From 1806 to 1813 Saxony was a loyal supporter of Napoleon. When he invaded Russia in 1812, his army included four squadrons of the Saxon Garde du Corps, a unit that was to find fame during the decisive charge that broke through the Great Redoubt at the battle of Borodino. It is these troops and this event that are the subject of this set from Strelets.
As always with this manufacturer, this cavalry set includes 12 men in different poses, and as always the poses are interesting and diverse. Most are OK but we were not keen on the man holding a pistol in his left hand and apparently swinging his sword across his chest (second row, second figure). Equally, the man holding his carbine across his lap while he uses his sword seems a poor choice as the troops would have endeavoured to holster their firearms before drawing their sword. Lastly the man with left arm raised high (third row, second figure) would have been better if his arm had been much lower.
The Garde du Corps were cuirassiers, yet none of these men wear a breastplate. This is because these items had been left in the baggage train at Warsaw, and by Borodino this had yet to catch up, so they fought without armour, and instead rolled their cloaks across their bodies, as shown here. The basic uniform is properly done, but they should have two belts across the body - one to hold the carbine and the other for the cartridge box. These models include the former but are missing the latter, so the sculptor has put the cartridge box on the back of their waist belts, which is wrong and a very basic mistake which we find hard to understand.
The six horse poses are all at the charge, and all seem realistic - a huge improvement on some earlier Strelets sets. However they have been given saddlecloths which seemed rather small to our eyes, and they also have a square valise when our research found most (but admittedly not all) sources showed this to be round. All the men fit the horses very well, and make for some dramatic combinations.
Although Strelets figures have a certain chunky quality to them, the level of sculpting on these figures is good, with fine detail in areas such as the helmets. Once the figures are trimmed from the sprue there is no flash at all, and it was nice to see the separate sword for the man with the ring hand fitted very well, although this has been made with no guard on the hilt when at least a partial one could have been provided. We liked the inclusion of the trumpet (which was famously silver), but were less taken by the lopsided helmet on one man. Also, as with many other sets, the guidon would be expected to flutter behind the man since he is on a charging horse, rather than to the side as here. Still, this is a reasonable effort but could have been better with more research. At the time of release this was another step towards representing all elements involved in the Battle of Borodino, although the later set from Zvezda was a massive improvement on this one in terms of quality.