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HaT

Set 8031

Austrian Chevauxleger

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2000
Contents 12 figures and 12 horses
Poses 4 poses, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

Austrian Chevauxlegers were basically light dragoons, and were the only light element in the 'German' cavalry, though naturally the army also had large numbers of Hungarian hussars. Austria reorganised its cavalry several times during the Napoleonic wars, but in 1802 six of the 35 cavalry regiments were styled Chevauxleger, and this number remained constant for most of the rest of the period.

The most significant change in uniform for the whole army occurred in 1798, and for the Chevauxlegers this meant a new jacket with a standing collar, shorter boots and a new helmet in the classical style that became the most recognisable feature of Austria's troops. Minor changes were made over the years, including a change to the helmet in 1805 to heighten the crest, but the basic look remained, and it is this look that is seen on these figures. The helmet is the later higher type, though some will feel the difference is not significant. For those that do, HaT suggest converting using heads from the Cuirassier set. The Chevauxleger set also includes extra heads, which are wearing the tricorn worn by much of the cavalry before 1798, and the casquet which was worn by the Chevauxlegers before the same date. However the latter item has a noticeably peak which is incorrect and should be removed. Though there are other differences in uniform, many will find these heads sufficient to portray these earlier types, and HaT deserve credit for trying to make the set as wide-ranging as possible. The figures are accurately shown except that all are missing the infantry-style canteen which hung from a strap over the right shoulder.

As usual from HaT the set contains only four poses, though these are more varied than can be seen in some other sets. Two of the figures are looking to the sides, which allows scenes involving hand-to-hand combat to be built, and also allows a better model of the helmet than those facing the mould.

The two horses are both advancing rapidly, and for the most part have the correct harness and equipment. In fact each should have a small bag under each side of the saddle, and a cross-shaped nose strap like that of the Hussars. However these are small points and the major items like the shape of the shabraque are correctly done.

Two of the figures have separate swords which fit well into ring hands. The set also includes a guidon which could be plugged into the hand of the first figure in our picture. While this would not be a very natural-looking figure, it at least delivers a standard bearer where otherwise there would be none. Along with the Cuirassiers set, the extras in this set mean a good range of Austrian cavalry can be produced.

The quality of sculpting is pretty good, with reasonable detail properly done. All the men have carbines, but these are not facing the mould and so are not well detailed. In addition they all have a picket stake strapped to the carbine, which is correct, but this tends to get confused with the carbine. We found a fair amount of flash on these figures, though not particularly excessive, and there are some extra bits of plastic which connect the carbines with the legs and must be trimmed (presumably done to improve the flow of plastic through the mould). Still these are perfectly usable Chevauxlegers, and are ideal for the 1805 to 1814 period (when queues were abolished, as on these figures, and the helmet was taller), but can be made to cover more units and time periods thanks to the well thought out extras (although we would have liked more than three of each extra head).


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 6
Sculpting 8
Mould 7

Further Reading
Books
"1814: The Campaign of France" - Histoire & Collections - Francois-Guy Hourtoulle - 9782915239560
"Austrian Army of the Napoleonic Wars (2) Cavalry" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.181) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780850457261
"Napoleonic Uniforms Vol.4" - Emperor's Press - John R Elting - 9781883476205
"The Napoleonic Wars Part 2" - Casterman (Arms and Uniforms) - Liliane and Fred Funcken - 9780706314076

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