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Author Topic: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?  (Read 2068 times)

Offline Warlord

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Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« on: May 25, 2017, 03:39:14 AM »
Which are the best? Mainly after an era that would fight Gauls and/or Celts.
My father in law is keen to start collecting, and its his birthday in 2 weeks.
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Offline ZeroTwentythree

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2017, 04:35:20 AM »

I'm a fan of Mark Copplestone's sculpting, so I like the Foundry range that he did. (The characters that someone else sculpted later on are awful, though -- beware.) They're called "Caesarian" but work well enough for slightly earlier too -- Marius, etc.

http://www.wargamesfoundry.com/ancients/caesarian-romans


Crusader Miniatures (Mark Sims) does some great Romans from a little earlier period, as well as allies, opponents, etc.

https://www.crusaderminiatures.com/


I haven't seen the Renegade Romans, but I had some of their Celts. Very nice, except they were a noticeably larger/bulkier than most other manufacturers so didn't fit well when mixed with what I already had. But on their own (not mixed with other brands), they would look great. I assume the Romans are of similar quality. (Their WWI minis are also really nice, and easy to paint!)

http://www.renegademiniatures.com/

Offline Midaski

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2017, 07:13:27 AM »
You didn't specify so what about plastics?

I am not sure about "Early" or "Republican" eras and what the troops looked like but others with more knowledge can chip in.

Warlord Games have some, along with Agema and Victrix - you get lots of minis for starters and at a better price point.
If he enjoys it and gets more involved he can add metals for character and front ranks.
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Offline ZeroTwentythree

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2017, 11:29:31 PM »
There are a few general periods you can break the Roman armies into. Super quick and dirty rundown...

Earlier armies were citizen militias, similar to Greek hoplites (somewhat different equipment, though), along with light skirmishing troops, maybe supplemented with Italian allies. They would have faced Gauls invading Italy (and sacking Rome...)




The middle Republican period is the "manipular" style army of the Punic Wars. Still a citizen militia, but with with more elaborate system of rotating troops, multiple battle lines, etc. Also fought Gauls.







The late Republican army was reformed by Marius, and fought with Caesar in Gaul, as well as being the style of armies in the Civil Wars. Citizen militia was being replaced by professionals. Equipment was becoming standardized. Supplemented with allied troops to make up for what the core army lacked (cavalry, light troops, etc.)




Early Imperial armies were a further evolution of the Late Repbulican army. Changes to equipment, but still similar fighting style. Still used allies to supplement the core army. This is where the popular image of the legion with segmented armour, and the squared off shield comes from. At this point Gauls were becoming "Romanized" and were more likely to be in the army earning citzenship than on the other side of the battlefield. However, they were still fighting British Celts, and other flavours of Gallic peoples in other parts of the world (not "Gaul" per se.)





Offline Badwolf

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2017, 10:45:04 PM »
Are you definitely planning on 28mm? 15mm or even 10mm will get you a lot more bang for your buck but it's as much about finding a rules set you like as a scale.

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2017, 12:18:57 AM »
I like the ancients that Aventine produces! :icon_cool: :::cheers:::
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Offline Westfalia

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2017, 07:42:03 AM »
I like the ancients that Aventine produces! :icon_cool: :::cheers:::

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Offline Wolfgang aus Wien

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2017, 02:17:15 PM »
If scale and material are up in the air, take a look at 1/72 scale plastics.
Some of their advantages include very low cost, very low weight and very low space requirements.
I'm personally partial to Airfix, but if you want the absolutely most beautiful sculpts, Italeri are the way to go.
Other manufacturers include Hät, Strelets, Zvezda.....too many to name.


Offline ZeroTwentythree

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2017, 07:42:17 PM »
Forgot about Aventine. I never managed to get any of their figures before ancients (and most other gaming) sort of died off for me. THey look great, but I have never seen them in the "flesh." There was another company that also popped up around the same time as Aventine, that I was looking into at one time. Can't remember the name now. Honestly, I can't even remember if it was for Romans or Macedonian Succssors... :|

Offline S.O.F

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2017, 07:46:23 PM »
Are you definitely planning on 28mm? 15mm or even 10mm will get you a lot more bang for your buck but it's as much about finding a rules set you like as a scale.

