The infantry of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard was mainly made up of grenadiers and chasseurs, with the former ranking above the latter. However these troops were utilised in the same way, despite the light infantry origins of the chasseurs, but understandably most existing sets of Imperial Guard concentrate on the more glamorous grenadiers, so this set goes some way to redress the balance.
In terms of uniform there was little difference between grenadier and chasseur. Chasseurs had no plate and no rear patch on their caps, and they had a pointed cuff on their coats - all features that are faithfully reproduced in this set. These men are not wearing full dress, so there are no plumes and trousers are worn by all. Chasseurs often wore the surtout on campaign, but this seems to have declined in favour of the habite in later years, which is the dress of all these figures. The uniform of these men changed little during the life of the Empire, but for those with an eye for minutia the turnbacks on the coat skirts come flush to the lower edge (dating from roughly 1810 onwards) and the knapsacks have the long central strap holding both it and the rolled greatcoat, which also dates to later in the period.
The selection of poses includes two different marching poses, which we feel is something of a luxury with so few poses, and the same could be said for the fifer. However he is a very nice figure and since so many sets contain only drummers it makes a pleasant change to have something different. Overall all the poses are perfectly valid and very useable.
Sculpting is pretty good, with reasonable detail and excellent proportions. Some small items such as badges on pouches and turnbacks have been left off because such badges varied between units and over time, so the customer is free to paint in what they require. The moustachioed faces are very appealing, and the overall proportions are good with very little flash.
The last figure in the second row is the NCO - a sergeant. He is distinguished both by the manner of carrying his musket and the diagonal strip on his lower sleeves. However these seem to be the single stripe of the grenadiers rather than the inverted 'V' shape of the chasseurs. Also this man has chosen, quite against regulations, to place his three long-service chevrons (meaning over 20 years service) on both upper sleeves rather than just the left as required. Again such things are easily fixed with a sharp knife or painting, so not a problem really.
With so many sets of grenadiers made it is nice to see a good set of chasseurs make an appearance, and this one has a lot of charm. We would have preferred more of the firing figure and slightly fewer of the marching figures, but on the whole this is a very fine product.