Prussia experienced a wide range of fortunes during the wars with Napoleon, from complete defeat in 1806 to delivering the final death blow in 1815. Before 1806 the reputation of the Prussian Army was largely based on the glory days of Frederick the Great, but after Jena it had to be rebuilt while the country suffered considerable financial hardship and was under occupation by the French. That the result proved to be as effective as it was is a tribute to the perseverance and ingenuity of Prussia during those difficult years.
This set is really one of three, all of which depict different aspects of the Prussian Army during the later Napoleonic Wars. The three sets are this one, depicting men in combat, one showing them on the march and one with the command figures. This is something HaT have done many times before, which allows customers to buy the figures they want without having to buy figures they do not, so we very much like this approach. This does tend to mean that each set has fewer poses, but even for a standard 15 or 12 figure set, six action poses is on the low side. Having said that all the figures are excellent, with the man carrying his musket by his side being the pick of the crop in our view. All the basic action poses are covered, but a couple more would have been nice.
After the disasters of 1806 Prussia went for a Russian-style uniform as part of the modernisation of her army. These figures wear the short-tailed coat with two rows of buttons introduced in 1808, and trousers with short boots and gaiters. On their backs they have knapsacks on two straps, which appeared from 1809, as well as the chest strap connecting the two, which was introduced the following year, thus marking the earliest date for these figures if you want to be completely accurate. The coats have a high, open collar, which was shortened and ordered closed in 1813, but as this regulation seems to have been widely ignored this does not really limit these figures. Equally the shoulder straps everyone has here were replaced with epaulettes from 1814, and boots or gaiters were withdrawn, but this probably took years to implement, so these figures are perfectly valid up to the end of the Napoleonic Wars. All the men also have their greatcoat rolled round their trunk in the usual Prussian manner, with the leather sleeve at the shoulder. All are provided with an infantry sabre on one hip and a cartridge pouch on the other. Not all infantry were lucky enough to receive such a sabre, but this is very easy to remove if not wanted. By virtue of having the pouch at the hips rather than on the stomach, and the badge it sports, these are musketeers or grenadiers rather than (light) fusiliers, so represent the bulk of the regular infantry. Finally, all have their shako covered in an oilskin, which was normal practice when on campaign. In short, everything is quite accurate here.
As well as sabres, muskets were often in short supply, and the Prussian infantryman could find himself handling one of many different types, some produced domestically and others donated or acquired from foreign powers. Every man here has a musket with bands holding the barrel to the stock, which means the musket is either foreign or the Neu-Preussisches Gewehr M1809, which is fine. Also quite correct is the bayonet, which is attached to the musket in all cases as no bayonet scabbards were carried in the field.
The figures are very nicely sculpted, with the occasional minor problem with anatomy doing nothing to mar the general look. Detail is very nice, and the proportions are good too. The first and last figures pictured above have separate arms to avoid unwanted plastic, and these work very well, forming a pretty good link (although gluing is still needed). In addition all the figures have their pack/pouch/sabre as a separate item which plugs onto a peg on the back. This too improves the look, as well as allowing easy removal of the sabre, and the parts fit together well. The separate packs and arms do take up space on the sprue, which may well explain only six poses, but they are a good idea.
Taken as the 'action' element of this subject this is a very attractive set with flawless accuracy and a good quality job made of the sculpting, while there is no flash and virtually no excess plastic. The fairly soft plastic takes glue well, so while there is an element of construction required in readying these figures, the results easily justify the effort, delivering a very fine set that forms the heart of this three-set release.