This set was clearly something of a disaster for Italeri. Originally labelled as Allied General Staff, it finally appeared more than 12 months after it was originally scheduled, and when it did it had become just Austrian and Russian staff. It seems clear that the originally intended set was subsequently broken up into two (the British and Prussian set is reviewed here ), which leaves a lot of empty space to fill, and many will have noticed that the space has been filled with figures from other sets that have been around for years. What is worse, Italeri only chose to include one of what few new poses there are, so most of this set simply repeats old product. All the new poses appear in the first two rows shown above, with the rest coming from Italeri's sets of Austrian Grenadiers and Infantry (set 6005) and Russian Grenadiers (set 6006). For the purposes of this review, therefore, we shall ignore all these repeats, and recommend a visit to the reviews of the two sets mentioned above for information on these figures.
The top row shows all the Austrian figures, a grand total of three poses plus horses. The dismounted man wears typical costume for the Austrian staff, with a large bicorn and the double-breasted Oberrock coat which was very popular. The bicorn sports the green plume of the staff, and the coat has a wide sash round the waist which hides the sword belt. He seems to be directing operations, but for some reason he is leaning noticeably to the left. The two mounted men wear the same uniform as each other, again typical of the subject. The coat has a high collar and rather shortened tails, and is largely plain except that both wear a decoration on their left breast. This appears to be the breast-star of the Order of Maria Theresa - a decoration awarded mostly to senior officers, particularly ones that had command in a battle - so these two are of very high rank. They have particularly high bicorns, again with the staff plume, and are correctly armed with the heavy cavalry sabre. Most striking however is their incredible gait - their legs are about as far apart as most people can get them, and they certainly cannot be gripping their mounts like this.
The second row shows the Russian figures. Until 1808 generals wore a uniform based on their regiment, but in that year a more standard uniform was introduced. It was a double-breasted coatee (single for cavalry generals) and epaulettes (unlike the Austrians, who did not wear them). A bicorn with feather plume and knee boots completed the picture (though overalls were sometimes worn on campaign). The dismounted and first mounted figures fit this bill well, while the second mounted man with the aiguillette on his right shoulder seems to have the pre-1808 uniform. All wear a waist sash, naturally, but the middle man also has a sash over his left shoulder, and since he has decorations on the left side of his chest this suggests he has been awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky, which only applied to a few Russian generals. The profusion of decorations further suggests that these are senior men. The bicorns seem even more exaggerated than on the Austrians, and again the coat tails are either too short or have been much crumpled, but in general these figures look pretty accurate (although we did wonder at the hussar boots on the otherwise non-hussarlike dismounted figure). The dismounted figure has some excess plastic behind his left hand (unless this is meant to be a case for his telescope?), but the mounted men have a less outrageous gait, though again they are far from sitting comfortably on the horse. Indeed none of the mounted men sit well on the horses, merely 'perching', which is very unlike Italeri.
You could be forgiven for thinking both the scanned horses are the same - they are, except for a small emblem in the corner of the Russian saddle cloths, which appears to be the monogram of the Emperor when it should be the Star of Saint Andrew. The horses are OK, though we would have liked to have seen some with a sheepskin (or more accurately bearskin) cover. The Austrian horse has a brace of pistols on the saddle, but Austrian staff did not have these items.
All six figures are extremely tall, and their enormous headwear only makes matters worse. The general standard of sculpting is of the usual good Italeri standard, with good crisp detail and very little flash to speak of. Quite what the sculptor was thinking of when he did the hats and the legs is beyond us, but apart from that these are not too bad. However, overall this set is a massive disappointment, and unlike other manufacturers Italeri have chosen to ask full price for what is essentially a set of six figures and four horses. If cost cutting was the aim then undoubtedly it has been achieved, but it seems certain that sales will suffer enormously when customers find what little they are getting for their money. At well over a Euro/Dollar per man this is exceptionally poor value, and the way to stay in business is to give the customer what they want, not half baked efforts like this.