Sunday 14 September 2014

Light Infantry (1) - Frei Corps & Jager

Last updated 20/09/14

What should the range cover?

Some initial thoughts on light infantry. These moulds are still a long way off;  but it is worth thinking about what is wanted before sculpting begins.

There was a lot of minor variation in the dress of the light troops during the Seven Years War; in a conventional cast range this could warrant many different figures. However it is not practical to cover all these minor variations in this range, so the aim is therefore to produce the minimum number of moulds which will give a reasonable coverage of 'light' infantry, my current thinking is tending towards four sets, only the first three of which will be covered in the Prussians, Austrian and Russian releases:

  • Frei corps (2 moulds) in western style uniforms and armed with musket/bayonet (discussed below)
  • Jager (one mould) in western style uniforms armed with rifle (discussed below)
  • Croats and pandour (2 moulds) in their distinctive more eastern dress (a later post)
  • In the western theatre there are also the Scottish regiments in the British army (but they are a very long way off). 
This first post, which is intended to decide on the best poses for the range will only discuss the Frei Corps types. However a the Croats are not available in any form either in this range or previous ranges it might be worth putting those into production first.

Frei Corps

The frei corps are best covered with a set of bodies which are representative of all nations. These cannot be correct for all of them, so just reasonably close. - possibly similar to the Prussian line infantry, perhaps without the bread bag?

Most such troops would wear the tricorn, but there were exceptions such as the chap on the right with a casket (and in the French army the mirliton).

The figures can then also usefully be used to form the close order firing line for anyone who wants to do so.


The jagers carried a rifle which was shorter than a musket, and often wore boots rather than gaiters.

They are also often shown with lighter equipment than the frei corps and line, so perhaps dispense with both the haversack and bread bag.

The figure shown is an Austrian in a casket, a Prussian would be similar but wearing a tricorn.


The frei corps units generally wore the tricorn type of their line troops, but there were exceptions. Prussian Jager wore a tricorn similar to their musketeers, but the Austrians a distinctive casket. As far as I can see this is what needs covering:

Frei corps
 - Prussian tricorn
 - Austrian tricorn
 - Casket
 - Mirliton

 - Prussian tricorn
-  Casket


The poses need to be suitable for spreading out in a skirmish line. Also I would like to try and retain some of the the character of the old Holger Eriksson (HE) range.

There is no need for advancing figures as these are fully covered in the close order troops.

Initially I thought that three moulds, and six figures would be needed, but current feedback suggests that this could possibly done with just four figures, but not rule out doing six. My ideas are listed below.

Rank & File Firing

Holger Eriksson - PA23

Firstly I think the two classic firing poses similar to the HE originals. (there are similar figures in the Karoliners).

These two figures will also work well for anyone wanting to produce units of line infantry firing.

Holger Eriksson - PA24


Holger Eriksson - PA30

I have always liked the pose of the old HE standing figure (but the actual castings are not particularly good.). An updated figure similar to this, with the uniform  of a Prussian officer would be a valuable addition to the range and would also fit well in artillery and command groups.

Great Northern Wars - PADK101

Alternatively,  if  something a bit more dynamic is needed, raise the left arm similar to the Great Northern Wars figure,  and make the right hand able to carry sword, pole arm or musket?

However currently all 'votes' seem to be for the old HE figure.

Other options?

A standing musician, not sure if a drummer, trumpeter, fifer or hornist is most appropriate?

For the light troops it is worth adding a loading pose to add some variety into the skirmish line. PA already produce loading figures in their Rossbach and Karoliner ranges,It is probably more likely the the first figure with the ram rod in the right hand is more correct, but possibly with the musket angled forward?

Karoliner - PAS914
Rossbach -  PA51

Holger Eriksson - PA25
NCO/Standard Bearer.It might be worth making a standing NCO figure 'dual purpose' carrying either a standard or a pole arm. 

The figure pose could be similar to the HE standing musketeer, but with the right hand a bit higher to hold a flag or pole arm. Uniformed as the Prussian NCO

The figure could also be given a sponge or ram rod to find his way into a gun crew.

An infantryman priming his pan?

What to Make?

There have been some useful suggestions from Rahway and Ross; and I am wondering about only two moulds for the Frei Corps types, and then a mould for the Jagers, say:

    1.  Frei corps standing firing
    2.  Frei corps kneeling
    3.  Frei corps officer standing
    4.  Frei corps standing, one of:
             a.  NCO/Standard bearer standing
             b.  Loading
             c.  Priming pan
             d. Musician

    5. Jager kneeling firing
    6. Jager, one of
             a. Advancing
             b. Advancing at trail
             c. Loading
             d. Priming pan

These figures are still a long way off; however thoughts comments and ideas are welcome and I will update the page at intervals as any comments or ideas  come in.


  1. The German Frei Regiments and Frei Korps can, for the most part, be constructed from the Prussian and Hungarian molds. The short muskets and rifles used by the Jaegers and some of the other troops can be achieved with snips. The Jaeger cap worn by some companies would be a nice additional head to have in a mold.

