Well - at first I like to excuse myself for the long time that it took from my promise to give you the next sneak preview until now. Honestly, I should have kept my big mouth shut.
For some weeks, I have not shown you anything but the Happy Wargamer. There were two reasons for that: First, I’m currently working on my first novel. Second, I got more and more demotivated by the figures I chose to paint. So please forgive me the relativity of the term ‘soon’ and let me explain to you what happened!
When I got my hands on the fabulous HaT Napoleonic allied officers’ set (here are the painted figures: http://bennosfiguresforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8661), I was inspired of the figures’ quality and how nice they looked after painting. So I asked my distributor if he had more of that stuff to offer. Finally, I received three sprues each from three sets that will probably be launched by HaT in 2012:
Wurttemberg chasseurs a cheval
Prussian hussars post-1806
Wow. Another three sets of figures that I would be able to paint before many others will. It’s an exciting feeling. The first concept drawings on the HaT website looked nice, so I expected to get a new number of excellent figures for my collection. Well – I shouldn’t have been so excited before having seen them.
Originally, I wanted to paint one sprue each, but at the end, I made some alternative decisions. I started to prepaint the figures in light grey and for the first time I got a real impression about the actual painted look of the figures - I must confess that this was the time when I started to become a bit sceptical about the figures.
Some of you might remember what I said about HaT's 1806 Prussian hussars (http://zedsnappies.blogspot.com/2011/07/now-its-also-hussars.html) - well, unfortunately I must say the same about the new Prussian and Brunswick cavalrymen. And even worse.
What I got were Prussian hussars in campaign dress for the battles past 1812 and Brunswick cavalry. It's too obvious that these have been sculpted by the same guy that was responsible for the 1806 Prussian hussars - they have a similar look and they suffer from the same problems.
These figures lack faces – again, they have only a nose, a beard and the rest looks odd. They are badly proportioned, with ridiculously wide trousers, buttons like saucers, oval heads and a leg/torso ratio, that looks as if this sculptor wanted to show the Strelets’ guys how more dwarfy than a dwarf a dwarf can be. That’s meant for the Prussians and the Brunswickers. For some strange reason, the Wurttembergers have a better look. Maybe some other folk was responsible for sculpting them.
Additionally, I wonder if HaT will ever manage to sculpt a beautiful, realistic horse. In these three cases, they failed again. The horses look somewhat okay in profile, but if you see them from the front, their heads are definitely too flat and the horse gear is way too broad and chunky. Really, I’m annoyed. And I bet that PSR will give them another nine points rating for sculpting and historical accuracy.
So please don’t hurt me too much, I’m doing this mainly because I promised it and in order to give you an impression of the new HaT cavalry sets. If you consider the painting work to be lousy in comparizon with what I’ve shown before, I can only regretfully agree – but I can’t do better with these little plastic thingies.
Let’s start with the Prussian hussars! HaT decided to create some new Prussian hussars for the 1812-1815 period. They wear their gear in campaign style, with shakos covered in oil skin and their pelisses worn as jackets. This is realistic, though it doesn’t give you the possibility to make them up in a somewhat colourful way. Prussian uniforms of that time were not very flamboyant and with the pelisse covering the cuffs and collars and the hussar belt, there’s not much colours to be seen at all. Basically, the hussar regiments were either dressed in green, blue, dark-grey and sandy yellow, plus different colours for the pelts and cords.
So here we’ve got the first three, representing (from left to right) the 3rd (Brandenburg) regiment, the 4th (1st Silesian) regiment and the 1st escadron (former Leib-Husarenregiment) of the 8th regiment.
Which brings us to hussar number four. Each set contains four hussars, three in predefined outfit and one with the possibility to receive one of three extra arms. These arms hold a carbine, a trumpet or another sabre. In theory, this is a great idea. This means if the sculptor is able to create arms that really fit to the figure. That was somewhat pleasantly solved with the 1806 hussar, but this time, the sculptor has really failed.
This hussar represents the 11th hussar regiment (former Berg). Now look at the arm holding the carbine and how it fits to the rest of the figure. I tried the other arms, it’s all the same – you end up with Popeye on a horse. Another (maybe small) failure is that the trumpet arm misses the swallow nest on the shoulder. I guess they did that because the figure itself misses them, too.
Getting the arms onto the torso will mostly require corrections on the bolt, because otherwise, the arm will easily pop off. Maybe it's the best idea to remove it completely, cause I had several bad experiences with arms falling off again and again. Same thing with the riders and their fitting to the horses - you will always need to glue them onto their horses. Otherwise they'll fall off.
If you look at the profile of this hussar, you can imagine why I’m so unhappy with the overall proportions. Please note the shape of head and shako plus the shape of the trousers:
Well. What is extremely upsetting, are the cords on the pelisse. Maybe the sculptor meant it in a good way, but they should have just indicated them – instead of that, they distinguished them too much while keeping them very thin. Additionally, not all cords go parallel to the others. That might all be realistic – but it suits you bad when painting. If all cords are going criss-cross over the body, the overall look tells you that you’re an imcompetent painter. Which you may already feel like because you need six attempts to get all cords painted correctly without smearing over the background colour.
Let’s better get to the Brunswick cavalry, hum? That means if ‘better’ really is better at all, because their hussars wear the pelisse over their shoulders, which doubles the problem with the cords...
HaT has made a difficult selection here. The sprue contains three hussars and a lancer, which will leave you with four lancers in a full box. Not an impressive number if you want to create a squadron of those, but at least you get two arm positions for them – holding them up for march and holding them in attack position. One of the hussars also has changeable arms, again with sabre, carbine and trumpet – but it does them not better then for the Prussians. When it comes to fit to the figure, the extra arms come along with the same problems as at the Prussians, althought they are optically better proportioned.
So look at these:
Still the same problems with pose, faces, horses. I really, really didn’t like them. Plus I hated their black uniforms. If anyone thinks that white uniforms are hard to be painted – black (or dark anthrazit grey as in this case) is a real pain in the ass.
Additionally, HaT has left me puzzled with a mistery here. The hussars have hessian boots, which I have only found in the Osprey documentation for the Peninsular campaign. But for that time, the design of the lancers is totally different, according to Knoetel. If I take the hussars for the Waterloo campaign, I only find pictures where the boots are worn under the trousers. So what do we have here? 1809 hussars with 1815 lancers?
As I had different information, I painted one with a red-blue coloured hussar belt and one with a yellow-blue coloured hussar belt. Maybe someone can tell me what is right and what is wrong here?
Forgive me, I haven’t painted hussar number three, I ran just out of motivation to paint another anthrazit guy.
Apart from that I found the lancers being dubious – the cords on their helmets are for example running around the helmet into exactly the other way then seen on all reference pictures. Plus they have a crossbelt over their left shoulder that ends on their waist but holds nothing. So WTF?
It’s surely because of my bad painting that this lancer in his black and light blue dress looks like a character from the TRON movie picture, hum?
To be honest, those were the two sets which slowed me down for quite a while, because I simply didn't like them and therefore didn't like to continue painting them. After all, I recognize them being a lesson in painting horses. But in the end, I found a use for some parts of them...
...this creation is made up from the best of three worlds, a Prussian horse, a Wurttemberg head and a Brunswick lancers’ body. What may that look like?