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Prussian Uhlans - a thought or two

I've recently taken delivery of a couple of boxes of the very good Prussian Uhlans set. The figures are fine, nicely produced and well-sculpted, and will fit well with the mass of my Prussian 1813-15 army, which tends to be almost all 23mm figures (ie: slightly 'small' compared with the inflating size of what passes for a 1/72 figure these days).

Pose-wise they clearly fit a 'waiting for something for happen, in reserve' remit, and so are somewhat different to just about every other cavalry set I possess, Napoleonic and otherwise. I may in fact paint them as a stand-alone unit, with a single box of the hussars or dragoons making a small wargames brigade - Prussian cavalry tend to be 2 squadron (6 figure) regiments in my Napoleonic world, with cavalry brigades made up of three regiments ie: 36 figures.

I'd very much like to see 'in action' versions (new sets) for the three Prussian cavalry sets recently released by Strelets, even though this would then pose the interesting 'dilemma' of whether to invest the time, effort and money in having duplicate units for use on the table as 'in reserve' and 'in action' - an extravagance that most would not even entertain the thought of.

Just one other thought: Will the fact that Strelets now have their Uhlan set on the market slow the pace (or even lead to cancellation) of the Linear A Landwehr cavalry set? Hopefully not, but you never know.....

Re: Prussian Uhlans - a thought or two

Agreed the Uhlans are excellent, horses anatomy around head and neck not great (as an equestrian i notice these things!!) so horses could be better, but the men themselves are superb.
I do like them in the in reserve/on standby look, and would ideally like to see other cavalry like this, swords drawn, resting on shoulder kind of thing, awaiting order to charge.
The Dragoons & Hussars would of been better like this, as i think those sets are a bit limited as to how can utilise them.
Charging too would be great but what i think would be a good thing for Strelets to do is maybe produce cavalry actually in the midst of combat. Clashing swords with enemy cavalrymen and slashing down at unfortunate infantry. It would be slightly different from the full blown at the charge set, yet a set could still include some poses that are indeed still moving towards an enemy to engage.

Re: Prussian Uhlans - a thought or two

Roger W
Agreed the Uhlans are excellent, horses anatomy around head and neck not great (as an equestrian i notice these things!!) so horses could be better, but the men themselves are superb.
I do like them in the in reserve/on standby look, and would ideally like to see other cavalry like this, swords drawn, resting on shoulder kind of thing, awaiting order to charge.
The Dragoons & Hussars would of been better like this, as i think those sets are a bit limited as to how can utilise them.
Charging too would be great but what i think would be a good thing for Strelets to do is maybe produce cavalry actually in the midst of combat. Clashing swords with enemy cavalrymen and slashing down at unfortunate infantry. It would be slightly different from the full blown at the charge set, yet a set could still include some poses that are indeed still moving towards an enemy to engage.
As an equestrian, Roger, you must be forever noting the problems of creating horses in 1/72. There are some really poor ones out there, and even I can tell that as a non-equestrian! :worried:

I believe that part of the problem with the horses in the new Prussian sets is that the heads seem too small? Indeed, perhaps the whole horse is a bit on the small side?

The generic idea of producing sets of cavalry on either standing or slowly advancing (walking or trotting) horses is a good one, and combined with riders with weapons shouldered/upright makes such a set more useful than most. Hopefully Strelets may note this and produce some sets 'in advance' ie: not 'in attack' which would mean more galloping horses - which, to be honest, I don't need!

I agree with what you have said about the use-ability of the dragoon and hussar sets, and as such I am limiting my purchase of these to one set each - as much for the civilian figures as anything.

Re: Prussian Uhlans - a thought or two

It is fair to say that within the hobby, the horses seem to come a poor 2nd to the design & creation of the actual men themselves in cavalry/mounted officer sets.
Poor anatomy, not understanding how a horse moves at a trot, canter or full gallop, size/length of legs, body, and in the case of the new Prussian cavalry, the necks & heads.
Taking these new sets as an example, try to imagine these horses in a field grazing without bending their legs......they wouldnt be able to as their necks arent long enough!!! Even a Shetland Pony needs a neck that lets them lower their head to graze dispite their tiny height!!!
Also i think horses like to have ears!!!
Away from the animals themselves, sets often also dont seem put as much effort into the equipment used by that cavalry unit either, such as saddlecloths, bits/bridles etc.
I realise that most couldnt care less about the horses compared to the men in a set, but i think there is nothing worse than seeing a excellent sculpted and painted cavalryman sat astride a horse which just looks ridiculous.
In fact the horses themselves need proper research as different units preferred certain breeds.
http://www.napolun.com/mirror/web2.airmail.net/napoleon/cavalry_Napoleon.html
This page gives some information about the French Napoleonic Cavalry and shows that a horse wasnt just "a horse" but could be expected to differ unit to unit.

