The difficulties of transporting heavy cavalry horses across the Channel meant that British heavy dragoons did not see a great deal of service on the continent during the Napoleonic Wars. Famously of course there were present at Waterloo and participated in the charge of the 'Union' Brigade, where their wild advance scattered the enemy but continued out of control until their ranks were devastated by French cavalry. This was fairly typical of their discipline, and was part of the reason Wellington placed less faith in his cavalry arm than in his infantry, but when thundering forward as depicted on the box artwork they must have made a magnificent spectacle, and perhaps that can be recreated with the figures to be found inside the box.
Our first impression of the poses in this set was very positive, because they certainly have plenty of life and are much more interesting than the corresponding HaT poses, which were the only others available prior to this set. These poses seem intended for the full charge, and we find men leaning well forward as they advance or twisting their body to one side, making a very dramatic display. However there are only six poses, and two of those are taken by an officer and a trumpeter, leaving just four others. One of those is of a man apparently hit while in the saddle, which is a great pose, but that just leaves three poses of ordinary troopers doing their thing. The stand-out pose is the last in the top row, who is conducting the text-book cut against infantry, when the elbow was allowed to be bent, leaving just two for a charge. Not having a pose with sword thrust fully forward is a shame, but the poses we do get are very worthwhile. The officer is good, and the trumpeter is just as good, having the advantage of being less than completely flat to the mould as is so often found in cavalry sets. So a cracking collection of poses, lively and dramatic, but buying several sets will give you a great many officers, trumpeters and wounded men, which will disappoint many.
The two horse poses are not some of the best we have seen, but they are fair and clearly are both moving forward quickly. Their bridles and saddles are correctly done (better than the light dragoon bridle shown on the box), as is all the equipment, including the rolled cloak across the front (possibly including the nosebag on top?), the cylindrical valise at the back with the mess tin strapped to the top. Other items could have been included, but these are widely omitted in such sets. The tails of the animals have been docked, which is as it should be, and generally the anatomy of both is good, although the ears are a bit vague.
As we are told on the box, the men all wear the helmet with mane that was introduced from 1812 and worn by all heavy dragoons, both 'Guard' and line (apart from the 2nd Scots Greys) by 1815. The rest of the uniform is correct too, with the single-breasted jacket, girdle round the waist, and overalls over the legs. All wear gauntlets, allowing them to be used as either dragoons or dragoon guards. The men have the haversack and water bottle over their right shoulder, and the belt that supported the carbine and cartridge pouch over their left. They carry a good-sized straight sword and have a sabretache hung about the knee, which is perfect for these troops. As with the horses then, accuracy is no problem.
The detail on these figures is perfectly good but not as crisply defined as on some such as the HaT dragoons. The man about to strike to his right has a separate arm which fits easily into the allotted place and looks very good, although it will require gluing. The result is an excellent pose which is rarely modelled or, if done, is done as one piece, causing the elbow to be ludicrously flat to the chest in a way that is anatomically impossible - the pose in this set is how such a pose should always be done. Great animation (the helmet manes are very nice) and not much flash, and the men sit well on their animals, so this is very nicely produced.
The strong points of this set are the lively poses, the good detail and the complete historical accuracy - some very good things to get right in our view. The main weak point is that a third of the figures depict an officer and a trumpeter, which are nice figures but something of a luxury when there are only six different poses. The casualty is also very good, but again a luxury sets can ill afford unless they have at least eight poses. It is so easy to ask for more, especially when you don't have to worry about balancing the books, but had it been us we would have chosen a different balance of poses. However it is what it is, and what you get is really nice and should indeed make for a magnificent miniature spectacle.