Hussars were very much in fashion during the Napoleonic Wars, with most people seeing them as the most glamorous branch of the army. They wore flamboyant uniforms and were the most expensive troops to kit out, yet every major army of the time had them among the ranks.
In many ways hussars are an easy choice of subject as there were considerable differences between regiments within an army, and also between individuals as a standard appearance was not given as much emphasis as it was in most other units. The figures in this set are a good reflection of that fact, with several modes of dress on show. Some are in campaign dress, while others are largely in parade dress, which was nonetheless certainly seen on many a battlefield. Some wear the dolman on the shoulder, some on the body, and some have none at all. All wear the shako, which is correct for the labelled 1805/6 period, but again there are several styles, as there are with the plates on the front. Every man here has a queue, which was officially abolished in 1805, though some regiments kept theirs for years afterwards. Given the hussar's traditional extravagant taste in costume it is impossible to say any of these figures does not accurately represent a valid style of dress.
Italeri maintained its standard of nine poses for a cavalry set, and the ones here are fine though not particularly outstanding. We were disappointed that there were not more figures using firearms as all hussars were supposed to have a musketoon and pistols. However the infantry had first call on such firearms, and at some periods such equipment was in desperately short supply, so the hussar thus equipped may not have been so common.
The five horse poses are reasonable and nicely sculpted. However in a fault common to many cavalry sets there are no trotting, walking or standing poses. Since the principal use of hussars was scouting and skirmishing, they would expect to spend much of their time on such horses, but all the horses in this set suggest a full charge, which was uncommon though not unknown.
It may seem tedious to repeat the same comment that can be found in other Italeri sets, but yet again the figures are superb and the detail outstanding. The riders really grip their horses, which is of course entirely realistic, and the anatomy of man and animal is faultless. It is the braiding that provides the biggest challenge for sculptors, and here there have inevitably been compromises. In reality hussars had anything up to 18 horizontal braids, and either three or five rows of buttons, depending on regiment and period. These figures have about six braids and four rows of buttons, which gives the right general impression but is technically inaccurate, though this is a case where the reality would be virtually impossible to depict at this scale. We found some small amount of flash which needed trimming, but this is an excellent set for a very colourful subject that at the time of writing continues to be underrepresented in this scale.