The history of the British heavy cavalry in the Napoleonic wars is a chequered one, with some highly effective actions often followed by poor discipline. Unlike the diverse cavalry of France, Austria and the rest, most of the British heavy cavalry were dragoons, and while several manufacturers have released sets of the 2nd Dragoons, better known as the Scots Greys, at the time it was released this was the only set representing the other regiments.
The HaT standard of four poses includes a reasonable selection without providing anything particularly worthy of comment. However all are rather straight-backed and not at all lively, which will not make for a dramatic charge scene if they were used for one. Two of the poses have ring hands, into which the separate swords must be inserted to complete the figure.
In 1812 the heavy cavalry was issued a new uniform, with the Guards regiments receiving a helmet with a mane much like that worn by the French cuirassiers and dragoons, and the Dragoons and Dragoon Guards receiving one with a woollen caterpillar crest. In 1813 these helmet types were switched, so that by Waterloo the dragoons wore the horse-hair mane as depicted in this set. The uniform has been correctly sculpted on these figures with the exception of the sabretaches, which have been given a badge when in fact they were plain while on campaign, though this is easy to remove with a knife. Also the sabretaches are shown hitched almost to the waist, but while it is true that the heavy cavalry usually wore theirs higher than the lights, this is too high here. The tricky helmet and mane has been handled quite well - certainly better than the Esci cuirassiers - although again it merely hangs down, giving the figures a sombre and sedate impression when something more lively would have been welcome for at least some of the poses. Equipment and weaponry too are correct, with each man having a straight sword and a carbine.
An extra feature of the set is the inclusion of several extra heads, which allows converters to make more use of these figures, though there are only three of each type of head in a box. The first head wears a bicorn as worn by the dragoons before 1812, and the second head wears the famous bearskin as seen on the Scots Greys. With all the sets of Scots Greys (correctly) wearing the weatherproof cover over the bearskin, this is the only opportunity for modellers to construct figures wearing the more dramatic bearskin. Sadly this piece lacks the plume or feather that should be on the left hand side.
Detail is reasonable, and the figures are well proportioned and realistic. The two horses are OK, with the correct horse furniture on show. The only problem is with the tails, which should be docked (shortened) rather than long as on these models. The set is well designed, with the figures fitting the horses well, and the sword being equally firm in the hands. However on our example there was a problem with the plastic not quite filling the sword mould, causing a 'pinch' in the blade. This is a fair if unexciting set with some small problems of detail, but the extra heads help to improve its usefulness, and it depicts an element of British cavalry which is not as famous as the 'Scots Greys' and so had for a very long time being largely ignored by model-makers.