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HaT

Set 8034

French Young Guard

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2000
Contents 48 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Napoleon's Imperial Guard changed many times during its existence, but in broad terms the 'Old Guard' were the most senior units, the 'Middle Guard' less so and the 'Young Guard' were at the bottom of the heap, though as Guard they still had precedence over the Line. For the purposes of this set, the Young Guard can be defined as those units brought in to enlarge the Guard in 1809, and at least in theory the men could graduate to the Middle Guard and ultimately to the Old Guard.

The uniform of the Young Guard was very similar to the Line regiments, so it was cheaper than the famous Old Guard. Still by 1815 both Guard and Line suffered from lack of supplies and experienced men, and the figures in this set represent this final chapter in their brief history. As an economy measure the sabre had been taken away from these tirailleurs of the Young Guard in 1813, and they had adopted a single shoulder belt which carried both the cartridge pouch and bayonet frog. All the rankers in this set are wearing their usual double-breasted greatcoats, which conceals their uniform, or perhaps lack of it. They also have covers on their shakos, so hiding all the usual decoration apart from the pompom. The uniform, simple as it is, is mostly correctly done here, except that the bayonet frog is missing apart from the top part, which is very strange. The officer does not wear a greatcoat, so we can see that he wears the coatee with the long tails and the closed lapels as per the Bardin reforms. These reforms only applied to the Young Guard in April 1813, which is when the men lost their sabre, so these figures date from then to the end of the period.

The eight poses on offer are a reasonable mixture, though we were not too keen on the figure with one leg in the air, and the man in the second row, third from the left, is holding his musket in a very unnatural way. The last figure in that row has a ring hand, into which the shown accessories can be inserted. While this does not provide a particularly convincing figure of a man holding an item, it will be perfectly adequate for many needs and expands the available poses to some extent. Of course, accessories from other Hat sets can also be used here such as the bugle. The flag provided here is very small and limp, and not especially useful, and the drum is far too short to be realistic.

The standard of sculpting is reasonable, and detail is nice and clear, although as we have said there is not a great need for much of this on these figures. There is about average amounts of flash, and some small areas of plastic that purists might like to carve away where the mould cannot reach. The beauty of these figures is that their simple but accurate uniform makes them suitable for other French infantry and even perhaps infantry from other countries, depending on how precise the customer wants them.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 8
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"1814: The Campaign of France" - Histoire & Collections - Francois-Guy Hourtoulle - 9782915239560
"French Imperial Guard Infantry (6) The Uniforms" - Almark (Soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars) - Bryan Fosten
"Imperial Guardsman 1799-1815" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.22) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9781855326620
"Napoleon's Guard Infantry (2)" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.160) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780850455359
"The French Imperial Guard 1. The Foot Soldiers" - Histoire & Collections (Officers and Soldiers Series No.3) - André Jouineau - 9782913903241
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.95

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