Napoleon’s armies were infamous for living off the land, making them less reliant on slow and unreliable supplies but very unpopular with the poor citizens who were in the way. Nonetheless even the French could not do without some supplies, and it was the job first of civilian contractors and later the Train des Equipages to move those supplies to where they were needed. Despite various reorganisations this system often broke down, with the result that French armies frequently went into battle hungry.
When supplies were moving they would have used fairly standard types of wagons. Particulars of design would have varied considerably, but the model in this set is typical. It is a simple box wagon with a canvas top supported by a frame. It has no driver as such, relying instead on the outrider for control of the horses. While the canvas top is a separate piece most will want to leave this on as the inside of the wagon has not been detailed and indeed displays the means of assembly. The ladder at the rear is made so as to be in the down position, although clearly this would be up when the wagon was moving, as here. The carriage and wheels are reasonable done. Only two horses are supplied for each wagon, but for those wanting a four-horse team one can be obtained from the French Ammunition Caisson set. The driver is the same as that found in several other HaT wagon and artillery sets.
This product is made in quite a soft plastic, which presents difficulties when assembling. Pegs can be inclined to bend if forced, and we found it necessary to enlarge some holes to allow the peg to fit properly. All the parts fit together fairly well, but there is not the absolute tight joins that you would expect from a hard plastic model. The horses have been quite well harnessed, but unfortunately the harness does not attach to the wagon well. The front axle of the vehicle has a hole for the harness, but so too does the harness, so the customer has to fashion some sort of peg or pin to join these two together, or simply glue the two pieces together.
In general though the model is worth the effort and is probably a better example of its type than that found in the Italeri set. Certainly something that any army on the march could expect to need in large quantities.