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Strelets

Set 044

Lieb-Drabants of Charles XII

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2005
Contents 12 figures and 12 horses
Poses 12 poses, 6 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Blue
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

Cavalry was a very important part of the Swedish army in the early 18th century, and made up a large proportion of the total. The Drabants, a kind of royal lifeguard, were formed into a special corps in 1700. Each level of seniority in the unit equated to a higher level in the rest of the army, and the king himself was their captain. Their blue uniforms were richly decorated with gold lace (silver in the case of the trumpeter), and their number was limited to just 200, although in practice they were far fewer.

The poses are sort of OK in this set - the inclusion of a man without sword drawn or firearm raised (first row, fourth figure) is unusual. The third figure in the top row is a very unnatural position for the right hand, and the first figure in the next row is not easy to place in a real combat situation. Charles XII emphasised the shock charge of the cavalry with swords drawn, and while they were issued carbines and pistols these were rarely used. Therefore having three such figures in this set is disproportionate to their usual function and not a good idea. The officer figure at the end of the third row is meant to be Charles himself, dressed in the simple style for which he was renowned.

The principal distinction in the uniforms of this unit was in the lace decoration, but in this scale such things are invisible, so these men are dressed much as other cavalry of the period, with infantry-style coats and tricorn hats. The upper part of the cavalry boot covering the knee was very large, which is not really reflected on these figures, but otherwise we had no issues with accuracy.

The standard of sculpting is about par for this company, with some nice detail, particularly some of the faces, but a certain clumsiness in other respects. The bent swords are mainly down to their being used as attachments to the sprue, although the main attachment continues to be between the legs, making removal very difficult. However with no flash to speak of these are at least very neat.

Swedish horses were very small - ponies by modern standards - but those in this set are not too bad. All the poses are of the usual sorts, although there are a surprising number of standing poses. The strap underneath the horse is far too wide, but it is the shape of the shabraque that is most noteworthy. This is a sort of lozenge shape, and while we found some modern illustrations with this shape we could not find any contemporary evidence, and there must be some doubt as to whether this most unusual design was actually used. Certainly it makes the horses unusable for most if not all other cavalry of the day.

With such a small unit modellers may feel they need very few of these troops, but their fairly standard costume (ignoring the suspicious horse furniture) makes them suitable for much of the cavalry of contemporary France, England and many others, and indeed that is a much better use for the troopers using pistols and carbines.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 7
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 5
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Poltava 1709" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.34) - Angus Konstam - 9781855324169
"The Great Northern War 1700-1721" - Acedia Press - Lars-Eric Höglund
"The Swedish Army in the Great Northern War 1700-21" - Helion & Company (Century of the Soldier No.26) - Lars Ericson Wolke - 9781912390182

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