The wars of Rome have always been a favourite subject for manufacturers, and Italeri chose to portray the conflicts of the late republic (the last two centuries BCE), which includes much of the Punic Wars and the campaigns of Julius Caesar. However with the bizarre choice of content for their Roman sets, this set of Gauls (the name by which the Romans knew the Celts) might also be expected to fall below the Italeri standard.
In fact, the set is better designed than the Romans, though still disappointing from such a major producer. It includes nine each of four poses of warrior advancing with sword or spear, plus one each of four speciality poses - two chieftains, a standard bearer and a musician. The four warrior poses are reasonable but it is the four speciality poses that catch the eye. The two chieftains are very nicely done, and the standard bearer carries an image of a boar, which was a very popular choice with the Celts. The musician is blowing a Carnyx or war horn. This dramatic instrument is shown in a number of illustrations from the time, though it would probably have been longer than is modelled here. This man is also a slinger, and carries both his sling and a bag with his ammunition.
All the men are correctly dressed, with trousers and either tunics or bare-chested. One of the warriors is completely naked, though he like his comrades would probably have had a good deal of war paint on. Another warrior wears what appears to be a mail tunic as well as a helmet, marking him out as one of the wealthier of the group. The helmets of the chieftains are suitably extravagant, helping to underline their wealth and importance.
The mixture of swordsmen and spearmen is reasonable, and apart from the slinger Italeri has chosen not to portray the less common weapons. The spears are separate and fit fairly well into ring hands. The shields, which come in two designs, are all separate and fit onto the figures with a peg, though the fit is far from secure.
Even though the range of poses is a disappointment, the quality of sculpting and the level of detail are superb. It is easy to see the neck rings that many of the warriors wear, and the muscle definition on the large amount of bare flesh is spot on. These figures cannot be faulted for accuracy (apart from the truncated carnyx) or detail, but the lack of poses is less then we have come to expect from one of the biggest players in this market.