Sweden’s armed forces during the Napoleonic period is a hard subject to research as they seem to have changed frequently and often suffered from poor funding, so changes were applied slowly or only in part. However Sweden did not have a large involvement in these wars, despite being a part of several coalitions against Napoleon. The principal actions were the defence of Finland against Russia and participation in the campaign of 1813 that included the Battle of Leipzig.
Sweden possessed most of the familiar cavalry types to be found in any European army of the day, and this set from HaT is a parade of many of them rather than concentrating on one type. This means there are few poses for each, which better suits wargames where a representative figure may be sufficient, but those wishing to portray a lively cavalry action will have little to work with. Having said that the chances of anyone making a dedicated set for a particular unit are very slim so this is probably the only way these men will be made, and at least it offers the basis for conversions if desired.
We should start by introducing these figures.
- The first three figures are hussars - specifically labelled here as Von Mörner Hussars.
- Figures four and five are Småland Light Dragoons.
- Figures one and two are Scanian Carabiniers.
- Figure three is a Royal Lifeguard.
- Figure four is a Skjöldebrand Cuirassier.
All seem to date to the later part of the Napoleonic period but before peaked shakos became common headgear. The uniforms are very well done, although the mirliton shako on the hussars is perhaps a little too short and the crest on the lifeguard's hat should extend further forward. Otherwise we found no problems with accuracy.
The different horses are designed to match the different troop types. The two horses in row three are for the use of the hussars, light dragoons and lifeguard. The first horse in row four is for the carabiniers while the last animal is for the cuirassier. Again all the saddlery and cloths are correct for the allocated unit.
With so few poses for each unit HaT have wisely chosen a generic pose which could be used for the march, on parade or in battle. The cuirassier is looking to the side to allow his helmet to be done properly but otherwise there is not much to say about the poses. The horse poses are quite static too, with none of the full gallop examples we usually find in cavalry sets. This is no bad thing as a full charge was a rare event in any cavalryman's life, but some like the excitement of a charge and will perhaps be disappointed with these figures. However all the poses are very realistic and well done.
The sculpting is very good indeed, with a good level of detail and good proportions (we have never liked the exaggerated heads you sometimes find in sets). Slim parts like swords are beautifully slim and the only loss of detail is where the mould cannot reach. The riders all fit their mounts perfectly and this set boasts zero amounts of flash and extra plastic, so it is a technical triumph.
It is hard to get excited by a mixed set such as this, but this particular one has lots going for it. The uniforms are interesting and bring something new to an already heavily covered period, and from a technical point of view the production values are top class. While you can't put together a good charge with this set you can enjoy the figures as attractive objects in themselves, so even if you have no plans to field a Swedish army this set is still well worth acquiring.