Historicals Review – Victrix Guard Lancers

There were three regiments of Guard Lancers, the Polish Lancers (1st and 3rd Regiments being Old Guard and Young Guard) and the Red (2nd Regiment Dutch-French) Lancers.

The Polish Lancers had an almost legendary reputation in combat and were undefeated by other cavalry, but the striking red uniforms of the Red Lancers have led to them being portrayed in a large number of pictures during and after the period.

The Polish Lancers (1st) were formed in 1807, and fought thoughout the Napoleonic war, including successes against the Cossacks during the Russian campaign.

Paintings, they’re like photos with a real long exposure time.

The 2nd Regiment was formed in 1810 from three Dutch troops, and had Polish style headgear with the major different being red coats. The 2nd Regiment had a difficult Russian campaign, particularly against the Cossacks, and the regiment was rebuilt in 1813 where it had an influx of veterans. Napoleon had planned to expand the Red Lancers to three regiments in 1815, but there was not time, and one regiment fought in the Waterloo campaign.

When you look this good, you take a selfie.

The Polish Lancers (3rd) were formed in 1812 and destroyed in the same year fighting the Cossacks and Pavlograd Hussars at Slonim.

In modern media the Polish Lancers have featured in Sharpe, and are big in the re-enactor community (especially in Poland).

I’ll be using these models in Sharpe Practice, from Too Fat Lardies, which has unit sizes of 8 for cavalry.

These are the only plastic Guard lancer kit, and to be fair they are really good, with clean sculpts in HIPS that look like the historical unit (thus avoiding the webbing or pockets or the wrong shade of green for Sherman tanks in July of 1943 that plagues the historical community).

The casts are clean. While they don’t have the sort of sprue design that GW do (I don’t think any plastics manufacturer is within ten years of GWs current design standard) there are few mould lines, and the sprues are logically laid out. You get three cavalry per sprue, and three standard troop sprues and one command sprue in each set.

In terms of head options you have six with plume and six without per sprue, but all are in Polish style headgear. The weapons and kit are tied to one pose on each sprue, and while you could convert building as is you’ll get three lots of three quite similar figures plus the command sprue figures. You can vary the heads and the lance arms, and get difference in each figure, to give you some variety in a unit.

Close up of the sprue. Nice sculpts and well cast, but not the sprue tesselation of GW.

The only area that I’d describe as lacking is the instructions. While I may have been spoiled by GW style instructions which lay everything out for you, Victrix has a part list that tells you what part goes with which rider. From the picture you can work out what goes where, but someone used to building GW kits, or scale model kits, the instructions are incredibly basic, and reminiscent of 3rd or 4th edition GW blister kits, where you just had a pile of pieces and had to work it out for yourself. Fortunately these fit together, unlike things like Krootox, which didn’t.

The models go together well, and as shown below, look really good.

Fully assembled and looking fly.

The build is not too complex and variety in the unit comes from heads, arms and then the variety of body + horse combinations.

The set is well researched, well sculpted, and while not up to GWs standards regarding moulding and design (I’d put the current Victrix moulding around late 2000s in GW terms), in the historicals ecosystem Victrix are doing great things and have made massive progress from some of their earliest offerings.

Napoleonics is getting more accessible with skirmish systems like Sharpe Practice, and people gaming in the more popular scale of 28mm as opposed to 54mm (Toy Soldier scale and the classic Napoleonic scale from the olden days) and 6mm (where a gentleman gamer could store his army in a cigar case and make do with a mere 8 foot by 6 foot table) is helping it grow. Victrix staking out a chunk of the Napoleonics market with excellent plastic kits like this only helps the hobby, and it is fairly practical to have an entirely plastic army for the period, which makes is accessible in terms of price.

I would recommend the kit and look forward to painting them up.