The Imperial (Habsburg) army during the Thirty Years War encompassed elements from many parts of Europe, but in an age when uniform went no further than regimental level the participants on all sides were dressed and equipped in much the same way apart from any traditional regional variations. Therefore sets such as this one have a much wider use than the title might suggest.
The set includes a grand total of nine figures, including infantry, cavalry, artillery and baggage, so it is very far from being a thorough representation of the subject. Indeed with just four shot, three horsemen and two gunners it can hardly be described as even scratching the surface (hence our low pose number score), which makes us wonder why such a wide-ranging title was chosen. It would seem much more appropriate to have called it 'Imperial Wagon' with an assortment of supporting troops, since it is this vehicle that takes up the majority of the set.
The box wagon is a good size one at around 60 mm in length not including the pole or team, with solid planking sloping sides and rear board but with no front board, which must surely be a battlefield modification as this would have dramatically reduced the carrying capacity. The design is extremely simple and basic, and has been simplified to an extent for this model. The main parts of the wagon fit together with long pegs and holes, but the pegs are hugely wider than the holes, requiring a large amount of enlargement of the holes to make the fit. This does at least mean that the fit, once achieved, can be made good and tight. All four wheels are exactly the same size, which was unusual but not unknown, yet the front axle is, as was usual, further from the floor of the wagon to accommodate the fore-carriage, which means the wagon tilts backwards at an angle. The sides and floor fit quite poorly, with gaps in places, so this is a really poor model. Matters are not helped by the absence of any instructions, so we have included them here.
The team pulling the wagon are no better. The set includes 6 horses in 2 poses (shown in our fourth row) which are fairly well equipped with collar harness and the necessary saddlery. One horse pose is saddled, yet there are no drivers provided. The means to hitch the team to the wagon are minimal in the extreme. The set includes three whippletrees, but no traces, nor the means to attach them to the central pole or each other. Therefore to actually put the team together you have to provide your own thread or other material to fashion traces and drill your own holes to attach items. The whippletrees are also single-sided, being totally plain on one side.
Still on the subject of the wagon, its presence here is justified by being equipped with a small gun (19 mm total length). This gun is mounted on a swivel on a short stem, and must therefore be attached to the side of the wagon. Again however there is no means of doing this - no holes or other devices - you have to simply glue it against the side. Equally the gun has no means of attachment to the mount apart from straight gluing, so it certainly will not be able to move once so fixed. Mounting small guns on wagons was sometimes done at this period so the concept is historically accurate, but the model itself is very poor unless you are prepared to put in a vast amount of effort to improve and expand what has been provided, in which case you might just as well scratch-build.
Moving up our pictures we find two men apparently serving the gun in our second row. One holds aloft a match while the other seems to hold a bag, which must be canister or case-shot. Both are quite nice and wear typical costume, and are a good crew for the weapon.
Next we will consider the three mounted men. These too are appropriately dressed for the period, with two wielding swords and the third using a pistol. We were not greatly taken with the pose of the man with sword over his head, but none of the poses are particularly unsuitable. They all have the same mount (shown in the third row) which has been accurately if rather crudely equipped. However none of the men sit on the saddle well, which makes them both unstable and awkward to behold.
Finally we have the four shot in the top row. While all these men have apt costume they handle what must be quite light (and therefore later) muskets, or else the smaller caliver, since none have a fork rest. Three of the poses are OK but the man with drawn sword is very strange as he holds his very short firearm by the muzzle and along the length of his left leg. This is no doubt done to make the sculptor’s life simpler, as is the scabbards of the cavalrymen following precisely the line of the left leg, yet in all these cases the result is awkward and unrealistic.
The quality of production of the figures is surprisingly good, with almost no flash and no excess plastic. However this has partly been achieved by making the poses very flat, so that items such as guns press hard into the bodies of the men, which does not look good. Detail is not wonderful but nor is it bad, although the overall look of the stances is not as natural as we would have liked. The wagon parts suffer more from flash, and as we have said the tolerances on these items are far from adequate for a kit.
Most of the figures in this set are rather flat but otherwise not without merit and make a worthwhile addition to the available figures for this period, although they are all rather too large for true 1/72 scale. On the other hand the wagon is such a poor fit, missing so many elements, and takes so long to produce even a basic model that we would recommend not wasting your time.