Much scholarly effort has been devoted to Macedonian Hypaspists, and the result, as so often with the ancient world, is that no one is really sure who these men were, what function they performed or even what they looked like. The general opinion is they were a medium heavy infantry that were armed like hoplites, with spears rather than the sarissa of the phalanx. They were positioned to the right of the phalanx, a position of honour, and were clearly an elite associated with the mounted Companions who took the right of the battle line. It seems that they were regularly used as a highly mobile force - a kind of special forces of their day - and were more closely associated with the figure of the king himself, sometimes having the word ‘Royal’ applied to them as in a Guard.
With so much uncertainty as to their appearance HaT have gone with something fairly similar to the main phalanx but with a wide range of armour levels. The first four figures pictured above have no body armour at all, being only lightly dressed in their exomis tunic with the right shoulder left bare to allow maximum freedom to the weapons arm. The first three on the next row (and the first two on the bottom row) wear the linen linothorax while the fourth wears a full thorax front and back, most likely made of bronze. In general the best armoured men would be in the front ranks, while those in the rear would enjoy the comfort and mobility that their lack of armour brought but at the cost of no real protection. All these men wear appropriate helmets - mostly of the classic Phrygian-style - which include feathers and in a couple of cases a crest. Much debate surrounds whether such decoration was a sign of rank, or unit identity, or simply an affectation for those that could afford it. HaT have wisely included such items so the customer can choose to keep or remove these as they see fit. Moving from the head to the legs we find a largely random scattering of greaves. Some have them on both legs, some have one and some none at all, while there seems no relationship between the possession of greaves and better armour generally. Again the historical answer to this is not known, so while we would imagine greaves would be mainly a feature of the well-armoured front-rankers, or perhaps of almost all the infantry, no one can say for sure that the pattern used in this set is wrong.
The hypaspists may have used the long sarissa on occasion, but in that case other sets of figures could be used to depict them. All those here have a shorter spear, or in two instances just a sword. Both are authentic, and from our photographs you might think that the same is true of the shields. They are of the correct size but what does not show above is they are all flat when they should be very noticeably concave.
Given that most of the figures are made in one piece the poses are pretty good, although inevitably somewhat flat for men that wielded both a bladed weapon and a shield. Entirely realistic poses, with shield in front and weapon to the side, would require assembly which many customers prefer to avoid. The last figure in the second row has the common and slightly lazy trait of the spear passing directly over the centre of the helmet, but at least this can be easily parted with a knife to allow a more believable pose. Your attention is drawn to the first two poses in the bottom row. These are in fact the same basic figure, and HaT have simply provided a spear and a standard for their cupped hands. However the standard has a spear point on the bottom (removed for our photo) so it can be used as a spear if required (and no one really needs four standards for 48 figures). Indeed the standard itself is very controversial, and it is far from clear what if any standard Alexander’s men carried. However as it also serves as a spear those who wish to avoid a standard can easily do so without wasting a figure.
The final two figures are of command subjects, and apply equally to both the hypaspists and other Alexandrian infantry. The trumpeter wears civilian clothing and the officer is largely distinguishable only by his cloak and the rather curious design of his helmet.
The general standard of sculpting is very good, with the men wearing the linothorax being particularly well defined. There is virtually no flash and the separate weapons fit the cupped hands very well, although the solitary figure with a ring hand (first in the second row) needs this to be widened before it will take the spear provided. Nevertheless these are very pleasing figures.
Although the hypaspists were relatively few in number these figures have possibilities beyond this one unit, and will doubtless serve very well in many a small scale recreation of Alexander’s armies.