    I really don’t use the loading molds at all and don’t make much use of the firing ones either, particularly the kneeling pose but many do so I can see the case for introducing some variety into the range.

    You are not alone in admiring the standing officer from the original HE line. If we are to have a standing firing line there should be a standing officer and he is a good one.

    An alternate musician such as a fifer or a Jaeger hornist would be useful.

    This might be done with two molds. Standing/Kneeling firing and Officer/Musician. A third with Standing and Loading figures would be, for me, a nice-to-have rather than a have-to-have.

    There is one very distinctive and popular type of light infantry that is not on the list above nor found anywhere else in the PA line: the British Highlanders. During the mid-18th century they were often used to perform the type of assignments given to Frei Korps units and in places with wooded and broken terrain..

    You can make the English Foot from heads and bodies in the new line but the Scots are not possible without extensive conversion. I believe that their presence would be a compelling attraction for many. The Scots are a unique section of the British army that can be done without opening the door to having to do the rest of the army.

    1. Rahway

      The British (and French) are some way off, the plan is to get the a full selection of troop types for the Prussians, Austrians/Hungarians and Russians before looking at the western theatre.

      That said I have been thinking about the British and I think an approach similar to the Austrians/Hungarians would be best. For the infantry assume reuse of the Prussians (Austrians and Russians), and fill the gaps. The main differences were in the baggage carried, the cuffs, and also the officers officers had their sash over the shoulder......possibly two moulds? As you suggest THE distinctive troops were the highlanders, these could have a set of say 3 moulds, possibly emphasising the light infantry role - these are a long way off!.

      Thanks as always for you comments.


  2. Having thought this over for a day, I still think that its a shame that the plan is to push the distinctive Croats who played an important role in some battles as well as in the petit geurre and would offer something new and exciting, not available elsewhere in homecasting before in favour of doing more of the usual to represent the other sort of light troops who played a marginal in any role in battle.

    However, if its more tricornes and long coats, I would like to see a mold with an actual Jaeger with rifle and powder horn. Good for the Prussians but also for the Hessians etc when they come about as well as for the AWI and at least a little distinctive compare to the line troops as opposed to the various freikorps whom only the experts can tell from line.

    That said, I am one of those who use firing lines and who likes to use firing poses for light troops so the kneeling and standing poses make good sense. I think an officer and horn blower (more appropriate than bugler I believe). The standing officer is one of my favorite of the current molds and serves as my personal figure as well as many other guises so a new version of that would be good and fit with the firing line.

    The loading figure and nco would certainly add to the look of a large number of skirmishers and I have done just that with existing figures but since its a mold that would only be used a handful of times I doubt if I would buy it, esp since light troops were such a small part of SYW armies. If done, it needs checking in drill books or reenactors but I believe the musket in left hand, ramrod in right hand was more common.

    As for heads, I suppose a mirliton as per various French freikorps is out unless a hussar appears with separate head. The false fronted cap would be a good variation..

    keep up the good work.

    1. Ross

      I can see that my post might suggest that the Frei Corps type troops will be produced first. That is not the intention, production is a long way off, sculpting has not started, and the order is all up for grabs. I discussed these first as they were the easiest to cover with existing PA pictures. What I was really after with this first ‘Light Infantry’ post was to try and sort out the best poses. As you suggest it might be better to do the Croats first.

      I am not sure about the separate Jager, I know it is desirable but think that troops who could be used both in the firing and skirmishing lines would be more popular. That said, if a single ‘Jager’ mould was produced at some later date what two poses would you go for?

      What troops would have a horn blower during the SYW – and do you have an illustration.

      The standing officer seems a favourite so I think is this is worth including.

      The feedback on poses from both Rahway and yourself is that there is only a real need for four figures (standing & kneeling firing, officer and musician), and two others (NCO standing and loading) which might add interest – but you would probably not buy them.

      The false fronted cap used by the Austrians definitely needs to go in, and as you say the mirliton is worthwhile (the hussars will have separate heads for mirliton and busby – but again a long way off).

      Thanks very much for the feedback, what I intend to do is go back and edit the post as discussions progress so that it will reflect latest thinking.


    2. The horn would have been found in some Jager companies. Von Kleist's Jager unit for example. From what I have read they would not have looked very different from the rank and file except for the equipment. Here are some pictures of 18th century horns. The Halbmond would have been the Prussian variety.

      Here is an illustration of von Kleist musicians. No Jager here but a Green Croat Drummer and Uhlan piper.

    3. As above, horns were the predecessors of 19th c bugles. Only cavalry used trumpets so that Erikson figure is a bit of an oddity.

      If there was a jaeger mold (and I see no reason to have two for a troop type that only appeared in small numbers) my personal choice would be a kneeling firing figure and either 1 advancing or standing priming.

    4. Ross
      I think two Frei Corps moulds and a single Jager mould might be the best way of covering it.

  3. Here is a link to a photo of jager hornists on the Hessian site