The wurst wagon was first introduced during the Revolutionary Wars by Baron Francois Percy, and while it could evacuate the lightly wounded the main purpose was to rapidly bring medical personnel and equipment right up to the battlefield itself. It was basically an ammunition caisson with running boards added and the top padded to make a seat on which surgeons and other medical staff could ride. Although it no longer seems to have been used in the last years of the Napoleonic Wars many a wounded soldier must have been glad to see it in an age of woefully inadequate medical care for all armies.
As with other recent HaT releases this one is in a fairly soft plastic, which is not ideal when it comes to kits such as this. The wagon comes in just nine pieces plus the horses and crew, so assembly is rapid, thanks also to the nice clear instructions on the box. We found that holes fitted pegs quite well, although the plastic does not take ordinary polystyrene cement well so a better glue is required. Naturally the small number of parts means there has been some compromise in detail, but overall this is a nice little model.
Evidence suggests that more than one design of this vehicle was used, but this one seems perfectly reasonable. Those that rode astride the body needed to hold on to something to avoid being spilled on the dreadful roads, and that something was the man in front. Whoever sat at the very front needed to hang on to the wagon itself, and many illustrations show a cross handle for this purpose although there is nothing like that on this model. Descriptions speak of kit and stretchers slung underneath the wagon, but such a simple kit has none of that.
Riding this unsprung and therefore very uncomfortable vehicle are the three figures in bicorns. Their simple uniform is correctly done although they seem to lack pockets in the coat. They have swords as gentlemen but no epaulettes as they are not officers. As we have said if they were moving then they would be hanging on for dear life, but that would be asking a great deal of the mould so these are all looking very relaxed. The wagon has room for about seven passengers.
One surprise was that each vehicle is supplied with only a two-horse team. Again information on the correct size of team is not available but a vehicle of this size with a full complement of passengers would be very hard work for just two animals so in our view at least four should have been provided. Luckily the central pole is like that on the French Limber set so more pairs can be added using that set, but we would still have liked them included here.
Despite the soft plastic the parts are cut nice and square and go together well enough, while all the riders fit the vehicle very well indeed. The level of flash on both parts and figures is quite low, and the standard of sculpting is fairly good. This is a quick build kind of model and sacrifices detail for simplicity, yet the result is very nice and we are always happy to see the effort being made to provide some passengers to go with the vehicle.