French Napoleonic Lancers, 1812–1815

HaT Industrie 1:72 Scale Figure Review

French Napoleonic Lancers of the Line, 1812–1815, 1:72 Miniatures HaT Industrie 8011

The diorama created by Klaus Hinderks shows French lancers attacking British infantry. The lancers are from HäT, but the horses are historically more accurate and more detailed remounts taken from Italeri's French Dragoons. The officer and the trumpeter were converted from dragoons as well. HäT Chevau-Légers Lanciers fill a gap in the growing range of 1:72 scale figures, and they may be used for a number of interesting conversion projects. However, the riders and horses show so many design errors and casting flaws that Italeri and Revell would be well advised to release a competing set of their own. In the meantime, one way to add fodder for the eyes is to mount the HäT riders on Italeri horses.

Contents

12 riders in 4 poses – 25 mm equal 180 cm height

12 horses in 2 poses – 21 mm equal 15 hands

Evaluation

Excellent choice of subject. The "habit veste" uniform was adopted by French chevau-légers lanciers, chasseurs à cheval, and dragoons in 1812. The HäT figures might have been a big success, because the uniform with vertical pocket flaps covers the other half of French regiments which cannot be accurately recreated using Italeri's French Dragoons.

Satisfactory detail. Folds in the uniform, facings, belts, buttons, weapons and equipment items are in evidence.

Historic poses. The riders appear very lively, and they are seated correctly.

Satisfactory casting quality. Unusually thick flash needs to be removed prior to painting. The problem is particularly difficult to fix along the outer seams of the riders' campaign trousers, because the many buttons may be destroyed in the process.

Suitable 1:72 scale lance pennons (flammes de lance) may be downloaded from the Miniatures Forum

The attractive box art is misleading, there is no officer figure in the box. Trumpeter and elite company riders are missing as well.

The curved light cavalry sabre is shown correctly on the box cover, but the miniatures carry a straight heavy cavalry sword instead. This mistake may be corrected by cutting the sword off and replacing it with an hussar sabre taken from another figure.

The facings on the figure's chest are longer than they should be, they incorrectly extend all the way up to the shoulder strap.

Three of the four riders have lost part of their coat turnbacks. This may be a casting problem. The area between the coat tails and the upper thigh is just a blur.

The helmet crest is round in the front, like it should be, but flattened at the rear. Expert miniaturists will want to fix this casting problem using Rai-Ro Grey Wax.

The helmet comb and turban are shown fully detailed on the box cover, but both items are void of detail on the actual figures. Modellers looking for more detailed replacement parts may want to use crested helmets scrounged from Revell's British Life-Guard troopers.

The Lancers are equipped with carbine belts and ammunition pouches, but the carbines are missing. If it is not feasible to cast carbines directly onto the figures, although Revell did that very nicely on their French Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde, at least give us spare carbines to attach to the figures separately. There is enough space on the sprue, and the additional cost to the manufacturer is trivial.

The riders are unusually tall for the period and their arm of service, at 180 cm height they would have been guard grenadiers, not light cavalry troopers. The horses are quite short, they just meet the minimum height requirement for cavalry mounts.

Incorrect gait on three out of four horse poses: like many other model horses before them, these ponies are ambling. When will sculptors and manufacturers study the horse and create proper cavalry mounts in miniature! Revell's Swedish Cavalry rides exemplary horses. The standing and walking horses of Revell's Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde are a fine example as well. At the very least, sculptors need to study these products and learn from them.

Saddle furniture and bridles are shown correctly on the box cover, but the miniatures are sculpted incorrectly. The most practical remedy is to mount the figures on more accurate horses taken from Italeri or Revell cavalry sets, just like Klaus Hinderks has done in his diorama. Some sculptors may want to concentrate on riders and infantry, and let another, more experience colleague take care of the horses.

Historical Employment

  • French Chevau-Légers Lanciers 1812–1815
Régiment Campaigns Facings
1re Russia 1812, 1813, 1814, Belgium 1815 Scarlet
2e Russia 1812, 1813, 1814, Belgium 1815 Light Orange
3e Russia 1812, 1813, 1814, Belgium 1815 Rose
4e Russia 1812, 1813, 1814, Belgium 1815 Crimson
5e Russia 1812, 1813, 1814, Belgium 1815 Light Blue
6e 1812, 1813, 1814, Belgium 1815 Madder Red
Collar, cuffs, lapels, turnbacks, and shoulder strap piping in the facing colour.

Possible Conversions

  • Compagnie d'élite de Chevau-Légers Lanciers
    Use Rai-Ro modelling wax to convert the shoulder straps into fringed epaulettes.
  • French Chasseur à Cheval 1812–1815
    Replace the lancer helmet with a shako, and arm the figures with curved light cavalry sabres instead of lances. The 1st Regiment of Chasseurs is reported to have worn a crested helmet very similar to that of the Chevau-Légers Lanciers.
  • French Dragoons 1812–1815
    Replace the lancer helmets with dragoon helmets taken from Italeri' French Dragoons, and arm the troopers with sabres instead of lances. This conversion provides figures suitable for the other half of French dragoon regiments who had vertical coat pockets, and which cannot be recreated accurately using Italeri's French Dragoons.
  • Light cavalry of other nations allied with France, i.e. Saxony, Württemberg, Bavaria, and the Confederation of the Rhine. These conversions typically involve a head-swap, and there may be other small differences in uniform or equipment.

The Chevau-Légers Lanciers wore an attractive dark green uniform with colourful facings which looks great in miniature as well. Anyone building dioramas or recreating Napoleonic battles in miniature will want to raise a regiment or two of this troop type. The HäT figures are a nice toy, but the serious modeller will have to invest a lot of effort to fix the obvious mistakes and sculpting flaws.

Bibliography

HaT Miniatures

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French Napoleonic Miniatures