The Austrian Landwehr were a sort of conscript militia first raised in 1808 to provide garrisons and internal security, thus releasing full-time soldiers for duty on campaign. Despite this limited objective in the following year some were used in the field army (including at Wagram), with predictably poor results. Following the defeats of 1809 the Landwehr were disbanded, but when the struggle with Napoleon was resumed in 1813 they were reformed, and this time each battalion was paired with a line regiment, acting as a reserve and depot.
When raised in 1808 each region uniformed and equipped their men as they saw fit, with many based on the traditional costume of the area. As a result the range of uniforms was considerable and often varied within each battalion - some peasant levies wore only a smock and round hat as a uniform. Some units raised in Austria proper from urban populations did wear a more formal uniform, which is what these figures wear. When the Landwehr was reconstituted in 1813 this again was the official uniform, although as before just how widely it was actually observed is open to question.
The uniform was basically that of the line infantry with the single-breasted coat, breeches and gaiters below the knee. On the head they were to wear the 'Corsican Hat' with a heart-shaped badge and pompon at the front, while ideally their equipment was to be the same as that of the line. In 1809 many were given the oldest and worst weapons in store, and that may have been true in 1813 as well. All these figures wear the correct uniform as per regulations, properly done apart from lacking the badges and pompon on the hat (which does however have the traditional field sign on the upturned brim). All the kit and weaponry looks OK, while the drummer has the usual swallows nest epaulettes as a distinguishing element. The officer is also dressed as per regulation apart from lacking the waist sash that all Austrian officers, even in the Landwehr, prized as a symbol of their rank.
The poses are not particularly varied, and there are none worthy of particular mention, but all the basics are covered and each one is appropriate. The sculpting is pretty good with all the necessary detail and good overall anatomy. We found a little flash in some places, but not much, so these are quite neat figures.
These figures represent the ideal which may not have been widely achieved in 1813 and was rare in 1809. However to produce a set that truly reflects the motley appearance of the Landwehr on occasions would be a substantial undertaking and many customers prefer the smart regulation appearance to the scruffy reality in any case. Thus such slight deviation from regulations as the NCO in the second row missing the infantry sabre and cane that he should have is easy to accept, and if anything these figures are too well uniformed and equipped for many of the Landwehr. It must be pointed out that there were many volunteer units in the Austrian ranks that wore a uniform much like this, so this set can be used, either as is or as a base for conversions, for many of those. While not the most important element of the Habsburg armies, the Landwehr were there, sometimes at the big occasion, and with the various other units also possible this is a most welcome addition to the Austrian ranks.