For many years, Napoleonic plastic figures were produced almost exclusively for Waterloo. Latterly Esci produced a few Austrians and Russians, but it was only when HaT came on the scene that the range really began to develop. One major battle that was almost completely ignored was Jena, but finally that has been corrected with this set representing the main Prussian infantry in that fateful year.
The bulk of the infantry was made up of musketeers, with elite units of grenadiers and the light fusiliers (see Hat's set of fusiliers). The eight poses in this set include marching, standing, firing and advancing figures, so everything necessary is included. The poses are fine, and include an officer in an unusually undramatic but perfectly valid marching/advancing stance. The man advancing with musket across his chest has one leg in the air, but a strategically placed tuft of grass means he is more firmly attached to the base than would otherwise be the case, which will be welcomed by some. A common technique for horses, this is unusual for men. We liked all the poses apart from the first in the second row, who is very flat and has got his feet in a very unnatural position.
The uniform is that introduced from around 1797 until 1807/8, and is correctly done in every detail. The coats are properly done, and the men all wear overalls over their breeches and gaiters, which was normal at the time. The hats were a sort of squashed tricorn, but here they have been done a bit too squashed, making them look more like bicorns. The equipment, comprising a cartridge pouch on the right hip and a knapsack and bread bag on the left, are all present and correct, as is the sabre hanging from a waist belt. The cartridge pouch should have a badge in the centre, which is often sculpted on, though not here. The officer wears a standard greatcoat and has long boots instead of gaiters, all of which is as it should be.
The style of the figures is much the same as the corresponding set of HaT 1805 French Line Infantry, with oversized heads, rather ugly faces and a slightly rounder body. This of course means these figures match their opponents, and many people like this style, but we do not and would prefer to see realistic proportions. Having said that, the detail is very clear and well defined, and apart from the flattened advancing man the poses are quite realistic. There is no flash to speak of, and no extra plastic to be removed.
Some may not care for the style, and some may wish for more poses, but this is a historically accurate collection of figures which has been well made, and finally allows an important historical era to be properly modelled.