Like all armies of the time, that of the Russian Empire had many regiments of light infantry (generally translated as Jägers today) - in 1805 it had 20 regiments as compared to 77 of musketeers. However no dedicated Russian manual on light infantry tactics existed during the Napoleonic Wars, so while the men were given more training in marksmanship and made to feel like an elite, it is unclear how often they were used in their traditional skirmishing role, and how often merely as ordinary infantry. It is likely that they were used in whatever manner the situation at the time required, but they were given some distinctive elements to their appearance and weaponry, so any Austerlitz-era Russian Army will need many of the figures in this set.
Given their purpose on the battlefield, you would expect figures both firing and at various stages of reloading. This set includes these, plus a marching figure and one at attention - both perfectly reasonable. The two figures apparently facing the enemy with bayonets fixed would have been defending their partner while they reloaded, if they were skirmishing, and are an appropriate addition to this set.
In 1802 the light infantry were issued with headwear that was part shako and part hat. Basically it was a round hat with a squared peak and a brim all the way around, and with standard shako ornaments on the crown, all of which has been correctly modelled on these figures. The rest of the uniform is much the same as for the line infantry, and again is properly done here, including the absence of any shoulder straps. All the uniform details are correctly sculpted, so it is nice to see good research produce authentic figures. This is well illustrated by the very long cartridge box, which runs across the stomach and round to the middle of the back in one piece. A most remarkable device, and one rarely shown in English language reference books, but perfectly accurate nonetheless and described by both Knotel and Viskovatov. From 1806 this long pouch was replaced with a much more conventional pouch, and shortly after the round hat was replaced by a shako, so these figures are appropriate for the period c.1802 to c.1807.
At this time there were many different types of musket in Russian service, including ones imported from other allies. Jägers carried the same as the line infantry, apart from NCOs and 12 sharpshooters in each company, who were given rifled muskets instead. The kneeling figure and the second one in the bottom row seem to have carbines as their weapons are particularly short. Most of the figures also have a sword bayonet attached, which is fine, although unlike the regular infantry, which had bayonets fixed at all times, the lights generally only fixed bayonet when ordered, so the marching and attention figures could have theirs removed, which is an easy task.
These figures have excellent detail and minimal flash, and although the style is not to our own taste (in particular the large heads), these are still attractive figures. The poses meet all the basic needs, and the figures are accurately done, although we did wonder whether they would have worn the full pack when in action, as all of these figures do. So this is a fine set and a welcome expansion of the Napoleonic Russian range.