The Spanish contingent in early Punic War Carthaginian armies was quite small, but as the Spanish province grew so too did the numbers of Spanish troops in Carthaginian service, though their quality varied considerably. Nevertheless they were an important part of the armies of their masters, and it is good to see figures of these men in a separate set.
The figures cover several different types of Spanish infantry. Those with the large oval shield are scutarii, heavy infantry named after their shield, who made up the bulk of the Spaniards. The men carrying the small circular shield are caetratti, light infantry who also took their name from their shield. Finally there are some Balearic slingers, the most famous of the troops in this set.
The poses are a standard but worthy collection, with spears and swords being waved about in the usual manner. Slingers are not a common subject for models, but these have been nicely done with good animation and believable poses.
The Spanish costume was a short V-necked tunic with short sleeves, and this has been properly modelled here, as have the various styles of cap and helmet which were unique to these people. A belt, on which hangs a knife, and a baldric for the sword complete the simple outfit of these men. One man also has a square breastplate much like that of the Roman opponents, but the straps for this breastplate have gone seriously awry round the back, giving the impression that the master model was damaged before the mould was made.
The weaponry is properly done, with some unusual but accurately sculpted spears and the sword, which much resembles the Greek kopis. The long shields of the scutarii are correctly done with strengthening components, but are happily unengraved to allow any design to be applied as required. The caetratti have their small shields, round leather bucklers, which again are plain apart from the boss, allowing freedom to paint as necessary.
The Balearic slingers were not numerous, but they were very effective and their reputation was known throughout the ancient Mediterranean. They were a poor and simple people, but in an army that had few or no bows they provided the only missile attack available. Each man is using a sling and has tied his spare slings (they carried three of different lengths) around his head. It is not known how they carried their shot, but these figures wear a bag, which seems a reasonable possibility. However one of these men also suffers from the strap of the bag going badly wrong round the back.
Our review examples suffered from an apparent slight misalignment of the mould, creating a ridge round the edge of each figure, though we cannot say whether this is true of all examples made. There was also rather more flash than is usual for HaT products, so some time was required to tidy these up. As usual the detail is good and the research has been properly done, though diorama builders will bemoan the small number of poses for each type. However it is the problems with some of the straps and the misaligned mould which do most to mar this set.