Dacia, a land that was roughly where modern Romania lies, is one of Rome’s best known foes thanks to Trajan's column, a triumphal column raised to mark the subjugation of that land in the early second century CE. It provides valuable information on both sides of the conflict, and while not without some obvious errors, is still considered one of the best sources for the Thracian kingdom at the end of its life. The standing figures in this set complement the previous Strelets releases of Dacians, and thereby expand the coverage of the subject, bringing more of that dry, corroded column to life.
In their previous sets Strelets defined light infantry as being the mass of ordinary, unarmoured warriors, while heavy infantry were the officers and elites, who could provide themselves with some body armour and more expensive weapons. This 'before battle' set expands both, with six poses of the ordinary warriors and eight of the elites.
The first six poses pictured above show the ordinary men, wearing no more than their everyday clothes and sometimes stripped to the waist ready for battle. They carry spears, javelins, a bow and the distinctly Dacian falx, a fearsome weapon with a long curved blade that seems to have provoked more protection for some Roman soldiers. One man carries a simple round shield, but the rest have none, and fit well with the likely normal appearance of the vast majority of Dacia's armies.
The remaining poses are very different, with all having mail or scale body armour and one of a wide variety of helmets. The style of clothing and armour for such men would be decided by many things including wealth, personal taste and simple accident, but everything here is reasonable and nicely done. All these men are fortunate enough to carry a sword, although some also have an axe or spear. The sword was a prestige weapon, but individuals might have a fondness for some other weapon, so again everything looks good here.
The quality of these figures matches the retooling of the earlier Dacian sets from Strelets, with nice detail and the usual Strelets proportions. These are actually among the better sets Strelets have done, with some particularly good faces. The poses are of course all rather sedate, but we liked them all, particularly those where the weapon is nonchalantly resting on the shoulder. There is no assembly and no flash, so technically these are very well produced.
This is an attractive set of figures which benefit from the undemanding sort of pose that is required. While we would have preferred a stronger presence for the classic oval shield, nothing here seems doubtful from a historical point of view, although the proportion of richly equipped men to those with just the basics wildly exaggerates the actual proportion of such an elite in any army. This makes building a large display expensive as you get far more of the elite than you can use, but they do look impressive and for some that will be good enough.