British Napoleonic Hussars, 1806–1815

ESCI 1:72 Scale Figure Review

British Napoleonic Hussars 1806–1815, 1:72 ESCI P-230

George Augustus Frederick of Hannover, Prince of Wales, and from 1796 colonel of the 10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons, had his dragoons dressed à la hussarde in 1806, this being the first British cavalry regiment to adopt hussar uniform. A year later, the 7th, 15th, and 18th Light Dragoons (Hussars) followed this example. In 1815, the British hussars replaced the busby with a shako.

Contents

12 hussars in 7 poses – 24 mm equal 173 cm height

  • Trumpeter (1)
  • Hussar with raised sabre (1)
  • Hussar with raised sabre, carbine slung (2)
  • Hussar with half-raised sabre, carbine slung (2)
  • Hussar with lowered sabre (2)
  • Hussar with pistole (2)
  • Hussar with carbine (2)

12 horses in three poses – 22 mm equal 15.2 hands

  • Ambling Horse (4)
  • Trotting Horse (4)
  • Trotting Horse with Head raised (4)

Evaluation

Good choice of subject, these British Hussars look more realistic than their predecessors made by Airfix. The hussars are wearing overalls covering the boots which were popular in the Napoleonic Wars and after. If these miniatures are to be used for earlier periods of warfare the boots may simply be painted on.

The trumpeter is modelled correctly without a carbine, but the other six hussars should be armed with one. The hussars of Hellwig's Streikorps, supplied with British uniforms in 1813, carried carbines only in the second rank of the formation, the first rank being armed with lances. However, Hellwig's hussars wore busbies with the cloth bag hanging on the left-hand side.

The horses are equipped with saddle blankets and valises, but the pistol holsters are missing. On campaign, light cavalry typically covered the saddle and the holsters with a sheepskin edged in sawtoothed cloth of the facing colour. Discerning collectors may want to upgrade the horses accordingly. However, only the two trotting horses are worth any modelling effort at all, the ambling horse being useless as a cavalry mount. Anyone contemplating this kind of conversion may want to recruit horses from Revell's Swedish Cavalry of the Thirty Years' War.

The horses' bridles are modelled without the curb bit, curb reins and snaffle reins. Indeed, reins look much more realistic if they are scratch-built of paper or metal foil and placed in the hands of the rider. However, diorama builders may not want to upgrade large numbers of horses and wargamers prefer sturdier models which can be handled without the risk of reins falling off in the middle of a game, which is why cast-on bits and reins are the industry standard.

Historical Employment

  • British Hussars of the Napoleonic Wars, 1806–1815
  • King's German Legion (KGL) Hussars of the Napoleonic Wars, 1806–1815
  • Hanoverian Hussars of the Napoleonic Wars, 1806–1815

Possible Conversion

  • Prussian Hussars of Hellwig's Streifkorps
    with Busbies of Airfix British Hussars or similar conversions
  • Other Hussars of the Napoleonic Wars

With the exception of headdress and horse furniture, hussars of the 18th and early 19th century were uniformed in such similar fashion that ESCI's British hussars may be used to represent virtually any hussar unit of the period. In some cases, simple painting conversion will be all that is required to convert them.

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British Napoleonic Miniatures