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HaT

Set 8231

Swedish Artillery

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2010
Contents 16 figures and 4 guns
Poses 6 poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Soft)
Colours Grey
Average Height 23.5 mm (= 1.7 m)

Review

In the early 19th century Sweden had four artillery regiments, reduced to three after the loss of Finland to Russia. As in most countries the artillery were something of an elite, requiring much more training than most other troops, and they formed part of the surprisingly small 'regular' part of the army - the rest being mobilised when necessary.

Anyone that researches the Swedish Army during the years of Napoleon will tell you they are a very difficult subject, with relatively little information available and an apparent tendency to mix and match uniforms within units for long periods as older styles were kept until completely worn out. The regulations changed several times, which meant that at any given moment two or more types of uniform might be seen, so what eyewitness accounts and illustrations there are tell us little of what was supposed to be worn. This was largely down to a lack of money, which meant the luxury of discarding clothing simply because a new style was authorised could not be afforded. It also means figure producers have little to go on or, to put it another way, they have a lot of flexibility in what they produce.

The artillery closely followed the uniform of the infantry, and in 1807 a new uniform was decreed which was much simpler than the one before, again partly to save money. This was a short-tailed single-breasted coat with a girdle around the waist. The peculiarly Swedish round hat with the extended upturned brim on the left side was retained, and it is this uniform that these figures wear. Valid from 1807, it is likely to have survived long after the 1810 introduction of a double-breasted coatee, and also after the introduction of shakos in late 1812. In fact many Swedish troops adapted their somewhat old-fashioned uniform as best they could, but this uniform is about the best choice in order to cover as much as possible of Sweden’s involvement in the Napoleonic Wars, and everything is correctly done. True the waist belt does not look much like a girdle, but that can easily be remedied with paint.

Swedish guns too seem to be extremely poorly documented. They used the usual calibres of 3, 6 and 12-pounders plus howitzers, and the gun in this set looks perfectly reasonable. It comes in a number of parts (see sprue image) which go to make a much more detailed and satisfying model than the single-piece carriages of some early sets. A choice of cannon or howitzer barrels is a nice touch too.

Although we always like to see more than four poses for a gun this set does at least have a selection of right arms for one of the figures, allowing him to be holding a leather stall (for covering the touch-hole), a bucket or a handspike. The other poses hold a ramrod, ammunition and the match, which covers all the basics. All the poses are fine, and the separate arm even allows for a more natural pose.

The sculpting of these figures is pretty good, with plentiful if not particularly sharp detail. There is also some flash to be removed, but not much. The separate arms fit the shoulder well, as do all the parts of the gun, so this is quite easy to put together.

Having produced representative sets of Swedish infantry and cavalry, this set of artillery was a natural next step for HaT. It’s not got a lot of figures per gun although it does try hard to make up for that, and many wargamers only use four figures per gun anyway. A lovely gun and some attractive figures make this small set a worthy companion for the rest of the Swedish range.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 4
Sculpting 9
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Napoleonic Uniforms Vol.4" - Emperor's Press - John R Elting - 9781883476205
"Scandinavian Armies in the Napoleonic Wars" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.60) - Jack Cassin-Scott - 9780850452525
"The Napoleonic Source Book" - Guild - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780853689690
Magazines
"Military Hobbies" - No.36
"Tradition (English Language)" - No.60

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