Re: 1/72 Horses are important !

Roger W
It is fair to say that within the hobby, the horses seem to come a poor 2nd to the design & creation of the actual men themselves in cavalry/mounted officer sets.
Poor anatomy, not understanding how a horse moves at a trot, canter or full gallop, size/length of legs, body, and in the case of the new Prussian cavalry, the necks & heads.
.......
In fact the horses themselves need proper research as different units preferred certain breeds.
http://www.napolun.com/mirror/web2.airmail.net/napoleon/cavalry_Napoleon.html
This page gives some information about the French Napoleonic Cavalry and shows that a horse wasnt just "a horse" but could be expected to differ unit to unit.
I think these are all really good points Roger, especially when made by a horseman as you clearly are.

I have several books about 'warhorses' but even reading these I do not have the 'feel' for a horse that I would have had I grown up with them. I can tell a racehorse from a carthorse from a pony, but beyond that.....? People in days gone by would have known what a horse was like, how it had been bred, what it was capable of, perhaps even its temperament, simply by looking at it. We in the modern World do not have this ability, for the most part.

Perhaps sculptors would do well to talk with actual horse-experts when embarking on new sets?

Strelets have, in my view, been somewhere in between the best and worst of horse sculpts over the years...probably too many 'flying horses with over-thick legs' in days gone by, now improving as with their figures. I'm guessing that Zvezda and Revell win awards for their past efforts on horses? Redbox, in my view, have really come up with some truly awful four legged friends.....HaT tend to be solid, but boring etc

One for debate perhaps....

Re: 1/72 Horses are important !

The other consideration when sculpting horses perhaps is what their condition would of likely been.
I imagine a long hard march would take it out of a horse just like it did infantrymen. Then theres the artillery train horses etc.
I doubt many horses looked like an excellent example of their breed after a few marches and battles...if they lived that long.
There wasnt the emphasis on maintaining a horses diet back then as there is now.
Then there is a question of supply.
Just because a heavy cavalry regt is ment to use heavier larger horses, didnt mean they all had them if after suffering many losses and couldnt readily find such breeds, they would of got the best they could at that time in that theatre of conflict. The Peninsular War would of probably shown cavalry regiments in all sorts of a state. Not to mention whatever the predominent breed was in that area would of ended up being what the unit would of replaced their losses with.

Im just finishing off some Revell British Infantry and am just looking at the horse the mounted officer has. What I like about it is the horse looks proportionately correct, quite slim and athletic looking, an officer most likely having the money to purchase some fine horses for themselves, but most importantly the sculptor has learned that horses move their legs in what are called diagonals.

https://youtu.be/t4zdTn02PWQ

This video explains how horses use their legs better than i can put into words.

But just a simple bit of research into a horses anatomy and how they "work" wouldnt go amiss within the hobby!! Not to mention accurate horse "furniture" for that regiment. Its just a shame when excellent cavalrymen figures end up having to be placed on dreadful looking horses. Its the same as having great artillerymen stuck working a dreadfully done cannon. Hats French Horse Artillery being an example. Nice, if a little flat, figures but a awful looking cannon!!

Re: 1/72 Horses are important !

I second this, with the caveat that it is a difficult topic for the 1/72 to cover because discussions of cavalry tactics remain some of the most controversial in all of military history regardless of era to this day. 1/32 scale horses have similar issues, which is especially problematic for equine centric topics such as the American Western frontier in the late 1800s.

Just watched a new video today that detailed quite nicely how the whole theory of cavalrymen avoiding massed charges before Gustavus Adolphus at the beginning of the 30 Years' War is likely erroneous to some extent, and similar discussions about the successful practical implementation of lancer charges throughout Medieval times have also received some challenges. And do not even get me started on chariot warfare around 1500-300 BC, good god studies of that are a complete disaster (in my opinion, which is naturally not shared by all). Far too much information has been gleaned from the Illiad and the Odyssey, which is arguably equivalent to trying to reconstruct Medieval battlefield tactics by using a Lord of the Rings script.

For the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZkjyFfmXbU