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Phersu Miniatures


Roman Legion Contubernium Tent Complete Set

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2014
Contents 8 figures and 1 tent
Poses 8 poses
Material Resin
Colours Cream
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)


Famously the Roman Army was made up of centuries (Centuriae) which, despite the implication of the name, actually contained around 80 men. Each century was made up of ten contubernia, each of eight men. This was the smallest division of a Roman army, and the men from each contubernium shared a tent when on campaign plus other equipment and a mule to carry it. This set then depicts a fully-manned contubernium.

We begin with the eight men, all of whom are wearing what was later called the lorica segmentata which was in vogue from around the mid first to the mid second centuries CE. Their clothing, armour and footwear are all accurately done, and one man even has his sword hanging on his left hip rather than the usual right hip of the other men, perhaps denoting this man as the Decanus or ‘corporal’ in charge. All are in what you might call ‘preparing for battle’ poses, although the poses could just as easily be undressing after battle, or simply at one end or the other of a day’s march. Everyone is doing something different, and this is superbly illustrated by the artwork that comes with the set. We have men dressing (or undressing) or engaged in ordinary camp activities. Every pose is fantastic, and it is hard to pick out a favourite. The men securing their sandal, putting on their helmet or getting into their armour are wonderful, and we also particularly liked the man sitting and sharpening his sword, but they are all beautifully realised and perfectly natural in pose.

The sculpting is terrific, with lovely detail clearly rendered and perfect proportions. The flexible mould allows for some particularly natural poses without any excess material, and there is no flash. The only assembly of these figures is with the man taking a drink from a skin, shown in the second row.

Row three shows the eight separate shields which these men would have had close at hand. They are rectangular and nicely concave, and properly detailed both inside and out, but with no design imposed on the outside, so are perfect. Next to the shield is the simple rack against which the weapons and other equipment might be supported when making camp – again the painted example shows how this would work.

The next two rows show the many accessories that are also included, some in resin and some in metal. The resin accessories include a stool, various cooking pots and some bags, plus some extra helmets. The metal parts are a sword belt, a military belt (as if being hung on the rack), a pick, two spades, a pan and the pila (spears). Everything is beautifully and delicately done and again flexible moulds mean there is no unwanted material, just excellent little objects that could be used in so many situations.

Perhaps the star is the tent itself. This comes in six pieces, and while we were not looking forward to putting this together (resin is not a great material for kits), it turned out to be very easy to assemble thanks to some well-thought out design. The result is one of several designs known to the Romans and looks great – the pattern of hides on the surface is particularly convincing. This was an unexpected pleasure and a cracking centre-piece to the whole set. However the complete set is highly recommended for anyone that wants to portray a scene of Roman troops doing something else other than actively engaged in battle, and if we had to be critical of anything then it would only be that the mule which usually carried all this kit is missing!

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