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Strelets

Set M089

Caesar Army in Battle I

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2013
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Caesar’s legions conquered Gaul and ultimately the Roman Republic too, helping to bring in a new era in the story of one of the great empires of the ancient world. Having produced sets of such men on the march and preparing for battle, with this set Strelets get to the whole point of their existence – battle – and since this is labelled as set 1, we can expect more in the future.

For now though we must look at this set as representing these men in the midst of a fight, which usually started with a steady disciplined advance with pila spears at the ready. There are not really any figures suitable for that, but four of the last five pictured above are in the process of throwing their pilum, which happened just before contact was made with the enemy. Various stages of the throw are shown – some more successfully than others – with the last man having already let go of his (as there is no attempt to make his hand hold the separate pilum). The first figure in the bottom row seems to be about to use his as a close combat weapon, which is possible, but the rest are quite lively if a little clunky in pose.

Once the pila were thrown the sword was drawn and the enemy engaged, for which we have seven poses here. All are quite flat, and several suffer a good deal as a result. You only need to try and reproduce the third pose in the top row yourself to realise it is quite unlikely to be seen on any real battlefield. The kneeling figure struck us as pretty unlikely too, while those that are thrusting from behind their shields are certainly the best on offer here.

The basic armour, clothing and helmets all look good here, although the style of the sculpting limits what has been achieved. Four of the twelve poses have clearly been given the leather strips with metal pieces that hung over the groin, which was a feature not known until after Caesar’s death, but the rest either lack this error or else do not have the area visible anyway. All hold the weapons and shields correctly in as much as this is visible, but most of the weapons and shields come as part of the figure, so there is a little plastic between shield and man in some cases. Although many of the poses are quite flat, Strelets have done a decent job of getting most of the shields to be properly positioned in front of the man where they can offer protection, and only the kneeling man has a separate shield which fits on a peg on his arm. The usual chunky Strelets style means some slim parts are poorly proportioned, and detail generally is adequate but not great. There is no flash and the separate shield fits quite easily.

This is more of the same from Strelets, with some decent poses but some that are less than convincing, and many that suffer from being flatter than could have been achieved with multiple parts. Whether that is worth not having to spend time in putting bits together is up to each customer, There is a lot of holding weapons exactly down the centre line of the figure, which makes life easier for the mould-maker but does not reflect actual human actions well, so these are a compromise which works reasonably well but does not bear a positive comparison with the best sets of Romans on the market.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 7
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 6
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 Clothing (1) 100 BC - AD 200" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.374) - Graham Sumner - 9781841764870
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173
"The Complete Roman Army" - Thames & Hudson - Adrian Goldsworthy - 9780500051245

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