Game wise yes but of fun figures to have 28mm is what think the standard of the perfect mix of enjoying the modeling/painting part of the hobby mixed with great table top. In more modern conflicts you can't get the mix right but up until say the 17th century I always prefer 28mm stuff to give you the enjoyment for the whole experience. Then again that is just me but still...
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Offline Deuce

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2017, 08:48:58 PM »
Romans fought Gauls and Celts to at least some extent almost continuously in some form from at least the 5th century BC to the mid-second century AD. This covers the early Republic, mid-Republic and late Republic period, and the early Empire, although the biggest and most famous campaigns were during the late second century BC and first half of the first century BC (i.e. late Republic).
 
Wargaming terms for these periods can vary. While the Early Imperial is generally called that, Late Republic can be "Marian" or "Caesarian". Mid-Republic is usually "Polybian" or just "Republican". Sometimes the period is further divided into "Camillan" and "Polybian", with the former having more primitive armour and more classes of infantry, and the latter being more mail-heavy. The early Republic is uncommon with gamers, as information on the period is patchy and the army wasn't particularly distinctive, believed to have been a phalanx army like contemporary Greeks. (It was a catastrophic defeat by Gauls at the Allia in 390BC. which supposedly prompted the Romans to alter their formations and adopt the famous triplex acies system).

I think the most interesting period of Roman history is what in wargaming terms is the late Republic and this is also one of the most appropriate periods for fighting Gauls in. However this is also probably the most boring period in terms of variety of units in the Roman army. Just cohort after cohort of near-identical legionaries, with only auxiliaries to provide any real colour. In the earlier period you have the multiple ranks all equipped differently, light troops, Roman cavalry, Italian allied legions, even penal legions on some campaigns. In the early Imperial period you have the new units formed by the Emperors like the Praetorians, new cavalry formations, the urban cohorts, and so on.

On the other hand there is something grimly impressive about the implacable shield wall of the Caesarian era just marching over everything in its path. It's what I collect, although I do wish at times I'd opted for 6mm rather than 28mm.


For plastics, there are only really three names in the frame, IMO: Victrix, Warlord and Agema. Agema have a very small range but they offer a few metal add-ons to increase variety. Their stuff is solidly mid-Republican, though there is some leeway on some units.* Victrix have a wider range which is also mostly mid-Republican but with some minor modelling work, some of which could be appropriate as Late Republican (i.e. the Legions of the Republic I box). They also have a new range of Early Imperials. Warlord do Late Republic and Early Imperial.

All three ranges are actually very good with not much to choose between them, apart from Warlord's Early Imperial Legionaries which are very small and dated sculpts now, not recommended. (The Auxiliaries from the same period are fine, though). I have found Victrix and Warlord to be almost completely compatible sizewise, to the point that you can pretty much kitbash between the two. Warlord's poses are more hunched, in an "attack" position, while Victrix's are more static and upright. They complement each other well. I have less experience with Agema but I like their Velites box and although I've not seen the sprues their Legionaries look high-quality too.

Wargames Factory had a range of plastic Caesarian Romans which are now out of production but still not hard to find on ebay or the like. I'm not entirely sure of the details but Warlord is now the sole distributor for WGF and has not made these figures available. I doubt they ever will: they are relatively low-quality compared to the manufacturers above, with much shallower detail. But they are cheap, if you can get your hands on them.


In metals, Foundry have the largest range of 28mm Caesarian Romans. Although I've had some frustrations with them, their quality is generally very high. The odd clunker but that can be spotted from the website. I don't own any of their Early Imperial figures but they look similar in quality and variety. Their mid-Republic stuff is a little more dated. Aventine have an excellent range of mid-Republic metals, some of which can easily serve in the Late Republic with no need for conversion. I'm not sure about Early Imperials but I think Aventine might cover that too.

