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HaT

Set 8020

Hannibal's Carthaginians - African Infantry

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1999
Contents 48 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan and Gold
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

Carthage did not maintain a large standing army, and when the need arose it called up citizens for short-term military duty and hired a large number of mercenaries. In most Carthaginian armies the troops from Africa, as depicted in this set, were the most numerous of all the contingents, particularly when it came to defending Carthage itself, as it had to do against the Romans.

The standard HaT eight poses are split, with four of the poses being of the armoured North African infantry of Carthage, Libya etc., a further two poses of lighter unarmoured infantry, and two Numidian poses.

Our knowledge of the dress and equipment of these men is incomplete, as with so much else in ancient history, but all these figures conform to what we know of their appearance. The various styles of helmet and armour on the heavy infantry are all authentic, which includes mail, stiffened linen and a solid bronze muscle cuirass. The last two spearmen are a bit clumsy as they endeavour to show the man holding the weapon while also carrying the shield, though this must have been tricky in real life also. The swordsman is also a bit peculiar as he has drawn his sword arm a long way back - more so than would naturally happen.

The two poses of lighter, unarmoured infantry are very good. Both wear the traditional long tunic with long sleeves and no belt, as was normal Carthaginian wear, although as this was normally at least knee length, those here could do with being a bit longer. Both wear a bronze helmet but are otherwise unarmoured, and both have a simple sword and a large oval shield. One man also wields a spear, but both poses are quite reasonable if a trifle flat. As representatives of the bulk of the poorer citizen infantry these figures work well, particularly in the later part of the Punic Wars, when there was less armour to be had.

The Numidians were justly famous in the ancient world for their cavalry, but of course they had foot soldiers too, which are the final two poses in this set. Both are carrying a javelin and shield, which is appropriate, and are simply dressed in a loose tunic. Costume and hair are fine, as are the weapons and shields, but both poses leave much to be desired. The first man holds his javelin almost at the end, making it impossible to throw and highly difficult simply to hold or control. Javelin poses are difficult with two-piece moulds and no separate parts, it is true, but this compromise is really very unnatural and so quite poor. The second man holds his javelin in a rather more believable way (though still not at the point of balance), but his great issue is with the way he holds his shield. He has simply twisted his arm through 180 degrees and shows the face of the shield to his javelin. This is a ludicrous pose and the shield would have been far better held the other way round, though this would have meant extra plastic. Nevertheless the two Numidians are accurate but very poorly posed.

The detail on these figures is up to the usual good HaT standard, though there was some flash to be removed. The anatomy is fine and though there are few poses of each type, wargamers will perhaps find these to be sufficient. While the sculpting is good, some of the poses are really poor, in order to make the job of the sculptor that much easier, so there is a lot of compromise here which spoils the set.

As part of the range of HaT sets which cover the armies of Carthage this is the most important, as between them these figures represent all the major elements of the African infantry, the core of most Carthaginian armies, and any wargame Carthaginian army will require large numbers of them.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 8
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"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
"Cannae 216 BC" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.36) - Mark Healy - 9781855324701
"Cartago Contra Roma" - Almena (Guerreros Y Batallas Series No.32) - Rubén Sáez
"Carthaginian Warrior 264-146 BC" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.150) - Steve Noon - 9781846039584
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"The Carthaginians 6th-2nd Century BC" - Osprey (Elite Series No.201) - Andrea Salimbeti - 9781782007760
"Zama 202 BC" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.299) - Mir Bahmanyar - 9781472814210

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