When HaT began production there was still a relative shortage of Napoleonic figures. Several companies produced them, but they all tended to produce the same sets, French and British infantry, French cuirassiers etc. From their very first set, HaT declared that they would be filling many of the gaps, not least being the almost non-existence of any Austrian figures at the time. This set of Austrian cuirassiers were the first Austrian cavalry to be made in the hobby, and long overdue as a result. The cuirassiers have always been a favourite for Napoleonic cavalry, and the Austrian Empire had many such regiments which saw service in many battles such as Austerlitz, so this was a useful and quite spectacular beginning.
This set follows the standard HaT formula for cavalry of four mounted poses and two horse poses. All four of the troopers have their sword drawn and three are waving it in various directions, but all are facing straight ahead, so they give the impression of a charge rather than engaged in mounted combat. There is nothing wrong with this of course, and many modellers would probably want a collection of charging figures if only a few poses were on offer, so all the poses are reasonably realistic and good choices. The two horse poses are also fairly classic HaT choices, and again both are moving forward rapidly, apparently at the gallop and the trot.
The men are pretty accurate, with each having just the front cuirass plate which Austrian cuirassiers wore throughout the Napoleonic Wars. Details of the coat, breeches and boots all look fine, and all the men have been given the 1798 crested leather helmet also issued to the infantry. They are not the later higher examples of this, so these men date from 1798 to roughly 1809. One issue however is none have a canteen or haversack, which was usually worn on the left hip. Each man does have a carbine to which a peg is also correctly attached. Only having four poses means there are no officers, trumpeters or other special roles, which is a pity as they had variations in the standard uniform.
The horses are both correct in what they have, with the correct shape shabraque and valise, plus the pistol holsters on the front of the saddle. They also have the sheepskin which covered the saddle, but lack any other bags into which spare items were generally put.
There is not too much flash on the figures, and the riders sit well on the horses. The general appearance of both man and horse is good, and there is a lot of nicely done fine detail to enjoy here, with very nice moustachioed faces on the men. In common with many early HaT sets the scabbards tend to hug the side of the men's leg, but we can have no major complaints about the sculpting here.
At the time this set was made the hobby had yet to enter its golden age, and the fact that someone was making Austrians at all was a major cause for celebration. Sets like this from HaT did much to spark that growth, and should be fondly viewed even now. With the benefit of hindsight it would have been nice to see some more poses, and particularly some officers, trumpeters etc., especially as no one else ever covered this subject, but what there is is nicely done and with only minor accuracy issues, so this remains a good start for any Austrian Napoleonic army.