In 1800 the British raised an Experimental Corps of Riflemen, and in 1802 this was brought into the Line as the 95th (Rifle) Regiment. It was one of several British Light Infantry regiments, but it is surely the most famous, thanks in large measure to the very successful Sharpe novels of Bernard Cornwell and the subsequent TV series.
As Light Infantry the poses in this set should differ from those of the regular regiments, and that indeed is the case here. There is no formal marching pose as the men were taught to march at ease, and the emphasis is very much on firing the weapon. One of the figures is apparently charging, but this was not what they were normally expected to do unless they had to. The sight of a private charging with sword-bayonet attached would be very rare. The man advancing with sword-bayonet in hand is also quite unusual as it is thought this weapon was used more for camp duties than in combat with the enemy. Light Infantry had buglers rather than drummers, and the bugler in this set is particularly nice, apparently about to use his instrument while keeping on the move. Finally the officer appears with drawn sword in typical 'encouraging' pose. Though the walking and firing/reloading poses are the most useful, all of these figures are nicely done apart from the first figure in the top row, who holds his rifle high and awkwardly to the side.
The uniform of the 95th has been accurately modelled, with a simplified version of the Line Infantry costume. Much of the equipment was also similar, but the Rifles also had unique accoutrements that included a waist pouch full of loose ball and a powder horn, which gave them a distinctive look. All these are faithfully recreated on these figures, as is the Baker rifle, which was considerably shorter than the standard issue 'Brown Bess' musket of the Line. To compensate for the shortness of the Baker, the men were also armed with the 60cm long sword-bayonet, and this is shown on these figures either in its frog, attached to the rifle or in one case actually in the hand, potentially being used as a sword.
The officer wears the hussar-style uniform with his sash and curved sabre, making a deliberately dashing spectacle. Many officers also wore a pelisse to further mimic the hussars, though the man in this set does not, and therefore more accurately follows actual regulations.
The detail on these figures is excellent, with all the unusual features of their uniforms and equipment clearly sculpted. Some of the men are not wearing their knapsacks (presumably they are expecting to hold position for a while), so the set includes a number of separate knapsacks, straps hanging loose, clearly meant to be lying by the side of the man while he is in action - a nice touch. This is a set of well sculpted, accurate figures in mostly appropriate poses, and is an unusual but welcome addition to British Napoleonic figures.