For a very long time 'Napoleonic French Infantry' has meant 'Late Napoleonic French Infantry', which ignores the many spectacular triumphs of the French army at such places as Marengo, Austerlitz and Jena. This set redresses the balance, providing the troops that bravely fought at these and many other engagements.
As usual we get eight poses from HaT, with pretty reasonable ones chosen. However, there are two marching poses, which seems wasteful. The man reloading his musket is depicted with ramrod still mostly out of the barrel, which is unusual but none the worse for it. There is one firing pose, with just four of this figure in a box, which does not seem likely to please wargamers or diorama builders.
The uniform is broadly correct for the whole period up to 1806, but shortages of everything, particularly before 1800, meant actual appearance was very motley. These figures wear the regulation uniform that had become the norm by 1800, but could certainly be used for earlier years. All troops wear the bayonet on the right hip, and none have the sword belt or combined frog, which marks them as fusiliers (the most common form of infantryman). The regulation knapsack is also worn by all, with the greatcoat rolled on top (this being held in place by privately purchased straps or string). The officer however has his possessions rolled in his greatcoat and worn over the left shoulder. There was no issue of canteens, and none of these figures have them. However in all probability most men would have provided themselves with all manner of bottles, flasks etc., so most of these figures should have had some such piece of kit.
There is a small amount of flash which needs to be removed, though the only place that this is a problem is on the face of the firing figure, which appears to have lost its nose. The overall impression is similar to many of the Italeri figures, in that the figures are well fleshed out but have heads that are too large for the rest of them (for example look at their Prussian Cuirassiers). However, this is a set that is long overdue, and its appearance will no doubt prompt many a recreation of some of Napoleon's finest battles.