Our new range has been designed to represent the Republican Roman army from the late 4th to the late 3rd cent BC. It will cover both the Pyrrhic and Punic wars in some detail. Many of the troop types could be useful for armies both before and after this period. This was not really our intention when we planned the range but recent publications could not be ignored. These same publications also indicate that a much wider range of equipment was used by the Roman army of this period than we had hitherto thought. Some of the armour depicted might even appear anachronistic to those accustomed to existing ranges and older books. We have designed a good deal of variation within the basic troop types to try to reflect this new research and at the same time we have tried to produce an acceptable and attractive range of figures.
Our view has always been that since its invention by the Celts in the late 4thcent BC mail was always an expensive item and a symbol of nobility and wealth in that society. However this changed during course of the century. Distribution in the Roman army must have been a slow process with the earlier styles of armour worn side by side with the new. It should be noted that with the padded subarmalis we have shown on our figures this ‘older’ style of armour would still have been worn into the second century as an alternative to mail. A good 2nd cent reconstruction appears in ‘Roman Military Dress’ by Graham Sumner.
It is perhaps in the choice of helmets that the range differs more than any of the current ranges of Republican Romans available. There is now good evidence that the Romans used helmets from a wide variety of sources. The Montefortino and Etrusco-
Sticking with convention was the answer. We redesigned our Etruscan scutum to give it a more ‘Roman’ appearance. All legionary’s swords appear on the right as in later periods. Centurions and officers carry their swords on the left. A single greave on the leading leg except for those better off legionaries is another convention we’ve stuck with. Finally we opted for the feather arrangement described by Polybios and illustrated all those years ago in ‘Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars’ by Duncan Head. We felt this was the most distinctive variation recorded for Roman helmet plumes. When this style came into use is debatable but it was in use by at least the 2nd cent.BC and it differentiates the Romans from other Italians quite dramatically. Taken together we feel that, despite the apparent disparity in armour styles our new range will still preserve a very coherent ‘Roman’ appearance.
For those faced with the prospect of assembling a Roman army of the period a good rule of thumb would be to increase the amount of mail for the triarri and principes as time progresses. A Roman army of the Pyrrhic War period would have a lot less chainmail than a 2nd Punic War army would have. Simply choose the packs for the particular period you wish to primarily wargame. Perhaps those wishing to have allied legions dressed differently from their Roman legions could opt for the ‘older’ style of armours.
I’m not convinced that the long spear armed shield less style of light infantry were still around in the 3rd cent but some of our packs RR003 + RR004 are designed to be used with or without shields and have both hands cast open. Otherwise they can be shielded and mixed with the normal style velites RR01 and RR02 for variety.
RR05 is a “command” set or character set as we are not sure whether the velites/leves would have had officers, musicians and standards but they should prove useful in other units as well.
Triarii packs RR10-
Triarii packs 15-
We have now added Cavalry,Principes and Hastati to the range. The Cavalry have recently been remodeled to fit in better with the Victrix Plastic Legionaries but they remain perfect with the rest of this range.
Thanks to Steve at LBMS who has created 7 different shield patterns for his range of transfers to fit the scuta used with the heavy infantry and 2 designs to fit the round boss light shield. He has promised more when time permits.
Keith and Adam