By the evening of 2nd December 1805 Austria had suffered a heavy defeat on the field of Austerlitz and two days later signed a truce with Napoleon. The Treaty of Pressburg which followed ceded large parts of Austria to France’s allies, including the Tyrol, which was given to Bavaria. No one asked the Tyroleans about this, of course, but many were fiercely loyal to Austria and began an anti-Bavarian movement. In 1809 Andreas Hofer (1767-1810) led a revolt which initially succeeded in expelling the Bavarians. Several battles followed against the Bavarians, French and their allies, with considerable success. The battle of Bergisel, on 13th August, was the most famous Tyrolean victory, but with the defeat of Austria at Wagram the insurrection was doomed and finally crushed by the French and Bavarians - Hofer was captured and shot in 1810. To this day Hofer is a Tyrolean hero with a monument to him at the battlefield, while the battle itself is among the small number to have a panoramic painting depicting it which can still be seen in Innsbruck today.
They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, but sadly the first impression of this set is far from good. The pictures pretty much tell the story, but these figures are remarkably thin, particularly in the limbs, and the finish is decidedly rough. Detail is not easy to make out, and on occasions items seem to merge into each other, as for example the weapon of the first figure in the second row, which ends up becoming most of the knee. Some items which should be basically round in cross-section (such as legs) are remarkably square on some figures, while some faces are quite indistinct. We published the image of the masters on this site and they looked very good, so perhaps there were problems in creating the mould. Whatever the reason these figures are not appealing, which makes issues such as the lack of any flash seem of little import.
The Tyroleans were famed for their hunting and shooting skills and made excellent militia, which helps account for their successes. Uniform was hardly a priority so they fought in their ordinary clothes, which was very often Tyrolean national dress of Lederhosen with stockings, short jacket and a large-brimmed hat with a feather. As far as we can tell this is the costume of most of these men, with a scattering of more general civilian items which would seem perfectly reasonable. Weapons too would have been whatever they could get hold of, and while there were many to be had they would have varied widely, although those in this set cannot be adequately identified but are probably reasonable.
The poses too are reasonable but we were not keen on the first in the top row, and there are a few too many standing still poses for our liking. The drummer is particularly appealing, but the last figure, holding sword and pistol aloft (which may be intended to be Hofer himself) made us think more of a pirate captain than a skilled militia commander.
The set is completed by two familiar accessories - some paper flags and a couple of resin blocks pictured above. It is hard to see in our pictures but each is of a figure face down on a pile of stones, perhaps suggesting the alpine environment in which these events unfolded. While we applaud the inclusion of casualties we would prefer that they be simply figures rather than including such large resin diorama accessories, which limits their usefulness in our view.
The figures come in the same plastic as other recent GerMan releases, which is to say not the crumbly material of some early sets but the still less-than-solid later version. Our sample suffered no breakages but the notice included in the box suggests the manufacturer anticipates some problems by pointing out that breaks can be glued back. Though our figures were not broken they were a considerable disappointment given some very decent recent output from this company. Sadly this is not a set that we can recommend.