Austria was one of Napoleon's most formidable opponents, yet until sets like this began to appear there had been very few depicting this important army. With the fame of Austerlitz and the unusual Austrian helmet, what few figures there were tended to portray the first few years of the 19th century, yet Austria also played a vital role in the latter part of the wars, and it is that period that this set depicts.
The men all wear the shako which was first authorised in 1806, though it took several years to become universal headwear. It has both front and rear peaks in the Austrian style, though that of the officer has a false peak turned up against the crown, which is correct. The rest of the uniform informs us that these are 'German' troops rather than Hungarian, and has been correctly sculpted with breeches and gaiters (ending below the knee), though the lace and pockets on the tails has not been engraved. It should be noted that the shako was slow to be issued, and it is thought that no 'German' fusiliers such as these wore the shako until at least 1809. The officer wears the correct uniform as laid down in regulations, though this was commonly covered by a frock coat when in the field.
The Austrian army used a wide variety of different styles of equipment, so although the knapsack carried by these men is not of the standard pattern, it is perfectly plausible. Equally, the different styles of canteen on show here is reasonable. Most wear their cartridge pouches and bayonet scabbards on the right and left hips respectively, which is correct, but one man has chosen to reverse this pattern. The man running forward has both items on his left hip, despite the fact that the strap for one of them runs to the right hip.
The poses are OK and well proportioned except for the officer, who has thrown his sword arm behind his shoulder in an unnatural and difficult to achieve way. The standard of sculpting is good, though there are some oddities to report. Some of the bayonet scabbards seem to have marks about half way down for which we could find no explanation, and these items were also mostly rather too short and stubby. Also, the man firing his musket has managed to have the cross strap between his pack straps down near his stomach instead of across his chest - a position it could not have attained in reality. This figure also wears a coat with lapels, which was not part of Austrian uniform.
This is a reasonable selection of figures with very little flash and the normal selection of usable poses. None have the field sign, which we would have liked to have seen, but apart from the sculpting errors already mentioned this is a good tidy effort that helps to fill an important gap in plastic Napoleonic figure sets, though remarkably no one else has yet done a similar product.