Carthage was primarily a trading and naval power, and in large measure relied on the hiring of mercenaries when it came to raising armies for land warfare, particularly after the early years. This gave their armies a very multi-national and multi-cultural look, and these various elements have already been modelled in this hobby, most notably by HaT. With this latest set, HaT are not trying to introduce a new element, but rather to depict Carthaginian infantry in a manner not seen before. After his famous march across the Alps in 217 BCE, Hannibal and his Carthaginian army entered Italy and heavily defeated the Romans in a number of battles, culminating at Lake Trasimene. The number of Roman dead and captured was so enormous that Hannibal re-equipped his African infantry with Roman mail shirts and perhaps weapons and shields too, and it is these men, who would again crush a Roman army the following year at Cannae, that are depicted here.
As a set of men well into a gruelling campaign and supplied from base, local sources and a defeated enemy, there is a lot of latitude as to what is likely to be authentic. The common elements on all these figures are the mail shirts and greaves on the legs, but the men wear a variety of helmet styles, all of which are appropriate and well done. They still wear their own long-sleeved tunics, and carry short straight swords and ordinary spears. Most have a large oval shield named a thureos which might have been Celtic or taken from the Romans - either is good reason to have them here - while two have a smaller round shield, which was more traditional. Nothing here gives us any cause for concern on accuracy.
The sculpting is pretty good, with nice texture on the mail, and only a small amount of flash in a handful of places. A couple of the poses have ring hands for the separate spears, but a couple of the other spearmen are a little flat, with the first figure in the top row holding his spear across his head in an odd way. Although all of the shields are moulded with the figure, they are still held as if protecting the body, which is good to see, although inevitably they are all held pressed against the body, which would cause problems for those on the move. Still the poses are reasonable and useful.
The term 'veteran' is here being used as a convenient label to denote those African infantry that served in Italy at this time, but as always it must be remembered that armies tend to help themselves to whatever they fancy from defeated enemies. Therefore items of Roman kit would regularly appear in the Carthaginian ranks when circumstances allowed, so these figures are by no means limited to this one campaign. With many such soldiers likely to have appeared like this on the field of Cannae it was a very worthwhile exercise to make such a set, which does add depth to the available Carthaginian figure sets. Good sculpting and useful poses make this a welcome addition to the range.