Austrian and Hungarian Infantry of the Napoleonic Wars, 1798–1809

Italeri 1:72 Scale Figure Review

Austrian and Hungarian Infantry of the Napoleonic Wars, 1798–1809, 1:72 Italeri Miniatures 6005

Hungarian Grenadier-Battalion Scharlach, 1809, consisting of six companies, two each drawn from Hungarian Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 31 (standardbearer; yellow facing), Nr. 32 (Grenadier; ash grey facings) and Nr. 51 (Officer; light blue facings). The standardbearer was converted from a charging grenadier. The figure looks much better when walking, instead of running, simply by straightening the right leg and welding the foot to the figure's base. Doing so also tilts the upper body back a little, raising the point of the flag noticeably.

The musket is easy to remove with a scalpel, and 0.6 mm pianowire may be pushed through the hands to act as the flagpole. The flag measures 18.3 mm on the stave and 24.4 mm on the fly, it was cut from plain paper and handpainted. The flag pictured here is the Leibfahne, with the double-eagle on the reverse and the madonna with child on the obverse. The white Leibfahne was carried by the 1st Battalion of an infantry regiment, unless this unit also supplied the most senior companies for a converged grenadier battalion, in which case the grenadiers took the Leibfahne with them. In the example above, the flag carried by Grenadier-Bataillon Scharlach is the Leibfahne of the 1st Battalion of Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 31, because the grenadier companies supplied by that regiment are the most senior units within the converged grenadier battalion. The other flags carried by an infantry regiment were yellow Ordinärfahnen which had the double-eagle on both sides.

Contents

48 Figures in 14 Poses – 23 mm equal 166 cm Height

  • Mounted Officer (1)
  • Officer of Hungarian Grenadiers (1)
  • Drummer of Füsiliers (1)
  • German Füsilier, marching (6)
  • German Füsilier, running (6)
  • German Füsilier, standing, firing (6)
  • German Füsilier, kneeling, firing (6)
  • German Füsilier, standing (2)
  • German Füsilier, standing, loading, pulling the hammer back to half-cock (2)
  • German Füsilier, kneeling, loading, ramming the charge (2)
  • Hungarian Grenadier, marching (6)
  • Hungarian Grenadier, running (3)
  • Hungarian Grenadier, standing, firing (3)
  • Hungarian Grenadier, kneeling (3)

Popular Helmets

The Austrian Raupenhelm, a caterpillar crested helmet, was introduced in 1798 and it became very popular with the troops, even if it wasn't very practical in the field. Some infantry regiments continued to wear the Raupenhelm as late as 1809, despite the fact that it had been officially replaced by the shako in 1808. The Italeri figures are sculpted as German Füsiliers and Hungarian Grenadiers, but they are easily converted to Hungarian Füsiliers and German Grenadiers respectively.

Evaluation

Excellent detail. Facings, straps, weapons, helmets and equipment are nicely sculpted and easy to paint.

Striking faces. These heads with the typical Raupenhelmet may be used for conversions of Austrian dragoons and kürassiers.

Useful historic poses. The miniatures may be deployed in advancing or firing units. The marching poses look very good in large formations. The charging füsilier is the best plastic figure of this type, with correct anatomy.

Excellent casting quality, little flash.

Obvious casting problems on the marching füsilier may be corrected with the scalpel, the figure should look very nice after painting.

Standardbearer is missing, but two of the figures, a grenadier and a füsilier may be converted to serve in this role.

Füsiliers are shown wearing the pigtail which went out of fashion in 1804.

The marching grenadier is sculpted without ammunition pouches.

The charging grenadier has a serious coordination problem, he is ambling like a horse, with his left arm, shoulder and left foot moving forward simultaneously. An impossible gait for a soldier, usually grounds for dismissal. The pose can be corrected by straightening the right leg and soldering the foot to the figure's base. The ambling motion is less noticeable when the figure is walking instead of running.

