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Lucky Toys

Set TL0002

Late Empire Romans

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2004
Contents 40 figures
Poses 10 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Green, Grey
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)

Review

After the chaos and civil wars of the third century CE, the Roman army that saw the start of the fourth looked very different from its predecessors. Its ranks now included many 'barbarians' from both within and outside the empire, and the heavily armoured soldier had given way to a lighter, more maneuverable one that would hopefully deal with the external pressures that were to come, and would in any event be much cheaper to equip.

The 10 poses in this set are of infantry from a long and momentous period in the history of the empire. The poses are OK but not particularly well animated. The man lying on the floor (first row, last figure) is the only particularly interesting figure, but all the poses are quite usable. The last man on the bottom row is the officer, and seems to be shielding himself from some danger well above him - presumably some missile such as arrows (he appears to be looking too far up to be fighting a mounted man, unless that man is on an elephant!). This is an unusual pose for an officer, and we would have preferred something a little more general such as the usual 'leading the way' pose. The second figure on the top row is a standard-bearer, and he appears to hold a Draco with a completely deflated windsock.

The officer and standard-bearer wear lamellar armour while the rest wear mail. While this is correct for the period, it was by no means the universal garb of these men, and we would have liked to have seen much more variety, with many men being mostly or completely unarmoured. However these are not wrong, with the correct Romano-Sassanian style helmet, the now fashionable trousers and the closed boots. They carry the spatha sword and round or oval shields, which is correct. All also have cloaks, which suggests campaigning in the colder northern European regions.

As is evident from the pictures, these figures are made up of many pieces. Usually we assemble such figures to show them as they were intended, but in this case we have not done so as the manner in which they fit together is dreadful. To begin with, there is no good reason for many of the separate parts except to allow a better fit on the sprue. What other reason could there be for swords and spears with blades in two parts, or arms split at the elbow despite no undercutting issues? Naturally most of the join surfaces are tiny, and virtually impossible to achieve a decent bond - certainly with any prospect of longevity. The shields have a dimple in the back, and the hands have a lump, but to call this a peg and hole arrangement would be to imply some reasonable match between the two, which there is not. As a result they are useless, and the shield must be glued directly to the forearm. The figures also exhibit plenty of flash, but sadly not plenty of detail, while what there is is not well defined. The bases are also quite narrow front-to-back, so some of the figures have difficulty standing, or are at best very vulnerable to knocks - the last thing you need with a fragile join on them.

The stiff poses and poor sculpting, plus the not particularly representative costume would alone be a serious problem for this set. However the virtual impossibility of adequately assembling the figures calls into question why the thing was ever made in the first place. With a more intelligent arrangement of the figures on the sprue many of these breaks could easily have been avoided. With the set as it stands it is hard to find anything to recommend it, and these days there is plenty of competition, all of which is much better.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 2
Mould 5

Further Reading
Books
"Adrianople AD 378" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.84) - Simon MacDowall - 9781841761473
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Late Roman Infantryman AD236 - 565" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.9) - Simon MacDowall - 9781855324190
"Roman Military Clothing (3) AD 400-640" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.425) - Raffaele D'Amato - 9781841768434
"Roman Military Equipment" - Oxbow - M C Bishop & J C Coulston - 9781842171592
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173
"The Complete Roman Army" - Thames & Hudson - Adrian Goldsworthy - 9780500051245
Magazines
"Uniformes (French Language)" - No.101

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