The joy of sets such as this is the flexibility it gives us. Different rule sets call for different amounts of officers, so such command sets provide all the officer and specialist poses which many sets lack or else offer just one or two. This is only a small set from HaT, but it offers all the important elements that any infantry regiment would need, and as we shall see it does it in as flexible a way as possible.
We should begin by explaining our photographs. All the figures in this set apart from the axe-carrying pioneer come without a head (the pioneer has a head because he is the only one that is bearded, but no hat). The heads you see above are merely added by us more or less randomly to illustrate what the finished product might look like. We have shown the selection of heads and hats in our bottom row, and see the sprue image for the full story. The sprue shows that as well as optional heads, there are a number of other pieces that must be assembled to make up these figures, so we will look at each in more detail.
The first figure is a pioneer. Because of the beard he has a choice of only two hats - the bearskin cap and the 'Belgic' shako. His right arm is separate, and carries an axe resting on his shoulder. He is well weighted down with equipment for as well as the axe he carries his musket on his left shoulder, a saw in its case on his back and a bill-hook at the waist. All these are appropriate and properly done, as is the rest of his otherwise conventional uniform and the leather apron he also wears. The only other set to so far include a pioneer is that from Revell, and that figure is standing, so this one is on the move.
Next there is a drummer. Several sets have provided drummers before, but it is useful to have another here. Drummers were often boys, but this one is fully grown. As well as the choice of heads (we chose the forage cap but this would not have been worn in battle) the figure has a separate drum and knapsack, meaning the whole thing is a better model than a single-piece and looks good. The position of the sticks is good and because the drum is separate you can easily make it more sloped than we have in our photo.
Figure three is the first of the officers, or actually a senior NCO because he has a sash but no sword. Just the head and knapsack need to be added to complete this figure as he marshals his men on the march or on the field of battle. Sergeants are often depicted with the half pike, which is fine, but this one has instead taken up a musket, so is something a bit different.
Moving on to the ensign carrying the colour, or more precisely the staff on which the colours would be attached, for there is no flag here. The right arm and staff of this figure is a separate piece, and the staff is completely correctly done, with a perfect length, the spearhead finial and the cords and tassels. Many modellers provide paper flags for their figures, so this is perfect for them, although if you don't then this figure will look a little silly.
Last figure on the top row is a dismounted field officer. His sword arm is separate, and the arm shown seems to be intended for him, although we found the extended arm we gave to the mounted officer works just as well. He is correctly uniformed and has his sword on a baldric over his shoulder, but the choice of heads here is particularly useful in creating alternative officer figures.
The mounted officer in the second row is much the same as his dismounted colleague - his separate arm could be swapped with that shown in the first row, and his alternative heads offer new possibilities. Although not all field officers were entitled to be mounted when in battle, in practice most were, and the lack of mounted officers in Napoleonic infantry sets is something we have long bemoaned, and has only quite recently been addressed with sets such as this. This figure is another good one, and he fits his horse well.
The bottom row shows the full range of heads and hats available on one sprue. As you can see, there are two hats per pioneer, and eight heads for the other five figures on the sprue. The choices are the bicorn, the forage cap, the older stovepipe shako and the later 'Belgic' shako. While there are not enough of any given head to give the same headdress to every figure, there is enough to spare to cope with almost all needs, so this is great. The heads, and everything else, fit really well, although the joins will still need gluing. The proportions of the figures are great, and the detail very good, although not quite as sharp and clear as the best around today. We found a little flash in a handful of places, but nothing to worry about, and the separate parts mean the poses are nice and rounded yet have no unwanted extra plastic.
This is a very usable set that offers all the basic extras a unit would need in about the most useful pose possible. Nicely engineered and well designed, this may be a small set but it is very well formed and we dare to look forward to more for other nations in the future.