Following the upheavals of 1806, Prussia's hussars received a new uniform which essentially reflected the conventional design popular at the time, and this is the uniform on these figures, so they date from 1808 to 1815. This period was not a happy one for Prussian cavalry; they had lost much prestige after the defeats of the Jena campaign and while they redeemed themselves in part in the years leading up to the Waterloo campaign there was always a struggle with lack of money, which left them a shadow of the glory days under Frederick the Great. Nevertheless six regiments of hussars took part in the Battle of Waterloo, including the pursuit of the defeated French in the evening, which must have been particularly satisfying.
Until the appearance of this set there had been no entirely satisfactory set of Prussian Hussars. The two sets from Waterloo 1815 were beautiful but had accuracy problems, so our first concern with this set is to see whether any such problems appear here. Happily we can report that all the men are entirely accurate and appropriate for the period in question. They wear their pelisse as a second coat rather than slung over the shoulder, an oilskin cover over their shakos and reinforced buttoned overalls over their breeches - all normal practice when on campaign. On the left hip they carry a curved sabre along with a sabretache held by three straps, and on the right they have the carbine suspended from a belt over the left shoulder, which also holds the cartridge box on the back. The two horses do have one problem - the sheepskin shabraque they both correctly have should have 'wolf’s teeth' edging, but otherwise these too are accurate.
The usual HaT four poses generally provokes a cool response from us, but in this case much effort has gone into making the most of them. The three swordsmen poses are all good, and we particularly liked the second figure, who is really leaning in to what he is doing, or perhaps he is trying to attack infantry. Either way it is a dynamic pose without the straight back so often seen on mounted figures. The fourth figure, as you can clearly see, has a choice of right arms. The sword option means the man holds the sword to his front, making a better pose than is usually gained when the figure is one piece. The carbine option is more flexible in that the carbine can be horizontal at the hip, vertical or anywhere in between, including resting on the thigh. The trumpet option works best with the instrument to the lips, although you can have it somewhat lower before it interferes with the horse’s head. Again this makes for a marvellous three-dimensional pose rarely seen in figure sets, so we thought all these separate arms worked really well at delivering a very decent range of poses, all of which look natural. The two horse poses are quite reasonable too, and certainly better than many.
Perfectionists might like to know that by using the trumpet arm the man should really have swallow's nest epaulettes, but since trumpeters were not armed with carbines the lack of this item on the fourth figure is fine. This is also true if you choose the carbine arm, of course, so technically if you choose the sword arm then the figure should have a carbine attached, but these are all very small points and are more than outweighed by the convenience of the choice of arms.
The sculpting is good with good proportions and natural stances, but detail is a bit variable and certainly not as crisp and sharp as it might be. The braiding on the pelisse is very nice, but areas such as the decoration around the cuffs are more vague. The separate arms fit the peg on the shoulder of the fourth figure very well, and as this is a simple symmetrical peg you have complete freedom to position the arm how you like. You don't even have to glue this, although we would recommend that you do, and the fit is good enough to not even need any filling in our view. The men fit the horses easily and will stay put without gluing, although again using glue would make more sense. Flash is non-existent, as is any unwanted extra plastic.
These are pretty nice figures, and aside from the detail on the shabraque there are no accuracy issues. The ability to produce multiple poses from one figure means you are not left with lots of trumpeters that you cannot use, and you have a good deal of flexibility to make minor adjustments and produce a more natural array of similar but slightly different poses. Our initial concern that such separate bits would be fiddly or not look good proved quite unfounded, making this a really attractive set that makes the most of the space on the sprue and should prove useful not only for Prussian armies but also those of other states.