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In-Box Review
Light Cavalryman of the 12th Regt. France 1806

by: Costas Rodopoulos [ MAJOR_GOOSE ]

Originally published on:
Historicus Forma


This is the first attempt of Pegaso in 75mm line for a Napoleonic figure .And who else would be called to sculpt than the undeniable Master of Napoleonics Maurizio Bruno- Armorama Member.
So checking here Light Cavalry of the 12th Regiment , France 1812

Historical Notes

Napoleonic Cavalry

During the revolution, the French Cavalry was in turmoil. From 1789 through 1793 there was a complete reorganization of the armed forces, a chief goal of which was to remove the royal vestiges and notation of noble origin in its units. In doing so it changed the precedence of the units (the ranking of like units) to be based on date of origin noble connection. Regiments were greatly understrength and the Saxe Hussars and the 15th Cavalry (Royal Allemande) defected to the Austrians. Various legions were raised and subsequently incorporated into the regular mounted arm.

By Summer and toward the end of 1793 the French army paper organization was 196 infantry demibrigades (regiments), 9 artillery regiments, 26 heavy cavalry regiments (three of which were newly raised), 2 regiments of carabiniers, 20 dragoon regiments (two of which were newly raised in 1793), 18 regiments of chasseurs à cheval (last six raised in 1792-93), and 10 hussar regiments (last five raised in 1792-93). Additional chasseur units were formed during 1793-4 bringing their regimental numbers to 25. In the two years following the introduction of national conscription on August 23, 1793, various ad hoc volunteer units augmented an establishment failing to sustain adequate numbers in these units. Free corps cavalry were incorporated into the regular cavalry units.

By 1796 the organization was in chaos and this situation worsened until Napoleon returned from Egypt. From 1796 until Napoleon seized control in 1799, the French mounted arm consisted of 2 regiments of carabiniers, 26 of heavy cavalry, 15 of dragoons, 25 chasseur regiments, and 12 regiments of hussars. There were also two irregular formations, five companies of expatriate Poles and the Guides de Napoleon that eventually became the Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Imperiale. Starting 1800, under the Consulate, the mounted arm consisted of 2 carabinier regiments, 25 heavy cavalry regiments, 20 dragoon regiments, 23 regiments of chasseurs and 12 of hussars.

Napoleon is often credited with innovative organization of the field forces for battle. His organization of the Grande Armée was based on the Corps d'Armée, where the major operational units were essentially self-reliant miniature armies.

These corps were built around manuever formations of the three principal battle arms, infantry, cavalry and artillery. The Grande Armée took shape in the various training camps along the English Channel from 1803 to 1804. From that time on, the army had three principal components: the Imperial Guard, the Active Army, and the Army of the Interior.

The Active Army consisted of the traditional elements, e.g. artillery, infantry, cavalry, along with engineers and supporting troops, plus foreign units in French service, while the Army of the Interior consisted of the gendarmes, veterans, departmental troops, the Regiments of Paris, coastal defense forces, and National Guard units on active duty. Napoleon also realized the importance of concentrating a substantial force of hard-hitting, elite units that could decide a battle when deployed at the key time and place. This led to the creation of the Guard formations and also the Corps of Heavy Cavalry.

During the Napoleonic Period there were two principal types of cavalry employed generally by the European nations: the light cavalry and the heavy, or battle cavalry. This classification is hotly debated by military historians and Napoleonic enthusiasts, and often depends on who does the classifying and which historical references they cite. British sources tend to classify the French cavalry in terms of light, medium, and heavy, a classification disputed by Lochet and others referencing French historical sources. French army manuals of the period, for example, classify the mounted units as Cavalerie, Cavalerie Légère, and Dragons.

The Dragoons drew from the continental heritage of mounted infantry and were operationally grouped with the battle or grosse cavalerie. Adding further complexity to the classification of the Imperial cavalry was the presence of the mounted units of the Guard .

La Cavalerie Légère

In the French Army, the light cavalry of the line consisted of the hussars, the chasseurs, and the lancers. The Chasseurs a Cheval literally meant Light Cavalry, not the erroneous designation as mounted riflemen. In 1804, there were 24 regiments of Chasseurs, with Napoleon subsequently forming an additional five.

