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Set M080

Roman Republican Legion Before Battle

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2012
Contents 56 figures
Poses 14 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


The republican period in the history of ancient Rome is not so well known today as the imperial era, yet it was a time of foreign conquest and dire military crisis, of prosperity and hardship, of good government and civil wars, and was at least as colourful as anything the succeeding emperors saw. This set from Strelets is one of three produced at the same time, all portraying Republican Roman troops either on the march, preparing for battle or in battle. Since the costume and equipment is identical and only the activity is different, we reviewed all three together, so most of the comments on historical accuracy are the same for each. In this review we will consider their set of troops preparing for battle.

Rome was a republic from roughly the end of the 6th century BCE to the end of the first century BCE, but these figures are not suitable for anything like the whole of that period. Every figure here wears mail with reinforcement on the shoulders, which was originally limited to those who could afford it, but became standard after the reforms attributed to Marius in 107 BCE. The men wear a variety of helmets in Montefortino and Coolus styles, which would also suggest the last century BCE. Some of these have plumes that may be horsehair or feathers – it’s hard to tell, but both are appropriate. The shields are more or less oval with the top and bottom cut off, and largely flat, which also points to the last century of the republic, so we can be confident that this is the intended time period for these figures. However one further element spoils this comfortable dating – every man has a military belt with decorative plates (which is fine) but they also have the apron-like line of strips with studs to offer some protection to the groin. Unfortunately this did not appear until after the start of the imperial period, so is incorrect here.

In this set we are asked to picture these men preparing for battle, perhaps breaking camp in the morning or actually facing the enemy and ready for combat. Some are more prepared than others; we find one man yet to put on his helmet, while two others are in the process of doing just that. Most of the rest look to be more or less ready, generally with weapons drawn and simply waiting for the moment. However as a rule such men would have advanced with pilum in hand and thrown it shortly before contact, only then drawing their gladius ready for the hand-to-hand fight. Having several men in relaxed mood yet already drawing their swords is therefore not the best choice of pose. Still as a bunch of men simply waiting they work well enough, and given the attitude of these men the poses don’t even look especially flat.

The sculpting standard will be familiar to past customers of Strelets, and can easily be judged from our photographs above. A bit chunky, with smaller details too large or fat, but no flash. Occasionally things get a bit vague, particularly with some of the shields, which are all moulded as one with the figure. Given how the shield had to be held, a few of the men are performing miracles of contortion with their unseen left arm in order to be holding their shield where they are. These are not attractive figures, but neither are they the worse ever made.

Given the past output from this company, this set is much as expected. Generally reasonable if slightly flat poses and a unique style which does not mix with the output of other manufacturers, but a good range of poses and well produced with no trimming beyond removal from the sprue. Pity about the accuracy error however, although they could pass for early imperial soldiers!


Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 6
Mould 10

Further Reading
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Pharsalus 48 BC" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.174) - Si Sheppard - 9781846030024
"Roman Legionary 58BC - AD69" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.71) - Ross Cowan - 9781841766003
"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
"The Roman Legions Recreated in Colour Photographs" - Crowood Press (Europa Militaria Special Series No.2) - Daniel Peterson - 9781861262646

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