A potted history of the Australian camel corps forms the introduction to our review of the corresponding Strelets set of Australian Camel Corps, so we won’t repeat that here. These men were mounted infantry, riding to the point where they were needed and then dismounting to fight while the animals patiently waited to the rear, apparently unphased by the fire fight going on around them. So when in action, as they often were, we need a set of foot figures, which is what we have here.
In terms of uniform every figure here has been suitably clothed, with most wearing the standard tunic but a couple in shirt sleeves. Trousers, puttees and boots look fine, as do the famous Australian slouch hat all here wear, which is quite rightly not pinned up against the crown apart from that of the officer. The men have the essential water bottle of course, and also the haversack, but as they were mounted they were equipped with 90-round bandoliers, like the cavalry, and not the 50-round examples we find on all these figures, so that is an error. The man holding the Lewis gun has the appropriate pouches for that weapon, but we were surprised to see the crew of the Vickers machine gun had no visible personal weapons.
The poses offer us a largely standard selection, and all are appropriate, although in what was often a very open and frequently flat terrain we thought there could have been more poses down on the ground as there are in the sister set of British Camel Corps. However nothing here could be described as wrong or unlikely, and we liked the inclusion of both the Vickers machine gun and the Lewis. The Vickers gunner would generally be sitting rather than on his knees like this, although his pose suggests he is adjusting the sight rather than firing the weapon anyway (yet his number two is clearly feeding ammunition regardless). Equally the Lewis gunner would be better in a prone position, when his aim would be far better than it could be firing from the hip like this. So neither are ideal, but doubtless such poses did happen in reality on occasion.
The rifles all look to be the normal Lee-Enfield, and are quite nicely done with a fair amount of detail, although the bayonets are really quite a lot too short. Also the Vickers is lacking a condenser, a means not only of salvaging water (in a region often lacking it) but also avoiding tell-tale plumes of vapour giving away their position. The proportions of the men are nice, and the detail is good. Although the poses have no excess or hidden areas of plastic (apart from a tiny area between the arms of the Vickers gunner), they do not feel flat or contrived, and have been well done in all cases (however the tripod of the Vickers is very flat and so not at all convincing from most angles). Flash is all but absent, so a very nice sculpting job on the whole.
This is another set which we liked very much. The style we found pleasing, which should mix very well with the better output from other producers. The incorrect bandoliers is the biggest problem in terms of accuracy, although the short bayonets and fairly flat Vickers are also characteristics that could have been better. We might have done some of the poses differently as we have said, but then that can be said of just about every set ever made. In conclusion, a very good effort that could have been better but the sculptor is to be commended and we certainly look forward to more figures from the same hand.
Note The final figure is of a soldier from the Streltsi of 17th century Russia. Though he is unrelated to the subject of this set, he is one of a series of 'bonus' figures which when combined will create a set of this unit for the Great Northern War. See Streltsi Bonus Figures feature for details.