LogoTitle Text Search



Set 252

French Late War Dragoons in Reserve

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2021
Contents 12 figures and 12 horses
Poses 12 poses, 6 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


In many ways dragoons were an ideal reserve in the early 18th century. They were skilled in both infantry and cavalry tactics, and were often placed ready to respond to events as they unfolded on the day of battle. They could move quickly to bolster a situation as infantry, or if necessary act as a form of cavalry, attacking an enemy in a flank. In short, they supported both infantry and cavalry, and would be an indispensable part of any major army of Louis XIV or his successors.

This is one of several sets of French dragoons from Strelets for this period, but this time the title mentions ‘late war’. The most obvious difference between these figures and the rest is these men wear the tricorn hat, but in truth dragoons had worn such a hat as long as anyone else. Sources disagree as to the circumstances under which they wore the hat or the characteristic dragoon cap, and this may have partly depended on regimental tradition anyway, but images from later in the wars of the Spanish Succession and the years that followed do seem to show the wearing of the hat as much more common, which is perhaps why Strelets used this title. However in reality they could still be useful for any part of the first half of the 18th century. The rest of the uniform is the same as the other sets, which is handy as this changed very little between the 1690s and the 1740s. The normal collarless infantry coat with laced buttonholes and large cuffs is worn, decorated behind the right shoulder with the ribbon knot, which later became an aiguillette. The troopers all have their coat open, showing the long waistcoat underneath, and all wear gauntlets. Since they were still not fully-fledged cavalry even late in the period, they wore the long leather gaiters that fastened up one side and served as both riding boots and infantry gaiters. Naturally the officers and musician do better, wearing the same basic items but of finer material and more richly decorated with lace. Both officers also have hats with much more decoration, and wear full wigs fashionable at the time. The drummer (since dragoons were still technically infantry they had drummers rather than trumpeters) also has a more elaborate coat which sports the false sleeves that were traditional for such men.

The men all have the pouch to the right of the waist belt, and each carries a powder flask from a strap over his left shoulder. All are armed with swords and a musket or carbine, but other kit and weaponry is held on the saddle. The standard in this set is more-or-less square rather than the usual swallow-tailed guidon, and as a mounted company, this should be a guidon. However not all dragoons were mounted, especially in peacetime, so this may be the standard of a foot company which has recently been mounted (as often happened when war broke out), but have not had a guidon issued yet. Since other sets included more typical guidons, this seems like an attempt to widen the variety over all the sets in the range.

The horses are the same as those in the Skirmish set, which makes sense as they are all suitably equipped and are standing or nearly so. Their kit includes a rolled cloak, pistol and one of a variety of tools, and everything looks accurate to us, although there is a slight lean to some of these poses.

Strelets have been remarkably consistent with the standard of sculpting in the War of the Spanish Succession range, but this set is something of a departure. The style is similar, but some of the detail is not so well done. Some of the faces in particular are below the standard set in previous sets, and in places straps disappear entirely. The first figure in the bottom row looks quite different from the rest, but they all have some slight issue with extra plastic behind the sword, and there is quite a lot of flash on all of them too. We found the fit between man and horse was also poor, so although not terrible, it does not quite match the other sets in this series.

The poses are very easy to describe; every man has drawn his sword and is clearly waiting. Action must be expected soon, but these are good poses for a unit not yet in action but ready to join the fray at a moment’s notice. The man with the flag seems to be fiddling with it, which is an unusual pose to be sure but a perfectly reasonable activity for someone perhaps impatiently waiting for something to happen. So the poses are nothing exciting but quite appropriate nonetheless, and the same goes for the horses.

If the choice of using the ‘late war’ label is an excuse to make a set of dragoons in hats then that is fine by us, but in fact these figures are valid for a long period. The sculpting does go astray a bit, and there is much more flash than usual here, but with no accuracy issues and some sedate but suitable poses, this is still a set that is likely to find favour with anyone looking to model or game this particular period.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 8
Mould 6

Further Reading
"Dragoons (Vol 1) 1669-1749" - Histoire & Collections (Officers and Soldiers Series No.24) - Veronique Letrun - 9782352503545
"Guidons and Uniforms of the French Dragoons, Militia, Artillery, Bombardiers" - Pike & Shot - Robert Hall - 9781902768243
"Louis XIV's Army" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.203) - René Chartrand - 9780850458503
"Louis XV's Army (1) Cavalry & Dragoons" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.296) - René Chartrand - 9781855326026
"The Armies and Wars of the Sun King 1643-1715: Vol.3" - Helion & Company (Century of the Soldier No.58) - René Chartrand - 9781913118853
"The Art of Warfare in the Age of Marlborough" - Spellmont - David Chandler - 9780946771424
"The Lace Wars Part 2" - Ward Lock - Liliane and Fred Funcken - 9780706355666
"Weapons and Equipment of the Marlborough Wars" - Blandford - Anthony Kemp - 9780713710137

Site content © 2002, 2009. All rights reserved. Manufacturer logos and trademarks acknowledged.