Warlord have smaller ranges of metals for the Late Republic and Early Imperial periods, although most of the basic troops are not duplicated so you'd have to rely on plastic ranges or go elsewhere for metals. If there are any bad figures in the range I've yet to find them. The only note of caution is that Warlord's figures can be a bit variable in size, which doesn't bother me too much but might you.

Another manufacturer worth mentioning is First Corps. They have a very extensive range of metals across most classical armies including Romans. Their figures are a little smaller than the others mentioned, and they are perhaps not quite up to the standard of the better offerings from Foundry, Aventine, or Warlord. But they have a good variety of poses, scrub up well when painted and are very affordable.

There are countless other metal manufacturers out there, which might be worth raiding for character models or the like. The Mid-Republican period tends to be the most popular in my experience, for some reason. However the above are the ones I'd bestir myself to recommend.


That's all 28mm. For 6mm I'd unhesitatingly recommend Baccus, although not if you need an order urgently as they have some difficulties with supply and demand right now. Hopefully that should clear up in the next couple of weeks. Heroics and Ros also have a range, of course, as do Irregular. H&R figures look decent enough from what I've seen; Irregular are, well, usual disclaimers apply.

I know nothing about 15mm manufacturers.

*Wargamers - and Romans themselves - like(d) to divide up their military history into neat periods, marched by epochal reforms by great men: Servius Tullius, Furius Camillus, Gaius Marius and Caesar Augustus. The extent to which this is actually true is debatable. Particularly with the transition from mid-Republic to late Republican army, it seems there was a much more gradual process of change and you have to squint quite hard to see noticeable equipment differences between troops, the major alterations being in formation. There's also a tendency for manufacturers to base all their figures off a couple of sources: hence mid-Republicans will have feather plumes, Caesarians will have horsehair plumes, and ne'er the twain shall meet. However it is probably best to avoid controversy at first, especially if you're doing it on behalf of another.

Offline Deuce

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2017, 11:01:54 PM »

I'm a fan of Mark Copplestone's sculpting, so I like the Foundry range that he did. (The characters that someone else sculpted later on are awful, though -- beware.) They're called "Caesarian" but work well enough for slightly earlier too -- Marius, etc.

I think they vary. The Pompey and Consul models from the general pack are, I think, very nice. I have a couple of the "Legionary characters" models which came in a second-hand job-lot and while they're not as good as the Copplestone ones I think they are decent enough.

However, some of the models are undeniably very poor. Unfortunately, that range does also offer a number of concepts which otherwise aren't really available: the marching legionaries, mounted junior officers - and the civilians. Roman civilians seem thin on the ground and while the Proximus sculpts aren't very good, they're probably still better than some of the alternatives:

http://www.matakishi.com/apps/webstore/products/show/7041693

That said, the Matakishi ones are rather cheaper.

Offline Draccan

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2017, 11:44:38 AM »
Warlord Games may not be the best, but their plastic sets are really good value for money and you can get a Roman vs. Gaul set..

https://store.warlordgames.com/collections/hail-caesar/products/hail-caesar-the-conquest-of-gaul-starter-set

70£ for the rulebook (Hail Caesar) and 90+ 28mm miniatures (multi-pose)

« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 11:47:32 AM by Draccan »

Offline Darknight

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2017, 12:44:33 AM »
I very much like Warlord Games' models for Romans. They are the ones I used.
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Offline Warlord

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Re: Romans - which manufacturer makes the best?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2017, 05:49:38 AM »
Thanks for the help guys.
I was mainly asking about multi-pose plastics, rather than metal.
I looked at the Victrix, and advice that they would fit well with Warlord is handy too.

He went for the Warlord Hail Caesar models. Haven't seen them yet, but he sounds happy. Main challenge in Aus is sourcing them from a retail store thats not online. As such, i got him a scenary kit instead - static grass, small rocks, trees and lichen, because he has been talking about building a fort.

Anyway, thanks for your help guys, and I am glad he bought Warlord based on what you guys have also said.
Quote from: Gneisenau
I hate people who don't paint their armies, hate them with all my guts. Beats me how they value other things over painting, like eating or brushing teeth.