This first cavalry set from Esci depicts the famous Scots Greys at Waterloo. Although in some respects unique in appearance, this was a natural choice despite the much greater numbers of other British cavalry present on the day, which at the time had not been modelled by anyone.
The 12 figures are made up of four poses waving their swords about, plus a trumpeter. The poses are OK without being anything special, but they are competently executed, and all seem quite appropriate for depicting a full charge as you might expect of this particular subject. The three horse poses are perhaps not so suitable, with none of them really convincing as a horse at the trot or gallop. The gaits are not the best either, so we were reasonably satisfied by the human poses but not thrilled by their animals.
The sculpting, like all Esci sets, is very good with nice clear detail. The men fit their mounts well, and the horses have pegs on their feet to fit into the separate bases. Unlike the earlier Airfix cavalry sets, however, these pegs are a good size and fit the holes tightly, so they will stay standing. On our examples both man and horse were quite clean, with very little flash, although the animals have circular mould marks on them, which greatly spoils them and is not easy to remove cleanly. Since this set is now so old it may vary in terms of flash, however, on later production runs.
All the men wear their waterproof oilskin covers on their bearskins, as they did at the famous charge, and are accurately clothed throughout, with the shorter jacket and overalls, although sometimes the kit at the back has no apparent corresponding strap from which to hang. Unfortunately the swords look less than daunting, as they are sculpted with blades of between eight and ten millimetres. This gives a scaled blade length of 58 to 72 centimetres, whereas the real thing was a much more terrifying 89 centimetres. These men seem to be wielding knives by comparison, which detracts from their supposed heavy cavalry appearance. A few sources seem to suggest curved swords were carried, but this is incorrect and happily the swords carried by these figures are at least straight. Most of the men have also been given a carbine, which is about the right size and a decent model too. The horses lack some kit on the saddles, particularly the rolled cloak over the pistol holders on the front of the saddle, but more obviously all lack reins with which to control them! In addition the tails should be docked, or shortened, as was the custom for British dragoons, but these are sculpted as natural.
This was an improvement on earlier cavalry sets by other manufacturers, but the limited range of poses and the complete lack of an officer mean this could have been a lot better. Italeri were later to produce a very similar looking set but with more poses and some improvements, and in many ways both these sets, which are in much the same style, are perfectly complementary, By itself however this is a good set but with some flaws, the shortness of the sword being the one that harms the overall appearance the most.