‘Grenze’ is the German word for boundary or border, and Grenzers were troops raised by the Habsburgs along their southern border to help defend it against incursions by the Ottoman Empire. These Balkan troops were liable for service throughout their adult lives, and the nature of this role encouraged skills as light infantry. When the border was quiet some Grenzer regiments were used along with the rest of the Habsburg army for campaigns elsewhere, but despite their natural propensity for skirmishing the military authorities tried, with little success, to train them as regular line infantry. Indeed they were looked upon with some scorn by the authorities, partly thanks to their inappropriate use, although Napoleon was reported to be much more impressed with them.
Few Napoleonic soldiers retained the same uniform throughout the wars, and the figures in this set wear the uniform introduced from 1808, with the peaked shako and the coat with rounded skirts. All the figures wear Hungarian breeches and are particularly well equipped with knapsack, canteen, cartridge pouch and bayonet. This is the field uniform - the uniform worn when on campaign rather than when on normal border guard duty, and that is how most customers will like it.
The somewhat confused role given to these troops, being sometime light infantry and sometime regular line infantry, has a bearing on the choice of poses, but given the number of available poses we thought all these were fine. Although there are not many firing figures in each box the poses are pretty standard fare for Napoleonic sets from HaT and that is no bad thing. The basics are all covered, including a nice marching officer. The two advancing poses are very similar, but as usual everything here is very usable.
The sculpting is pretty good, with fine detail such as the embroidered knots on the breeches being very clear. Above the cockade on the shako is what looks like a plume, which would be incorrect, but this is presumably the normal Habsburg field sign of a sprig of foliage, although not particularly convincing here. Nevertheless there is nothing much wrong here and with flash also being at a minimal level and no excess plastic these are very nicely produced.
For many years HaT have been producing figures for the less well known or fashionable troops of the Napoleonic Wars, and this set continues that fine tradition with some very good figures that fill a hole in the Austrian armies that faced Napoleon so often during his years in power.