Judea in the first century CE progressively lost its independence as a series of kings loyal to Rome gave way to direct rule of this minor province by Roman governors. The Jewish Revolt broke out in the year 66, when a number of 'armies' were formed to fight the Romans under various leaders. These leaders often fought each other too, but their followers were mainly volunteers, bandits, old soldiers and countless others whose experience and training in warfare was as minimal as their equipment. The Romans methodically defeated them all, destroying Jerusalem in 70 and capturing Masada - the last stand of the rebels - three years later.
The first thing that strikes you about these figures is how immensely flat they are. This is not readily apparent from our photos but when observed from the edge the sprue is incredibly shallow as no arms or legs emerge to left or right. Therefore when weapons are held up they are exactly in line with the middle of the body, or else so close to it as to be difficult to distinguish. Proportions too are very variable, such that it would seem that this may be the work of more than one sculptor. Merely to contrast the style of the first two figures in our pictures illustrates this. While detail is not a major factor in such costumes it is adequate here, although on the first figure it is very bad, with no face at all and little else discernible. In many places there is a creditable lack of flash, but in others it is all too evident as can be seen. Their flat nature means there is no excess plastic, which is about the best that can be said for them.
Being so flat means many of these poses are very poor as we have said. The kneeling figure with sword over the top of his head is particularly silly, but the rest could have been reasonable if properly done. There is not a great deal of action in most of the poses, which is rarely a good thing, and indeed two would seem to be unarmed civilians, but the mix of weapons is at least quite good.
As groupings of individuals with no state backing these men would have largely worn their ordinary clothes throughout their service. Many here do indeed wear the usual knee-length tunic of the time, sometimes with the common cloak too. A surprisingly large number have acquired helmets, which like any armour would have been in very short supply and mainly gained from ransacked booty. The third figure on the top row is considerably over dressed as he wears a helmet with splendid but very old-fashioned crest, and one of the archers has managed to find a scale or mail cuirass, which is much more reasonable. Given the limitations of the sculpting the variety of weapons is OK, although one man is holding a very small knife more appropriate to concealment and assassination than to battle. Shields are mostly long and oval, which is OK, and most of the men wear full beards, which is perfectly accurate.
We should explain our unusual labelling of '3/4'. Each sprue in this set contains 12 figures - one of each pose - and for some reason each box contains three-and-a-half sprues. Why LW decided to deliver 42 figures rather than 36 or 48 we cannot guess, but this is achieved by simply cutting a fourth sprue in half, so the box will contain three of some poses and four of others, but which ones will be random.
These figures are way below the standard so many companies achieve these days, and apart from the fact that the subject is unique we can find little of merit here. Accuracy is their best characteristic, but the others really drag this set down. The civilian poses have limited use in a battle but are at least useful for general ancient scenes, but the rest leave much to be desired.