After the enormous demands placed on the Prussian army by the campaigns of 1813-14, Prussian cavalry in 1815 was less than ideal. Nonetheless they performed well, and it was they that had the honour of pursuing the French from the field on the evening of Waterloo.
This was one of the first sets to appear after HaT began production with their Mamelukes, and clearly the company were still finding their feet. The already established format of four figures includes some nice lancer poses, with one holding his lance upright, another with it tucked under the arm at the charge, and two using theirs in combat. All have ring hands except the man holding the lance upright. He has a hand outstretched and the weapon must be glued to it, though with nothing to support this join it is very fragile at best. The obvious omissions are an officer and a bugler, though with only four poses the set cannot afford more than just troopers.
The horses are described as 'Set A', and are clearly meant to be used in several boxes to keep costs down, though in the event they only appeared in this set and the Prussian Dragoons set. Moulded in a different colour to the men (presumably to better reflect the actual colour of the mounts), they are well short of what would be considered a reasonable model, and many customers will probably want to substitute animals from other sets. These are very simple in design, which is another way of saying they are lacking most of the muscular detail to be found on a real horse. Their gait too is very unconvincing, and in fact two of the poses are little more than mirror images of the other two. All have the round-cornered shabraque which is correct for 1815 as it was introduced in that year, having used a sheepskin previously.
In contrast to the horses, the men are nicely sculpted. Though not likely to win any awards, they have a natural-looking stance and are correctly proportioned. Yet they too are lacking the subtle detail that makes a truly convincing figure, particularly folds in the clothing. Detail such as decoration is there, though not as clear and sharp as we would have liked.
The Uhlans that took the field in 1815 wore several different uniforms - sometimes differing within one unit. These men are wearing the litewka coat (as often happened on campaign) and a shako with a tall plume. This is not covered with a waterproof, so the badge and cords can be seen, but the cords round the back of the shako are missing on these models. Also this item has been sculpted with what appears to be a rear peak, which is incorrect. In other respects this simple uniform is correct, though such features as having a sword scabbard which is all but 2-dimensional do not aid the look of the figure.
The usual problem of modelling lances has been resolved in the usual way by having them separate, though in this case each sprue of four figures has been given three lances and one sword. The lances are slender and straight, though at 34mm (2.4 metres) in length they are a little short. They fit into the ring hands very well, but we would have liked to have seen enough lances for every figure. The sword is a really big chunky affair as can be seen above, and when inserted into one of the ring hands really looks out of scale.
Like most companies, HaT did not really get into its stride with its first sets. The quality of these figures is variable, with reasonable men and awful horses. Still the very fact that these unusual figures were being made at all marked HaT out from the crowd, and with different horses this small set is very serviceable. Trivia note - two of the horses have initials carved into their saddle bags. One has 'W' and 'L', which are the initials of the sculptor, and the other has 'H' and 'T', for HaT!