All armies need officers to lead and direct, and in the past they also had drums and flags to inspire the troops, but such figures are often lacking or scarce in general sets. With this set Hat have provided all the basic command elements for an Austrian Army of the Seven Years War, providing good numbers of each and allowing the customer to decide how many they need without having to purchase extra unwanted soldiers. By itself then it offers only a handful of poses, but compared to many general sets it offers a much wider selection for some of the most important elements of the Army.
The first figure in our top row is of an officer of fusiliers, dressed appropriately in a coat without turnbacks and with a sash around the waist. He is armed with a straight officer’s sword and carries a halberd or half-pike. He moves forward and looks to his left, so could be on the march or advancing into battle. Next to him is an NCO, who is dressed much like the men but has no item of kit such as knapsack, ammunition pouch or bayonet. He too has a sword, and instead of a musket he carries a halberd, partly as a mark of his rank (the design of such halberds varied, and both those on show in this set are reasonable). He also has a cane attached to a button on his coat as a further mark of rank.
The third figure is also an officer, but of grenadiers. He is dressed much like the fusilier officer, with full-skirted coat, waistcoat, breeches and long gaiters, but as a grenadier officer he is armed with a musket, and so has a cartridge pouch, which here is on the front of his waist belt (as was often the case with grenadier officers). The fourth figure is a drummer, dressed much like the privates but with the addition of the traditional swallows nest wings on the shoulder, and no ammunition as he carries a sword but no firearm. He is moving forward and seems to be in the process of beating his drum, although this difficult pose is not particularly convincing here. The drum is a separate piece, which fits into a hole on his leg, but we found this fit to be quite poor, and particularly difficult to get a convincing angle and position. The drum is in any case a bit too small here, and can only be positioned to the front rather than to the side as was normal (and far more comfortable). The drum needs gluing to stay in place, and the final figure is okay rather than great.
The second row begins with what might be considered the heart of a regiment, its flag. As you can see, the flag is actually missing here, and HaT have instead provided just the staff, together with cords and the finial, onto which you must apply your own flag. Many customers like this arrangement (it saves them having to create such a figure themselves), and of course you can then choose any flag you want, but some may be less pleased by this arrangement (though it takes up far less room on the sprue of course). Happily the staff is plenty long enough for the full size infantry flag (140cm breadth, or 20mm to scale), so this is well designed. The bearer is dressed and armed like an officer, and has no kit, including no means of supporting the flag via a belt.
Finally we come to the mounted officer, which is an important inclusion rarely found in general sets because the horse takes up so much space on the sprue. In this case HaT have provided the man with a choice of right arms. We chose the bent arm with sword resting on the shoulder, but could also have used the outstretched arm holding the sword forward, more of an action pose. Unfortunately neither arm is a particularly good fit on the shoulder, but the idea is certainly a good one. He sits astride his mount quite easily, but needs gluing to stay in the saddle. He is dressed and armed like his dismounted colleague, and apart from the rather clumsy right arm he looks very good. His horse has something of a dressage pose about it, but not too bad. The basic bridle and saddle furniture are unadorned but look suitable for the subject.
The standard of sculpting is exactly the same as for the other sets in this little series. The light colour plastic makes it hard to see details, although it both matches the old Revell set and the basic coat colour of the men. We added a wash of dark paint to highlight the sculpting, and were rewarded with some good-looking figures. Not quite as crisp and sharp as the Revell equivalent, but good nevertheless with nice details like the long queue at the back and the buttons on the coats. There is a little flash in places, but nothing particularly remarkable, although as we have said the limited amount of assembly is not the best aspect of this collection.
As with the other sets released at the same time, this one shows nothing of the Hungarian troops in the army, but covers the basic command functions quite well (only a sapper is missing, and that can be found in the Revell set). Only the NCO and drummer have a moustache – not any of the officers, which is correct, so good attention to detail here. Basically this set delivers what it promises, with a good range of all-useful figures doing exactly what they would be expected to do. All you need to do is add a flag, and all your troops get the necessary support they need to go into battle. Another unexceptional but workmanlike and well-produced set from one of the largest manufacturers in our hobby.