Monday, March 1, 2010

HäT Industries 28mm French Légere

HäT Industries very kindly sent me a set of their new Napoleonic French Légere Chasseurs to review. This was a test shot with the new molds, so some of the pieces will change before the final production run, but these samples should give a good idea of what the finished figures will look like.

If you've read my earlier review of HäT's Bavarian infantry, you'll know that I'm pretty excited about this line. I thought the Bavarians had fantastic proportions and provided good value. The same applies to these HäT Legere.

HäT has very sensibly divided the Légere into five packs. You'll get 48 figures in a box, which should allow for pretty big units.

28017 Napoleonic French Chasseurs Command
28003 Napoleonic French Voltiguers
28009 Napoleonic French Carabiniers
28004 Napoleonic French Chasseurs Marching
28016 Napoleonic French Chasseurs Action Poses

This pack mix should allow wargamers to field their Légere in any combination of poses they wish. I know many wargamers like their light infantry to look like they're skirmishing, and 28016 will allow them to do that. I prefer my regiments to march to the sound of the guns, both because I like the ordered look of marching battalions, and because the marching pose allows me to comfortably fit four figures on a small base.

With that in mind, here are the painted figures. First we have four figures from 28017 "Napoleonic French Chasseurs Command."

There are more figures on the sprue, which you can see here. I chose not to paint the pioneer, standing sergeant, or mounted officer.

The figures have pretty good detail and the poses are very natural. I elected to replace the eagle staff with brass wire, and the HäT plastic responded well to my pin vise. The officer's sword was far too short, but that will probably be worked out before the figures go into production. I replaced the stubby sword with more brass rod, hammered slightly flat.

Set 28004, "Napoleonic French Chasseurs Marching," was the one I was really excited about. Here are the painted figures.

There are eight figures in four poses on each sprue, and the poses are all perfectly usable! These figures should rank up very well. Some of the bayonets were a little too short, but again, I expect this is just the nature of test shots. I left most of them alone, just replacing one completely missing bayonet with some stretched sprue.

Although these figures are labelled chasseurs, which are the center companies in Légere battalions, they could easily be used for the elite companies as well. Many, perhaps most, Légere regiments kept the same basic dress for their flank companies, merely distinguishing them by different colored collars, plumes, and shako cords.

Still, HäT has provided carabiniers in bearskins and voltiguers in colpaks, although the pack composition is not all I could wish. Most of the figures are skirmishing, and the only marching poses in the two packs are those pictured below.

Because of the pack composition, you'll only get eight marching voltiguers or 16 marching carabiniers in each pack of 48.

I absolutely love the proportions of HäT's figures, and the overall look is just excellent. And to top it all off, at $.40 per figure, these figures are cheaper than anyone else's. The big question remains: how well will these figures work on the wargaming table? Will they look too slight to mix with beefier metal figures? I'll be basing my Légere battalion tomorrow, and I hope to have some pictures up soon comparing these HäT figures to my 28mm Old Glory Napoleonics.

Edit: HäT just emailed me and confirmed that the stubby sword and bayonets on these figures have been fixed for the production run.


  1. Very nice - excellent results. I agree - the poses and proportions look fine. The bayonets look a little small - compared to say Perrys. Otherwise they don't look bad at all sculpting-wise. Thanks for the write up too. Dean

  2. very useful stuff. A real boon if like me you have to mail order sight unseen.

    I shall definitely buy a couple of units .
    thank you

  3. Thanks for the write-up Scott, its gives an excellent review. Nice painting but it shows the figures off to their best advantage. They don't have the fine detailing of Perry's or Victrix and appear a little less animated in facial expressions than either of the others but as you say, at less than half the price per figure - who's gonna quibble? Be interested to know if they are 'true' 28mm or more or less from base to eye-line. I don't think the slimmer look to them will make any difference and I hope HaT take your suggestions re the swords and bayonets. Again, thanks for a most useful review.


  4. I second Doc's opinions about detail but with my rudimentary painting skills that doesn't matter.

    Would it be possible to get a picture of the figs next to a ruler or, better yet, a Perry or Victrix plastic?


  5. What about preparation?

    If I'm not mistaken Hat's figures are soft plastic. This makes me wonder about the durability of a paint job given the flexibilty of the plastic.

    I'm wondering if you do anything special to guard against this. Or am I overstating the problem?

  6. The figures are 27mm to eye level.

    They are hard plastic and have proven pretty durable.

    The bayonets are certainly more slender than on other 28m figures, but then the muskets are too. They look right to me, Compare with this picture:

  7. Thanks for the review and the excellent photos.

    It's funny how different folks are. I got a box of the HaT carabiniers in a trade, opened them up, and felt like pitching them in the bin. I really disliked the look, the sculpting, the poses, etc. Maybe I should clean and prime them, and give them another chance?

    I also got some Victrix in that trade. I find them fiddly and not particularly well molded. So, I'm thinking I'll largely stick with Perry, who gives me very stiff poses, but well-molded, finely-detailed sculpts.