Napoleon, anticipating war with Russia, converted one of these chasseur regiments along with 6 dragoon regiments to lancers in 1811, and then added a Polish Uhlan regiment. Prior to that time, France only experimented with lancers with foreign volunteers, e.g. eastern Europeans renowned for their horsemanship as with Marshal de Saxe's Uhlan Regiments from 1696 to 1750, and experimented with additional units toward the end of the 18th Century. For the Russian Campaign, the Napoleonic Chevau-léger Lanciers contained mostly raw recruits and newly commissioned officers, mounted on barely trained horses, but led by exceptional senior officers.

There were six regiments of hussars at the start of the Revolution. From the Royalist times, these units had a Germanic flavor, their troopers being traditionally recruited from Alsace and Loraine. Orders were given in German until 1793, and thereafter in an Alsatian dialect of French. During the revolution, additional hussar regiments were organized and manned - their flashy uniforms attracting recruits readily. In 1799, Napoleon had 3 of the 13 hussar regiments converted to dragoons. In 1810 he added an eleventh regiment. During 1812-13 with the destruction of the Grande Armée, Napoleon formed an additional 3 regiments, the 12th Regiment and 13th and 14th Regiments which were lost and reformed in 1813-14.

Although the light cavalry could stand in line and fight as battle cavalry, its best purposes were reconnaissance, screening, raiding, pursuit, and field security. The light cavalry maneuver units were intended to be broken down into small tactical units for use as pickets and vedettes, and for deployment in reconnaissance roles. Lochet and Nafziger note that the focus on independent tactical employment of small light cavalry units accounts for the higher number of noncommissioned officers in the light units compared to the battle cavalry. The light cavalry, particularly the hussars, were also capable of massed charges on the battlefield.

La Grosse Cavalerie

The Napoleonic battle cavalry initially consisted of the grosse cavalerie which were subsequently reorganized as the cuirassiers, the carabineers, and the dragoons.

Dragoons were a particularly European creation, the concept eventually moving to the Americas with the migration of the European military culture. They had an intricate evolution from Renaissance times with the emergence of firearms through the wars of the 17th Century as mounted infantry - the mobility of the horse combined with the emerging firepower of the musket. They became the universal cavalry, typically employed for a broad range of both mounted and foot duties. At first, most nations mounted dragoons on lower quality horses with resulting detriment when caught and overrun by opposing cavalry. In response, senior officers and sponsors of dragoon regiments improved the quality of the mounts, and improved the training of the dragoons, particularly in swordsmanship. This evolution found twenty dragoon regiments in the French Army of 1800 operating principally as heavy cavalry and with little capacity for employment as infantry.

As part of the reorganization of the army, Napoleon increased these regiments to 30. The first addition was a Piedmont regiment taken into French service. Facing a lack of suitable mounts in the numbers required, Napoleon directed several of the dragoon regiments be trained for dismounted action as foot dragoons - these were eventually mounted on horses captured during the Austrian and Prussian campaigns of 1805-1806.

During 1803-1804 an additional six regiments were transformed from the lesser elements of the heavy cavalry, and three hussar regiments were transformed into dragoons. Napoleon sent 24 dragoon regiments into Spain from 1808, and following the destruction of the Grand Army in Russia, these regiments performed exceptionally as the French were pushed back in 1813-1814. There were provisional regiments formed to meet local requirements, these providing replacements for the regular regiments once the immediate need had passed. In 1811 Napoleon converted six dragoon regiments to lancers.

On becoming First Consul in late 1799 Napoleon found 25 regiments of heavy cavalry, la cavalerie de bataille, and two regiments of carabiniers, la carabiniers à cheval. During the 18th Century, the French heavy cavalry were tall, strong men mounted on large, powerful horses. During the Revolutionary Wars, their numbers were thinned and, since most heavy mounts were imported from German states, there was a dearth of suitable heavy horses.

These 25 regiments were substantially understrength and poorly mounted. Napoleon solved this problem by dissolving the last seven regiments and allocating the men and horses to the remaining eighteen - the elite companies of these dissolved regiments were allocated to the Carabiniers. From the eighteen regiments he then took the strongest men and most powerful horses to form the twelve regiments that eventually became the cuirassiers. The remaining men and horses formed six regiments of dragoons.
This structure stabilized and remained essentially unchanged for the rest of the Napoleonic period.


