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Strelets

Set M019

Roman Legion before Battle

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2008
Contents 56 figures
Poses 14 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

It is easy to imagine historical soldiers in battle or on the march, but in reality any soldier could have told you that a lot of his time seemed to be spent waiting. Most battles required careful preparation by both sides when time allowed, and this was no different for Rome. Forming up large bodies of men took time, and sometimes lots were drawn to decide on the exact location of some units, so Roman legionaries could usually expect a long wait before entering any battle, and if they were in a reserve or rear line they might wait all day and see no action at all. For those that did fight wearing their full armour was exhausting, and there are many accounts of armies parting several times during battles to allow troops on both sides to rest, so such lulls would also see many men simply waiting for the action to begin again. For the first time we have here a set dedicated to this single activity, which could be boring, tense or absolutely terrifying, particularly for novices.

This set contains an unusually large number of poses for the Strelets Mini series, but all are basically just standing around and doing very little. Well that is what the box promises so we can hardly complain. The majority are simply standing and holding shield and weapon, and look fairly relaxed, although since they are all fully armoured they are at the very least expecting action. All the poses are fine, with the stand-out examples being the man contemplating his sword and the legionnaire tying his helmet on – nice touches which add a human feel to the scene.

On the subject of accuracy there is very little to say except that these men wear the very recognisable segmented armour suitable for much of the first and second centuries. This is the same period as that depicted in previous Strelets Roman sets, and remains the most popular throughout the hobby. As they are clearly prepared for battle they have only their weapons and shields, having left all other impedimenta behind the line. Our only accuracy complaint is with the shields, which are all moulded with the figure and are very nearly flat rather than the very obvious curve of the original.

The detail on these figures are fairly good although it can sometimes be a little vague. The stocky style will be familiar to many readers, which suggests these have come from the same stable as the previous sets of Romans as they match well. Some of the spears seemed rather bent on the sprue yet straightened up well enough once removed. None of the figures have separate weapons or shields, which can cause rather flat poses, but in this case the stances of the men lend themselves to being fairly flat anyway (apart from the shield shape which we have already mentioned). Flash is minimal too, so these are ready to go as soon as they are released from the sprue.

This hobby already has several sets of Roman legionnaires in mostly fighting poses, so it is a breath of fresh air to find something rather different such as this. These are far from the most attractive Romans on the market, but for depicting units as they form up ready for the coming fight there is nothing to compare in plastic, and they should prove very useful for camp scenes too.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 7
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Roman Legionary 58BC - AD69" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.71) - Ross Cowan - 9781841766003
"Roman Military Equipment" - Oxbow - M C Bishop & J C Coulston - 9781842171592
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173
"The Complete Roman Army" - Thames & Hudson - Adrian Goldsworthy - 9780500051245
"The Roman Legions Recreated in Colour Photographs" - Crowood Press (Europa Militaria Special Series No.2) - Daniel Peterson - 9781861262646

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