James I really get what you are saying. If we didnt have Strelets we would be in a bad place within the hobby.
Something still has to be worth buying.
Now I can only talk from the perspective of a Napoleonics fan. If Strelets had carried on the promising work of those first newer Napoleonics such as the British/Scots/Polish in marching, attack & at ease, along with the higher quality of the WSS sets, I dare say the vast majority of the Napoleonic sets released over recent times would have made their way into my hands, possibly in multiple numbers. In fact I could quite easily of seen my armies being mostly Strelets.
But then there was the change in sculptor/design team and we ended up with poor choices or mistakes creeping in like forage caps, a rather totally random banjo on a British soldier standing shoulder arms, horses more poor than some of those from the early Crimean sets etc. Bayonets inexplicably left off, a set of "in square" infantry with no where near enough kneeling poses compared to those standing, when at least for British Infantry/Highlanders a much more balanced ratio was required.
A set of Crimean Highlanders wonderfully sculpted......but completely wrong!!! Even though they only had to look at the previous figures to see what they looked like!!
And so on...
Yes the sculpting itself in terms of human form & uniforms has improved drastically, which then makes the mistakes/silly decisions even more infuriating!!
In the case of the British firing line set I bought a box of, out of curiosity, it was every bit as poor as what was previewed. (I have since got rid of it).
But yes, if it wasn't for Strelets we would be in a sorry state of affairs. But if they continue ruining good work to the point of more & more sets becoming undesirable or a pain to fix up correctly, well that will mean people giving up on them as a source of figures anyway. Which I think we can all agree would be a tragedy.
As you rightly point out, the world is in a bad way right now, & Strelets are doing a great job in churning out new sets very quickly (maybe too quickly thus causing the problems??).
But then customers also have to live in this same messed up world & at a time when finances for some of those customers may not stretch as far as they once did. So its thus even more important to produce a product that offers quality & value for money.
Alas, a good few Napoleonic sets of late, for me unfortunately, have not.