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Just for anyone's future reference (and perhaps even for Strelets or any other manufacturer if they are so inclined), thought I would give a brief summation of the set contents that would obtain a perfect 10/10 in my book.
I will start off with the most negative aspect of this post. In my opinion nobody has done a perfect set yet, despite roughly 663 attempts and counting. The good news is Strelets has come far closer than anyone else. So here is what I am looking for in an ideal world:
1) The ideal set ideally would have 48 figures or more. This number does NOT include command. For cavalry the standard of 12 is fine, but more would be nice as the standard number does make them underpowered compared to the 48 infantry if the same amount of money is used for each.
2) Sets must have a standard bearer and a musician. There are VERY few exceptions to this, with the Classical Greeks being the main one (they did not use standards). However from my findings musicians are pretty much a universal necessity, especially when cavalry are involved.
3) Sets need to be of one warrior/soldier type and doing one main thing. So mixing grenadiers and line is not ideal, as is having a mix of marching and firing line poses. Strelets is the best by far at focusing on topics of all the 1/72 scale companies.
Example) So for me an ideal set would be if you take the Longbows of STRM117 as a base, then sub out a couple of them to include the hornman and standard bearer poses from STRM118. I think two of each would be nice (to give command flexibility), but x1 or x4 (the latter to make it easier for the sprue production) would still count as ideal in my book.
So that is my opinion on the ideal pre-1783 AD set. Naturally I will buy the best of whatever is out there, so this should just be considered more as ideal guidelines more than a direct request or even a realistic possibility. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!
Id say cavalry sets across all eras could indeed use a boost in numbers in a box. Maybe something like 16-18 rather than 12. Two boxes would then give a sizeable amount of cavalry..over 30 regulars plus commands etc.
(As a side note for Strelets: Post 1783..no standard bearers for cavalry though. Same for musicians, apart from the bugler obviously.)
I also agree that sets need to stick to one troop type and not mix. Its annoying and awkward when that happens.
Only do it for when, say, a Napoleonic regiment had flank companys for example, and then in proportion to how many would be present. Like what Hat did with their 1805 French in greatcoats and 1808-1812 Line Infantry set.
I dont honestly know if flank companys existed in the AWI regiments, SYW or indeed WSS. If they did than sorting a set like examples above is good, if they didnt then yes a single troop type in a set.
Single troop types probably a definate for sets based pre 1700 i'd imagine.
I'm not sure that the 'perfect set' ever existed or ever will. But here's a few thoughts:
- There are some pretty good sets out there which I would not hesitate to buy (and I have bought them, in some quantity): They include the Zvezda 100 Years War sets, the Zvezda Vikings, the Zvezda Cataphracts, and the Strelets 1066 sets. And then there are some of the older sets that have been re-branded eg: the old Italeri Persian Infantry and Cavalry (+ chariot) sets. Revell Thirty Years War sets - some people rate the Imperial Infantry set as the best ever made...although I prefer the Swedish infantry.....and so on.
- This thing about musicians ??: Have you ever tried making music when in full Cataphract armour? All that rattling metal is surely a substitute. But seriously, just buy another set that has a musician, raid the 'spare figures' box, or engage in some converting. Simple really.
- Standards can be more complicated I accept. Strangely-shaped ancient standards, dragons on top of poles etc...more of a test of ingenuity.
I'm happy with good or very good sets and I try to do the rest by mixing and matching from other sets, converting...or simply doing without musicians....:trumpet: :grinning:
I consider this post to be in the spirit of something like Plato's The Republic. Not really something I am counting on actually happening and certainly would not prevent myself from collecting, but it is comforting at least to myself to have an ideal goal.
- Yea, all of those sets rate very highly on my charts too. In fact the core of my collection is Zvezda's Vikings and STRM001-004 from the 1066 line. I did notice the Revell sets too and have owned them before, as they form a very satisfying musketeer formation and are also useful in sieges. I only dumped them the first time because of lack of pike support, but should have kept them around.
- I really feel sorry for the poor horse! :joy: Poor thing was armoured, had an armoured man sitting on top of him, and on top of it had to listen to all of that loud racket. But command and control elements are highly emphasized in my gaming system (blocks which have no musicians cannot communicate with other blocks with one or two exceptions, such as Sengoku Jidai banners), so in an ideal world I would prefer not to have to pay 10-20 EUR every time I need one musician. That said, I think the guy from Zvezda's Republican Roman Cavalry is SUPER popular with everyone in his era! :smile:
Ideal goal? Why not. Platonic? Maybe.....
Here's the simplest conversion 'trick' I can offer for any units that are without means of communicating...
Take a suitable figure, say a swordsman/spearman not actually in combat but standing. Carefully remove their sword/spear. Then, take a length of round, hard sprue and heat gently over a flame - a candle is ideal. Stretch a little and the result is a piece of sprue which is thinner in the centre than at the ends. You have 'made' two straight horns/trumpets....simply take the sprue length and cut the two cone shapes the stretching has formed to the lengths that you want. You have the option of straight trumpets or, with a little bending, curved horns. Glue to the empty hand of the ex-swordsman/spearman and give him some trumpet lessons. Done.
This expedient takes very little time and gives you two trumpets or horns, enough for two units in your game system to 'talk' to each other. Communication was never simpler.
Sounds like a decent expedient when needed. Thanks for the info! :sunglasses:
"... the old Italeri Persian Infantry and Cavalry (+ chariot) sets."
Originally, these were Zvezda sets
Honour to whom honour is due.
"This thing about musicians ??: Have you ever tried making music when in full Cataphract armour? All that rattling metal is surely a substitute."
Well, the Parthians (and Sasanians) used to beat large drums during battle. Probably not the cataphracts (nor the archers) themselves (they had other things to do), but professional musicians who most likely were only slightly armoured or unarmoured and positioned at a secure place during the fight. They just delivered the sound to spur their own and intimidate the enemy. Parthians and Sasanians also used horns and trumpets. As a matter of fact, I remember a photocopy showing an ancient (and I mean ancient - 1st c. BC, or AD, or so) figurine of a Parthian cataphract blowing a horn (ram horn, or so), I've got it somewhere. Will scan and post it when I find it ...
Yea I remember those HaT sets! You would know better than me, but those sets seemed very well organized for me. To be honest if I went for Nappys those would still be high on my list for acquisition, although the new ones standing at attention from Strelets are super nice too.
Just as an edit, STRM049 Praetorian Cohort is actually pretty much a perfect Before Battle set. 44 before battle legionaries with command. So 1 of 663, which is better than none!