Monday, 6 April 2015

Warlord Games Early Imperial Roman Auxiliaries - Review

Hi all, today I had the chance to begin assembling my Imperial Roman Starter army, beginning with the Auxiliaries!
Roman Auxiliaries were the non-citizen troops employed by Rome to fight it's battles alongside it's citizen legionaries. As you get in to the 2nd century an even larger portion of the Roman army begins to be drawn from the Auxiliary, particularly cavalry and archers.

Warlord Games Early Imperial Roman Auxiliaries come as a single (or multiples of a single) 4- man sprue. Each Auxiliary comes equipped with a javelin and gladius as well as an oval shield, mail cuirass and a metal helmet.

When I was growing up I was taught that the Auxiliaries were the poorer brother to the Roman Legions and cohorts but common consensus now seems to be that the auxiliaries could be as well equipped as any legion, some even being equipped with the lorica segmentata (the banded armour we all know and love). Warlord Games Auxiliaries are no exception to this and they appear well equipped.

In the Imperial Roman Starter Army you get 24 Auxiliaries (or 28 in my case, thanks Warlord!) on 6 sprues of 4 men. These sprues are sold individually at £4 or in a box of 24 (20 plastic (5 sprues) and 4 metal command) at £20.
The Starter army does not include any command which is a shame and the 4 man command is not currently able to be purchased separately which again is a shame as they are lovely sculpts, instead you can purchase a 3 man metal command for £5 which look decent enough though their quality is poor by comparison the command included in the stand alone auxiliary boxed set.

My favourite 2 poses (left and centre)
On the Sprue you get 4 bodies which are posed individually with either one or no arms attached, 4 shields, (one including a spear), 3 individual spears, 5 heads (one with a mustache, 1 injured, 2 aggressive, 1 not so aggressive), a sheathed gladius (the other 3 come already attached) and the necessary arms. in all there is only one 'spare' part, a head, which means there are only a few very limited poses available out of the box.

I would have preferred a little more choice, I'd have liked to equip all 4 with spears rather than have every one in 4 using a sword, alternately I'd have liked the option to have alternate sword poses. I'd also have liked to have seen 2 bodies 'in action' and two waiting to receive a charge (for example), unfortunately all four are in action poses which always looks funny when you have your troops ranked up and the second third and fourth rank are all stabbing each other in the back...

As someone who is used to more heroic scale Games Workshop style of sculpting I found the detail to be very soft and because of the choice of armour (ring mail) a lot of detail is lost around the mold lines which is always an issue in this regard. Aside from this the sculpting is good and the detail is there if not as exaggerated as I'd typically used to. 
One other point to note is that each one of the sword armed bodies had a void or sink mark (not sure which) in the stomach. This could be filled or, as with mine, ignored as the shield and pose help to cover this up.


Price - 4.5 / 5
£20 can be a lot to spend these days even if the model count is reasonable as it is in this set (24 models for £20 is great value by comparison to some other companies rank and file), which is why I think it's great that Warlord Games give you the choice to buy individual sprues of 4 allowing you to assemble a unit at pocket money prices over a couple of months or add to existing units in an affordable way

Value - 3.5 / 5
There are only four poses however at £1 or less per model this is to be expected, there's a nice touch in that the cuirass is sculpted in two different styles but opportunities have been missed in the types of pose as well as variation in equipped weapons.

Quality - 2.5 / 5
There are some defects with this kit, the sink hole in the stomach of one-in-four being the worst and the loss of detail, though almost unavoidable, around the mold line is disappointing, the features appear soft and lack depth and they definitely aren't up to the quality of some of Warlords newer stuff.

Accuracy - 4 / 5
While I'm not an expert I can appreciate that these auxiliaries are relatively well equipped as is now commonly accepted, The look to me like the soldiers on the murals and friezes I remember seeing when I was studying ancient Rome during my college years. Without that expert knowledge I can't make a more accurate judgement other than to say that they look how I'd expect them to look.

If I could ask one thing of Warlord Games it would be to sell the 4-man metal command (currently only available in their 24 man stand alone box) individually, either replacing or being sold alongside their old set of three so that I can get a good looking command for the Auxiliaries from the Army set.

Remember to check out my unboxing video in the last blog post 

Have you any experience of Hail Caesar? Do you have any comments? let me know, I'd be glad to hear it!

Thanks for reading.

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