Hussars were the most dashing and elegant cavalry in any Napoleonic army, at least according to the hussars themselves. Those of Prussia were doubtless no different, and full of confidence at the start of the 1806 campaign against France. However the campaign was a disaster for the Prussians, and brought about many changes to their armed forces. Amongst these were changes in uniform for the hussars, which up to that year had changed little for many years. Such troops are to be found in this set from HaT.
By 1806 the fashion for shakos was well established, and indeed Prussia had ordained that its hussars would wear this particular item. However so far few had received theirs, so many, perhaps most, hussars went into battle with the old-fashioned mirliton depicted on these figures. These figures seem to show it correctly, although sources are divided on which way the extra 'wing' was wrapped round the headdress. The rest of the uniform and appearance is quite typically hussar, with dolman, pelisse and overalls over breeches and boots. The figures have their pelisse slung over the shoulder, but one source states this was only done for parade. When on campaign the pelisse was either worn properly or left off depending on the weather. However other sources seem content to show this as sculpted on the figures. The hair and moustaches are particularly evocative of hussar fashion.
Prussian hussars wore a cartridge pouch on a belt over the right shoulder, apart from the 8th regiment, who had the belt over the left. Unfortunately these figures have the latter arrangement, so are good for the 8th but not for any others. Needless to say we would have much preferred the more common arrangement. More of a problem is that none have a carbine belt, which should be over the left shoulder. All hussar troopers had carbines, yet apart from the separate arm these are missing here.
Repeating a trick they used in their comparable set of Dragoons, HaT have included three good generic poses plus a fourth pose with a choice of separate arms (the last figure pictured above). Here the available choices are a sword, carbine and trumpet (hussars carried no standard). As with the dragoons these are good choices, with the trumpet in particular being held to the lips in a natural but seldom seen way - without looking to the side. All the poses are well chosen and useful.
The sculpting of these figures is really good, with proper proportions and a natural look to them, while detail is excellent given the complex nature of the uniform. The occasional piece of flash is not a real problem, and there is little sign of a ridge where the moulds meet. The separate arms all connect well to a peg on the man’s shoulder.
We were less impressed with the horses, which are not bad but just not quite as convincing as the men. However all the horse furniture is correctly done, and the figures sit quite easily if sometimes a little too loosely, requiring gluing to avoid leaning forward over the horse’s neck.
The missing carbines and unusual belt arrangement mar an otherwise very good set which as a bonus offers plenty of scope for use as hussars of various nations for many years prior to 1806.