Since the British Government disapproved of the warlike preparations being made against the Zulus by the local colonial authorities the available forces for an invasion were relatively modest and particularly lacked cavalry. Local units of various types helped to fill this gap, but the comparatively recent innovation of taking infantrymen that could ride and putting them on horses to create mounted infantry was also used to swell the numbers of horsed men. Given the wide open terrain all mounted men were crucial, and as the only mounted regulars during the early part of the war the mounted infantry were an important part of the colonial forces.
It was always made clear to these men that they remained infantry and were in no sense cavalry, so they always dismounted to fight. When mounted therefore they would usually be on patrol or some other non-combative duty, for which the first two poses shown above are ideal. Since there was no proper means of stowing the firearm carrying it in the hand was common, as these two do, so these are very good poses. Firing from the saddle would have been an emergency measure, so the third pose is considerably less useful. The two foot firing poses are of course fine, and the third pose, which makes a good man leading a horse, is also good.
The horses were usually locally raised, as ones from home were both scarce and less suited to the environment. There are two such horse poses in this set, which are the same as in the set of Natal Native Horse, and both are well posed and appropriate. However we were surprised that they are so lightly kitted, with little more than a rolled blanket over the back of the saddle. It should be noted that there are more horses than riders, allowing extra for standing next to the dismounted men.
As mounted infantry these men wear basic infantry uniform but without all the belts and packs. Instead they have been correctly given leather bandoliers with open cartridge loops which are worn over the left shoulder, and all also have a haversack over the opposite shoulder. Given the heat of southern Africa we were surprised that no one has a canteen, however. They have the usual foreign service helmet, which is correctly done without puggaree. Puggarees were worn in India, but a nice touch is HaT have provided separate puggarees for every man (shown in the bottom row). This helps to expand the utility of these figures, although we found that these items do not reach all round the helmet and are therefore no more than a starting point for converters. Lastly Mounted Infantry were armed with the Swinburne-Henry carbine, but all these men have been erroneously given an ordinary rifle instead.
Sculpting is reasonably good although detail can be a bit vague in places. There is almost no flash, and all the riders fit easily on their mounts, although not so tightly that gluing becomes unnecessary.
This is quite a nice set where the accuracy problems are fairly subtle and will not bother many, while the sculpting and poses will again satisfy most customers. Many a colonial army will find room for these figures.