For a very long time the casual observer of 1/72 scale plastic soldiers might be forgiven for thinking that the Napoleonic Wars amounted to no more than that one day at Waterloo. Companies like Airfix and Esci made most or all of their Napoleonic sets for that one battle, and it is only recently that manufacturers have started producing sufficient sets for the many other important actions of the war. Austerlitz must surely be one of the most important of these battles, and at last someone has produced regular Russian infantry for it.
The eight poses in this set include two (a third of the total figures) on the march, but between them all the necessary positions have been covered, though there are none that justify particular comment except the officer, who is walking along rather than adopting the more usual charging kind of posture, but looks good. A more senior officer can be obtained from the HaT Light Infantry set 8073.
After several upheavals over the previous few years, by 1805 Russian uniform had settled down to a modern design. At the start of that year the shako had been introduced, replacing the old fashioned bicorn. These figures wear this new uniform, and have been accurately portrayed with the correct detail, including the unusual knapsack. They all wear their greatcoat around the torso in the traditional Russian manner. The figures have been given shakos with the tall and bushy busch plume, which was a feature mostly associated with grenadiers and Guard infantry. However by removing this the figures represent normal line fusiliers. If they are to be used as Grenadiers, then a grenade badge should be painted under the cockade on the shako, and each corner of the cartridge box should also have a grenade symbol. Thus the figures are suitable for most types of regular Russian infantry at the time. Excellent.
The standard of sculpting is very good, and is reminiscent of the Revell Prussian infantry. Detail is excellent throughout and all correctly done, but though all the men are anatomically lifelike there is little apparent movement in them. The one charging figure is as close as they get, but even he is not really conveying a lot of movement. We particularly liked the officer, who is an NCO with his cane in his right hand and carrying a halberd in his left, both classic signs of authority.
This is a nice collection of figures, done in a slightly stocky style but looking good. The lack of animation is perhaps excusable since Napoleonic soldiers generally fought in large slow-moving formations. These should look impressive in the vast armies that Russia deployed against Napoleon, and are a welcome broadening of the range of Napoleonic figures on offer.