Before the explosion in popularity of 1:72 plastic figures over the last few years, one of the sets most consistently at the top of people's wants list was Russian Cossacks, particularly Napoleonic. With their declared aim of filling the gaps in the market, it was only natural then that HaT would make this set one of their first.
Four poses represent these famous warriors, all armed with the lance. Figures with a large weapon such as this force a lot of restrictions on what poses can be achieved, either as one piece or with the lance separate, but here the poses are interesting and well thought out. The figure thrusting down with his lance is particularly good. All the men wear standard Cossack dress - calling it a uniform would be something of an exaggeration, as the Cossacks were not particularly concerned about a smart appearance. The long kaftan, baggy trousers and tall fur busby were quite typical of their garb, with varying levels of equipment. In this case all have a cartridge pouch, sabre and one or two pistols tucked into their belts. In a nice touch HaT also provide extra busbies that were also common Cossack headgear. These are less tall, wider and have a bag, much like standard hussar busbies. This sort of extra, which must be a tiny cost to the producer and yet invaluable to the converter, is a bonus that sadly is still quite rare in many other producers, but reflects well on HaT's innovative attitude.
The two horse poses are a major improvement on the horses previously produced by HaT, with much more realistic anatomy and natural appearance. If anything they are perhaps a little too good, since most Cossacks would have ridden the rather small and rough horses, little more than ponies, which were described as '...mean in shape, and slouching in motion...', but which were exceedingly hardy and perfect for their task.
As with the horses, so the figures are an advance on previous output, with a slighter bigger size and better detail, though some (such as the sabres) is still a little flat. They more closely resemble the better quality output from the likes of Airfix and Italeri, and are a splendid addition to all Napoleonic (or indeed later) Russian armies.