For much of the 16th and 17th centuries Korea was more or less at peace. There was internal unrest and piratical raids to handle, but the big test for the country’s military class was the Japanese invasion of 1592 to 1598. Only the navy under Yi Sun-sin performed well, and the spectacular successes of the Japanese in the first weeks of the Imjin War provoked many ordinary citizens to take up arms themselves and fight the Japanese either alongside the regular army or entirely on their own account. In battle against the highly skilled and well-organised Japanese the results were often predictable and disastrous, but a wider campaign to harry the vulnerable Japanese supply line and ambush small units as they foraged had a significant impact on the campaign.
While histories of the Imjin War give suitable coverage to the activities of the various militias and guerrilla bands, also known as Righteous Armies, we have found nothing that mentions mounted men in such units. Many were simply peasants and so probably had no mounted element beyond the occasional mounted officer, so we have to take RedBox's word for it that there were significant mounted guerrillas during this or some other war in Korea during the period. Sadly, as we found no mention of such men, nor did we find any information on their appearance. Most if not all would have worn ordinary civilian costume, which here is a loose tunic over baggy trousers, so makes sense. It is hard to tell, but it looks like none of the men wear any form of headgear, instead they have tied their hair and wear just a headband. This was normal practice for civilians, so presumably would also be so for guerrillas, but we cannot say with any authority.
Archery was highly regarded in Korean society, and half these men carry and use a bow. The remaining poses are of men wielding a sword, a flail and an axe, all of which were suitable weapons of the time and so would be acceptable here. A couple of the men also carry simple round shields. The archer poses are fine, and the rest are OK, although the flail man is actually touching his shield with the weapon, so does not give the appearance of being in full control.
The horses are the same as those in several other sets of Koreans and Chinese, and like those they are not the ones shown on the back of the box. We have no way of knowing if they are accurate, though they are probably fine, but our comments on this sprue of horses is the same as elsewhere, as the poses are often poor and there is a huge amount of flash. In addition some of the lower legs are really badly done, being virtually smooth on one side, so far from adequate.
Another problem seen in the series of RedBox figures is that the horses are in no way sculpted to allow the men to sit on them. Every man has legs far too close together to even approach the saddle, suggesting that the discrepancy between model and box artwork may be because these men were not sculpted to fit these horses originally. Whatever the truth of it, the fit is terrible, which matters hugely in a cavalry set! Although the figures are a bit too large for the subject, the level of detail and the proportions are pretty good, although they too suffer from a fair amount of flash. The non-archer poses are a shade flat, particularly the man with the flail, but nothing too terrible, so these look like they were very nice sculpts initially.
Despite being nice sculpts, the poor mould-making process and the entirely unsuitable horses seriously damage the good work done at the start. Whether these figures are accurate we cannot say, though we have no reason to doubt them, but the general quality is really poor in some key areas, making this a set that is hard to accept or find useful.