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Esci

Set 226

Prussian and Austrian Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1986
Contents 50 figures
Poses 15 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Pink, Brown
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

What were they thinking when they created this set? To mix troop types in one set is bad enough, but to mix nationalities, and ones that didn't fight side by side during the period, is quite unforgivable. The box labels them as 'Waterloo.', which is nonsense as the Austrians were never anywhere near Waterloo and the Prussians certainly did not look like the figures in this set. Come to that, the box art shows these (very Latin looking!) troops mixing randomly in a manner that would never happen.

What we actually get is nine Prussian poses and six Austrian. The Prussians in fact depict Jägers of the Jena period (up to 1806), and the box artwork confirms this by showing the green uniform rather than the blue of the regular infantry. The poses are quite good, although some are a little stiff and awkward. The horn player is a particularly unusual touch (and another indicator of light infantry), and while there is no marching pose, still what we do get is useful. Some of the men are wearing backpacks, when in fact these should be haversacks, and the hat should have the front forward a little to resemble a tricorn. Also the muskets are all the same, when this body used an assortment of hunting rifles and other pieces, often brought by the recruit themselves, so these figures should have a more motley appearance. So even as Jägers there are accuracy issues, though less than if they are ordinary line infantry.

For many years these were the only Prussians available, so why choose light infantry rather than regular infantry? By themselves, their usefulness was limited and it is only with the later HaT Prussian releases and the Italeri Cuirassiers that a Jena-type Prussian army could be constructed.

The Austrians were also the first on the market by a very long way, and all we get is 6 poses. Two of those are singles (the officer and the man biting the cartridge), so we are left building an army with just four poses. The uniform is of the same period as the Prussians, and was still seen up to about 1809, but only producing six poses to represent one of the major players in the Napoleonic Wars does seem wholly inadequate. These figures are 'German' fusiliers, but three of the poses have been given a sabre, which was only worn by grenadiers (although it seems there were some grenadiers who wore the ordinary infantry helmet as depicted here, so these could be used for them). More importantly no one has a scabbard for their bayonet, despite all having the cross belt to carry it. In fact, if the fixed bayonet is removed from the muskets then those figures with sabres would make passable Jägers, in which case they would need to be painted pike grey.

While both types of figures are from the same period, Prussia and Austria never mounted a joint operation until well after these uniforms disappeared, so why a combined set rather than two sets? The answer is probably to do with the release of the battlesets of Austerlitz and Jena, which were in the same year. Leaving that aside, the detail is up to the usual Esci high standard, though there is a problem with what is missing rather than what has been included, but the look of the figures is fair with minimal flash. Now that other manufacturers make matching sets, these figures are much more useful, and at least Esci acknowledged these countries at a time when everyone else concentrated on the French and British, but a full set of each would have been so much better.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 8
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Austerlitz" - Histoire & Collections - Francois-Guy Hourtoulle - 9782913903715
"Austrian Army of the Napoleonic Wars (1) Infantry" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.176) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780850456899
"Austrian Grenadiers and Infantry 1788-1816" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.24) - David Hollins - 9781855327429
"Jena, Auerstaedt" - Histoire & Collections - Francois-Guy Hourtoulle - 9782908182767
"Napoleonic Uniforms Vol.4" - Emperor's Press - John R Elting - 9781883476205
"Prussian Light Infantry 1792-1815" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.149) - Peter Hofschrö&er - 9780850455403
Magazines
"Tradition (English Language)" - No.8
"Uniformes (French Language)" - No.65

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