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Set 8101

French Ammunition Caisson

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2006
Contents 3 wagons, 6 figures and 12 horses
Poses 1 pose, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Soft)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Napoleon always took special care to ensure his artillery never ran out of ammunition, and despite enormous difficulties such as at Leipzig this target was always achieved. The caisson included in this set was the basic vehicle used to supply the artillery, with the numbers depending on the calibre of the guns. Each 4-pounder had two caissons; 6- and 8-pounders had three while 12-pounders and howitzers enjoyed the services of no less than five. In battle each gun would have one caisson well to the rear of it (to minimise the danger of a catastrophic hit from the enemy), and teams of men would run a shuttle between it and the gun to keep it supplied. The other caissons in the gun's allocation would queue further back still, running their own shuttle between gun and the artillery park.

The models in this set are both well detailed and largely accurate. The long thin vehicle has been correctly reproduced, including the front toolbox and the sloping lid. The lid is separate, and the top of the main box has been moulded to represent the ammunition filling it. The lid itself has two pegs that fit into holes down one side, and since the whole model is made in quite a soft plastic the effect is to make the lid hinge, just as on the real article. While the undercarriage has inevitably been simplified to some extent this is not easily appreciable and does not detract from the model.

In terms of build quality this product has much to recommend it too. Although the soft plastic means parts are a little less sharp and more liable to tearing, the fit is very good everywhere, and with simple yet clear instructions on the box assembly is very straightforward.

Most caissons had a team of four horses, as in this set, and they have been harnessed in a way which, while inevitably somewhat simplified, still looks pretty realistic. We found the pegs on the harnesses needed a little trimming before pushing into the sides of the horses, but the plastic takes glue very securely and the team is easy to construct.

The outriders are dressed in the correct uniform for the pre 1813 period and sit on their mounts very well. There is only one pose (seen here), but it is fine.

For too long manufacturers have just been producing guns without the essential support that went with them. With products like this we are now seeing that omission rectified, and this is a very nice model that will serve well on Napoleonic tabletops everywhere.


Further Reading
Books
"Artillery Equipments of the Napoleonic Wars" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.96) - Terence Wise - 9780850453362
"French Artillery and the Gribeauval System Vol 1" - Histoire & Collections (Officers and Soldiers Series No.23) - Ludovic Letrun - 9782352503187
"French Artillery and the Gribeauval System Vol 2" - Histoire & Collections (Officers and Soldiers Series No.26) - Ludovic Letrun - 9782352503965
"French Napoleonic Artillery" - Almark - Michael Head - 9780855240110
"Napoleonic Artillery" - Crowood - Anthony Dawson - 9781861269232
"Napoleon's Specialist Troops" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.199) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780850458411
"The French Imperial Guard 5" - Histoire & Collections (Officers and Soldiers Series No.10) - Andre Jouineau - 9782352500506
"The Napoleonic Wars Part 1" - Ward Lock (Arms and Uniforms) - Liliane and Fred Funcken - 9780706314069
"Wagram" - Histoire & Collections - Francois-Guy Hourtoulle - 9782915239744
Magazines
"Uniformes (French Language)" - No.64
"Uniformes (French Language)" - No.58

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