The standing and firing grenadier has the musket pointing toward the sky. The mistake may be corrected by reducing the base thickness underneath the figure's front foot, bringing the musket back into an almost horizontal position.

The drum appears a little small.

Incorrect painting instructions on the back of the box. The German Füsilier is shown wearing pointed Hungarian cuffs instead of round cuffs which would be correct. He mistankenly carries a sabre which was a distinguishing mark of the grenadiers. The Hungarian Grenadier is shown with the proper Hungarian cuffs on the jacket, but he wears white German trousers instead of the light blue Hungarian trousers with yellow knots and side stripes.

Plastic figure sets released by any one of the major manufacturers are notoriously inaccurate in the selection of historical figure types. This is particularly the case with Napoleonic line infantry sets and most line cavalry sets, which are released without the required line elite figures.

Italeri has made a move in the right direction, producing a set of füsiliers and grenadiers in one box. Unfortunately, it would not have been necessary in this particular case, simply because Austrian and Hungarian Füsiliers and Grenadiers did not serve in the same units during the Napoleonic Wars. The grenadiers were converged into separate grenadier battalions and they served in combined grenadier brigades of the 1st and 2nd Reserve Corps. Accordingly, the füsilier and grenadier figures might have been covered in two separate sets which would have provided more officers, standardbearers and musicians than the combined set.

Italeri might have been better advised to produce a combined set of füsiliers with Raupenhelmets (1798-1809) and füsiliers with shakos (1808-1815), which could have been used concurrently during the 1808-1809 transition period. It remains to be seen which manufacturer will produce füsiliers with the typical Austrian shako, which may be used for the important 1809, 1812 and 1813 campaigns involving the imperial Austrian army. These figures are much more versatile than the soldiers in Raupenhelmets, wargamers and collectors need a large number of them to recreate the later campaigns.

Bibliography

Historical Employment

  • German Füsiliers 1798-1809
  • Erzherzog Karl Legion 1809
  • Hungarian Grenadiers 1798-1815
  • Baden Infantry & Jägers in Raupenhelmets 1806-1813

Conversions

  • Hungarian Füsiliers 1798-1809. Convert the round cuffs to pointed ones, paint the trousers light blue with yellow Hungarian knots and side stripes.
  • German Grenadiers 1798-1815. Convert the pointed cuffs to round ones, remove the Hungarian knots and paint the trousers white.
  • Austrian Jägers in Raupenhelmets 1798-1809. A very simple conversion, shortening the musket to make it look like a rifle and painting the figure in Jäger uniform.
  • The Raupenhelmet may be used to convert Austrian Dragoons and Kürassiers for the 1798-1840 period.
  • Nassau 1. and 2. Infanterie-Regiment, 1809-1814. Center companies wore a green Austrian-style uniform with French shakos. Officers wore bicornes initially, but changed to shakos shortly after their men. Grenadiers received the Bavarian-style Raupenhelm previously worn by Leibbataillon von Todenwarth, except for the 2. Grenadierkompanie of the 1. Regiment, which wore the shako during the Spanish campaign. In 1810, grenadiers received a fur busby with red bag, plume and cords. Grenadiers, and Voltigeurs had French-style epaulettes. Light grey Hungarian trousers with black knots, changed to green with yellow knots in 1810.
  • Reuss musketeer companies of the 6. Rheinbundregiment (Waldeck-Reuss), 1807–1813. White Austrian-style uniforms, with blue Hungarian trousers, and French shakos.

The Italeri figures will be very popular with collectors and wargamers interested in the imperial Austrian army of the Napoleonic Wars. The soldiers are sculpted in solid and very versatile wargaming poses. At the grand-tactical level, using a figure scale of 1:250, gamers will need approximately 11 boxes of these figures for the battle of Aspern-Essling, 21st-22nd May 1809, and 14 boxes for Wagram, 5th-6th July of the same year. By that time, the füsiliers of most infantry regiments should be wearing the more practical shako which was introduced in 1808.

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Austrian Napoleonic Miniatures