Scots had served in the British Army from the day it came into being, and during the Napoleonic Wars there were many Scottish regiments. By no means all of them wore the kilt, and of those that did many of the soldiers were not Highlanders, while some were not Scottish or even British. The Highland regiments enjoyed a good reputation and served in most of the campaigns the British conducted against Napoleon, finally participating in the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo.
Unlike a number of recent figure sets from Italeri this one contains sprues with only 12 poses, so you get fewer figures and fewer poses than we have come to expect from this manufacturer. Perhaps as a result the designer has avoided most of the specialist figures, as there is no piper, flag-bearer or even any officers. However there is a drummer, plus a rather excessive two sergeant poses. The remaining nine poses are all ordinary soldiers in the kind of poses that might be expected – firing, loading, marching and advancing. All these poses look natural and are very nicely done. One of the sergeants is using his spontoon in an apparently combative way, for while the weapon was largely a symbol of rank it could be very useful in a fight, especially against cavalry. Only 12 poses then, and no officers, but what there is is very good.
When examining these figures for historical accuracy we were mostly pleased with what we saw. In reality such men often went without the feathers in the caps and without kilts, but as usual this set shows something of an ideal look where all the regulations are scrupulously followed. The men all have their Kilmarnock caps with a very full array of ostrich feathers plus the hackle and cockade on the left side. With such finely detailed figures we might have hoped for the ribbons at the back that allowed the cap to be adjusted, but no. None have a peak, which was a separate item worn by many, but not all regiments, so that is perfectly OK here. All the jackets look good and have wing-style epaulettes, which identifies these men as belonging to a flank company, i.e. grenadiers or light infantry, rather than the more numerous battalion companies. For some reason this is the same choice made in the earlier Italeri set, and in the Esci half set. The kilts are a good length (and without sporrans, which is good), although on some the pleating at the back disappears. All have a check pattern engraved, which will help guide painters yet is subtle enough not to be too intrusive. The hose tied up with a garter, and the short gaiters over shoes complete the entirely satisfactory ensemble.
Every man has the neatly square but much disliked Trotter knapsack with the greatcoat rolled on top. The cartridge pouch is correctly placed on the right hip, and the bayonet, haversack and canteen on the left. However the kneeling man, third in the second row, has his canteen and cartridge pouch on the opposite sides, which is absolutely wrong and would never have been allowed (regardless of natural inclination, there was no such thing as a left-handed soldier at this time). Also this figure is missing his bayonet scabbard, so has one crossbelt supporting nothing at all.
If one of the soldiers rather spoils the otherwise good accuracy score then the two sergeants drive the proverbial coach-and-horses through it. Both have the spontoon, which is fine, and incidentally marks these men as grenadiers and not light infantry, where the sergeants had firearms. Both men have haversack and canteen, which is fine but on the wrong left side, but both have a bayonet despite having nothing to attach it to. Also neither man seems to have the sash that was an important mark of office and was worn over the left shoulder instead of the crossbelt, which both do have, which seems to support the correctly non-existent cartridge pouch. Speaking of missing badges of rank, neither man has the broadsword that should be the only thing on the left hip, so both sergeants are quite a mess.
Although the sculptor may have gone astray with the research on the sergeants his concentration on the quality of his work is commendable as these are all very nicely done with loads of great detail and perfect proportions. The feathers ‘mounted’ on the cap are always a challenge but have been done about as well here as could be, and the same goes for everything else, so these figures should be a delight to paint. The one piece of assembly – the drum attached to the drummer – is a good fit, and there is absolutely no flash, while despite being one-piece models these are an object lesson on how to get great deep figures with no hint of flatness while having very little excess plastic. Just superb, apart from the man reloading his musket in the top row, who is holding an evidently separate rod which is 10 mm in length and therefore hopelessly inadequate as a ramrod for his weapon, which correctly has a barrel length of 13 mm!
Contrary to popular belief drummers were often grown men, so the short stature of the drummer here is perhaps unusual though not necessarily incorrect. This is not a set without flaws as we have said, although happily the majority of the figures are indeed faultless. All are beautiful to behold and look very convincing, so the occasional inaccuracy (and the considerable inaccuracy of the sergeants) is a real let down. Still a great set, but could have been superb with better research at the early stages.