British Hussars, Crimean War 1854

Italeri 1:72 Scale Figure Review

British Hussars, Crimean War 1854, 1:72 Miniatures Italeri 6052

The 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars participated in the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava, 25 October 1854, of the Crimean War. The box covers appears to depict survivors of the charge breaking into the Russian artillery battery. However, the 11th Hussars fought in the dolman at the time, because their pelisses were still aboard ship. As a result, these ESCI miniatures, re-released by Italeri, are better suited as British hussars of the Napoleonic Wars. In fact, ESCI eventually used these same figures as the basis for a set of British Napoleonic Hussars, enhancing it with just two additional Hussar poses.

Contents

12 hussars in 5 poses – 24 mm equal 173 cm height

  • Trumpeter (1)
  • Hussar with raised sabre (2)
  • Hussar with raised sabre, carbine slung (3)
  • Hussar with half-raised sabre, carbine slung (3)
  • Hussar with lowered sabre (3)

12 horses in three poses – 22 mm equal 15.2 hands

  • Ambling Horse (5)
  • Trotting Horse (4)
  • Trotting Horse with Head raised (3)

Evaluation

Good choice of subject, these British Hussars look more realistic than their predecessors made by Airfix. Officers of the 11th Hussars were distinguished from their men by yellow cords and buttons on the dolman and pelisse, so the two hussar troopers without carbines may be painted as officers. 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 four 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

Possible Conversions

  • 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 Italeri'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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Miniatures of the Crimean War