ISUV-005 “Cuirassiers, 1807” is a 54mm scale white metal figure sculpted by Ho Seo. The figure is dismounted with sabre drawn, and other equipment discarded, pointing at the unseen enemy position. The time period places him during the period of the Napoleonic Wars referred to as the Fourth Coalition (1806-0807), and Bonaparte’s Prussian Campaign.
This heavy cavalryman is attired according to regulation and perhaps, as artists would have. However, it should be borne in mind that cuirassiers were not as well turned out and homogenous in dress as regulations imply and artists and writers express. In reality, most regiments were in a continual state of chronic disrepair.
ISUV-005 wears the standard cuirassier helmet, consisting of an iron cap surrounded by a fur turban and with a copper crest surmounted by a horsehair mane. Mounted in front of the crest is a horsehair aigrette fixed in its socket.
The cuirassier wears the ‘Mk I cuirass’, identified by the blunt angle at the bottom of the breastplate. The plates are joined by the metal-scaled, cloth-covered, leather shoulder straps, which have been hooked to the copper buttons riveted to the breastplate. The two halves are fastened at the waist by means of a copper-buckled leather belt, which is secured to the back plate by twin rivets at each end. There should be a total of 34 copper rivets per plate.
Given the time period and campaign, he wears the 1806 habit-veste. Though the 1803 habit-surtout (a single-breasted, shorter-skirted habit-surtout) was worn throughout the Bavarian campaign, it appears that the Prussian and Polish campaigns of 1806/7 saw the use of an identical tunic, known as the 1806 habit-veste, embellished with lapels of the regimental colour.
For leg wear this cuirassier wears the sheep or deer-hide breeches reserved for parade dress. While no mention is made of them prior to the 1812 Regulations, linen or hide overalls (varying in colours between light grey through grey-brown) would normally replace the breeches when on the march or campaigning. He wears standard issue French cavalry boots, with stockings slightly visible to the rear of the knee area.
He wears the ‘An XI’ pattern waist belt, which suspends the robust iron scabbard from a pair of slings (if the sabre is sheathed, the hilt will hang at wrist level). He wields what appears to be an ‘An XI’ pattern sabre, with its twin-guttered blade.
What’s in the box?
ISUV-005, cast in white metal, comes in a kit form consisting of nine pieces. The figure is shipped in a hard cardboard box with the pieces securely sandwiched between two pieces of foam.
The parts are as follows:Head with helmet
Horsehair aigrette (individual part not pictured here)
Lower torso and legs
Left pointing arm
Right arm holding sabre
Scabbard with slings
No assembly instructions or further photographs are provided apart from the box-art. I would highly recommend that anyone attempting this figure download the six images of this figure from the Infinity Shape website so that they may have a better idea of figure and part placement.
As we start the review of the individual pieces, let me start by making a general comment or two. While the quality of the sculpting and the material used as a whole is very good, the casting leaves a lot to be desired. On first appearance, every single piece of my sample has very noticeable seam lines running the full circumference of the piece. Closer scrutiny revealed that in actual fact the two halves of the mould were misaligned, by mere microns, during the casting process. The result is that every piece will have to be gently rubbed down with fine sandpaper, hopefully not to the detriment of some of the fine detail.
That said; let’s have a look at the individual bits…
The head is indeed very nicely sculpted, and a painter’s dream, as it contains many textures and surfaces: clothe; fur; hair; flesh; iron; copper; and scales. The moustachioed face is fairly well defined, although it loses definition around the eyes. The helmet as a whole is nicely done. The textured parts, the fur turban and the horsehair mane are realistically done, and the mane flows nicely from the crest. The copper crest shows some implied detail, which at this scale is quite acceptable. The scaled chin strap tapers nicely toward the chin, and is finished off with a very fine leather knot beneath the chin. Around the neck we have the lapels of the tunic. As mentioned above, this is the only place on the tunic where a difference would be noted between the 1803 and 1806 tunics, and the depiction of such would be at the discretion of the modeller. The neck area is completed by the cloth neck lining of the cuirass.
The horsehair aigrette really is a minute bit, which slots into a socket on top of the crest. Not much can be said of this tiny piece other than that the hair is finely textured, but not all the way around. But I’m sure nobody will notice this blip of an imperfection.
The cuirass is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the quality of the sculpture. On the positive side both the breast and back plates are excellently represented, and I could even count most of the rivets on either plate. But on the negative side, shoulder straps are not as great as they potentially could be. For example they appear to be too high on the back plate and the fastening point on the left shoulder is devoid of detail. Furthermore, they also (perhaps aesthetically) appear to fasten too low on the breast plate. A further point is that the waist belt runs from left to right (with the buckle on the figure’s right), whereas my sources indicated that this should be visa versa. Once again, these blemishes may appear trivial to most modellers.
The legs/lower torso is another piece with sculpting inconsistencies. In certain places, it’s really excellent, for example the grenades carefully sculpted on the turn-ups of the tails, and the exquisite detailing of the lower portions of the boots (the buckles and clips on the spurs are quite clear). Yet in other places the detail becomes quite soft like some of the folds in the groin area and buttocks and in others it is too hard, like the tunic tails.
The left arm is inversely very well sculpted and detailed. The folds gather nicely down the arm, consistent with a raised arm. The gloved hand is similarly well detailed, and the fingers themselves well defined.
And again, when viewing the right arm and sabre, we have that paradoxical situation of both good and poor quality. The arm starts off at the shoulder really well defined, folding where folds should be found, the glove not looking too bad, but not as well-defined as the left hand, and then the plot gets lost on the sabre. The hilt starts off nicely with two fine pieces of the guard, but then just flattens out instead of running around the knuckles and fingers. The blade itself seems okay, except for the large amount of flash toward the point.
Not much can really be said about the scabbard and slings. Admittedly these are really plain items, the slings and the scabbard, but they really are disappointingly devoid of any detail.
The last two parts of this kit are the tree trunk and the base. The tree trunk is nicely textured and looks the part of a gnarled up old trunk. The texture of the base portrays simple groundwork quite effectively. Recesses have been provided for foot and tree placement, which the feet fit into quite comfortably. I had a hard time trying to line up the tree though, which does not seem to fit any way I rotate the trunk.
The sculptor, Ho Seo, has obviously done a good job, despite some inconsistencies, only to be let down in the closing moments by the casting crew. Infinity Shape potentially has a nice figure here if only they can sort out their quality control issues, and get their moulds properly aligned.