually discarded (although such things as powder horns would not!). Set one contained some muskets, but these remain poorly represented. One man carries a small axe, which would be a surprising choice of weapon and more likely something brought from home by the individual, but very rare on the battlefield. The longer polearms are also limited to set one, leaving most of the figures in this set carrying swords and/or dirks (but in most cases no scabbard). Again the incidence of swords is a matter for debate, with one authority claiming they were not common by the ’45. Certainly such specimens were likely to be limited to the front ranks, who were better able to afford such things, so once again this set focuses on the better off Highlanders at the expense of the mass of poor conscripts that stood behind the front rank.
As well as scabbards most of these men have divested themselves of everything else they might carry, so there are no canteens and hardly any bags visible. One item that can be seen is a shield, which is carried by four poses in this set. The pose in row one is odd but the shield position is not too bad, but holding the shield over the head as per the last figure in the second row is just ridiculous and thoroughly unnatural. Much the same silly pose appears also in the fourth row, so the use of shields is not a highlight of this set. One tactic of such men was to raise their shield as they charged headlong toward the enemy, and use it to sweep away the enemy's musket or sword while they pierced the now unprotected man. The two poses with raised shield may be intended to depict this, but in both cases the pose is very awkward and unconvincing.
Holding a sword point first over the head makes some sense when faced with opponents with large body shields, but while it is a favourite pose that often appears in sets it is usually nonsense and so it is here. Two figures in the top row have this arrangement which is easy to sculpt but would not be expected in real life. However something this set does better than the first is having figures that are actually charging, allowing some representation of the justly famous Highland Charge. Much the best charging figure starts off the third row, while those in the first row leave plenty to be desired. The man falling wounded is good though, as are the wounded in the lower rows. Much of rows two and three are taken up by figures apparently using their swords which is fine and there are some nice poses here, at least if you can ignore the shield. The man carrying the flag in the third row is nice enough and the flag he carries, which seems rather small, is more or less flat and undecorated, so painters can choose their own designs. The bottom three rows containing the common figures include a nice mounted officer, a piper and someone firing his pistol but strangely holding his broadsword behind his back.
The style of these figures is very different to what we expect from Strelets. The figures are slim and generally well proportioned, with better anatomy and more slender weaponry than usual. However some of the poses are very awkward and in places the detail, which is generally good, does go awry. The mounted officer has an absurdly short scabbard that barely reaches his knee, while some of the broadswords have blades well over a metre in length. The figures are mostly nicely animated and quite lively, and on the whole there is little flash. The mounted man sits on his horse well, and there is no real excess plastic to be removed. None of the weapons or shields are separate, which helps account for some of the poorer poses, but it also means nothing needs to be assembled.
As with the first set this is something of a mixed bag. Some poor clothing decisions make some figures difficult to use with any authenticity, and some of the poses look far from natural. However this set does have elements that can be made up into a charge, albeit a rather strange-looking one. Things get better if you want to model a sword fight as some of these are quite nice, and the high number of casualty poses accurately represents the results of charging well-trained musket infantry with nothing more than a sharp blade and determination.