The backbone of the army with which Alexander conquered much of the known World was made up of his Macedonian infantry, the formidable phalangites. These men were effectively created by Alexander's father, Philip II, and after defeating the Hoplites of Greece they went on to do battle in places as far apart as Egypt and India.
The principal weapon of the phalangites was the sarissa, a long spear or pike, and all the figures in this set carry such a device at varying angles, or rather, they are in the appropriate postures, but none have been provided with this weapon, either moulded on or separate. HaT tell us that this is because the plastic injection method used to create all plastic figures does not work successfully with very long thin items such as this. Other manufacturers have avoided the problem by creating unrealistically fat pikes or providing much shorter weapons in the hope no-one notices. Where a full length correctly proportioned spear has been tried (as in some early Zvezda sets), the necessary multiple entry points for the plastic cause the pike to have angles at these points as the plastic cools, making them quite useless. This weapon varied in length during the years under Alexander's leadership, possibly reaching a length of 5.4 metres (some sources suggest even longer) during the fighting in India, where elephants were deployed against them. The best suggestion we have so far heard for making these is to use a plastic bristle from a broom, but some use piano wire, florist's wire or plastic rod found in model railway shops.
The men wear several different styles of cuirass, or in some cases no body armour at all. This reflects what little we know about the Macedonian phalanx, where the most heavily armoured troops were in the front rank, and those at the rear probably had no armour at all. These figures carry their spears at various angles depending on their position within the phalanx, and those nearer the front do indeed have the most armour, whereas those with no armour are clearly intended for the rear ranks. In all cases the clothing is authentic, and this includes the various helmets on show, though we would have preferred to see more of the phrygian type as this seems likely to have been the most common. Some (officers?) helmets had plumes or feathers on one or both sides, though this would be a very difficult feature to include and it is not surprising that none are modelled here.
It is likely that all the phalangites were also armed with a sword, but two of the figures appear to be missing this essential item. However all of the figures carry the hoplite round shield without the rim in the correct Macedonian style (the shield is moulded as part of the figure in all cases). This was supported by a strap around the neck while the soldier held the sarissa with both hands, but only some of the figures carry the shield in this manner.
Alexander ordered that his army should be clean-shaven, a relatively new fashion at the time. Some of the figures in this set clearly sport a beard, though we cannot be sure how thoroughly Alexander's order was observed at all stages of the very long campaign.
The detail on these figures is very good, and though by their very nature the poses are not particularly varied they are all well executed. We found that there was some flash which needed removing, but aside from that these are very nice figures that could make an impressive phalanx.