The 10th November 1812 saw the conversion of eight dragoon regiments into mounted jägers (chasseurs), a type of cavalry Russia had not possessed for over 10 years. As such they only had the opportunity to participate in the final battles of the Napoleonic wars, which perhaps explains why no manufacturer has previously made these men.
The 12 poses include some unusual choices, caused by the greater emphasis on firepower for these troops than for most other kinds. All have their carbine and several are actively handling it. One man is shooting, another is bringing his weapon up to the shoulder and a third is reloading. Clearly firing from the saddle was fraught with difficulties, and many of these men have resorted to their light cavalry sabres, making a more active and spirited collection of figures. The standard-bearer is not really holding his standard, which might be expected to be flying directly behind him rather than to the side as here, but otherwise we thought the poses were OK.
Despite their conversion from dragoons, the Jägers retained the dragoon uniform in all but small details. That uniform, double-breasted short-tailed jacket with overalls, has been correctly represented here. They all wear the infantry-style shako with all the decorations, including the long plume. The carbines are relatively short and the sabres curved, all as they should be. We could find no problems with accuracy on these men.
12 different horse poses might seem over-generous, though some will observe that half these horses have previously seen service in other sets. As a result the style of horse furniture varies somewhat, and in particular the shabraques are not consistent (they should all have rounded corners, whereas some have pointed ones). The overall position of the horses and their anatomy is adequate rather than great, but our main concern is that there are no standing animals, despite the nature of the Jägers duties and the fact that several are trying to fire out of the saddle. However the men do fit the horses very well and grip sufficiently to make gluing unnecessary.
The standard of sculpting is similar to earlier sets from this manufacturer. There is some nice detail and everything is where it should be, but again the adjective is adequate rather than elegant. Still there is no flash and some nice little touches add character to the set. The man smoking a pipe while waving his sword is eye-catching, though we would suggest such bravado would be very unusual and many will want to trim the pipe from his mouth. Some of the sword scabbards seem to stand away from the leg in a rather unnatural position, presumably to assist the sculptor. One man (first figure on third row) has a ring hand to facilitate the sword held back, though the weapon itself is a little rough and does not fit snugly in the hand. We were unable to confirm the appearance of the flags for this unit, though the design on this one, a simple cross, bears no resemblance to any other cavalry standard, particularly those of the dragoons, from which these men came. However it is only engraved quite shallowly, so can easily be painted over if desired.
While it may not win any beauty awards, this set delivers yet another missing unit for the Russian army of the Napoleonic wars, and it does so well enough for most tastes. Another creditable effort from this prolific company.