The Great Arab Revolt was begun in June 1916 when Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, felt the Ottoman rule Arabia had had for centuries was no longer tolerable, and the time had come for a united Arab state. Since the Entente Powers were at war with the Ottoman Empire at the time, he hoped for and received assistance from them, while Britain and France helped the Arabs in order to remove Ottoman forces from facing theirs in Palestine and Syria. From the Allied point of view the revolt worked perfectly, draining men and resources the Ottomans could have used elsewhere, but for the Arabs their efforts failed to achieve the desired independence, just a new order in the Middle East.
Although the Arab forces included many regulars of the Sharifian Army, the majority was made up of irregular tribesmen such as we find in this set. Strelets have already made a set of such men fighting on foot (reviewed here), and there are a few more in this set, but the majority here are riding a camel. Camels were of course an essential means of travelling any distance in the desert, and large numbers were used by Arab forces, particularly the Northern Army that pushed up into Syria, so any recreation of the Arab Revolt will need many of them. This set contains nine such men plus their animals, and our first reaction to them was that they were rather too excited. Of course it is perfectly natural at some moments to be excited while on your camel and to wave your rifle or sword in the air, but several of the poses look suspiciously like the designer thought such men actually fought while on their animal. Camels are terrible platforms to fight from, so when some action was imminent the Arabs dismounted and fought on foot like everyone else. When mounted they would be moving forward or on patrol, but not in sight of the enemy, so appropriate poses are relatively sedentary, with weapon holstered and rider patiently wrapped up against the wind and the heat. The middle figure in the second row and the whole of the third row come closest to this image, although even then not really close enough, and the last figure looks like he is issuing some command as if in battle. Firing from a camel was unlikely to be useful, and the rider was an enormous target for rifle-armed opposition, so really there is very little use to which you can put these figures, dramatic though they are.
The dismounted figures are of course actually involved in a fight, so make a lot more sense. They are in fairly classic poses, many of which echo similar ones in the earlier Foot Rebels set, and are reasonable. The man with his finger on the trigger of a Lewis gun is not using this weapon in the best way, and should tilt it away from his clothing to avoid snagging it on the revolving drum, while the swordsman holds it flat to the enemy, which is not natural. However all these poses are useful and fairly well done.
The sculpting is typical Strelets, with quite good detail but a somewhat stocky appearance, partly explained by the loose clothing they all have. Areas requiring fine detail like the weapons are lacking any, so it is very hard to guess what weapons are supposed to be depicted. We found no flash on anything here, but the fit between man and camel is quite bad. The pegs on the men fit badly in the holes, and in all cases leave the men hovering some way above the saddle; this is not the good tight fit to be found in the Imperial Camel Corps set, that uses the same animals.
As we say, the camels are also used in other sets, and we discuss in depth the poses on offer in our review of the British Camel Corps . To summarise, the first two animals pictured above are walking, but with a very unnatural pose, while the standing pair below them are very badly done and look terrible. The two in the bottom row are the best, but this does mean the majority of camels here are not well done. The general appearance and proportions however look reasonable, and while the actual poses might be poor the choice of poses is good. All the creatures have saddles and basic cloths, but we would have expected more in the way of bags, water vessels and holsters for weapons. Two camels have a second pair of holes towards the rear into which separate bags can be plugged in a fair but not great fit.
The dress of the men is the normal garb of such people, and in general we found nothing to complain about on these figures. They wear the loose clothing of a long tunic under a longer robe or cloak, and the classic shemagh around the head. Many have bandoliers around the trunk and all have swords. There are also some pouches and belts, and large knives thrust into those belts, so appearance-wise these figures are very good.
A few of the mounted poses are very useful, but if you want to recreate a patrol or other scenario when such men would be mounted on camels then there is not much here that helps. The foot figures are good, but cannot compensate for the rest. The camels too are not well done, and while the sculpting is reasonable we were surprised at how poorly the men fitted the animals here. The apparent variety of rifles between old Jezails and modern Enfields is good, as is the costume, but there are too many black marks in this set to make it one to recommend.