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Ultima Ratio

Set UR016

Carthaginian Army: Iberian Infantry Part 1

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2024
Contents 27 figures
Poses 9 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


In ancient times the Iberian Peninsula had long been an important source of materials, particularly metals, for the Mediterranean world, and it is thought that the Phoenicians first reached its shores during the 12th century BCE, establishing trading settlements like Gadir (modern Cadiz). During the sixth century BCE the Carthaginians began to establish a presence, and after their defeat by Rome in the First Punic War, Hamilcar Barca conquered or otherwise allied with many parts of the land, bringing it into the Carthaginian trading empire. Iberians already had a long tradition of serving as mercenaries in various armies, including those of Carthage, so when Hannibal came to launch a campaign against Rome, starting the Second Punic War, he used large numbers of such troops, although some of the less reliable ones were not taken all the way to Italy, and would later have to face Roman legions in their homeland.

Iberian infantry were generally divided into two classes, caetrati (light) and scutarii (heavy), both named by the Latins after the type of shield that they carried. On the face of it the two figures in the middle row with smaller, round shields would seem to be caetrati, but both are actually quite heavily armoured, with significant crested helmets, leather or possibly metal protection on the torso, and greaves on both legs. So it seems much more likely that they are actually dismounted cavalry, since it is known that Iberian cavalry often dismounted to fight, making them more like mounted infantry. Greaves were mostly worn by the Celt-Iberians, but as we shall see, this set includes features of both Iberians and Celt-Iberians, although some mixing of styles in the historical groups would seem reasonable. If these two men are indeed dismounted cavalry, then the only light infantryman in this set is the slinger in the bottom row, who might well be one of the famous contingent from the Balearics. His costume is simply a tunic, and we wears a wide belt, while also carrying a bag for ammunition and a sword as a personal weapon.

The rest of the poses are the heavy infantry, armed with spears and swords. The spears look to be ordinary thrusting spears apart from that held by the last figure in the third row, which has a long head like that of the Roman pilum, so is a heavy throwing spear. The swords, where unsheathed, are all of the Kopis-style falcata type so often associated with such troops, but those still in their scabbard are mostly the straight-bladed Celtic type, which is also appropriate here. Daggers are also in evidence, including a couple with the remarkable triangular blade. The large flat oval shields they all carry are engraved with various designs, all of which look authentic to us. Some have vertical grips, some horizontal, and some are unclear, but there is no clear evidence that there was a standard in such things, so this is fine.

The heavy infantrymen wear a variety of helmets or headgear, including several that have the crested hood type often seen in art. Many wear a simple short-sleeved tunic, but one man has a quilted version, perhaps to offer better protection, and another has a fringe along the bottom. All wear a wide belt, often decorated, and on the feet are either long or short boots, although some may be intended to be sandals instead. A couple of these poses wear Celtic greaves, one has wide bands (presumably of leather) wrapped round the trunk as a form of protection, and the last figure in the bottom row wears a cuirass front and back of scale armour. This, and some other elements, are only shown in evidence dating from the second century BCE, so after the period covered by this set, but it is reasonable that such a look would still have been valid during their service to Carthage. Therefore we have no issue with the accuracy of any of these figures.

The sculpting is quite good, with most of the detail you would want, although sometimes it is a bit vague, and elements like the positioning of the sword scabbard have been set to make the work of the sculptor easier, to the extent that one scabbard is actually upside down. The spear for the middle man in our bottom row is separate, but to make it fit into the ring hand requires that the spear is trimmed a bit, and the ring hand hole is enlarged almost as far as it can go. Two of the poses have a separate shield, both of which fit by having the whole boss area fit into a large hole in the shield. This is our preferred method, and works well here, being a nice firm fit without need for gluing and looking good once done. There is some flash on all of the seams, which are a bit untidy, but not a large amount, and there are no lumps of extra plastic anywhere. The poses are somewhat flat in some cases, although nothing too bad, and of course the two with separate shields are much better. Even those holding their spear above their head are doing so a little to the right of it rather than directly over the top, which is far better than the unnatural stance we so often see. Most of the poses are energetic and apparently in battle, and are good choices, but we particularly liked the slinger.

Although this is labelled as ‘Part 1’ of the Iberian Infantry for the armies of Carthage, it was actually made after Set 2, and in terms of quality of production it is an improvement over the older set. In terms of sculpting and pose choice it is much the same, but this one emphasises the heavier troops whereas most of the earlier set were light. There are now several sets of such men made in 1/72 scale plastic, so those looking to recreate an Iberian army have a fair amount of choice of figures, which is always good. Those in this set are nicely sculpted and presented, and are accurate too, so while some work would be required to show them at their best, these would surely be good candidates for inclusion in such an army.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 6
Sculpting 7
Mould 7

Further Reading
"1.000 Años de Ejercitos en España" - Almena (Guerreros Y Batallas Series No.1) - José A Alcaide
"Armies of the Carthaginian Wars 265-146 BC" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.121) - Terence Wise - 9780850454307
"Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars" - Wargames Research Group - Duncan Head - 9780950029948
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Hannibal and the Enemies of Rome" - Macdonald Educational - Peter Connolly - 9780356059051
"Hannibal's Army" - Andrea Press (Historical Warriors Series No.3) - Carlos Canales - 9788496527577
"Rome's Enemies (4) Spanish Armies" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.180) - Rafael Treviño - 9780850457018

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