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Odemars

Set PF04

Roman Siege Troops

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2003
Contents 24 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey, Light Tan, Red/Brown, Light Brown
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

The favourite Roman technique for laying siege was to blockade the city or fort and starve it into surrender. Sometimes however there was not the time for this, or a direct assault was thought likely to succeed, so the Romans used much the same methods of assault as had earlier armies, though they were initially less sophisticated. Naturally these included battering a breach in the wall with a ram and scaling the walls with ladders, which brings us to the contents of this set.

The first three figures pictured above are clearly meant to be carrying the ram. The first two are carrying it sideways, and the third seems to be moving it forward. Neither of the first two figures could get any real power behind a forward motion, and the third has hands far too close to his body, so the ram does not fit in them. The fourth figure may also be intended to carry the ram, but as can be seen his hands are at a considerable slope - hardly useful for battering a wall. In any event the ram would have been protected with a shelter of some kind, as asking men to manually carry and use a battering ram against walls was just suicide. The ram itself is just a log with a carved ram's head, and though the first two figures do carry the log fairly well there are no fixings so glue would be necessary.

The other possible purpose for the fourth man is to carry the ladder. The man with outstretched arms is clearly steadying one, and the two middle men are doing the climbing. Both the climbers actually match the ladder, by which we mean the hands and feet line up correctly to allow them to fit on the ladder properly. However again there is no way of fixing these pieces except by gluing. The second climber is interesting in that he has suffered an arrow in either the ear or the shoulder (it is hard to tell which). This must have been a fairly common injury for such men.

The final figure in the set as a rather splendid officer, standing watching proceedings with an apparently relaxed air.

Most of the men wear the Gallic helmet in one form or another, though the man with the arrow wound seems to wear a Montefortino helmet, which was to be seen during the late republican/early imperial periods. Some wear the lorica segmentata armour introduced around the middle first century CE, while others wear a muscle cuirass or a leather jerkin, and one man is wearing mail. Most of the figures have swords, and these are all on the right of the body, while those that have shields have them oval and flat, which would either mark them as auxiliaries or date them to the later imperial period. We found it difficult to decide what date these men were meant to be, but if forced would guess at later imperial, up to perhaps the early third century CE. To be fair the packaging makes no claims for a date, and all items seem correct for one period or another.

As usual the main problem is the poor sculpting. Detail is quite shallow and some areas are difficult to make out. All the figures suffer from some flash, and there is not the polish that would be expected of an Italeri set for example. However it is an interesting subject matter which has not been done before, and though the crude ram may not be of much value the figures themselves could be pressed into a number of roles with a little imagination.

Ratings

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

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