mercoledì 30 gennaio 2013

Starting to build a 20mm Crusader Army

After my last experience in medieval warfare, I planned to begin the construction of a Crusader army of the end of 12th century.
First of all, I've taken a look at the Plastic Soldier Review site in order to choose the soldiers.
I decided to use the Strelets.
Well, I know they aren't the best plastic soldiers ever made: they are fat, chunky, rude, more similar to a low level 15mm metal soldier than to a perfect 20mm Zvedza figure, but it's strange, they have a special charme.
First: there are a lot of Strelets kits dedicated to the age of Crusaders, with a lot of opportunities to reproduce different types of soldiers.
Second: in each kit you get many soldiers in different positions, and this widely improves the variety.
Third: Strelets figures have the old flavour of hand made items, not perfect but with a lot of passion!
The quality is very different from a kit to another, but the main problem is that Strelets has strangely decided to don't reproduce mounted Military Orders Knight, I can't understand why. 
They make foot and mounted sergeants, foot knights, crossbowmen, levy and so on, but not mounted knights!
It is as reproducing the Romans without the Legions!!!  
You could argue that other manufacturers produce this particular subject, so there is no need for a new kit; this is an inconclusive assertion, because the Caesar, Italeri and Zvezda figures don't mix well with the partticular Strelets' anatomy.
Anyway, turning back to speak of quality, the mounted Military Order Sergeants (kit 088) and the mounted Crusaders in oriental dress (kit 104) are medium - low quality.

Military Orders Sergeants
Mounted Crusaders in oriental dress

The mounted Turcopoles (kit 090) are wonderful, and so are the foot Military Order warriors (kit M012); the mounted Norman Knights (kit 0085) are good too.


Military Orders warriors

Norman Knights

But the Medieval Crossbowmen (kit M025) are only average and the foot Military Order Knights (kit M015) are too much simple and quite low quality (I tend to suppose mr Strelets has some private affair against Military Orders Knights ...).

Medieval crossbowmen

Foot Military Orders Knights

In order to complete my army, I just need some Strelets Medieval Levy (kit M005 and kit M006) reproducing the bulk of the Crusaders' infantry.

So ... Strelets: this is my first experience with this company; I have to admit that when you unbox the soldiers the first impression is quite ugly: figures are firmly cast to a massive sprue, and you need to corrode your knife in order to obtain your soldiers!

Typical Strelets sprues

But the figures themselves are quite clean, without excess plastic and for the main part full of details; their garments and armours are very complex; they are difficult to paint but the result is satisfactory due to variety of subjects and poses and to the "overscaling" of some items.
Last reccommendation: the Strelets box arts are the second - worst in the 20mm market (the first are the Odemars ...).
Stay tuned: I will post very soon the first results of my painting work and of my partly new concept of basing!
P.S.: pictures in this article from the Strelets website