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Set 8069

Dacians

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2004
Contents 48 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Dacia occupied an area which is today mostly in Romania, and was one of the more civilised of Rome's enemies. The most famous encounter was around the end of the first century CE, a campaign commemorated in Trajan's column, which saw the defeat and absorption of much of Dacia into the Empire.

As usual evidence is much less than comprehensive, but it is thought that the most common troop type was the warrior with javelins and a sword. Archers were also numerous, but the weapon that marked these people out from most others, and which seems to have been genuinely feared by the Romans, was the falx. The first figure in each row pictured above is armed with this, a weapon that had a curved blade sharpened on the inside that was perfectly capable to severing limbs in a single blow. Along with the standard-bearer, these are a fair representation of the warriors to be found in Dacian armies of this time.

Most of the men are wearing the usual tunic, with some also sporting a cloak. The two with falxes are bare-chested, which suggests they are Bastarnians, a sub-tribe of the Dacians well known for using this weapon. All wear either caps or are bare-headed, and none have any armour. Only Dacian nobility wore helmets and armour, so there is no suitable officer figure in this set. The various features of the costume all seem to tally with the available information on these men, and all are well done.

Weaponry too is OK, although the falxes have been modelled with a long straight blade and a bend at the tip, which was an unusual style compared to the more common blade curving throughout its length. The handle on these is long, which is thought to be correct, though handles of various lengths are known. Since the sharp edge of these weapons is on the inside of the curve, the figure bringing his weapon down is showing the blunt edge to the enemy, which seems strange. Shields are correctly done as oval with a central boss. The standard is a Draco, with a metal dragon's head to which is attached a long fabric tubular body which acted like a windsock. The standard could be trimmed off to leave the figure holding a spear.

The general standard of sculpting is quite good, and there is not much flash. The proportions and details are fine, though some surfaces are occasionally a little too flat. All the shields come as part of the figure so there is no gluing. This hobby has come a long way since sets were labelled 'Barbarians' and intended to cover virtually all Rome's enemies, and it is good to see so many specific sets such as this on the market. These figures add an important new element to the many Roman Empire figures available.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 8
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Rome's Enemies: Germanics and Dacians" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.129) - Peter Wilcox - 9780850454734
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173

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