Bukhari, Emir Napoleon's Cavalry Presidio Press. 1979.
Jeffrey, George Tactics and Grand Tactics of the Napoleonic Wars Courier Publishing. 1982.

Haythornthwaite, Philip J. Weapons and Equipment of the Napoleonic Wars Arms and Armour Press. 1996.

Lochet, Jean, and others Cavalry studies in Empires, Eagles and Lions. NJANW: Issues 98-103. 1987.

Lochet, Jean and the EEL staff Cavalry lectures at various Historicon symposia, 1993-2001.

Lochet, Jean Letter from America. The Age of Napoleon No. 24; Les Cuirassiers du Roi. Empires, Eagles and Lions. No. 5 March/April 1994; and numerous additional publications.

Muir, Rory Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon Yale University Press. 1998.

Nafziger, George Imperial Bayonets Stackpole. 1996, and numerous additional publications.

Nosworthy, Brent With Musket, Cannon and Sword - Battle Tactics of Napoleon and His Enemies. Sarpedon. 1996.

Raiff, Marc On Cuirassiers, Dragoons and Medium Cavalry. Empires, Eagles and Lions. No. 5 March/April 1994.

Information Text taken from :


The kit

Well known company’s dark blue hard carton boxing is here . Inside this , with 2 thick dark grey sheets of protective foam hold all 12 pieces of white metal for the figure and the base. Three different pictures on the front side of the box give us the idea of what the figure should look like when finished .

There are also 2 paper sheet included with 4 language informational text and painting guide . You can get some more and bigger pictures of the splendid boxart on the web site of the company.


  • Torso with feet

  • Right arm with hand holding sword

  • Left arm -hand

  • Head with shako hat

  • Plume for shako

  • 2 spurs

  • Scabbard

  • Sabretache

  • Shako decorative

  • Hair pony tail

  • Base

    Quality and Detail

    The pose is a classic static one with one hand rested on waist and theother holding the sword .its full of confidence and style for sure

    The metal quality is typical Pegaso , meaning close to perfect. No flaws, pretty clean and smooth surface and almost no cleaning to do at all

    Sculpting level is Superb. Maurizio is the king od Napoleonic details with all these super thin and delicate details. All parts of the figure have this characteristic. From the face , the monograms, thr pants detail,ald folds, everything looks very good .

    Dry fit showed that he pieces match perfectly and you will not have any kind of assembly problems.


    This is a rather difficult figure to paint. Green and red with silver rule this figure The silver cords and braiding details on almost the entire uniform surface ,will demand a lot of patience to get it right ,but with the result to amaze the eye ! Napoleonics are supposed to be among the most difficult figures to paint correct ,to get the right colors for every regiment and to recreate the proper look of these uniforms .On theother hand these figures are definitely a delight to see. Box art willdefinately help out in the task
    The base is nothing fancy but adding some dirt, grass, leaves or anything else willenhance the base to higher standards.

    Conclusion – Final Verdict

    Definitely one very good figure in 75mm and I guess will be a classic one . Maurizio’s sculpting and experience in Napoleonics, along with the high quality of Pegaso products, guarantee your pleasure.

    Highly Recommended

    Special Thanks to Luca Marcheti from Pegaso for the review sample
    Stay tuned for more Pegaso Models figures to be reviewed soon
  • Click here for additional images for this review.

    A superb Napoleonic figure, sculpted from Maurizio Bruno . The first of the Era from Pegaso in the new 75mm line, and a surely must have !
      QUALITY - DETAIL:95%
      POSE - THEME:92%
    Percentage Rating
      Scale: 75mm
      Mfg. ID: 75-025
      Suggested Retail: Euros :37.50
      Related Link: Pegaso Models
      PUBLISHED: Jan 30, 2006
      NATIONALITY: France
      THIS REVIEWER: 88.76%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.80%

    Our Thanks to Pegaso Models!
    This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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    About Costas Rodopoulos (Major_Goose)

    I started modelling 27 years ago with some 1/72 planes and military vehicles. Soon the diorama bug got into me and with Sheperd Paynes books I dug in. I loved to build dioramas and military vehicles till the Vietnam Era. I don't like modern stuff so much. 4 years ago I had a crush on figure painti...

    Copyright ©2021 text by Costas Rodopoulos [ MAJOR_GOOSE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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