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Odemars

Set PF06

Roman Republic Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released Unknown
Contents 36 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Grey, Light Grey, Light Brown, Red/Brown, Blue
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

The republican period in Rome's ancient history is long (509 to 27 BCE) and saw many changes to the appearance and make-up of her armies. No one set could cover such a long and changeable period, or if it did then it would be hopelessly confused, so we must establish exactly what we have here.

During the early years of the Republic the soldiers were dressed much like the Greek hoplite, but no one here answers that description. By the time of the wars against Carthage in the second and third centuries BCE the soldiers wore plain shirts with a small metal plate on the chest, but full mail shirts supplied by the state gradually replaced this. Half the figures in this set are dressed in the first manner, half in the second, so we actually have a mix of figures for just the last 200 years of the republic. Helmets are a mixed bunch with several different forms of decoration, which is a fair reflection of the troops at the time. Most seem to be wearing greaves on both legs, though normally only the left leg would be so protected.

The figures are either armed with a sword or a spear of about 150cm in length. During the Punic Wars Roman infantry was divided into four main types, the triarii, the princepes, the hastati and the velites. The triarii were armed with 3 metre long spears, but there is no such weapon in this set, so these troops are not represented. The set is also without any velites, so we are left with the princepes and hastati, although by the start of the first century BCE such a distinction had been done away with anyway. Shields are all moulded as part of the figure, and are all of the scutum type with a reinforcing 'spine'. In reality this shield was noticeably curved, but the shields here are flat. The officer figure has a smaller oval shield, and wears a sash as a sign of his rank in addition to his cloak. Given the long period covered, the costume and weaponry seem well researched and generally accurate.

Good research is all well and good, but it is wasted effort if the figures are too poorly detailed for it to be appreciated. These figures are very poorly sculpted, with detail difficult to make out and some very unnatural poses. The separate spears are simply lengths of plastic, entirely featureless. From their size they may be intended to be pila, but with absolutely no detail it is impossible to know. In addition these weapons are all much too fat for the ring hands for which they are intended.

The scutum weighed about 10kg, which made it far too heavy to use as an offensive weapon by flourishing it in the air for any length of time. Therefore the figure with his shield against his ear is very unlikely, and the figure with his shield under his chin is impossible - the left arm could not be arranged in such a way as to make this position possible, even if for some reason this bad use of the shield was desired. There is also a figure wearing an animal skin and holding a pole, on top of which seems to be the impaled head of (presumably) an enemy. This is something the Romans considered barbaric, and never did themselves, although this could conceivably be a trophy of war held by its captor. However such an unlikely pose is hardly justified in a set such as this. Another figure in an animal skin is clearly meant to be carrying the separate standard, but his cupped hand in no way matches the standard, so this must simply be crudely glued to his right arm. On the plus side the wounded man is well done and a genuinely original and believable pose.

A potentially good set is lost in poor sculpting, some strange choices of pose and most of all in the quality of the mould (excess plastic is everywhere). This appears to be a set made on the cheap, and with much better sets produced by HaT, Italeri and Zvezda it has little to recommend it.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 4
Mould 3

Further Reading
Books
"Ancient Armies" - Concord - Tim Newark and Angus McBride - 9789623616461
"Armies of the Carthaginian Wars 265-146 BC" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.121) - Terence Wise - 9780850454307
"Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars" - Wargames Research Group - Duncan Head - 9780950029948
"Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World" - Greenhill - Simon Anglim - 9781853675225
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Republican Roman Army 200-104BC" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.291) - Nick Sekunda - 9781855325982
"Roman Republican Legionary 298-105 BC" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.162) - Nic Fields - 9781849087810
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173
"The Complete Roman Army" - Thames & Hudson - Adrian Goldsworthy - 9780500051245
"The Roman Legions Recreated in Colour Photographs" - Crowood Press (Europa Militaria Special Series No.2) - Daniel Peterson - 9781861262646

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