During the Republic auxiliaries were mainly specialists performing tasks less suited to the citizen infantry. By the Imperial period, with ever expanding territories, the vast extra manpower was increasingly organised into infantry units, and became a well-used part of the army as they were seen as more expendable than the citizen legions. Consequently their inclusion in most Roman armies is very important, and this set was the first to represent these men in the hobby.
The men in this set are armed with sword and spear (hasta). To some extent the type of weapon used was dependent on the origin of the unit, but the ones shown here are the most common. All the men wear the typical mail shirt with the baldric supporting the sword on the right hip. The mail is particularly nicely done in terms of texture, and worked into points at the hem, which was a style that first appeared during the Trajanic period. They also wear the leather bracae, or breeches, to below the knee. The citizen legionnaires were said to have scorned this sensible garment as too effeminate, but the auxiliaries were much more practical. The men all wear a typical helmet of the time, which is correctly sculpted without a crest.
The poses are very good, with good advancing and fighting positions. The anatomy is excellent and there is plenty of life in their actions.
The shields are flat and oval, which is correct, and they are all separate. They fit on to pegs on the figure's hand, with the peg protruding through to form part of the boss. The fit is good and firm, and the result is that the figures seem to hold their shields in a very realistic manner, which is not the case with some other Roman sets. Many of the figures have two pegs on their hand so a choice of shield positions is available.
The spears are also separate. On two of the figures these fit well into ring hands, but on the rest they rest in grooves on the individuals hand. This means there is no grip at all, and the spear will only stay in place by gluing, though with no other support the glued joint is very vulnerable to knocks. Nonetheless the resultant figure looks really good, and this method has at least avoided a lot of extra unwanted plastic.
This is an important subject which had not been covered by any other manufacturer when this set first appeared. The detail is good and there is very little flash. Parts fit together well, and the result is a lively and accurate set of figures. The shields are plain, allowing the customer to choose to paint any of the many appropriate designs if they wish, which always gets our approval. Any model Imperial Roman army is likely to need many of these figures in its ranks.