The title does not mention it, but these figures are French engineers, and as such they are the second such set to emerge from Eastern Europe. As we shall see, most of the men are equipped for the dangerous work of siege warfare, although the duties of engineers extended far beyond such a situation. Unlike the previous century, the Napoleonic Wars saw a lot more movement of armies than it did sieges, but that is not to say that sieges were unknown, and perhaps the best example is the siege of Saragossa in 1808-09.
Seven of the 11 poses are 'workers' doing various jobs, with four officers to supervise the work. The poses of the troops are quite good, with pickaxes, spades and other tools being used in quite realistic ways. The officers appear to be mostly watching, although one is brandishing a brace of pistols in rather dramatic fashion. Since the engineers also included some highly specialised roles such as surveyors, it is appropriate to have a high number of such men in this set.
All of the troops are wearing the cuirass, which indicates that they are working within range of the enemy. However only three are also wearing the helmet, with the rest wearing the bonnet-de-police. This is strange as any man who was prepared to put up with the discomfort and restriction of wearing a cuirass would surely wish to wear the helmet as well. Nevertheless the uniform is correctly represented, though some of the men have a suspicion of a visible lining around the shoulders of the cuirass in the manner of cuirassiers, which is not appropriate for engineers. The officers wear the kind of dress that was pretty typical of all officers in Napoleon's army. Engineers were uniformed much like the artillery, but these men would also be suitable for many other units.
LW figures are quite variable in quality, and these rate as some of the better ones they have produced. There is still a noticeable amount of flash, though this is not nearly as serious as in earlier sets. Detail is still a little unclear, and some items are not as delicately done as they might be, but again this is an improvement on earlier sets. The general anatomy is quite good, and the figures are properly rounded - a major improvement of past output. For some reason the man with the pickaxe (last figure on right in third row) is an exception, being a throwback to the past as he is almost completely flat and looks absurd in reality even though he looks OK when scanned. There are also some basic mistakes, such as the officer (second from left in top row) who has a map case held by a strap across his body, but this is only at the front, and disappears entirely at the back! Finally, LW have still not mastered the skill of getting pieces to fit together. Here the only assembly is to put the bunch of hay or sticks into the hands of the man carrying it (second row, second from left). Once done this is a really nice figure, but as you have probably guessed there is no way the hay can be persuaded to fit through the hole created by the man's arm. We had to split his hand from his head before we could complete the piece.
These figures are still a little crude in places, but they are perfectly serviceable and are a welcome sign that LW are working on improving the quality of their sets.