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Zvezda

Set 8006

Persian Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released Unknown
Contents 42 figures
Poses 15 poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Hard)
Colours Brick Red
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

As is often the case with large empires, the army of the Persians was made up of contingents from all its parts, each of which were dressed and equipped in their own tradition. In addition a large proportion were mercenaries, men who again would have their own distinctive appearance, and by far the most important of these were the Greeks. This set does not attempt to portray all these troops, but instead concentrates on the native Persians, whose appearance was the most easily recognisable as being 'Persian'. Indeed the Zvezda box refers to the 'Immortals', although these figures are usable beyond that elite unit.

The packaging states these figures are for the fifth to the fourth centuries BCE, which means the troops should be dressed in Median style, as indeed they are, with short tunics and trousers. The headgear is the tiara, a cloth cap with flaps that hung down and often covered the lower face. Some of the figures are wearing armour in the normal style of the time, but many that appear unarmoured may well be wearing it under their tunics. The officer is wearing a sleeved overcoat, which he is using as a cloak, and the standard-bearer has the wolf-skin headdress as a sign of his rank.

The weaponry reflects the range utilised by the Persians. The bow was very important, and several men here are using this while several others are equipped with one. Four of the poses are of spearmen, who were mainly used to protect the bowmen. To help them they carry the spara, a large wicker shield. Both spear and spara are separate and fit into ring hands and peg holes respectively. In both cases the fit is good and firm. The men with javelins and swords are all cast as one piece. The officer carries a sagaris, a pick-like axe, while the standard-bearer is carrying a standard bearing the image of a falcon, thought to be one of the popular images used on standards.

All the poses are good, with the spearmen prodding with their weapons, the javelin men throwing theirs and those with swords and axes engaging in close quarter combat. The level of animation is of the usual superb Zvezda quality, with the running figures showing plenty of action, but all are very well done. Detail too is beyond reproach, and there is no flash or excess to spoil the look. The Persians sometimes constructed a makeshift wall using their spara shields to allow more men to use their bows, and this set has thoughtfully provided props which attach to the shield, allowing it to be free-standing if required.

As already mentioned, this set does not attempt to portray all elements of the Persian army, but it is surprising that no slingers were included as these were also an important arm. Still these figures are of the highest quality, and so far as the available evidence can attest, are completely accurate. A most beautiful set.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 10
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"Alexander 334-323 BC" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.7) - John Warry - 9781855321106
"Armies of the Greek and Persian Wars" - Wargames Research Group - Richard Nelson - 9780904417104
"Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars" - Wargames Research Group - Duncan Head - 9780950029948
"Marathon 490 BC" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.108) - Nicholas Sekunda - 9781841760001
"The Greek and Persian Wars 500-323 BC" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.69) - Jack Cassin-Scott - 9780850452716
"The Persian Army 560-330 BC" - Osprey (Elite Series No.42) - Nicholas Sekunda - 9781855322509
"Thermopylae 480 BC" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.188) - Nic Fields - 9781841761800

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