Look at those arms!  Look at that chest!  Look at them!

Not to mention the rest.  Even I am impressed!

Wargames Factory 28mm Romans
(a snap review by Jeff Jonas)



Wargames Factory (WF) recently released their long awaited Roman Caesarean Legions plastic figures in 28mm, here's my initial comments:

First off I must say that I have slight bias against plastic figures, so they have to knock my socks off to get me really excited... so keep this view in mind that these will never have the heft of a metal toy soldiers.... that's an intangible... but OTOH these are so much better for dioramas and set pieces.. that's the trade off.... here's the work and commentary as the unit progresses.


11/02/08 Centurion model
I decided to cut to the chase and finish the Centurion as pictured above.  Often I will use one model as a benchmark as to how the rest are going to aet back my painting timeline..... the figure took me a while to paint because I still was having trouble finding the detail with my old eyes and the Optivisor.  Ultimately I think I acheived the result I desired. Everything here is out of the box except for the shield design which I have altered.  I cut out the central boss out of the dry transfer and the film attached ok.  Luckily there are more transfers provided than I will need. On the down side the Little Big Men Studios designs have abit too much battle damage for me, and the four color process dots are something that make my stomach turn.  I decided to paint the shield black. It wasn't difficult to apply the transfer once I cut out the boss, and they took paint well.  I prefer regular screen printed LBMS transfers, thes look like something for toys....

I have not yet decided how to base these figures, I reckon I will get the whole cohort done then actually figure out how they will line up. The end result so far is that these figures can line up with other 28mm figures, and with some level of effort will look as nice as any of them on the table top.




10/31/08 *Addendum



I have primed the whole unit with Rustoleum flat black spray paint and the detail has not washed away. In fact as stated by Tony Reidy and Howard Whitehouse, the detail on the sprue is a bit diminished by the sheen of the plastic. Once that sheen is flattened the figures look quite nice. I am ready to start painting them, and will do a full report to go with the Red State Ruckus Roamin' Romans theme. 

I am currently assembling a second cohort and clipping the helmet crests.  These will all have pilum and are going together easier than the first batch (it's always nice to have beaten the learning curve :)
When all is done, I expect the Wargames Factory Romans to look as good as my Companion Praetorians that cost twice as much... super zoom photos will reveal the difference but none of that will show in the table top.



Posted on TMP 10/25/08:

Belted lorica hamata armor often makes re-enactors look like they have a paunch. The revised Centurion model is very nice as has a nice set of phalerae, similar to this dude. The optio staff can be easily made out extra bits. The cornu is a bit thick, but all models seem to be this way in scale. The parma shield is easily swiped from extra Warlord Romans or metal bits.

I have been assembling my WF Romans the last couple days. As far as scale, there is nothing that will prevent me from combining these with my Foundry and Companion Republican Romans. The figures have smaller heads than most oversized and cartoonish 28mm metal figures (sucha ass the Foundry and Companion models just mentioned), but that is because the 28mm metal figures appendages are enormously large, the WF figures have better proportions.
The WF torsos are a bit thick, but a look at re-enactors wearing lorica armor will show the torso is a bit thick with lorica hamata.
Currently the assembly process goes slowly as there are a lot of bits to clean and prep, so that is certainly a drawback from metal figures.  Each figure has at least five bits, left and right arm, head, torso, and shield.
Two WF boxes allows me plenty of figures for three 24 figure cohorts with command which works well for WAB.... something it would take 2 1/2 bags of Old Glory (OG) regulars and one bag of command figures, so at retail OG would be about $92.00, if you have their discount it would be about $66 bucks plus shipping, however the Old Glory Caesareaan Romans don't hold a candle to these at all.  Foundry and Companion figures will set one back abotu twice that much (here in the USA).

Still the details are a bit soft, but my eyes are not that good either, so we'll call that a draw. The optio head helmet is nice. It's easy enough to make the optio's staff, as none is provided.
On the less than positive side, the figures do suffer from some soft detail, particularly on the feet which are a bit too mushy on the top, this is troublesome as I reckon it will be harder to paint the detail onto the caligulae, when I get to that stage.   Warlord's Romans have the feet detail much better, this is an area where WF needs improvement.  The bear skins and wolf skins are quite soft as well.

Because of the soft details, I'm afraid I may not be able to use my normal black* or white Krylon spray prime coat- as I feel the details may get knokced back further so I am struggling with a decision there.
Plus there needs to be some patient modeling skills applied to assembly, the heads have ball joint necks, which the torsos do not accept securely, so each ball joint needs to be trimmed to seat into the chest. This means some dicey cuts and pre-fitting. Nothing complicated for an accomplished modeler, just extra work. The faces on one section of the sprue are very mushy.
On the accuracy side, the figures seem to be close to our impression of what a Caesarian Legionary (or Marius' mules) might appear like…. I like the fact that the plumes are not outscaled like the Foundry and Companion figure excesses. The multi-pose ability is a real boon for the diorama builder. The swords are the right heft as opposed to some metal models that go whacky with sword sizes.

I'd say that the poses are equal to the Foundry and Companion figures I own, and far superior to many of the Old Glory squatting dudes poses.
I intend to convert the extra bits to artillery crewmen for my Imperial scorpios.
The centurion and optio are nice figures.

However there are some oversights. There is no round parma shield for the standard bearer- (no real problem there, I'll just swipe one from my largess of shields, or from the Warlord Imperial set).
Also the big shields do not have reinforcing metal ridges on them, and are not well engineered for attaching to the arms. There is no framework on the inside of the shield. The rub down transfers by Little Big Men seem nice, I'm not yet sold on rub ons and will reserve judgement until I get to that stage.
Of course now that I'm ready to base and then prime these I'm happier now that the assembly time is done and I can move to the more fun parts.
Review so far- you get what you pay for, plastics mean much more assembly effort, and somewhat softer detail, some better proportions, and unlimited customization, and are relatively inexpensive.  Other pluses is the company uses Triangle to help with packaging, they are in the USA so access is easy, and the boxes are made useful by printing card tents on the sides, so less recycling!!
The thing I need to remind myself that this is an initial release, and that they will get better, especially with good feedback.
But the bottom line is how they look when done, we will see how the end result compare to my Companion Praetorians!


Jeff Jonas 11/02/08

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