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.