When Revell chose to create some Napoleonic sets, they followed the pattern of several other manufacturers by concentrating on Waterloo, and specifically the British and French armies present that day. When Revell produced this set it had been a decade since Esci had made their set of British infantry, and two since Airfix released theirs, but both sets had been less than ideal so it was hoped that Revell would produce something better.
First impressions of this set are positive, and certainly mark an improvement on the earlier efforts from other manufacturers. Inevitably the poses reflect the common view of British soldiers in square, so there is only one man advancing. There are plenty in the act of firing or standing with bayonets fixed, and there are also some interesting 'extras'. Two officers are included, one of whom is mounted. There is also an ensign with a colour, and though the colour is much too small this is a good piece. The sergeant with his spontoon is a useful figure, though this figure does suffer from extra areas of plastic. The drummer is perhaps the pick of the bunch, with a properly proportioned drum and a relaxed stance as he waits for the next order to beat out. The pioneer also deserves special mention as this was the first time such a figure had been modelled, and a fine job was made of it. The horse pose is not quite so good, because the animal is waving legs in the air yet clearly standing still. This is because when done properly the animal would have legs together, and so would be impossible to mould with a single mould, but the compromise is not great.
The uniform and equipment are all present and correct. The coats with their short tails, the campaign trousers, and most importantly the 1812 or 'Belgic' shako as worn by most at Waterloo; all are correctly done here. The kit too is perfect, with cartridge pouch on the right hip, haversack and water canteen on the left (along with the bayonet), knapsack and rolled greatcoat plus mess tin on the back. The officers, sergeant and ensign all wear sashes correctly arranged as per their rank, and they also carry a sword, again correctly. The weaponry has been nicely done too, with pretty good muskets as well as the sergeant's spontoon and the pioneer's axe. Full marks for accuracy.
At this stage Revell were producing very well sculpted figures with plenty of detail, and these are a good example. Everything is crisp and clear, and both man and equipment is well proportioned. Finer detail like the pioneer's beard and the decoration on the drum are excellent, so this was a much more attractive set than those that came before. However, this set includes more than the average amount of excess plastic in areas where the mould cannot reach. Some will not see this as a problem, while others will want to trim this away before use. This is the price for interesting and realistic poses - the alternative is the generally 'flat' poses of Esci, where there is almost no excess plastic. Flash is generally minimal, though this has varied between production batches over the years.
This is certainly a marked improvement on previous British infantry sets, and Revell did their subject justice with this good collection of figures. The emphasis on the square presents its own limitations, and we would have preferred to see more advancing poses, plus perhaps a marching one as well, but their absence is easy to understand. Undoubtedly the best set on this subject made at the time.