In the hours before battle the thoughts of the common soldier are likely to be little different throughout history. Some would be eager for the fight and relishing the potential for glory and perhaps plunder, while others would be nothing short of terrified. All would be facing the possibility of their own death or injury, and therefore attempting to keep such thoughts from their mind by sharpening weapons, talking to comrades or otherwise finding something else to think about. Some Roman auxiliaries were essentially conscripted and therefore present under duress, which would only have added to their stress.
With no need for fighting poses such a topic offers many possibilities for some particularly unusual figures, and Strelets have delivered some really good ones. Most of these men are standing around, holding or resting their shield and in some cases their spear too. Several figures have already drawn their swords, perhaps to give them a final clean or double check their sharpness. One man is holding his spear horizontally, which is perhaps quite surprising under the circumstances, but another seems very lifelike as he strains to see what is going on ahead of him. The man leaning on his spear is our favourite in this set, but those leaning on their shields also have the air of men perhaps impatiently waiting for something to happen.
For the costume Strelets have stuck with the classic auxiliary uniform seen in their earlier offerings on this subject. All the men wear a mail shirt and full helmet with cross reinforcements over the crown. All carry a sword and a flat oval shield, plus leather breeches and sandals or boots. While auxilia could vary greatly in costume these are perfectly reasonable.
As with the costume so the style of sculpting matches Strelets’ previous auxiliary sets. Detail is not particularly refined, so for example the mail has been textured to suggest the individual links, which means there is only room for a few lines of essentially giant links. Speaking of giant that adjective must also be applied to the swords, which stretch from the knee to the upper chest, making them set uncomfortably high on the figure, and certainly well above waist height as would be normal. All the shields are moulded as part of the figures rather than separate, and the same is true of all the weapons apart from the horizontal spear of the man in the bottom row. This last fits into a ring hand and does so easily. With no flash and only a shallow rim where the moulds meet these are well produced figures.
Some really appealing poses make these a worthwhile set for those with an interest in the ancient world, provided they are set beside others from the same Strelets range and therefore in the same style.