When any general put a Napoleonic army into the field he had to ensure it would be adequately supplied with all its many needs, and providing for so many men (such as the 135,000 Austrians at Wagram) using the transport infrastructure of early 19th century Europe was an enormous undertaking. Rations obviously made up much of this baggage, but with most of an army having some form of firearm the supply of ammunition was also a crucial part of the logistics. For the Habsburg Empire such supplies were the responsibility of the Fuhrwesencorps, which controlled all baggage wagons as well as artillery teams, and indeed was closely related to the artillery, particularly once it was militarised in 1808. Such logistics are often overlooked today in favour of the more glamorous elements of an army, but HaT have produced a range of vehicles for the French army and this is their first for that of Austria.
While baggage of all sorts could be transported in all manner of vehicles - sometimes whatever came to hand at the time - the movement of ammunition was more carefully considered. The standard Austrian ammunition wagon seems to have been the 1774 model, which is what we find in this set. While we could not uncover any technical specifications for this vehicle it does match a number of contemporary illustrations so everything here seems accurate, although it does seem as if other designs were also used. The lid is separate, which reveals the interior, although HaT have not provided anything to fill this with.
It seems to have been normal for a four-horse team to be used for this four-wheeled wagon, although more would have been draughted in if conditions were difficult and the horses were available. The traces are a little simplified but this does not really impact on the generally satisfactory look of them, and the horses come in two poses. These seem to be either walking or standing, although they are not entirely natural if walking. The drivers are in military uniform; specifically they wear the white tunic and breeches that was correct for much of the Wars. On the head they both have shakos, which appeared from around the end of 1806 but took a very long time to become common and may well have never been universal. Nonetheless they are appropriate and properly done here. Both the men wear a grenadier sabre, which would have been unusual as this was mostly reserved for drivers of artillery teams. One item we might have expected but is missing here is a canteen, which was certainly carried so should have been present here too.
As this is primarily a vehicle kit rather than a set of figures we are not enthusiastic about the use of the usual HaT soft plastic here, although it must be said that the plastic takes glue very well and all the parts fit together with no difficulty. There is virtually no flash so this is not a challenging product to put together, and with three in each box you can build up a good baggage train quite quickly. In summary then this is a very creditable kit which does the job and could form the base for many a conversion exercise too.