In 1860 Austria possessed 12 regiments of cuirassiers, 2 of dragoons, 14 of hussars and 12 of uhlans (lancers). By an Imperial Decree dated the 17th of January 1860, a volunteer Lancer regiment was to be formed and on the following 1st of March the Freiwilligen-Ulanen-Regiment was assembled from two squadrons each from Lancer Regiments 1, 2, 8 & 10. With the appointment of Ludwig Graf von Trani, Prince of the Two Sicily's as the Regimental-Proprietor or Inhaber on the 15th of May 1861, the regiment was known as the Trani-Ulanen, named after its Inhaber as per tradition. On the 1st of July 1862 the regiment was renamed as the 13th Uhlans.
Initially these men wore the uniforms of their old regiments, but in 1862 a more dashing costume was devised for them, and it is this uniform that is represented in this set. The low peakless cap was a Tatarka, and only resembled the traditional czapka of the other regiments in that it too had a square top. Officers and men wore a blouse and suspended their Uhlanka tunics on their shoulders, rather as pelisses were on hussars. Baggy breeches (Pumphosen) and riding boots completed the ensemble. Towards the end of 1865, all uhlan regiments were ordered to adopt this uniform, though actual adoption took some time.
This set is subtitled '13th Regt von Trani 1858-66', which means the uniform is accurately done, although as we have said the regiment did not exist until 1861, and this uniform only appeared in 1862. However the dates are not the main problem with this set - that accolade goes to the standard of sculpting. The figures are really quite poor by today's standards, with missing or poorly defined detail. Clothing does not display realistic creases, and areas like the faces are just downright ugly. Clothing also fails to exhibit signs of the movement these men must be experiencing on the moving horses, and it is generally rather tight - in particular the breeches should be baggy, not skin-tight as sculpted here. Overall the figures are quite flat, and have a spindly quality that put us in mind of some of the Atlantic output, though it is not as bad as that.
Three of the figures come with ring hands to take the separate swords and lances, but only one of the four poses is set up to take the lance, and we felt having a lancer set with only one quarter lances was not good. However the weapons fit the ring hands OK if a little loosely, and the lance is the correct length. The man holding his sword aloft has no such means of holding it, and it must be glued on by removing the hilt - a most unsatisfactory method.
The horses are not great either. With the hind legs in particular seeming more out of line than could be achieved naturally, they are overall a rather odd shape to our eyes. Their saddles do not seem to resemble the lambskin covers that should be there, and we even felt the strategically placed tufts of grass are in some cases too square and unnatural. The men fit on the horses, but most tend to fall forward or to the side and will require glue to stay put.
All the men are wearing cloth sun shields under their headgear to protect them from the fierce Italian sun, which is a nice touch, and the chosen poses are rather conventional but nonetheless perfectly appropriate. The high level of accuracy is good to see, but the poor realisation of the figures is a real disappointment, particularly after the better first set from this company.